The subject line on my recent email from eHarmony read:
“Vito wants to get to know you.”
Yes, Vito from Bayonne had indeed written after seeing my profile. He wrote to say he’d found his soulmate on eHarmony and was getting married in three weeks. But as he was closing his account, his friend had been “looking over his shoulder” and was bowled over by the sight of moi. It would make his heart melt if I wrote him, Vito said.
He, in fact, provided a name, phone number and personal email address for this friend. The area code was a North Carolina one.
I chuckled, rolled my eyes, and moved on. Within a short time, eHarmony wrote me to say a scammer had been in touch with me and they had flagged the account.
More eye rolling. But you know what? This time it wasn’t about Vito or his friend. I was letting out a big, fat sigh for online dating.
God bless the people who do it, like it, sustain it, thrive on it, make an art of it, keep at it for years. I can finally say unequivocally it is not for me.
I’m in the fifth month of a six-month membership. I have initiated. I have been patient. I have gone on some dates. I took my brother up on an offer to look at my profile and make suggestions from a male point of view. I have remained optimistic.
From eHarmony’s questions feature (where you can answer as few or as many as you want in a multiple-choice format), I’ve learned that many guys think it’s an asset to have an “excellent” poker face, that an awful lot of people think this should be a Christian nation, that dating a cheapskate is not at all off-putting for some, and that my penchant for occasional veal marsala would put me in the cruel category for some dates who would be picturing the sweet little cow.
I’ve logged telephone time with a number of guys, learned I don’t have a tolerance for a guy knocking back a lot of drinks on a date, been in one situation where a guy was so boring I pretended to go to the ladies room so I could hunt down our absentee waitress and get the darned check. I told another guy in our first conversation that as a journalist and life coach I find that people like to tell me things. An hour into the call, he told me a very interesting intimate story about his family, then almost immediately regretted telling me.
“So why did you?” I asked.
“I guess because people tell you things,” he quipped.
He couldn’t get past his regret and that one went kaput.
One recent day I was telling my (long married) sister that I had written to two guys on eHarmony just the day before. One immediately blocked me. The other looked at my profile and didn’t respond.
“No way,” she said.
I explained that this is the norm in this world.
“Wow, you really have to have thick skin to do that,” she said.
Yes. Perhaps there’s no better place to apply Don Miguel Ruiz’s No. 2 rule – Don’t take anything personally. You simply can’t or it can make you loopy.
I’m not one to regret things. I like that all of this has happened. Sometimes I get so far into my own head that I beat myself up for not doing “more” around dating, but then I snap out of it and come back to reality.
Here’s reality in my world.
A recent phone conversation with my mother:
Me: “Mom, let’s be honest. If someone said, ‘Nancy, you can either have a fabulous date with Colin Firth or you can have a book deal’ I’d totally pick the book deal.”
Mom: “Oh Nancy, what am I going to do with you?”
This from the woman who last year gave me a sign that says, “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” We both laughed hard. She knows me. She doesn’t always get me, but she knows me. I love that.
I have friends I adore and respect who cannot be without a partner. If they don’t have one, they have to be searching for one. It defines them. They’re not big fans of their own company. Every so often, even at age 53, I allow myself to think I’m odd because I’m not like them and tell myself there must be something wrong with me.
And again, blessedly, I jar myself back to reality. You know, I’ve found in my 50s that happens much quicker than it used to. The snapping back feels great. I then go to a place where I’m grateful that I understand who I am, at least 99 percent of the time. That occasional one percent slip-up just means I’m human.
Here’s more reality.
There is room in my life for a great guy. Would I get married? Maybe. For sure I would consider it.
Earlier this year Mom and I went to see a medium. She told me she saw me living in a house. I told her I live in an apartment. She said she saw me moving. Upon my panicked look (I’ve lived in my current apartment for 17 years and love it), she said it was because of a guy I’d meet.
Later in the car, I was telling my mother.
Me: “She saw me in a house. Oh God, I hope that doesn’t mean a suburb.”
Mom: “Oh my God, you’re already putting limitations on it.”
Actually, no. I was being funny, sort of. Do I want to live in the ‘burbs? No. Would I consider compromising with someone I loved? Absolutely. Any guy who falls for me is going to see pretty quickly that backyard barbecues are not my thing. Once you live in a place where you can walk most places, getting in a car is a big adjustment. This is simply me being me.
I was in a conversation with a dear married friend who saw a flattering picture of me with a little cleavage and said she hoped it was on my dating profile. I said it was, along with some other shots. Her thought was “if you’re not going to play the game, why bother with online dating at all?” The question set me off because of course I had been engaging in this for months. It’s maddening sometimes to have the happily coupled making observations that don’t feel accurate or fair. She noted my defensiveness. I told her this is why I rarely share dating stories with anyone.
Upon more thought, though, I’m applying her logic. Because guess what? I’m not into games. I’m proud of not being into games. I want a guy in my life who likes that I’m not into games. That’s truth.
Every guy who has ever fallen for me for real has done so because he’s been attracted to my vibe, energy, body, fire. None of that comes across on a computer screen. It doesn’t even come across in words and I’m pretty good with those.
Dating gods, please bring me the guy who interacts with me in person and in mere minutes realizes he must know more.
Hit the road, Vito. I am so done with you.