When I told my friend Sue that I was starting a blog about internet dating in Pittsburgh, she suggested I hook up with her ex-husband Stan’s ex-girlfriend’s best friend, Jane, who she referred to as “the Queen of Internet Dating.” Jane agreed to talk to me, and we met to Uptown Coffee in Mt. Lebanon.
It’s a small and tangled world – it turns out her ex-husband’s new wife was a friend of mine from St. Bernard. Our kids had gone to school together, and when I met her (I’ll call her “Liz”) at South Hills Villiage 6 months ago, I had asked her how she was dealing with her oldest going off the college soon. Liz said that since she now had 6 kids at home, having recently acquired 3 more through marriage, she thought she could handle it.
She told me how she had met her new husband through Match.com, even though he lived right in the neighborhood, and said, “When you are ready to date again, you need to be on Match. Everyone’s on it.”
It’s because of Liz that I went on Match, and here I was sitting across the table from her new husband’s ex-wife. She was very smart, very pretty, and very insightful – especially about divorced men in their 40′s and 50′s. She told me she had dated a lot of men and that they all complained about their ex-wives, that the complaints could be boiled down to the same one big complaint and it was that their ex-wives were women, acted like women and wanted what all women want.
We had to get back to our kids so we couldn’t talk as long as I would have liked, but she promised to talk again. I’m not sure how many stories she will tell me, because she is writing a book about dating herself. But I am looking for any wisdom I can find, and she seems like a good source, even if I found her through my friend’s ex’s ex.
I told one of my match dates, ADVENTUROUS, about my blog. I have to be careful because I would never want anyone to think I was using them, mining our dates for stories. When a friend asked me if he could forward my blog to friends of his, I was hesitant; I was afraid if the word got out I would never get a date again. Pittsburgh is a very small town, and many times I have met people through the Internet that I know through mutual friends – we just hadn’t connected before. So I’m cautious with reason.
Being in the Internet business ADVENTUROUS had no problem with the blog, and I guess he has enough confidence not to fear I will turn him into a bad date story. In fact, he has sent me some great profiles, and told me about an entire website dedicated to them: http://www.patheticpersonals.com/
Here’s one he sent:
LOOKING FOR A WHOLESOME MAN+++..(.IM LOOKING for a HUSBAND.)…COMPASHIONATE, MASCULINE MAN ! LOOKING FOR A DADDY, I WANT TO BE THRE BABY GIRL, IM KIND COMPASSHIONATE, CARING, FORGIVING, LUV TO SNUGLE,
…I WANT TO GROW OLD , WITH ONE OLDER MAN, TREAT AS IF I WAS HIS OWN CHILD,…I WANT TO BE SOME ONES BABY GIRL, FOR ETERNITY, ILOVE BEING A WITTLE GIRL FOREVER,
IM FAITHFUL , HONEST, GIVEING, CARING, GENROUS TO A FAULT, NURTURING,SENSitIVE, CENTIMENTAL….im a afraid of the dark, so, im little insecure…, fav singer is KAREN CARPENTER, songs …WEVE ONLY JUST BEGUN…WHITE LACE AND PROMISES…
I LUV, dark hair MUSTACHES GOE T, (MASCULINE,),WARRIOR,,, im not a modal, just youthful thin average down to earth, lil sexy kind of baby girl type, who loves Jesus, wants live a simple wholsome life
Sometimes you meet really sweet people online that you know won’t work for you, but you wish them well. Such is “Country Boy” from Grove city.
He says his perfect match doesn’t have to be perfect as long as she loves him for who he is and not what he might have. She will always be honest with him even if it hurts sometimes and he will always be honest with her. He would never try to change her or take away things she loves and she will do the same for him.
CB feels that these things “make up the essence of true love and devotion”, and frankly, so do I. CB emailed me, and I emailed him back saying we were not a good match, but I sincerely wished him well, and he sent me this story, “straight from my heart to yours” about his feelings about online dating.
I see myself stranded on an island somewhere out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean barely staying alive. I write notes and seal them in bottles and toss them into the sea. I have to watch out for the sharks they want to eat me alive. Once in a long while I see a bottle floating back to me. I rush to it with great expectations hoping to end my captivity on this lonely island. I find that it is a small bottle with a few crumbs in it enough so I can survive a few more days. So I write another note, place it in the bottle and toss it back out to sea.
S.O.S. Is there anybody out there?
Is this your experience of Internet dating?
