Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Brief Thoughts on Online Dating

Yeah, I know, the divorce isn't final yet. I put up some profiles in the hopes that I can have some momentum when it is. The ex told me I was free to date again about a month and a half ago anyway.

I've got plenty of experience with online dating. I met my soon to be ex wife through the long since defunct Excite.com personals. I had a paid account on Match.com from '97-'98 when I was still in the Navy. I think I even once got a date from the AOL personals.

It seems to me that the entire thing has devolved. Sure, it's more advanced now. Better pictures, better "match" algorithms, better compatibility tests. Maybe the problem is me, being 39, wiser about the world, and a little cynical.

For one thing, I have a lot of trouble trusting divorced women, since I was divorced by one who refused to work things out. She was also cold-hearted and unforgiving and impossible to please, and I don't want a repeat of that. I know there are all kinds of reasons for divorce, but women can be masters of solipsism and rationalization (look up "rationalization hamster" for fun reading) and I don't always trust the reasons they give. I know my ex wife has her reasons, but I think she set me up on a couple of them. Anyway, I have trouble trusting divorced women at the beginning. At least, for most reasons besides her husband cheated on her. I give an automatic benefit of the doubt for that one.

Likewise, I have trouble trusting women who make it into their 40's with "never married" status. Why? I'm sure they have all kinds of reasons, but the top ones that spring to my mind are they were too busy with their "careers" or nobody was good enough. In that case, I doubt I am. I wasn't "good enough" for my ex-wife, and I have no desire to go through that again.

A lot of women can't write a profile. "I'm a fun loving girl!" Oh, you special little snowflake. You and 95% of the other girls on this site claim to be fun loving. How am I supposed to differentiate any of you from each other? This seems to be more prevalent on Christian Mingle. Lots of early 40's, never married, and fun loving. On the flip side, who isn't fun loving? I've never seen a woman's profile say "I hate having fun. I just want to sit here and be miserable". So calling yourself fun loving is like saying "I breath". It does not set you apart from anybody else in the land of the living.

You'd be amazed at how many women won't post a picture of themselves smiling. Why? I'll never understand it. Granted, the picture I'm using right now is of myself with my beard and not smiling, but scowling is masculine. And I do have smiling pictures on the sites. I won't bother with the profile of a woman who isn't smiling. I heard somewhere that an airline long since closed would only hire stewardesses that were kind and could smile. You can can train them in all kinds of things, but if they aren't kind and don't smile, you can't train that. I'm keeping that in mind for my upcoming foray back into dating. If she isn't kind and doesn't smile, I doubt I could expect much of a pleasant long term relationship.

Zoosk seems to have the best looking women, although it doesn't seem to narrow things down by region. I don't want to see girls in Pittsburgh. Heck, I don't even want to see the girls in DC. Arlington is a little too far for my tastes. I work in Arlington. The logistics of having a beer there after work are a little too challenging for my tastes. I'm not driving that far for a date unless she's really hot and really into me, and I can still feel it two days later. I'd rather just see the single women in my area. Close enough to have dinner together and still get to bed on time. I'm not in my early 20's, so I can't drive for hours and get to work on 2 hours of sleep every night. And I'm not planning to make the mistake of moving in together too soon again.

I'm not on POF yet. OK Cupid has the most comprehensive questions. Early on in the divorce process, I kept myself occupied by answering the questions on OK Cupid. I got to about 1800 of them before I got bored. I  also took the time to explain my answers, probably ensuring that no woman on the site will ever contact me. As you can tell from my writing, I'm a little eccentric and I need a woman who can love that.

True story: when I first signed up for OK Cupid, I came across the profile of a woman who said she was an Aeronautical Engineer, and worked on airplanes. It took a lot of willpower not to send her a message asking her to marry me. I love airplanes. Yeah, I know, I went in the Navy. I had a fantasy for a while that I'd meet a woman who owned a plane. I found my pilot's logbook. I have about 12 documented hours in single engine aircraft. One more and I would have been ready to solo. I probably have about 20 hours if you count my Civil Air Patrol time in high school.

I'm pretty much convinced that the online dating will be little more than a distraction. I'm not convinced I'll get anything from it. I put in most of my profiles for women to contact me if they like what I wrote. I'm not going to contact them. I'm sure any woman worth the time is buried under messages, and I don't put myself at a disadvantage like that. There is no way I can expect to stand out in the inbox of a woman with lots of other contacts from guys.

I still have to work on my game, which I've never been good at. A couple weeks ago, I got back from an exhausting trip to New Jersey to deal with divorce related stuff. I also took the boys out for breakfast and had some fun. When I got back to Virginia, I ran to Costco for three items. I was standing in line. The woman in front of me looked at the contents of my cart and said "Beer, peanut butter, and printer paper?"

I said "Yeah, it's gonna to be a wild night". She laughed.

She said something about hoping I wasn't going to work too hard. My response to that was overly analytical and I lost her.

I'm starting to pay more attention to those kind of interactions.
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