Friday, January 23, 2015

Thoughts on Online Dating

Online dating requires strict vigilance. It is time-consuming, disappointing, frustrating, and maddening. Occasionally, it's worth it. But really, being on dating sites at this point is more a form of entertainment than anything else. I keep my profiles active just in case. Just in case of what, I'm not sure because I don't think the man of my dreams is going to pluck me from a dating site so we can live happily ever after. But considering that I rarely go anywhere but my house, my mom's house, the grocery store, work, and work, the chances of my meeting a new person are fairly slim.

So, every once in awhile, someone who isn't a complete creep will send me a message and ask if we can email or chat and get to know each other. Sometimes I am willing to do this, sometimes not. It's based on a number of factors. Does this person have a picture up? Do they sound intelligent in their profile? Did they mention anything specific to me in their message, not just send me the same message they just sent 100 other women?

There are other variables. And one is dumb, but there it is. I will not date an Aquarius. Not ever again. Sorry. But I really do think that Aquariuses tend to be bad for me. And some of the ones I've met on the dating scene have actually frightened me. I think about one situation in particular when I was still very green and naive, and wow, there was a guy who was so insidious and dishonest that I still cringe when I think about it. He called me every night and talked for hours and always sent me little gifts and presents, but there were hints all along the way that something wasn't right. Fortunately, it was from a distance so I never actually met him, but it still alarmed me. I had friends who saw what was going on before I did, but I listened and ended it swiftly. So, no more.

But yesterday an Aquarius wanted to chat. [I am wildly consistent. I know.] I considered it and thought that there was no harm in chatting, because I realize that my behavior about this is irrational (even though, in my limited experience, completely warranted). So, we exchanged email addresses. He wanted us to chat right away. I told him that I was at work and had to finish a project. So, he asked if I could "just tell him something" about me. Now, this pisses me off for three reasons: 1) I have a long profile. Read it. 2) That profile links to this blog. Read that too. 3) I just said I am at *work.* So, if you have so much time, you tell me about you.

I said no, repeated that I have to work. So, I expected his next email to be something to the effect of "Well, how come you have time to email and not chat?" or some such bullying nonsense. There are subtle ways you can tell if a guy is controlling. For example, if someone gets irritated or angry with you for not responding to them fast enough, you just block them and move on. Or, if someone persists in asking you to chat, skype, send a pic, have a phone call-- if someone you haven't met cannot respect a polite "Not right now," then you have a lot of information right there about why you shouldn't not meet them.  Instead, he wrote me a short paragraph about how he loves family and friends, is fun, and is looking for someone to marry. Yawn. Boring. And his profile also goes on at length about what he wants from his next relationship. He has it all planned out. Now he just needs to insert a live woman into the formula.

Honestly, I was surprised that he wanted to chat. He must not have read my profile at all. If he had, he would know that if he is a Christian, he won't like me. That if he wants to marry again, he will not like me. So, I just wrote back a short message saying that I think we are looking for different things. We'll see what he responds with. It doesn't matter because I am not going to date him, but it's entertainment.
After dating online for a few years now, I have picked up a few things that I didn't know at first, usually after a few blunders.

1) If the guy asks you what you are doing right now, he probably wants to video chat. He's looking for cyber sex.

2) If he asks you if you Skype, he's looking for cyber sex.

3) If he tells me I'm beautiful, he has copied and pasted this to hundreds of other women.

4) If he flatters my writing, he is much more likely to get a positive response from me. BUT, this is also tricky, because sometimes they'll figure out that flattering women about anything the woman professes an interest in will probably get them a response. But they will be vague, flowery, and not talk about anything specific that I've written, nor respond to anything. Just, "Wow, you're a really good writer." This is a little more dangerous than, "You're beautiful," because it requires a little more thought on their part, and used to make me let my guard down. Now, I'm always skeptical because

5) Even the guys with whom I can write for a few weeks without meeting, have good rapport with, and like? Just want to have sex. And if I have sex with them, they will vanish. So, now I feel stupid for sleeping with them, AND I have lost a new friend. And on the rare occasions that they turn out to be someone I date, eventually they'll admit that they did all that writing so they could fuck me-- which is different from wanting to date me.

6) If they don't have a picture on their profile, they're married. But boy will they come up with some interesting reasons for why they don't have one up there: They don't want their co-workers/employer to know they are on a dating site. They can't get the phone app to work. They can't get the computer app to work. They can't get the pics off their phone, but they could text me a pic, and hey, it could even be of their penis if I'd like.

I so would NOT like.

I am not going to go into all of the details now about how I figured all this stuff out, but let's say that these things weren't always immediately obvious, and I got red-faced and cursed a lot.

