Monday, September 23, 2013

The Online Dating Junket

I don't want to be all Taylor Swift on your arse, but my first foray into the dating world cannot pass without comment.

Let me say that my original plan was inspired by my friend Lynn who suggested it was a business proposition, like interviewing someone for a job. You're in control and YOU decide whether they fit the bill. So, I made two dates in one afternoon. Like a press junket. In fact, I joked, if I could fill the Four Seasons with likely suitors and move from room to room as if doing radio roundtables, I would. I'd also bring a clipboard and take copious notes which I'd never read.

Prize Heifer

An attractive, smiley, check-shirted man from OKCupid with whom I had a reasonably good banter and, it turns out, with whom I had a couple of friends in common, managed to make the hour I spent with him possibly one of the most awkward of my life. I take some responsibility. I was a little nervous. I was drinking a cappucino, which I really never do. He arrived late. Crossed his legs and his arms. Didn't order anything to drink, asked a few perfunctory questions and made me feel within a few minutes of arriving somehow lacking. It's hard to explain this feeling and probably it says more about me than him but I came out of there feeling distinctly ruffled, like a prize heifer that didn't win a ribbon, and wondering whether in fact I am too sensitive for this world.  Yes, I know everyone's doing it. Yes, I know, thanks to my lovely friend Chris's advice, that I'm supposed to be mercenary. I'm supposed to suck it up. Oy.
 
How can you know someone in an hour? You sit there with an expectation of trust: I'll vomit out some truths, you can vomit out some truths, and let's hope there's a moment between us that we connect, even over the tiniest thing.

Yoko Ono (of course it was Yoko Ono) said this on Facebook:
We get shy about saying things like i love you. Life is so short. It's crazy, that we hesitate to express our true thoughts to each other.
Isn't this, somehow, what we all want, to be in a place of love, not fear, where it's okay to speak the truth?

Over cappuccino on Sunset with a man who doesn't want to be there, all I could think about was being 13 and alienated.

And so yesterday I escaped to a world of dogs and horses and unconditional love. What could be better?

This is what I'd like: I'd like to walk down the street and suddenly see someone with great beams of light emanating from him, and whole heavenly host of choirs singing...I'd like to be dumbfounded, struck down, knocked out by love.

"What are you looking for?" said the guy. Does it matter?

"Enough Said": Gandolfini will break your heart


And then as if by magic, I went to see "Enough Said," Nicole Holofcener's film about two empty nesters who find each after divorce and as their children leave for college. And perhaps because it was James Gandolfini and he breaks my heart, I wept and was rather pleased I was at the Academy surrounded by people I had to hold it together in front of and not on my own at the Arclight in a puddle on the floor. I thought about Minky leaving and how I try not to think about being alone, and all the things we do to make our lives full and sweet and happy, and how we avoid the gaping void of truth. I thought about every way I've tried to make things better only to make a mess of things. I watched Julie Louis Dreyfus smile through the tears and ferociously try to get on with living her life when she's breaking apart inside and realized that what we all want, what every single one of us wants, is to be seen and understood, in some tiny, connecting way. Just filaments of fine silk tie us together, but those are the threads that make us human and fragile and vulnerable and not brave, even when we pretend we are.

I can put on my big girl pants and my red lipstick and I can sing for my supper. But I am not doing this for much longer, this mercenary cattle call of a meat market that is online dating. I refuse to spend another hour with a man who isn't fucking delighted that I'm there with him.

On a happy note, the second date, was delightful. A sweet, good, earnest, bright man (the Taylor Swift reference is his). Thank God for Good Men.

PS. Good advice from ex-husband: "Online dating is a numbers game." How many numbers, I'd like to know. ;-)


13 comments:

Moonboots said...

You are worth so much more than crossed armed man on sunset strip. Keep looking, if you want a man there will be a man. A man full of love and a little bit of light, or at least enough for you. How about trying the UK ? I can imagine you would have much more fun with one of our boys!

Miss Whistle said...

