Valentine’s Day is an interesting day to be on my own again and a predictable day for there to be television specials about romance and dating. A report about online dating got my attention. This report didn’t have any definitive conclusion but it did point out some obvious flaws in the idea that a computer can match people. They even interviewed human matchmakers for comparison.
I’ve been thinking about dating a lot lately but I am in no hurry to dive in. Honestly, I’m not really ready for that yet. If it happens, great; but I just ended an eighteen year relationship and it wouldn’t be fair to jump right into another one. It is still on my mind though.
Much as I hate to admit it, I am over 50; if you’re a regular reader you already know that about me. Last month I signed up for Our Time, the most highly advertised over-50 dating site, just to see who is on it. It’s free till you decide to actually contact someone so there wasn’t much risk involved. I quickly discovered many flaws and have already deleted my account. For one thing, my profile indicated I was looking to meet women within 50 miles of my zip code; many of the daily matches were more than 100 miles away and nearly all of the choices beyond the three daily matches were from the same town almost 200 miles away. Hmm, what does that say about that town?
Another flaw … many ‘matches’ were above the age range I requested and some were below. How can you be below 50 on a site for people over 50?
There are various categories of who someone is looking for and I only checked ‘friendship’. Most of my daily matches had checked ‘serious relationship’ or ‘marriage’. How does that qualify as a match?
One other thing, and this is pretty sad in my opinion … I saw a lot of desperation on that site. The write-ups made it look like some of those women couldn’t go another week without a man in their life. That is definitely not the kind of woman I am looking for, ever. My preference is for a woman on the independent side of middle.
Oh, there’s this too … many of the photos showed women who didn’t smile. If they thought that a serious face in every picture was in some way sexy or sultry, they were wrong.
I’ve also done some ‘window shopping’ on match dot com, partly because a female friend had some amount of success with that one. It seems to be better at matching the fake profile I set up but not enough for me to delete it in favor of the real profile. I think I will visit that one a few more times to look at the pictures but then I’ll drop it too.
You might think I’m odd or creepy for doing all this but I’d have to disagree. I have had success back in the ‘personals ads’ era and online sites are a logical contemporary version of that process. Sightseeing on these sites gives me a sense that the universe of potentially available women is larger than co-workers or current female friends. Nothing will be happening for me in those two categories.
What’s the real reason behind all of this exploration? I am a healthy man, if you know what I mean, but that’s not it. I think my motivation is habit. I’ve been with the same woman for nearly two decades and despite the difficulties there was always that sense of security and predictability. The difficulties far outweighed the security but it’s a hard habit to break. Funny thing now is that we communicate better now by email and text during the past two months than we did in person during the past seven or eight years. I was actually hoping for that but I’m surprised by it. The reason is simple (I think) … we aren’t discussing anything especially sensitive. And either one of us can choose to not read the email or we can take our damn time responding to it. In other words we still have a piece of that connection without all the bullshit.
We are both taking steps toward moving forward with our individual lives, which is exactly how it should be and is precisely what I wanted. By the way, she and I met in a personals ad all those years ago. Wouldn’t it be funny if I saw her picture on an internet dating site one day? I’d laugh, I’d be happy for her, I’d click ‘next’.