I had been told by an online dating veteran not to bother emailing men – if they hadn’t already winked or emailed me, chances were they were not interested based on my photo and it was a waste of time. It made sense to me (guys are very visual) and so when I got the weekly “Your Matches” email from Match.com I would glance at it but did nothing with the suggested matches.
The email contains 12 short profiles in a row, starting with the highest percentage match and ending with the least. One week, the very last profile, just about to fall off the page, was the following:
44, Cranberry Township, PA
Seeks: Women 42-46
He is currently separated
His faith is Spiritual but not religious
He probably will not want to have kids
I glanced, and then went back and read it again. “Seeks: Women 42-46.” My experience is that most men have a very wide age range – it is not uncommon to a 50-year old man open to dating women between 35 to 55, or even harder on the female ego, between 35 and 49, and I had never seen such a narrow range before. I was within his age range, and I was intrigued so I clicked on the portrait.
Here it went from bad to worse:
I spend the weekends with my Kids, 7 and 8, (and my 20 year old when he is not working), about 4 hours away in Toronto (Mississauga), a nice drive for a weekend getaway.
Its hard to imagine working in Pittsburgh during the week and spending weekends in Toronto, makes it hard to have a relationship let alone start one online! I guess it will be a special someone who can put up with my schedule and hopefully we would be the richer for it.
Now I was really interested, but in a friendly, feeling-sorry-for-the-man sort of way. This man seemed nice, but his situation was impossible – who would date a guy who was gone on the week-end? Plus who knew how long he’d be around – he was Canadian, down here on a temporary “L-1″ visa. I laughed, and shot him my first ever match email. I don’t have a copy of it, but he says I made it very clear in the email I was being friendly and wanted nothing more.
Much to my surprise, after we emailed for a bit, and then met for a drink (a pity date on my part), I ended up really liking him, and we dated for a short time, and then became just “very good friends” (more about this in another post). But while we were dating I would tease him about his impossible profile. He would laugh and say, “It worked, didn’t it? It’s called target marketing.” and I could not disagree.
One thing I learned in Marketing 101 was that if you try to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one. How many profile have you read that say, “I like to do anything my date wants to do.” It’s generic and boring. The more specific you are, the more color and flavor you give to your profile. The “Seeks: Women 42-46″ is what caught my eye to click and read further.
According to a friend of mine, Jay Speyerer, online dating is backwards – it messes up the natural order of getting to know someone. Jay is a professional speaker and writer (learn more at Legacy Road Communications), and this is his theory:
Before, in an offline world (maybe the first few times you were out there looking), you would see someone across a crowded room, bar, book shop, or the express bus to Oakland. You would first access them based on their looks, which would be current and undoctored, then, if they kept your interest, you would try to strike up a conversation. This might lead to telephone calls and more face-to-face meetings.
If you hit it off, you might not have to access their writing skills until you got the “Dear John” letter at the end of the relationship. At that point, it no longer mattered. And given the range of writing skills out there (he is a professional writer, and perhaps more discerning than average) this may have been a good thing.
With online dating, how you express yourself on paper becomes very important, but it’s not a skill everyone has. Great conversationalists sometimes are poor writers – I have personally met people whose profiles and emails were only “okay” but who fascinated me in person. So much of conversation is non-verbal – the tone, the expression, the inflection, the teasing smile.
Knowing that, it might make sense to have a friend read your profile, preferably a friend who is the same sex and has the same level of education as the person you are trying to attract.
NYIF had many great moments – not just suggesting I get breast implants and my teeth filed on our first date. We were both Catholic (in fact NYIF had a prominent position in Pittsburgh diocese), and discussed how we could reconcile dating other people while still being married in the eyes of the church. NYIF volunteered that he had his rules about this, and that he subscribed to Bill Clinton’s definition of sex.
Wanting to know what I might be signing up for, I googled this, and found insight in Bill Clinton & The Definition of “Sexual Relations” from bandersnatch.com
One must remember that Clinton was 51, meaning he developed his definitions of sexual relations back in high school in the 1960′s… it is quite possible that Clinton, as many fellow baby boomers, does not consider fellatio to be “sexual relations”.
The phenomena of young ladies drawing a firm (but exceedingly fine) line between all manners of sexual arousal and intercourse (not the term actually used in the situation) was especially evident in extremely religious young women of the time… Apparently school yard Catholic dogma of the time defined “sex” as fornication, a serious sin, and … oral stimulation as maybe not even worthy of confession.
