James: how NOT to sell yourself via online dating

It happened today. I received a message from the most stereotypical man on an online dating site EVER.

According to his profile and the message he sent to me:

James is unemployed. James lives in his parents’ basement. James dropped out of a two-year college. James is still married, but going through a divorce. James thinks he can turn invisible. James doesn’t like tattoos on women, but loves when they have piercings “down there.” James lists his hobby as playing on the computer all day. James plays D&D 15-plus hours a day.

James has a couple of photos with his profile. One features him wearing his “fancy” tie dyed tee-shirt. Another features James eating cake – such a large piece of cake that the food is obstructing his face.

James seems like kind of a loser.

This guy can’t be for real, can he? I mean, how is THIS information persuasive? He’s honest – sure, but how are any of these things selling points for a potential relationship? And what, in my profile, urged him to contact me? (Note to self: reread and edit profile ASAP.)

Relatedly (sort of), I’m meeting B – in person – tomorrow. I’m overcome with a million (conflicting) emotions about my first date since 1995. I can do this without making an ass of myself, right?

First phone call

Note: This is another entry about online dating. But that’s kinda the biggest thing going on right now. The kids are both doing really well – except for Lauren’s horrific bout of the “terrible twos.” Job is good, the semester is coming to a close, and I’m on the schedule to teach four classes in the fall.

So, about this online dating thing…

Written last night:

Is it wrong to have downed two shots of vodka minutes before he’s supposed to call?

I’m nervous. Really nervous and I DON’T get nervous.

It’s just been so long since I’ve TALKED to a boy…

Nervous. Three minutes to go….

What if he’s a complete dolt? What if I am a complete idiot? I shouldn’t have taken those shots. But maybe they’ll give me the courage I need to actually have a conversation. Please don’t let me sound drunk (I don’t feel drunk, but don’t let me slur or say anything completely stupid…)

Why am I so damned nervous? It’s a fucking phone call! It goes well or it doesn’t. And if it doesn’t, it’s just a matter of “click” – hanging up.

Two minutes left until he calls… I’m hot, really hot, like hot-flash hot. I took off my fleece five minutes ago, but I’m sweating. Gross. Why am I so hot? Breathe, dammit!

One minute to go… Wonder how punctual he’ll be? Will he call exactly at 8? Or a few minutes after? How should I answer the phone? Why do I care? I need to act like I don’t care. Be nonchalant. Have at least some semblance of being cool, like “whatever, dude.” Oh, no, not that casual…

I’m walking to the front door. I don’t want to be sitting, waiting, staring at my phone when it rings. At least this way, I’ll have to walk to it – maybe get it by the third ring. Geez, Jax! Stop playing games. Just be yourself!

Oh my God. A BOY, no a MAN, is calling me in a few seconds. My eyes are on the clock, my fingers continue to type.



B and I talked for two hours. TWO HOURS. The time flew by as we talked about everything and anything. It seemed like 30 minutes, not two hours. Questions were answered, laughs were shared, inappropriate and possibly questionable stories were told. Talking to him was easy, natural, fun.

We’d been “talking” by email for weeks, but this was the first time I heard his voice. It wasn’t quite what I imagined, but it was nice. Really nice. There was only one pause in the conversation around the one-hour mark – we acknowledged the awkward silence, laughed, and moved on.

He ended the conversation like this:

“This is the time, when if we were face-to-face, I’d take your hands, look into your eyes and tell you that I had a wonderful time talking to you tonight. I’d walk you to your door, and I’d be totally awkward standing there. Then I’d go for a hug. We can continue talking by phone or we can actually meet. Your decision, but I know what I’d like.”

(Yeah, it’s been a while since someone has said something nice like this to me. A long while. I can’t even remember when…)

B and I are making plans to meet this weekend, face-to-face, for reals.

On a related note, one of my mom friends is also doing the online dating thing on a different site (then we can compare notes – it’s been brilliant, actually). She went on a date last week with a nice man (I’ll call him “insurance guy”). He wasn’t right for her, but she thinks we’d hit it off. She sent me insurance guy’s online profile, and he appears…decent, interesting even. Maybe I’ll let her set me up with him… I understand this dating-as-an-adult thing is a trial-and-error process – I should keep all options open.


