Oh, everybody is an expert. You married folk. You know it all, doncha? I used to know it all, too.
Let me tell you something, people. This single-person world out here? It has changed a lot since most of you were in it. Sure, the whole online dating thing has been around for a while now — and when I was married that’s something I always said I’d do when, I mean if, I found myself single again. But there’s also facebook, which is a massive blessing to the single person (1 in 5 booty calls begins with e-flirting* on facebook) and also as awkward as your Uncle Ted walking into a party in his saggy briefs (which can no longer be called tighty whiteys) and inviting himself into the conversation while he slurps a Schlitz and bites his toenails. It can be hard to get your mack on with everyone watching.
So let’s look at this facebook thing first. Here’s how this often goes down. People want to set you up. They tell you that they have this friend they want to you meet and they instruct you that you’re supposed to “friend” each other on facebook. Which seems like a weird way to go about it. If we were in high school (long before the whole social networking thing) it would be akin to saying, “Hey. Here’s this guy I want you to meet. Why don’t you stand near each other in the chemistry hallway and talk to other people? That way you can eavesdrop on each other’s conversations and see if you’re interested.”
So that means that if you’re me and you’re a bit of a lunatic on facebook, you end up going on sort-of blind dates with guys who have just had the pleasure of reading two days worth of facebook status updates about your ass and how succulent it looks in your new jeans. Yeah, this happened. Then, if you’re me, you realize that you’ve painted this poor guy into a corner — there’s no way he can’t look at your ass after that kind of buildup. And, in fact, you almost feel like you owe him a look because, hell, you’ve just had a public conversation with 20 people about your caboose right in front of him. So if you’re me, you decide before the date that the only way to handle this is to just walk in front of him for a minute so that he can take the opportunity to check out the goods without seeming like a pig. Really, it’s the only ladylike way to handle it, fer chrissakes.
And then. If you’re me …
Your plan to play it cool and ladylike completely falls apart because your mouth just … Won’t. Stop. Talking.
Here is a pretty good approximation of the first few minutes of conversation from the ass date:
Him: Wow. You look great. It’s obvious you’ve been working hard at it from your facebook posts.
Me: Yeah, listen. Sorry about that. The whole facebook thing is so weird, isn’t it? And I tend to get a little goofy on there and I can’t imagine how that must come off to someone who doesn’t know me. And then, there I was writing about my ass for, like, two whole days! [Now is the time when I’m pretty sure I lapsed into a somewhat convincing Steve Martin impression, including pained facial expressions and much gesticulating.] So I realize I put you in a very awkward position. Because I was thinking, “Hey! What’s this poor guy gonna do?” You practically had no choice but to look at my ass now.
Him: You’re right. There was no choice.
And isn’t THAT a fun way to start a date? (Let me just say, dateguy was very nice about it and didn’t seem fazed. Kudos to him for being a gentleman and having a sense of humor about it.)
I guess people think that friending one another on FB is a good way to kick the tires first but it doesn’t work for people like me. The danger is, these setup guys tend to be pretty quiet as far as facebook interaction so I often forget that they’re there. And then I end up writing something like “Dear Mr. Taxman: Would you settle for a blowjob?” without considering who might be reading it. (Yes, I did write that once but I was still married at the time.) (And yes, Mr. Taxman and I are meeting at the local brew pub — which is apparently where all first dates occur these days — for a beer next week.)
Then there’s online dating. I dabbled around a little while ago on a few sites just to see how they worked and who might be already attending those parties. Ever since then, I’ve gotten emails every single day with my “Top Matches!” which I can “View for Free!” But I’ve been busy and I was sort of interested in taking advantage of any free-of-monthly-fees dating opportunities before I got into the online thing so I never looked to see who was squatting in my email.
Then, I shit you not (still the best phrase ever), I was cleaning out the old inbox a bit ago and I suffered a mis-click or something as I tried to delete the email (it was an accident! I swear!) and before I knew it there were 12 eligible bachelors staring back at me as I sat in my kitchen with no makeup and disheveled hair.
So I looked. It was interesting. It was like online shopping. I didn’t really see anything I was interested in purchasing, but it got my attention. So I started, you know, looking a little bit each day before I deleted the emails. Then one day, Mr. Hipster Glasses showed up. (Yes, I love the hipster glasses. I am not proud of it but what can I do? What can I do?) The site wanted to know if I wanted to see his whole profile. It turns out that I did. But …. grrr … the site was also very bitchy with me, in that it insisted that I put up a profile first. So I threw a few things up and got to lookin’. And, uh, I don’t know. He seemed interesting. But if I wanted to email him, the web site said I had to pay the hell up first. Freaking online dating peep show tactics … turns out, I wasn’t that motivated. Forty bucks for a one-month membership — welp, that can buy a lot of fishsticks and momma has kids to feed.
BUT. But. Since I put up a profile I can now apparently be viewed as if I’m an active member. So you know that means? It means that my email is full of “winks” from guys like RamRod2694U who are apparently trying to get my attention. And I also have a whole mess of actual emails from the more ballsy fellas who are interested in “speaking” to me instead of just tugging on the back of my braid in the school hallway. But the trick is, I can’t see who has emailed me until I pony up the old credit card number. So my inbox could be full of ramrod types or hipster-glasses types. There’s no way to know.
Well, of course, there is. I could just join. I imagine that there are lots of goons on the site but I imagine that there are also some genuine people with good intentions. I’m not going to rule anything out for the time being. But I also don’t think that I’m quite ready to devote the time to something like this, as I hear it can pretty quickly turn into a part-time job.
In the meantime, I enjoy the window shopping. One lovely fellow seemed to be a potential for me at first, until I got into his windbaggy, self-satisfied profile and saw that he described himself as “blithe.” Another man was very, very, very interested in letting the online world know all about how he has been screwed up the old peach pit by every woman who has so much as bagged his groceries for him, but he’s still looking for the right girl to “treat like a princess.” (And let me tell you, if I did a shot for every time THAT phrase came up in various profiles I’d be in an alcohol-induced coma until my kids graduate from college.) Also, I’m pretty sure Jon Gosselin showed up in one of these emails the other day.
I also enjoy getting emails like this: “Someone emailed you! Is he the one? Like you, he enjoys eating at restaurants! Like you, he likes dogs!” I want to see one that says, “Like you, he enjoys walking upright! Like you, he enjoys a carbon-based existence!”
But I will say this: I honestly admire anyone who is willing to put themselves out there and declare that they’re looking for love. It is a supremely brave thing to do. So I feel a bit bad about snickering at some people’s profiles when I know that there’s plenty to snicker about allllll the heck over this blog right here, not the least of which is the freakin’ white paper on my romantic intentions that I rolled out a few weeks ago. (If I had the balls to actually go back and read that entry, I’m sure I would die of embarrassment. Although that could probably be said of most of this blog.)
As always, blogmuffins, I’ll keep you posted.
* The term “e-flirting” graciously provided by Cora Schipani Moyer.