I guess that would explain why it was so important that NYIF’s date’s teeth be filed smooth.
It’s always interesting what people decide is the most important point to stress in their profiles.
Here’s one from an “Attractive, sharp man seeking an Attractive, sharp woman:”
About my life and what I’m looking for
Last time I saw: this is match.com, not matchdog.com, love my pets.com. Please, for your own sake, avoid telling all the prospective men how much you love animals or your dogs and cats and pets and animals. Obviously, enjoying and loving your pet is fine, but showing half the photos of you with your pets, with you dolting over the pets is imprudent. It is tantamount to meeting a woman on a date and she is showing you pictures of her kids, or grandchildren, or pets. I am here to hopefully meet a woman, and not a woman and her pet(s) in between us as we talk on the couch.
But even that’s mild compare to this sweet lady who wants “someone to watch thrilleres and wwe wrestling with”
About my life and what I’m looking for
im over weight want to lose want someone to help me lose i hate the way i look have lots of love to give i like to cuddle and kiss. like to hold hands and would like romantic walks. just being with the person.
i like wwe wrestling while being cuddled like to play computer games in my night shirt
i like to stay with my kind
i should go back to church but cant get up and do it.
favorite hot spots:
i like to go to wendys and burgur king but i do like nice resturantes
i like watching tv alot and i like steack rare
I was on my second coffee with SOUTH HILLS and mentioned that I was wary of men in their 40′s and 50′s who had never been married before – I thought it might be a red flag. “Well, there are no issues there with me,” SOUTH HILLS said dryly, “I’m not afraid of commitment — I’ve been married 4 times.”
SOUTH HILLS has been worth keeping around because he sends me good jokes Here’s a sample:
“According to a new survey, woman say they feel more uncomfortable undressing in front of men than they do in front of women. They say that women are too judgmental, where, of course, men are just grateful.” – Robert DeNiro
“Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships.” – Sharon Stone
“My girlfriend always laughs during sex — no matter what she’s reading” – Steve Jobs
“See, the problem is that God gave men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time.” – Robin Williams
“Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.” – Woody Allen
It was my first date with “New York IF” from Match, and I was nervous. I was recently separated from my husband of 20 years,, and this was my first “first date” in 22 years. We had emailed, talked a little on the phone, and he seemed fun, smart, and concerned about me. We agreed to meet at the Roxy in South Hills Village for a beer, and I made sure my hair and make-up looked good. NYIF, a nice looking man in his late 50′s, seemed happy to see me. He said, “You really are cute!” and we settled down to drink our Guinness and start the process of getting to know each other.
He started telling me about his ex-wife. He had made her who she was, and instead of being grateful, she had left him suddenly after 30 years. When he met her when she was a young, skinny, dirty-blond thing with bad teeth, but he had fixed her up over time, getting her the right clothes, haircuts, dental work, and eventually, a breast augmentation. He told me he had been very pleased with the results. It was at that point that he looked over at me with an appraising eye, took a good look at my chest, and told me, “Dear, if you have the money, that’s something you might consider yourself.”
I did not leave then. I actually stayed to hear how I should get my teeth filed (“I’m surprised your dentist hasn’t already recommended this to you.”) and how I needed to stop saying “yeah” and say “yes” instead (“It’s so much more sophisticated.”)
And then I went on one more date with him before I smartened up! But the story does not end there.
A few weeks later I met another man on Match who I hit it off with, and we started dating. A month later, things had progressed, and I decided it was time to shop for new underwear. I went to the Pussycat lingerie store in Squirrel Hill, and as I was admiring my profile in one of their sexy “contoured” bras, I remarked that I couldn’t believe my first date in 22 years had recommended I get a boob job.
Gail Gross, the owner, had been serving me. She stopped, looked up at me in surprise, and asked “You didn’t meet him on Match.com did you?”
I said I did, and she told me about another woman she had served a few weeks earlier from Fox Chapel who was thin and blond like me. The lady came in devastated – she had been told on the first date with a man she had met on Match that she should get breast implants.
“She was really shook up, not laughing about it like you. ” Gail said, “It really hurt her.”
So I decided to set up a blog so Pittsburgh singles could share Internet dating stories, lighten up and laugh about it. After all, this is supposed to be fun. This is what you were looking forward to when you were stuck in that unhappy marriage and wanted out so you could meet some interesting people. Let’s share the different versions of “interesting” we’ve found. Please join me and please feel free to post!