After becoming widowed at a young age, a year and a half ago, I decided to see what was out there. “Out there” being the mysterious and terrifying world of “other men” that could be dated, conversed with, or provide male accompaniment to a sudden, female dominated pool of friends.
I picked the dating site and ventured in. Writing information about myself that is not selling myself professionally was alien. I had to attempt to sell myself by several flattering (or unflattering) pictures, writing a brief synopsis of my life, and providing various lists of interests. I also had to answer the question “What are you looking for?” How can you write about what you are looking for if you don’t know? I wanted male company. Company to sit and have a coffee or see a movie, nothing more at this point. The thought of anything else was terrifying. I hadn’t been in this situation for seventeen years. I wrote and rewrote the bits about myself. It sounded conceited. It put me down. I was being too negative about myself. I was talking too much about my sadly, departed love. I was starting to grieve all over again during this process. After another hour, I felt the post was adequate and I pressed submit.
More things appeared on the screen. Windows to be closed, and then as I closed them, a multitude of pictures of men. I looked quickly. Too old, too young, not attractive… would they like the same music as me? No. I pressed onwards, and then after a big sigh, closed the page. I was exhausted.
After a few days, I got some emails. One was a “flirt”. A virtual flirt? Very strange, kind of similar to a “like” on Facebook, but a nod to “you are attractive” or “I could have sex with you one day without a paperbag.” One was a message from a much older Greek man. He seemed overly eager. He flirted, sent an email and added me to a “favorites” list. Sadly the thoughts were not mutual. Another was a message from someone who also was much older than me. “Do you believe in computers?” He asked. “It’s giving us 100% LOL.” I was not sure how the computer had given us 100%. I needed to add more music interests, or more of my curious food likes. “I like to eat anything except tongues and eyeballs.”
The first virtual flirt looked kind of cute, in a boyish way. There were two pictures, one him smiling and making thumbs up sign, and one with a Chargers beanie. I swallowed, took a breath and sent him an email. “Hi. I am very new to this. Where Do you live?” There, that was harmless, I had thought.
Two days passed and I got his response. “I am also trying to get the hang of it. You had a cute a profile, so I wanted to break the ice and introduce myself.” Insert smiley icon here.
The night of the email, my daughter got a birthday invite for a party from two until six p.m. I emailed Mr. Beanie back. “I am going out on a limb here but I am free for a large chunk of Saturday as my kid has a birthday party. Do you want to meet for coffee?”
Three days went past. I had not posed an exam question surely? Really? I was thinking to myself. At “our” age we have to play it cool and wait for several days to pass before we respond? On Saturday morning at 7 am my phone buzzed. An email!
“It is a great idea. As a fellow member of the single parent society, I salute you! As fate would it, my daughter is also going to a birthday party, but her party is tomorrow. I cannot meet today for coffee, but the invite is still on the table. Here is my cell phone number…”
I checked the message out one more time, took a deep breath and sent a text to his cell phone at noon. “If you let me know what time you are dropping your daughter off Sunday, I can have my daughter go to a friend at that time, and we can meet for coffee.”
It was now Sunday afternoon. There had been no phone call or message. Momentarily I wondered if I had responded in the wrong font. Was my message too forward? Too heavy? Too mind blowing?
I will never know.
During the time I sent the text message yesterday, I had filled in my empty Saturday afternoon by meeting a friend and watching a great movie together. I had gone for a long walk with another friend and completed supermarket shopping for the week. I had watched another two episodes of “Sherlock” and was about to cook supper for some friends.
At this point, I am mildly irritated. I am exceedingly irritated that I am even a teensy bit irritated. Clearly it is over before it began. That is not the point. This was my introduction to the world of dating after nearly a twenty-year absence. Is this what is in store for me? A world of men who just won’t do, a world of men who can’t get it together to send a simple message without waiting days or hours to do so? I know it is a world full of depravity for the uninitiated. There will be those who are just there to take advantage of my vulnerability. (I don’t have any so back off.) I am not expecting roses, or a ride down the beach on a horse into a sunset. I am expecting only this…a message back.