liar liar

My computer dinged with an incoming Match message.

We should talk, wrote a person whose handle suggested British heritage.

This could be interesting, I said to myself. DaveTheBrit had not previously caught my eye, but I gave him points for being bold. I’m freaking tired of twenty-message exchanges about the weather and what music I like.

Me: Why, so you can woo me with your British accent?

DaveTheBrit: Exactly.

Me: What are we going to talk about?

DaveTheBrit: We’re going to talk about how you’re coming over tonight for dinner and Netflix.

[I pause here to reassure readers I’d never venture to a stranger’s place for a first or even fifth date. I have no desire to have my dating life fictionalized on Law and Order.]

But my heart skipped a beat. He was thinking beyond I can’t wait for spring or I heard the Civil Wars broke up. I held my response, not feeling the need to state the obvious but not wanting his cyber flirting to end. I decided to play coy.

Me: I lived in London for a year… I’m immune to your British charm.

Tick tock. Tick tock. Refresh screen. Tick tock.

DaveTheBrit: Well, I’ve lived in the U.S. for twenty years. I really sound more Australian now. Maybe that’ll do something for you.

Yeah, it did something for me. It made me think he was a big fat liar. Now I’m imagining a different scenario than what dinner and a movie inspired. I’m imagining DaveTheFakeBrit having beers with a buddy and mentioning he wasn’t getting much attention on Match.

BeerBuddy: Dude, you should totally say you’re British. Chicks dig a British accent.

DaveTheFakeBrit: You’re a genius!

Fast forward to the other night.

DaveTheFakeBrit (in panicked text to BeerBuddy): Dammit! Winked at hot chick. She lived in U.K., gonna know my accent is fake!

BeerBuddy: Shit! Say U R Australian! U sound more like the Crocodile Hunter anyway.

DaveTheFakeBritFakeAussie: Right.

His last words of our short-lived exchange suggested he’d leave me breathless; instead I’m stunned. Maybe he’s really British but decided I was boring. Maybe he’s American and knew he was nabbed. The crazy thing about online dating is you have no idea what’s real versus what’s fiction.

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behind door number three…

Remember that old TV show The Dating Game? I watched this precursor to The Bachelor/ette in syndication a few times back in the dark ages when we had four TV stations and my brother and I argued incessantly over who was going to get up to manually change the channel. (My children often wonder at these medieval times and how we ever survived. But I digress.)

Match reminds me a little of that old show. You never know who you’re going to find behind that cyber wink. Dearest reader, you’ve shared my shock over my ninety-four percent match with ZipperRipper and laughed at my near miss with WegmansLover. Now I’d like to introduce you to Friday’s gem:

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This eligible bachelor joins a handful of other profile pics so absurd I’ve put their screenshots in my personal Match Hall of Fame. And joining the rapidly expanding class of guys who need help choosing their online dating handle is UnrstrctdFreeAgnt, ClickHereToDate and FiftyShadesOfJoe. How about the dude who listed his desired age range in a woman as eighteen to fifty, only slightly worse than the guy who indicated his preference as thirty to fifty. I mean, come on… It’s very different to date an eighteen-year old than it is to date a thirty-year old than it is to date a fifty-year old. Maybe the errant verb here is to date. As my friend Shannon joked: Have a heartbeat? Have breasts? IM immediately! 

This is why I’m single. Not that I consider being single such a bad thing. I have a wonderful network of friends who share my passions. I have the Weekend Warriors to help with household projects beyond my abilities. And I get to do whatever I want without comparing schedules, arguing about budget or getting passive aggressively angry when the trash doesn’t get taken out. I know, I know (or at least I think I remember) there are wonderful aspects to being in a meaningful relationship. I committed to opening myself to the prospects of a romantic connection, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to settle for a man who is less than exceptional.

a match almost made in wegmans

He had me at his tagline: Internet dating: because I haven’t met the perfect woman at the grocery store. And then he proceeded to list Wegmans as one of his favorite things. Wegmans? I love Wegmans too! And not just that, but he read my favorite book of 2014. We were meant to be perfect for each other.

I reached out first, sending that bold initial message. “Oh, you’re cute and smart and funny,” he wrote back. “I’d totally make up an excuse to talk to you in the produce department if I saw you at my grocery store.” We spent a few days swapping messages through our online arbiter, moving to real life text over the weekend to arrange the plan. We had a small hiccup; our kid custody schedules are not aligned. He panicked. “Hey,” I wrote. “Let’s not put the cart before the horse. Let’s see if we like each other. Schedules can always be changed.” 