EDITED TO ADD: Just noticed this is my 100th post to Mommy’s Little Blog. I’m so glad that this milestone is on a positive note. To look back at the last 99 posts, and to think about how many emotions I’ve gone through, I like the happy me. I think I’ll (try to) keep her.


Grading papers while drinking my third coffee of the morning. Contrary to having too much caffeine and too little sleep, I feel a wonderful sense of peace and calm and happiness today. I wish there was a way to bottle this feeling and hold onto it forever.

– My Facebook status this morning

 Over the past few weeks, I’ve had some delightful email conversations with a (seemingly) nice man from the dating site. It’s all been limited to emails and messages, and I’m okay with that right now. (Although I think I’ll give him my phone number. I want to hear his voice.)

I’m happy.

We’ve had very serious conversations – like what happened to Mike (since his obit comes up really high in a search of my name) and why his marriage ended and the relationship with his ex. And we’ve had some light conversations, like our favorite colors and his artwork and my vacuum cleaner obsession. I’ve laughed out loud and smiled a lot.

I can FEEL my heart again. Like literally, physically FEEL my heart beating in my chest. Every second for the last couple of days, I’ve been extremely conscious of my heart – like it’s reminding me that it’s there and alive…and ready.

(I haven’t felt this way in a million years – or as someone on one of the widow boards pointed out, “since last century.”)

I’m very careful and very guarded. I’m not jumping into anything or reading too much into things. I’m certainly not going to rush anything. I have a lot of baggage – and so does he.

But to KNOW that I can feel this way…it’s the most amazing thing in the world. And I like it.

PS – I’m continuing to “practice” on a few other guys on the site. Still think my online flirting skills need help – badly. But after taking the M-B personality test, I think it’s just how I’m made – with sucky flirting/mating skills. It actually explains a lot that I’m just wired this way… Explains, but doesn’t help.

Thoughts on a first date (no, I haven’t gone OUT yet with anyone)

(First, welcome to the person who found this blog by searching for “hairy legs depressed.” I hope I helped, I think… You’ve probably noticed I talk about other things, too. Hope you’re okay with that.)

Last night in grief group, the subject of dating came up. I giggled and told the group about signing up with an online dating service. The entire group was soon laughing (the kind of laughing that makes your eyes water), as I told a few of the stories of my experience so far. We were so loud that one of the counselors came down from the kids’ area to ask if we were okay. It was a good session last night.

One of the women in group asked what I wanted in a first date with someone. My response:

I want to go to a restaurant that doesn’t have a separate, paper kids menu with “fun” activities. I don’t want to blow on someone’s food to cool it down or take someone to the potty 15 times during dinner (all false alarms). I want to eat when my meal is hot – actually, I’d settle for slightly above room temperature. I want to not play tic-tac-toe on a napkin using crayons or crawl around on the floor looking for a lost red crayon – in fact, a crayon-free place would be preferred. I would like to not have a stack of extra napkins on the table “just in case.” I don’t want to tell someone to sit down and be quiet more than once. I don’t want someone to freak out because their hamburger is cut in half or their mandarin oranges are touching their French fries. I want to eat without someone at the table putting ketchup on something ketchup shouldn’t be on, like fish or chicken or fruit or broccoli. I want to have dinner with someone who can hold his own cup without spilling the contents on himself or others. I’d like to have a conversation – a nice, long conversation about anything and everything without hearing “I’m bored” or “can we go now?” or “when will she be DONE with her dinner?” I want to be a grownup, even for just an hour or two.

That’s not asking too much, is it?

(Relatedly, after a major overall to my profile this week, I’ve gotten a lot of new responses. Most are garbage, but a few are promising. Conversation with one potential have been so awesome that we decided to take our conversations to regular email instead of through the service. At least I know his full name now. He’s been Googled. And I have some questions for him…)

Online dating: one week later

I’m a little more than a week into my experiment with online dating. And (surprise!) I have some thoughts. I’ve been trolling a few of the big ones, but the one in which I chose to actively participate is the one that starts with OK and ends with -upid. I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that “stupid” also ends with -upid…

Some background on this site: I chose to start with this one because it’s easy. A quick page of bio info (a summary, list of books/movies/music/TV shows liked, six things can’t live without, something private). Answer any, all or none. Upload a few pictures. Answer multiple choice questions – your answer, what answer you’d “accept” in a partner, and how important that question is to you. You can also skip questions without answering or decide to answer some privately. You can also comment on your answers, which is nice because several of the options are black/white. Based on your answers, the site determines your best matches, giving a percentage to those you’re most compatible with as a partner, friend, and “enemy.”