Thank you Moonboots. I think you may be onto something there. It's like the Maine lobsterfishermen, somehow there's something lovely and familiar about British farmers! :)

LPC said...

Or, think of this stage as exploring for oil at the bottom of the sea. There's lots and lots down there, but you have to send out a lot of pings to find the well. Once you find it, the gusher phenomenon takes over.

Virginia Roberts said...

Good for you for sucking it up and going out even if you felt reluctant! (I'm an online dating coach, so I stumbled upon your post in my Google News alerts.)

Keep in mind that there are TONS of folks like me who offer advice and guidance in this whole online dating process, some paid and some free. :) The most effective ways to connect with people are sometimes surprisingly counter-intuitive.

Keep at it and good luck!

Katherine C. James said...

That first guy, with the crossed arms, who didn't order anything? He was a withholding arse. You dodged a bullet. I remain convinced that in the midst of doing something you love you will find someone lovely. I could be wrong. I've avoided the entire idea since my jeweler asked me out when he first heard my husband had left. In retrospect his motorcycle ride up the coast could have been interesting, but I was not ready. (And I find motorcycle riding counter intuitively terrifying, requiring that I intentionally lean toward the roadway.) It's been a long haul for me, I'm not sure if I'll really ever be ready to be with someone again. What sounds most heavenly to me is setting up my own home, with all my beautiful things out of storage, doing work or school I adore. I'll begin with those passions and go from there. Whatever way suits you, Bumble, if you want a partner, I know you'll find one. I picture you having tea and toast in morning light tinted the color of marmalade, amidst a jumble of books, dogs, and visiting children who are growing up, adding more connections, but never not needing you. xo.

Susan Champlin said...

The crossed-arms guy goes into the Ephron category of "Everything is copy," along with my online-dating guy, with whom I spent the entire dinner staring at his ear hairs, as at a bad road accident. But you will find the right smart, kind, sexy guy who adores you--here, there, or where you least expect it.

materfamilias said...

Wonderful writing, as always.
I can't even imagine what it might be like to have to date again, not at all sure I'd have the courage.
But from this perspective (and having a daughter who is in the loveliest relationship she's ever been in and who met our future son-in-law through an online dating sight), can I dare to say that for the investment of a few hours yesterday, 1 out of 2 is not a bad "numbers game." It seems possible to me that some of the stuff you went through by meeting Mr. Closed was stuff that had to be processed anyway. That meeting might have been horrid, but it might also have brought clarity. And you did survive it, and you didn't succumb to that sense of judgement but wrote a lively and thoughtful post which, finally, I'd say, validates, even celebrates, your own worth and what you know you deserve.
All good, really. Easy for me to say . . . Bon courage!

angie said...

Katherine's comment (withholding arsehole) made me laugh out loud. i think she was spot on. and you're right, if he's not delighted to be with you, run for the hills! mind your sense of self...

angie said...

Katherine's comment (withholding arsehole) made me laugh out loud. i think she was spot on. and you're right, if he's not delighted to be with you, run for the hills! mind your sense of self...

angie said...

Katherine's comment (withholding arsehole) made me laugh out loud. i think she was spot on. and you're right, if he's not delighted to be with you, run for the hills! mind your sense of self...

Wally Bell said...

I know there are a lot of ifs in this next statement, but if I were single, and if I were living near you, and if I could ever get enough courage to ask you for a date, I would in a heart beat. But as this is not the case, I just want to say how lovely you are, in every sense of the word. You brighten my day, even from afar.

Lucy Campbell said...

Janelle has just sent me over to you - lovely post - good to meet you - I've just written something not so dissimilar about finding myself being single post divorce and wondering if I'm ready not to worry about doing something about it....if you get my drift

Lauren jonczak said...

I just became a member of a dating website for dog lovers. This is my first experience with online dating so I am a little nervous. I have my first date tomorrow night. I hope he doesn't come in with his arms and legs crossed. I am happy that your second date went much better than the first date. That is a good idea putting all your dates on the same day. I should try that. Thanks for sharing!