So I have done it. I have officially joined a dating service. I feel absolutely ridiculous. I feel like a screaming spotlight is on me, knowing my photo is out there for criticism and review. For a private person, it is a great leap of faith, and the weirdest part is that I am not even sure I want another man in my life, now or ever. But, not long ago my kids had given me membership as a gift. Having the unactivated membership was like having a plate of cookies set out. I kept glancing at it, knowing I shouldn't, but what would a nibble or two hurt? Boredom and curiosity got the better of me and I activated the damn membership.
Like Facebook, it can steal your time if you are not too careful; Too many minutes spent pouring over the dapper little lovelies. I am drawn to look, but there is always the nagging feeling that I am shopping for a man. I am an eBayer, and I love to peruse, so online shopping should not be new to me. But when there are actual humans involved, faces looking back, it feels sort of wrong, shallow, immoral even.
But oh the tempting variety of sights to be viewed! Some of it is accompanied by genuine familial love. Some of it is pompous, bragging. And some of it is really sad: aging men clinging to motorcycles or propped up next to corvettes. Most pose with their dogs, or their neighbor's dog, sponging off Buddy's charm, heads tilted in cultivated cuteness. There are exposed abs and glistening tattoos, there is facial hair, sprouted in a manner I could never have imagined. And fish, lots of men holding fish for some reason.
I am not hating on the male species here. If memory serves correctly, they can at times be wonderful, cuddly creatures. And there is no doubt that we woman fall prey to equally desperate measures in this game. I am merely observing with a skeptic's eye because those are the eyes I have right now.
As of yet, I have never met face to face with a single soul and never even spoken to anyone on the phone. My communication has been limited to emails, which I quickly sabotage after a few are exchanged. Did you know that it is not only easy to make someone think you are loony, it is also mildly entertaining? Men scare off pretty easily. Think "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days," but wrinkled girl version. Most men fear a woman who coos on and on about how she dances around the house in spontaneous outbursts of joy. Most men archive the match if you recite the order and exact increments in which solid food was introduced to your grandbaby. Most men run for the hills, when you tell them you are poor. I think revealing things like this is a much kinder way to end a budding friendship than a flat out rejection.
But I have very recently exchanged a few emails with a man who appears to have no need to impress. He actually seems sane, not too in love with himself, and damaged yes, but not destroyed by love lost. Maybe I will think about meeting him for coffee some day, if fear and cynicism doesn't send me diving for cover again. We'll see.