So, one thing I ask myself a lot is this: Why not revert back to going out more and trying to meet people in person? Well, if I'm in the room with someone attractive and they're pulling this crap on me, I'm going to be even more susceptible to it than I am on the screen! At least from behind the computer, it's a little easier to cut through the bullshit. But it does raise the question of whether having a real relationship with someone you "meet" on a dating site is even possible.

I have a theory: Single men are worried about one thing. Will they ever have sex again? When? With whom? You'd think this means they want one steady woman. You'd be wrong. It just means that they will do anything in their power to get you to sleep with them, and then the next day, they will start all over again. See, they don't necessarily want a relationship, especially if they can convince women to sleep with them on a regular basis. The ones who have gone a really really long time without sex are even worse, though. Some of them do want a real relationship because they don't want to risk going for long stretches without sex. But then you run into the Aquariuses who want to get married. And the fact of getting married is more important than the actual person they are getting married to.

Fall of 2013, I was dating someone. We got together twice a month (I usually drove two hours to see him), and called each other boyfriend and girlfriend and were exclusive. He told me I was beautiful and amazing and for awhile it was good. But then I began to realize that "because of our short time together," that we were just spending all of our time in the sack. Though, he did appreciate "that you're intelligent and fun to talk to, too." But I thought that that would translate into more conversation during the week. Gradually I realized that he was interested in saying hi every day and telling me I was sexy, but he really didn't care about who I was or my daily life.

I wasn't pretty in high school. The only guys who called me were the ones who sat in the hallway and called me horseface and whinnied at me in the hall. So, I am more susceptible than I should be to being told I'm pretty. One of my dirty little secrets is that I don't actually know if I'm pretty or whether people think I'm pretty (and don't you say it, because now I won't believe you)-- but I'm too afraid to ask anyone because of course, anyone is going to say, "Of course you're pretty!" and I still won't know what to think. So, I do like it when men tell me I'm pretty, even if they're creepy liars and maybe I only like it for a second. At any rate, it took me awhile to figure out that this fellow wasn't at all interested in all the fucking work I've put into becoming an interesting, intelligent person whom *I* want to spend time with-- he was only interested me sexually.

No, I don't get flattered when men tell me they are interested in me sexually. That is downright commonplace. And frankly, it just means that any other woman would do-- they are just talking to me at that particular moment. I remember blocking somebody who was trying to get me to tell him how it felt to know that he was hot for me. Because I just really felt bored by it. I don't give a shit. That's how I feel.

So, pretty is good, but only if you like my brain better, and sexy is lame. Got that?

The end came when, at Christmas time last year, I spent a lot of time thinking about what he might need or could use and got him some simple gifts. He said, "I got you something too," and got up and came back with a scented candle in a paper bag. No card. Nothing. And he had apparently forgotten that the previous month he had told me about finding these candles and how he was going to get them for everyone. Something easy and scented that he didn't have to put any thought into. Like me! Between that and him being a little dodgy after about getting together a few times, I just ended it. He asked me to explain, but I did not because I didn't want him to try to protest that he actually IS interested in me. Because he wasn't. And that meant that he didn't actually value me as a human being-- just as a sex partner. Sorry, but that right there is going to kill the sex for me. And bad/boring sex is worse than no sex.

I know men who would disagree.


The thing is, I'm really lucky because I have great conversations every single day. Whether I'm with my kids, my friends, or at work, I am surrounded by interesting, intelligent, funny people. I work, I shop, I cook, I relax, I take care of my kids and my mom. I do not really have enough time to read the book I started earlier this week (on ennui day). Dating is ridiculous. It is going to take someone very, very special for me to try to carve out some time for them. And right now, it's just not a pressing need. I hug my boys and pet my animals-- I'm not suffering from lack of conversation or lack of touch. Very lucky that way. It allows me to be pickier than I have sometimes been in the past. But I think also, as I have grown older, I have just come to realize that I don't know if I have space in my personal space for someone intimate. For one thing, where would we hang out? I don't have time to travel somewhere. And I have no privacy for someone to travel here. It's a thing.

In the meantime, I am about as sexually active as I want to be. Right now, that's about nil. This winter has almost completely killed my sex drive. It's such a relief, LOL. However, I do realize that I tend to be less depressed when I am actively engaged in flirting or trying to dress nicely, keep fit-- just in case I want to date, just in case I meet someone. When I am not in dating mode, I tend to stop curling my hair, stop wearing makeup, and eventually stop really caring what I'm wearing. It's not good for anyone. I become like Liz Claiborne, and just stop trying.

Anyway, these are some of the things I think about. It has been interesting to go from being a woman who was a romantic and wanted True Love and a Kindred Spirit or Soulmate to one who values my independence and privacy. I make the rules for my household. And nobody's word holds more weight than mine. That is heady stuff, and I don't feel like sharing. I am not afraid of "being alone" at the moment, because I am almost never alone. That may change one day. But I can only take one day at a time.

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