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Finding a Date...

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After my breakup, I decided to forgo all men. After all, I already had a child. In other words: been there, done that. I was happy being simply single.


But after a while, with my daughter now tucked away in school or off playing with her friends, I felt lonely. I had been off the market for more than a decade; my twenties had come and gone with me happily - or not so happily - paired up. Everything had changed behind my back. I was unsure of how to go about easing myself back into the dating scene.


Then my mother, of all people, suggested an online dating service. She said that she was having a lot of fun, and that I could get the feel of being with other adults by writing to them, and when I was comfortable I could even meet in person. She even offered to pay in hopes that I would meet a rich, powerful, good-looking someone who could sweep me off my feet. My sainted mom and I would never have to work again. That perfect someone would gallop me off into the sunset, where I would produce more grandbabies for her.


After much poking and prodding, I agreed to sign up for this dating service, which catered to single parents. Actually, I was excited. I had seen some of the hopefuls and they seemed promising. Maybe I was mistaken when I assumed that all dating services were for those at the bottom of the barrel.


In the introduction, I read that there were three ways of meeting someone. I could give them a flirt," which is  a very corny one-liner that the service already puts together. I could say, "Smile, "hey baby,"  "what's your sign," etc. I could e-mail them, or for a few dollars a month more, upgrade to instant messenger to talk in real time. The service actually hinted to a guarantee, but offered no money back guarantee.


The more I read, the more eager I was to meet the man of my dreams. I filled out a rather lengthy questionnaire about my physical, mental, emotional, and financial status. I left some of these questions blank. Until I was sleeping with or at least engaged to someone, these questions were no one's business. After I uploaded a few pictures of me looking my best, I started actively hunting.


Looking back now, the number one mistake I made was to believe anything that anyone said on the dating service. Do not get me wrong; It was not dumb to trust a picture of a guy wearing his high school colors when he says that hes 37. It was not silly enough to consider

dating a man who proclaims having five children - still living with him - but still making $35,000 - $45,000. But I did not even think of asking if he was really a he. I did not know if I was e-mailing a sixty-four-year-old retired housewife with a twisted sense of humor, having nothing better to do than to run up her cheating husband's bills.


Many men I encountered were not truly and definitively divorced or even separated; many were simply thinking about it. Those men were looking for another closet to hang their coat, preferably a much younger and attractive closet.


There were a lot of men from India and West Africa who professed undying love for me in their first e-mail. As long as I shipped them to America, we would be ecstatic together.


Some men just did not appeal to me; I am allowed to have some preferences, aren't I? Yet these guys would get quite offended if I did not write or at least flirt back with them. So I tried taking the gentle way out by just telling them, "thank you, but no thank you." That way did not work, so I learned the art of blocking my incoming messages.


Then there were guys who played the cyber-field with a vengeance. I was very impressed with the time and dedication it took to contact and woo each woman - at least 30 women - daily. Preference be damned. In fact, work, family and social life be damned as well. On the flip side, of course, I did get a few e-mails professing undying love to Nancy, Sadie, Veronica, Kylie, Cynthia, Edie, Myla, Diana, Judy, and of course, me. I felt so special!


When I did finally weed out most of the rabble, I did e-mail some very pleasant ones and I even met a couple. In fact, I helped this one lovely human being come Out when I simply met him for coffee. I have powers I did not even know that I had. Obviously, I should have been a psychologist, or maybe even a man!. The second time, I met another wonderful gentleman for a late lunch. We had enjoyable conversation, relaxed laughter, and some light sexual innuendoes. I was really excited about this guy. Unfortunately, he did not feel the same about me, because he never e-mailed or called me again. He changed his phone number, too. "Okay, already," I thought.  I get the point.   


After six months, I closed my account. I was still single and still searching. What did I gain? I am more confident. I am more at ease with the humor and silliness of dating. I have gotten up to speed on the intent of the day in my new generation: online dating. Although I do not think online dating services are for me, it was fun while it lasted. Maybe they are better suited for someone else. Someone like  Nancy, Sadie, Veronica, Kylie, Cynthia, Edie, Myla, Diana and Judyetc. You get the point! I just hope that Mom is not too distraught.


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