Sunday, November 17, 2013

Online Dating: A Failed Experiment

    Anyone who knows me or has read my blog will know that I am still single, an involuntary bachelor. Several weeks ago I thought I’d try online dating to find someone who might enjoy socializing to see if there would be a magical spark, a magnetism or chemistry hinting at a closer relationship. I researched some of the more popular sites only to discover that more than a few of them are outright scams.

    Some of them offered Free searches. (Nothing’s really free - I knew that.) Their so-called free searches provided pages of pictures of smiling women some of whose smiles actually appeared genuine, others whose smiles looked forced or even tortured possibly with someone standing off-camera yelling at them smile.

    Then the free ended. Clicking on a link to explore the profile of the pictured one a screen popped up stating that, “In order to view Jane Doe’s profile you must upgrade to Premium status” or some variation of that. Cha-ching! Time to smell the money grubbing, quit and run.

    Another site allowed a reading of a woman’s self-description and the possibility of texting her for a more immediate contact. Guess what. Cha-ching! To get her text number, it was necessary to purchase membership credits. I tried that once for a woman who said she was from Palmyra, PA, which is a reasonable distance from my home. When I received a text from her, she revealed she was in Alabama tending to a sick relative but that we could correspond. Nuts to that. I smelled a scam.

    I did an online chat with this rip-off company requesting a total cancellation of my privileges and learned that they don’t refund ANY money for the unused portion of a subscription. I called my credit card company reporting a services offered but not delivered dispute. They said they couldn’t do much because of the subscription nature of the transaction. They did, however, refund about half the cost as a courtesy for a long time good customer.

       I then went to a more reputable (I thought) dating company and discovered that if they have no matches within the specified age range, geographic radius or mutual interests, they’ll send pictures of those who share SOME of my stated interests and wishes. Unfortunately they seemed to totally ignore the little things like Race (I’m basically color blind but have historically been more comfortable with someone closer to my own racial/cultural heritage), Income (they sent me matches from women who expect their guy to have anywhere upwards of $50,000 annual income), and location (I’ve been matched with women from Arizona, Texas, Michigan, New York and Maryland). Maryland might not have been too far but she was looking for a man between 35 and 45 years of age. Don’t these dating sites read the profiles of their subscribers?

    One of the complaints about online dating services is the lack of honesty in profiles. I decided that if total honesty is not apparent in my profile, I’ll give up trying online dating ever again. The following honest profile is the one I posted a couple days ago. I shared it with a lady I’m acquainted with and she said, “Excellent. That is you. Don’t change a word”.

     I will celebrate my 71st birthday during Thanksgiving week but I'm told I look to be in my mid 50s. I live and feel to be in my mid 40s. When I chat with acquaintances about my discomfort at being without a significant other, they usually advise me to stop "hitting" on younger women. I don't "hit" on any women of any age. I try to discern if a woman I meet socially might find continued socializing a pleasant thing. 

     Too often, there's no 'spark', no 'chemistry' so it ends with me winding up in the inescapable 'Friend Zone'. That's better than nothing but it doesn't allow for any closeness or sharing. The trouble with women closer to my age is they seem to have given up on themselves, are often dowdy and very often grossly overweight — totally lacking any appeal to me. They seem to be blind to any baggage they are still carrying around from earlier life experiences, which makes me, I guess, a reverse cougar.
     I love language, laughter and logic; I'm happy to find any display of mind. I blog as "The Old Dinosaur" but I sing as "The Gentleman Troubador". I especially enjoy singing the songs made popular by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Nat King Cole and even Pink Floyd. I recently began covering the Mumfords and Four non-Blondes. Music keeps me excited. I have a trombone, a baritone, a keyboard and a pennywhistle most of which I practice occasionally but my real practice is with my singing.

     I enjoy watching a baseball game and once in a while a football game but I have absolutely no time for basketball, hockey, professional wrestling or Nascar. I spent too many years in a sex-free relationship (it was mutually agreeable) since our compatibilities, while they lasted, were in other things. I thought it was a growing, special friendship - almost Agape - until I realized one day that it had grown toxic. The investment of my time and energy was yielding fewer and fewer returns, hence, my current status as 'without significant other'. I can't afford to be 'lavish' but I'm not a gold digger, either. It's not in my nature.

     I've learned to enjoy simple things such as long drives in the country to enjoy the changes of scenery away from the city. I enjoy quaint country taverns which, sadly, seem to be disappearing rapidly in favor of the more glitzy, chain-type mass appeal operations. I particularly miss intelligent conversations over drinks or over coffee in an all-night diner and the silent glance when each of us knows what the other is thinking. Flea markets are fun. The shore off season is fun.

     I started smoking again a couple months ago after nearly 7 years smoke free. I took a walk down Nostalgia Lane reading French poetry, listening to French music and craving French cigarettes which I was disappointed to discover are not as available as they were in the book store in State College. So I fell back on the brands I smoked when I was a smoker. I've set the day after my birthday as a new 'quit' date.

     Dean Martin sang, "Somewhere There's a Someone for Everyone". I hope that's true. I'm not Mr. Perfect. I've never been Mr. Perfect, but, I'm a good man, an honest man who feels that without sharing, life is empty.

    I‘m asked occasionally if my standards are too high. No. They‘re not. I’m not specifying a hair color or a bra size or nice butt or shapely legs. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some men may demand a woman who is Hollywood glamorous. I’m only hoping to meet a woman who finds me as lovable as I find her appealing which presumes a pleasant personality. What she has between her ears is more important to me than her bra size. I’m not a boob man or a butt man or whatever. I’m not looking for sex but if the match is right, that can happen. I want to share time and thoughts and feelings and conversation. "Good things shared are doubled; bad things shared are halved". Here's to sharing.

    What’s the point of this entry? Venting, to some extent, but more than that to advise, if you’re in a relationship and having minor differences, try to work them out. You probably have more together than apart. If you have major differences and it’ll never work for the two of you, the longer you wait to end it, the older you’ll be. Take it from me, there’s nothing Golden about the Golden Years if you’re by yourself.
#  #  #


  1. Please don't give up hope on finding a companion in your later years. Your blog entries present you as an intelligent and engaging man more than worthy of a partner. Keep putting yourself out there and keep up the blogging!

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words, Emily. I believe this situation can serve as a demonstration of what I call "perversity of circumstance",i.e., not being in the right place at the right with the right person. Or, as former NBC newswoman, Linda Ellerbee used to say (probably borrowing from Kurt Vonnegut), "and so it goes".