Thursday, August 28, 2014

Manhunt?

I’d be lying if I said I’d never tried online dating before. I have. A couple of times actually.  Back when there was a little more of a social stigma that came with it.  Your mother asks, “Where’d you meet?”  My cover?  “A blind date.”  Not technically a lie.

This time, I’m older and wiser.  And older.  I’m single and ready to mingle!  Oh God.
But which electronic singles club do I choose?  There are so many now!  During my first foray into the world of profile pics and witty one-liners, I think there were only two:  the free one, which was, let’s face it, designed for one thing and one thing only.  And the one you had to pay for, which was, let’s face it, designed for women with weddings on the brain.
I opted for the one that took my money in my 20s, and I am returning to the same site in my 30s. 
I have to say, things have really changed during the decade since my last unsuccessful attempt at landing a husband.
For starters, the price has gone up, in more ways than one!  Thankfully, I make a little more money these days.  But how much dignity will it cost me to sift through potential suitors? 
After just a few days into the process I had some kinks to work out.  The site I chose sends me six potential matches every day.  It wasn’t like that in the early 2000s.  A girl looking for a fella could shop to her heart’s content from a seemingly endless list of bachelors.  Not anymore.  Now, she gets six a day.  These lucky lads are selected by a computer that claims to use your well-crafted answers as guides.  I’m not so sure.  I set parameters:  no dudes who live more than 30 miles away.  This was not a random number, it was offered to me by “the system”. 
As I quickly discovered, the “system” pretty much doesn’t care what I said, because the first batch of studs selected just for me all hailed from places that weren’t even in my state.  One even lived in Canada.  And while that’s just a few hours’ drive from my doorstep, I don’t think I want to meet him at a coffee shop halfway.  So this had to be fixed.  I took a second look at my filters.  “30 miles”? Check. “How important” is this limit to me?  Very. 

And then the shaming began.

I didn’t think it was possible, or ethical for that matter, for the dating site to chastise me for opting out of all the potential mates living more than 45 minutes (give or take) from my apartment.  But chastise me it did!  I now live with a little yellow triangle with an exclamation point in it at the top of my home page.  It’s a daily reminder that I’m too picky.  And if I click on the triangle, it basically tells me to lighten up, guys that live five hours away could make wonderful dates.  Thank you, site, but I think I’ll shop local.



Which brings me to my second speed bump on the freeway of love:  kids.   I set a filter stating that I would prefer gentlemen without offspring.  I know, it’s a tall order at this point in the game, but if I get to be choosy, I would prefer silence over the pitter patter of little feet.  I’ll spare you the usual clich├ęs about the difficulty of just taking care of myself.  I will never be Marissa Tomei stomping my foot, screeching about my biological clock.  So no kids.
The second AND third batch of boys?  Fathers. Nearly every one of them.  I thought the site was kidding.  I once again clicked over to the filters to double-check myself.  Under the glow of the yellow triangle from my first go ‘round, I discovered that my filters were indeed set to my specifications.

Site 3, Meg 0.