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29 vs. 39 (or, why I joined Match.com for 3 days)

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When I was 29, and single, dating went like this: See a guy at a party, make eye contact, if he walks up chat a bit, find out some stuff (who his favorite band is, if he likes the Coen Brother’s films, if he had ever bothered to finish undergrad), make out, start dating. Just like that. I didn’t care about getting married, so I didn’t care if we got serious. Nobody I met had kids (or rarely had), no one had relaxed into a job they once hated. We just wanted to be hot for each other and have some things in common. Bonus if we liked each other’s friends.

Sigh… doesn’t that sound nice? Now at 39, and single, dating goes like this: See a guy at a party, avoid eye contact until I get some basic info from a mutual friend, ask if he is over 33 (my new cut-off age), make sure he has a job, find out if he has a good relationship with his ex and takes good care of his kids, then, if the intel is good, hope like hell that he has at least heard of some of the music I like. Maybe go out on a date. However, once on this date, there will be lists to go over. Nobody sane prints them up and brings them along. You just run through them. Do you want more kids? How amicable/horrible was your seperation/divorce? Why have you never married? Are you a dog person? Do you need/want to marry again? Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Get past the list, and then you can make out.

I will admit now, and if you know me this isn’t news, to having dated several 29-year-olds in my 39th year. Honestly, it was not in the least bit purposeful. (I was shocked that they were genuinely interested. I kept asking if they knew how old I was. Today’s 29-year-olds are very open minded.) They just showed up, and it was fun to talk about music and movies and make out. And maybe if the right 29-year-old came around and had his shit together, well I guess it could happen…

It didn’t happen. It has been a year since the split. I really think it would be nice to have a boyfriend. So, I decided I should date someone my own age. But where are these guys? I don’t know! I keep my eyes peeled, I swear. I am not going to meet anyone at work. I am not meeting them at New World Brewery or at Rex. They don’t seem to shop at my Publix.

I went on Match.com to browse. You have to create a profile to peek at everyone, so I did. Now, I did this months ago, but gave up quickly. If one more guy with a member name including the words “stallion,” “pirate,” or the numbers “007” winked at me I was going to chuck my mac. These guys were not cute, they were not funny, and they often claimed to be seeking mermaids. I swear. Additionally, they frequently referred to themselves as “jilted” but requested that I not be “bitter.” They posted pictures of themselves from prom, on the tops of cliffs, and with lots of girls. Mostly, though, they almost all had a pic of their pets. I went out with one guy who is a nice guy, and we are friends now. He only had one picture, just of himself.

But a couple of weeks ago, in a fit of boredom I went back on. I recreated my profile, and a cute guy winked at me. You can’t wink back unless you join, so I did a three day free trial. I winked back. He emailed. So did a bunch of other guys. I considered his email and two others as having potential. One misunderstood my profile and thought I wanted to date younger guys (he was 32, I think). We cleared that up, and his method for asking me out was to email me that we “might as well go get a drink.” Um, thanks for the enthusiasm, but, no, we might as well not. One down. The second guy had kind of a fun profile, but his email was nearly as long as this blog, kind of crazy and overzealous, and he requested that I give him some feedback on some articles he had written (he included links). Two down. The original winker sent reasonable emails, that included nicely complimentary statements and a request to talk. Like, on the phone. Ok. Now we were getting somewhere.

But that is as far as we get. There has only been one date, and I try not to kiss and tell on the web. If it doesn’t go well, it could make for a funny follow up (no names, of course). If it does go well, honestly, that could be funny too. We’ll just have to see.

Or, I could rent a mermaid suit, go back on the site, and really see what I can reel in…

Van only writes when things get crazy, she is inconsistent at best. Don't get hooked. She is otherwise busy being a mom, wife, professional tidying maven (yes, that's a thing for which people will pay money), and working at killing the cancer.

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4 Responses to “29 vs. 39 (or, why I joined Match.com for 3 days)”

  1. Online dating is where evil grows. From the male perspective, it’s almost a complete waste of time. The girls simply don’t respond. My photo could look like a multi-appendaged version of Johnny Depp with $80,000 spewing from my exit chute and there would still be no response. Not that I’d want one anyway, given that most girls profiles read like:

    ****ON A FRIDAY NIGHT YOU’LL FIND ME: LOL!!!! Drinking beers with friends!!!!! My friends mean everything to me!!!*******

    The greatest frustration arose when I’d discover that the girls being picky were typically of 5-8, 235 lb proportions. Not that I have a problem with extra tonnage. That’s fine. I have a few piles of blubber too, but the world’s greatest fad diet — diabetes — has enabled me to lose weight with impressive and disconcerting efficiency lately. So the blubber has subsided, by and large.

    There is one useful component to these sites, though: if you’re a scientist, you can watch the human mating process unfold with a bizarre, primal adherence to our evolutionary script. Meaning, a girl can blather on and on about how she wants a smart, intelligent man who reads Kafka (the quarterback, not the novelist, btw).

    Yet, at the end of the day, this girl’s need to perpetuate the species ultimately wins out, and she simply doesn’t care if her online mate knows what the Treaty of Lisbon was. All she wants is a procreation companion who has symmetrical aesthetics, shows an ability to bring home the freshest kill faster than the other chimps can, and enough femininity that he’ll coo amorously with her next to the cave paintings.

    Bitterness aside, I did meet my wife online, so I guess it “works.” From my perspective, though, wading through the waters of online dating takes an incredible tolerance for idiocy and vacuous crap. If I were back in the dating world now, I would almost certainly try to meet women at my gym, through friends, etc. I don’t think I could stomach online dating.

  2. The article and Michael’s response are both great… although Michael seems to have gotten a wife and maybe help for his diabetes out of the deal, and Val seems to have at least “scored” some tongue and met a friend, which is good, no? So it would seem like neither has too much to complain about although these complaints were the “funny parts.”

    On match, it seems like a basically decent guy can at least interact with a lot of interesting, educated, and talented women. Not quite the same as banging them I guess. All genders in America have been raised on ridiculous movies that depict non-existing members of the opposite sex, so that there, I suppose, is our national handicap in these matters.

    A women from Australia (married, not to me) once told me she was alarmed at the open-air hostility and animosity between sexes she found here in the states. But I have no proof it is worse than anywhere else.

    But if you can push past the dating blahs and get to the kids, at least you’ll be too tired and busy to remember to feel miserable about any lack of time in your life for Hally Met Sarry of Stallion Met… was it a horse thing he was aiming for? (Oh yeah, please buy my novel, pretty please.)

  3. @Alex

    It’s true that you can find something useful on those sites if patient enough. Peoples’ inflated sense of self-worth in the online dating forum is taxing though. When I was single and lost and adrift and all that, I did the online dating thing and endured plenty of messageboard-type hostility from the opposite sex. I’m not the type of person who gets a high from online flame wars, so to see that dynamic at work in an atmosphere where I’m just trying to score a date was dispiriting.

    Your Australian friend might be on to something. My wife is from the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine (culturally Russian, but with lots of European influence) and plenty of her sexy Uzbek friends don’t radiate the smugness toward men that American women do. Granted, that’s anecdotal perspective, I know, and proof of nothing. I’m sure American women have many complaints about American men too (I can definitely see why — between the meatheads and chimpanzees at my gym and the emaciated urbanites downtown who dress like retarded, postmodern Quakers with pink sunglasses, it ‘s possible that American women do not have a “deep” talent pool to choose from.)

    So, yeah, it’s rough territory. A sense of humor is mandatory.

  4. Wow, you two fellas could clearly write your own blogs about this.

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