Some statistics say that 1 in 5 relationships is a result of online dating. That seems unlikely given my universe of friends, though I do admit that one of my friends met her husband on match.com and they have been together for about 10 years.
I have a friend who is actively doing the online dating thing, and her stories almost make me want to sign up just so I will have something to blog about. She's realistic; she realizes that she will have to kiss a lot of frogs (metaphorically, of course!), but she is a single mom working full-time (whose ex-husband does not spend a lot of time with the children so she has very little free time on her hands) and online is currently the easiest way for her to increase her odds of meeting someone she might like. She is just under 40 and a "cute" woman. I swear, the stories I am about to share are from the horse's mouth. And I'm quite sure there are more that she has not shared with me ...
For the very first date, I told her she should text me to let me know where she is meeting him, when, and his name. Safety reasons, of course. I showed up to spy, and they had already left. That first date did not go well. Not only did he not look like his profile picture, he was about 10 years older than he said he was. Oi vey.
Of the utmost interest is the karate guy. He is divorced with a couple of kids, and his claim to fame is that he owns a few karate schools. You can imagine the type. They exchanged a few emails before they started speaking on the phone. She doesn't mess around; she knows what she likes, and she knows within the first few minutes of conversation, so she skips over the email stuff and encourages telephone contact. They went out to dinner, they got to know each other a little, and she thought he was an okay guy. She liked that he seemed to be really dedicated to his kids. She told me about him, which I thought meant it was promising. They went out to dinner a second time, and they shared a kiss. It was kind of a big deal, not because of emotion or because she really liked him but because he was the first "kiss" since her ex-husband. Our bunco group really gave her a hard time about it. She went out with him a third time - the "magic" date as some might call it - and he was like a completely different person. Picture this. He invites her to his home, promising to make her dinner. During the week. She busts her behind to get home from work, feed her children, shower, drop the kids with the babysitter, and get to his house at a reasonably early hour. When she arrived, he was still in his canvas jumper, having worked on his car. While he showered, she waited patiently in the living room, noticing the fast food wrappers in the corner and the dirty socks on the floor. She thought it was weird; if you're trying to impress someone, and you've invited them over for dinner, why wouldn't you hide the evidence of your single life? After he got out of the shower, he suggested they go out to dinner. She was thrilled, as she was starving. He took her to a Jack in the Box drive-in. They brought the food back to his house, and he insisted they eat in his living room. He laid on a couch (apparently, he's a descendant of ancient Rome!) and ate his food. At one point he needed a napkin and rather than get up to retrieve, oh I don't know, a towel or something, he PULLED THE SOCK OFF OF HIS FOOT AND WIPED HIS MOUTH WITH IT. People, I spit my drink when she told me. And that's not even the worst of it. After they finished dinner, he said that a blow job would really relax him. To her credit, she said, "I'm sure it would, but I have to go home." OH. MY. GOD.
Then there is the nickname guy. First, he wanted to shorten her 3-syllable name to the first syllable. She told him (politely) she has always gone by her first name and did not like it to be shortened. He played with a few different terms of endearment - sweetie, honey, etc. - before he settled on Mama. Really? Seriously? Guys, women who are mothers do not like to be called "mama." It brings up maternal things for us - things like "I have nursed you" or "I have changed your diaper"- and not sexual, sensual, or I-might-consider-sleeping-with-you thoughts. She stopped returning his calls.
Can we talk about the stalker? This guy is the one who falls in love easily and quickly. She went out with him once and suddenly he is lighting up her cell phone with text messages. Even though she kind of liked him, he freaked her out with his hard press. He texted her 6 or 7 times a day after one date. She had to cut him loose.
And now for my favorite story, only because I witnessed it. She and I were sitting at a bar having a drink. She was sharing her online dating stories, and we were laughing. At some point she noticed the guy next to me was smiling, so she said something like "are you laughing at me?" After a little bit of discussion, and the retrieval of a profile on his iPhone, they figured out that she had "winked" at him and he had not responded. Dang - what are the odds? He apologized for not responding, blah blah blah, and left her with his business card. She texted him, and he never responded. WTH? Why give a business card if you aren't going to respond?? That does not make any sense.
And then there's John. Apparently, John is some sort of military guy. I don't know what he does for a living but he has been in the Middle East (Iraq, Afghanistan). For four months she corresponded with him. They exchanged pictures. She shared intimate details of her life, as did he. She reached a point where she felt a little guilty going out with other guys because she felt like she and John had such an amazing connection. After he came home, they met for dinner. She thought it went well, and felt like all was right with the world. He has not responded to her at all, good, bad or indifferent.
As I am approaching a time when it will be easier for me to date, I listen to these stories and I think "Is this what I have to look forward to?" Really? I think I'd rather be alone ....