But apparently he’s the complicated type because tonight I got the text of doom. Not only did the kid schedule bother him, but the thirty miles of parkway separating his town and mine turned out to be a deal breaker. Date off.

I presume I dodged a bullet. A guy so worried about two relatively insignificant factors this early is probably not the grounded guy I’m looking for. Hell, maybe he’s married, and his wife found his online profile. That’s the thing about this whole online dating process. You don’t really know what motivates people, and not just WegmansLover (handle changed to protect the innocent) but SnugglePuppy3348, ClickHereToDate, RealMan345, WildPig10, Ready2LoveAgain too.

So back to combing through profiles I go, weeding out the guys who capitalize the word lady – make that, use the word lady. Full Stop.

true love at last

In the last 48 hours, I found my true love.

Just kidding… deep, meaningful love only happens that fast on the Bachelor.

I continue to be astonished with the so-called matches that come my way. ZipperRipper aside, let’s talk for a minute about usernames. I know it’s potentially perilous that I actually incorporated my first name in mine. But “your name + s + waiting” is not a good user name. Nor is anything paired with awesome, handsome, sexy, foxy or the number 69 (even if it is your birth year). TriGuy appears in many different iterations, leading me to believe that the majority of single men in the DC metro area are triathletes. If that’s true, when do they have time to date?

The profile photos people choose to post amuse me too. This is the first impression you’re making on someone. I guess maybe the pink cowboy hat says everything I need to know about you, as does the pirate costume. The dude wearing camo looked intense, to say the least. I made that assessment before I noticed the subsequent picture of him emerged in open water wielding an automatic weapon like he was storming a beach. To scuba_addict I ask, “why are all your pictures taken underwater?” (That’s internal dialogue. I didn’t really strike up communication.) And it’s worth repeating: if all your pictures are obviously selfies, my conclusion is you don’t have friends. At least get a tourist on the Mall to snap your shot. Or someone from the office. Your sister, perhaps? A waiter?

Abundance of dad jeans aside, I’m not totally cynical. I’ve read some interesting profiles and even reached out to a few men who caught my attention. It might sound odd that this process makes me feel vulnerable given I write a blog where I’m open about some intense experiences, but I’m trying not to take rejection personally. Just as I’m making knee jerk reactions about people, so are they about me. “I mean really, what’s with the Dr Zhivago hat?” I’m sure more than one man has said under his breath. “A Boston Red Sox fan? Pass.”

I press ahead. At worst, I have new material to write about and at best, I make a friend or two.

a match made in cyberspace

A few years ago, I tried the online dating thing for a very brief period of time. And by brief, I mean a few hours after signing up for Match, I called customer service, crying hysterically, and asked to get out of my six-month contract. I stuck with e-harmony a little longer because the limited ability to browse through profiles (or rather, have my profile browsed through) provided an added layer of protection, but I went on exactly zero dates, so I eventually canceled that contract too.

I’ve never been tempted to venture back into the cyber dating fold, but over Valentine’s dinner and the many glasses of wine that accompanied, I got talked into giving Match another try. “Come on,” my friend coaxed. “I just signed up and we can go through it together.”

I agreed to join her quest. I probably could have read a book in the amount of time I spent not only creating my own profile but going through those the love algorithms chose as my perfect pairs. And are they perfect. Perfectly wrong. For example, handle name Zipper Ripper (I’m NOT making this up) is a 94% match with me, but his profile picture looks like it belongs in the serial killer hall of fame. Pass. All sorts of photo-less guys have sent me chat requests. None of them live within a 200-mile radius. “Hey gorgeous. Let’s talk.” Um, no thanks. A self-processed “handsome catch” details he only dates women with a BMI of nineteen, max, and he’s hardcore about it because he mentions it twice, along with the caveat that “skinny girls need love.”

Hey, I get it. I’m judging too. If you wear sunglasses in every picture, I assume you’re hiding something. I don’t even click on you if your profile photo is a bathroom or car selfie. If you indicate you don’t have time to read, I don’t have time to get to know you. Good grammar is a must. Forget your thoughts on politics, kids or religion; use of emoticons is a deal-breaker. And I know it’s DC, but I’m not impressed when your photo gallery is filled with shots of you posing with famous people.

I have to admit I’m not well-versed on the etiquette of Match. Winking is too forward of an action for me to take. How do you favorite someone you’ve never met? Do people really respond to messages? I mean, I haven’t responded to any I’ve received in my eight hours of experience. How do you express interest without being creepy?

In spite of all this, I don’t yet feel the urge to call and cancel my subscription. There have to be single, wine-loving, age-appropriate book nerds out there who don’t want new babies. Now if only the cyber gods will match us up.