My thoughts:

  • What’s up with the algorithm? How am I answering the questions that would lead the site to believe that I’m compatible (with a surprisingly high percentage of compatibility) with someone interested in an open relationship or a kinky fetishes or looking for a super-skinny/model-esque/ditzy/blonde/no kids/heavy drinker and big time partier companion?
  • I have a huge appeal to men in the medical profession who are age 55+ (if they’re closer to my mom’s age than mine, I’m turned off), men who are under the age of 25 (mommy complex?), men who are unemployed and/or make under $20K/year, and men who are ridiculously dorky. I can appreciate dorkiness – heck, I have some dorky tendencies, but hot diggity these guys are beyond stereotypes. Oh, and I also rate highly with atheists, men looking for a third-party for their marriage (wink-wink), and men who want to be dominated. Great.
  • And on the issues of doctors, with whom I’m very compatible (allegedly), why are there so many docs on the site? Am I really to believe that these men can’t find dates any other way? By their descriptions of themselves and their photos, I’d think women were flocking to them. Red flags much?
  • I’m convinced that the majority of men on these sites are lying. (Maybe that’s where I went wrong with the kind of man to whom I appealed – I TOLD THE TRUTH!) Photos are old, and even if they were uploaded recently, some of the (alleged)  42 year olds looked at least a decade or so older. And if they’re not lying, the profile language is so cliché: how many hardworking, dependable, reliable, honest SINGLE men can there be in the world? And why, then, would they be single if they were so ridiculously fantastic?
  • Or maybe they can’t read, as evidenced by the responses to the questions. I’m certainly hoping that there are literacy issues that have caused men to answer questions in certain ways – drugs as a romantic activity but you detest smokers? Really? Men who would like there to be a nuclear war? (And why is this even a question?) I really hope that low literacy levels have caused men to miss words like “always” or “never” as part of the questions because for some of the questions, there’s NO question what the answer should be…
  • Let’s talk about the photos for a moment. I don’t need to see you shirtless before we’ve even met. Really, put the shirt back on. Why would you include a photo of just your eyeball? What are you hiding? How come so many men are posing next to “toys” like big boats or motorcycles or fancy cars? Pretty sure they’re not yours, buddy. Or include photos of their kids or pets? I’m not looking to date your child or your labradoodle, so why do I care what he/she/it looks like? Or photos taken from a distance with the man wearing a helmet of some sort – or scuba gear. Like I can get a sense of anything with a breathing apparatus or wearing a snow mobile helmet.
  • Oh, and I live in the land of milk, cheese and beer – I do not believe that every man on this dating site has an “athletic” physique. Unless, we have different definitions of “athletic” – sorry dating site dudes, but the “six pack” in athletic terms refers to “abs” not how you buy your beer…

All this aside, I have had a few “conversations” (online only) with a few men. One claimed to be a widower working in London, but was so short and uninteresting in his responses that I let the conversations drop.

A second was one of those “too old for me” guys who just wanted to talk dirty – or try to trick me into talking dirty to him – PASS!

Another is a local dairy farmer with a history degree who volunteers at the local historical society for fun. Farm-guy and I seem to have some things in common, but I have some reservations: 1) he lists his height as 5’4″ (I’m two inches taller than that). If he’s anything like the other guys on the site, he’s probably lying and even shorter. Height isn’t a deal breaker, but I do like my heels to be at least two-and-a-half inches tall. 2) he’s excruciatingly formal in his written expression. Hey, I teach writing, and I dig a guy who can craft a complete sentence (they are few and far between on a dating site!) but it’s just VERY formal in his sentence structure and word choice. 3) he’s 39 and never been married. I don’t know why this bugs me, but it does. What’s the problem – with him?

In our last email exchange, farm-guy is hinting that he wants to meet. I’m surprisingly nervous about the prospect of meeting someone from a dating site in person. I mean, what do I have to lose (as long as we meet in a public place and people know where I am)?