“I think I’m pretty cool.”
“I am very busy discovering the world we live in.”
“Duty is a turn-on.”
“I love to smile.”
“I’m looking for someone with pretty hands and feet.”
“I love epiphanies.”
“If u have a problem with me being 5’4″ then ur are missing out!”
“I live to inspire people and be inspired. I would like more of everything.”
“I’m not good at describing myself…you would have to talk to me, or meet me to know me.”
“You should message me if you love intellectual gymnastics, but you understand that the poetry of the everyday can not and should not be forced.”
“How can I be better than I am today? A better teacher…. a better lover… a better human being…”
“The woman I’m looking for: She loves to talk but observes long silences peacefully and appreciatively.”
Oh my. Who the fuck were these guys?
I took of a sip of the green juice I’d made with the Magic Bullet blender set Wade had given me. My throat immediately seized up. Holy crap. This stuff was terrible. Ugh. I needed to ask him for some recipes.
I kept clicking through profiles.
There was a guy who’s main picture was a selfie with an unmade bed in the background and dirty dishes stacked on his dresser, one where the picture was a painting of a man’s face (the writer’s?) and one where the potential suitor had his eyes closed. There were also a surprising number of profiles where the pictures were just the top portion of guy’s heads. Or just their shoes.
I sighed. I didn’t want to be doing this. I could feel the ‘Flowers in the Attic’ series calling to me. I hadn’t had much luck with five guys I’d messaged after Zeke’s, um, ‘pep talk.’ Two of them had misinterpreted what I’d written as some sort of naughty flirtation and taken the correspondence in very unexpected and shocking directions. One just responded with a “What’s up?” and one had started messaging me about five times a day which freaked me out. And the other was radio silent.
But I was not to be deterred. I was going to get a goddamn date out of this freakin’ site if it killed me. It occurred to me that is probably not the ideal mindset to have when you’re supposed to be finding the love of your life. But this mindset was the only thing that would get me to sit down in front of the computer for the 30 minutes each day I had committed to going onto OKCupid.
I decided to pause searching and do a quick look-through of some of the messages I’d received.
“You have the most innocent smile.”
“Want to grab a drink tonight?”
“HI THERE GOOD AFTERNOON HOW ARE YOU I AM ROBERT.”
“I just returned from my travels to an oil-rig survival pod moored in The Hague. Did you go anywhere interesting this summer?”
I read this book a few years ago that basically stated that if you were over 35 you needed to get realistic and lower your standards. Stop looking for ‘Mr. Right’ and instead focus on finding ‘Mr. Right Enough.’ That you really just needed to look for a nice guy – regardless of if you were attracted to him or not, because being nice and stable were really all that mattered as you moved into middle-age.
At the time, I was trying my hand at online dating and I thought that actually made a lot of sense. Perhaps I’d been too picky in my strategy. I was probably making a mistake in messaging cute guys with funny profiles. According to this book, they were more than likely not reliable, unstable, complete players and only wanted women who were 25. So I decided I would go out with any guy who seemed pleasant enough and not perhaps a serial killer.
I had A LOT of dates. It got to the point that I was dating so often that my two roommates at the time, Samantha and Kristen, created a calendar to hang in the living-room so they could monitor where I was and who I was with.
I tried. I really tried. I sat across from men who’s jokes made no sense to me, who railed against their exes, who bored me into near-comas with their long-winded speeches about their spectacular careers. It all made me want to sneak out the bathroom window and hightail it back home where in all probability Samantha was making an incredible meal, which she would share with me and Kristen was drinking a bottle of wine, which she would also share with me.
But I persevered.
I was a good dater. I never drank too much, I asked thoughtful questions, always offered to contribute to the bill and always said a sincere, ‘thank you’ when they kindly declined. I really tried to keep an open mind. But as the months wore on, I realized I just was not feeling anything for any of these guys. Many times, the thought skittered across my mind that if these were my final options, I’d rather be alone. After 3 months of this, I started to feel depressed. If this was all I could get, then what did that mean about me as a person? Look, I know I’m not the most beautiful/funny/sexy/intelligent/talented person on the planet but was I asking too much to find someone who I found dynamic and interesting and also somewhat attractive? Was this what life had in store for me? I started to be less diligent on dates, drinking more and not worrying if I talked about my obsession with Forensic Files.
Truth be told, I had met two guys that I liked. The first casually mentioned on our second date that he was a swinger, which seems awesome in principle but that’s just not something I think I could do in real life without becoming a crazy (crazier) person. The other sent me a message the day before we were to get together again that said, “Upon further reflection, I’ve decided I do not want a second date with you.”
Things were not going well.
The final straw came when I met a guy for dinner one evening in 2010. I knew I was in trouble when he ordered jasmine tea and a papaya salad. His light fare made me feel self-conscious. I had wanted to order the chicken curry meal with a side of pad thai and a specialty cocktail. But that just seemed grotesque in comparison. Not lady-like at all. And also, he wasn’t drinking. I made a compromise and ordered a chicken salad and a white wine spritzer. After that nerve-wracking moment had passed, I focused in on what he was saying. Which was that he was an incredibly successful screenwriter, being courted by all the major studios and that he’d written a novel that really should be broken into four installments because it was so intricate and also had it’s own language. I began frantically searching for our server to change my spritzer to a martini (double) when he then told me he liked to often post on Facebook links to worldwide atrocities with the flippant caption of, “Just a friendly reminder!” After that night, I logged off permanently.
Unfortunately though, the next 3 years of implementing my plan of “letting nature take its course” wasn’t working out too well, as I’d only had one date since then. So here I was, back again.
Among the eye-roll inducing profiles there were also some incredibly intimidating ones. Some with very long lists of traits they were looking for. “You: You read books. You have hobbies, passions and are hysterical. You look beautiful in the morning. You are athletic and fit. You are big-hearted and positive. You are nomadic in spirit. You are a student of life. You are a seasoned traveler. You know your own mind. You have a winning smile. You are smart, creative and independent. You are adventurous, compassionate, spontaneous, successful, outdoorsy and a great listener.” Wow. I felt I fell woefully short on most of those.
I was just about to log-off because the smell of the green juice was making me feel a bit nauseated and I’d already been on the site for 27 minutes, which I felt at this point was close enough to 30. But I decided to do one last search. And there he was. His profile was funny and unpretentious. Also, it seemed honest and sincere. He was pretty cute too and willing to date someone my age. I felt the pressure. Now was the time to craft an appealing email. I dug down and wrote. Nothing too long. Nothing too serious. Nothing too personal. Complimentary without being over-zealous, articulate, engaging and (I hoped) a bit witty. I hit ‘send.’ And now, we wait.