Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Online Dating - How to Truly Get to Know Yourself

I am a single woman. It is hard being a single woman if you would prefer to be an unsingle woman. "You just need to learn to enjoy your own company" is a common comment tossed my way. After 15 years of living alone, I know how to enjoy my own company. But I can almost guarantee that if the kind commentators had only their spouses to keep them company for 15 years, they would go a bit daffy themselves. I am tired of picking up after myself, cooking all the meals after a long day at work, taking out the trash...I never do anything to help out around the house.  Oh there I go again. See what I mean? Daffy.

It is especially hard to solve said problem when you are older. Most of my friends are in relationships, in fact they are all getting married now that some states have finally made it legal. I have found with the single ones that they want to stay single because 1) they had a bad relationship(s) and believe that all future relationships will be bad as well, 2) they are hermits and like it that way, or 3) they are straight. Well, that is that.

One has to get out to meet others, but now that I am older I tend to be more of a homebody. Plus, I have an adorable beagle that lives with me and I made a commitment to take care of him when I found him. For me, that commitment does not include casting him to the side in favor of a social calendar. So I make the choice to be home with him.

I have tried the group thing, no success yet.

So what else to do? Yup, you guessed it. Online dating.

Just the thought of online dating causes me more anxiety than a double expresso from Starbucks. It just feels plain wrong. Here is how online dating goes for me.

I search for dating sites on Google. Then I visit the site, see if I can search for free, then start looking. Herein lies problem number one. I feel like I am taking a walk in the produce section at the grocery store looking for the freshest bunch of kale.

Inevitably the site will suck me in to fill out a personal profile. What name do I want to use, email address, contact info (for billing).  Next page, the personal questions begin. Height, weight, body type. Body type? I can choose between hot, curvy, fat, "I am comfortable with my body", athletic, "Could stand to lose a few pounds", or skinny. Hmmm, I go stand in front of the mirror. Yeah, I need to lose some weight, but in my mind I am still a forward on the basketball team, a backpacker, a kayaker. I am still the woman who hiked across the entire state of Michigan, who paddled over two hundred miles in a kayak in Alaska.  I choose "comfortable with my body".

Next I select my sexual orientation. No thought needed there. Then, I have to describe myself. I am good at listing out adjectives and nouns, but I think here they may be sharing this description with a potential date so I have to be more creative. So I say all the flattering things I can think of. I don't mention that I watch Lock Up - Raw, a prison show on MSNBC.

Then comes the part where I must describe my ideal date. Here is problem two. I begin to describe the woman of my dreams. Depending on the version I write, when I go back and read it, I am looking at a description of my last girlfriend or my clone. Oh God. Mind you, my last girlfriend is the love of my life. My clone, not so much. Perhaps therein lies the problem.

I finish the application and it again tells me to upload a photo of myself. By this point in time I am feeling like throwing up. I don't want to put my picture out there. Why? Well, um, Idon'twantanyonetoknowIamonanonlinedatingsite. That's me speaking fast. Why else? Because I am somewhat known in the public eye for my music career, even though I don't perform as much as I used to. For some reason that matters to me. Call it an ego thing. Heck, being a rock star is supposed to mean you are a chick magnet (or dude magnet, depending on which way you swing), not hanging out in the online dating world. Can you imagine scrolling through and seeing Joni Mitchell's mug staring back at you?  "Likes folk music, cigarettes." Not.

So I submit my profile without a photo, then wait. Nobody looks at your profile without seeing your photo. Perfect. My anxiety relaxes a bit.

The next step is I go back and remove my profile five minutes after I submit it. This is so stupid, I say. I won't tell you how many times I have done this. A woman must keep some sense of dignity.

Once, I did upload my photo. Literally, in two minutes I felt so sick to my stomach I went back to the site and tried to delete my account. I couldn't find how to do that. Oh no! I went into a panic. How many people had already seen my face? I bet it will be in the National Enquirer or Lesbian Connection next week! (My, you DO have a big ego, Barb). I started to sweat and was about ready to call 911 when I found the proper button to get rid of my profile forever. I clicked and sighed.

Why do I do this? I am either hopelessly in love with my ex and am just not ready to be out in the dating world or no one will ever live up to my expectations, of which there are many. Must be able to cook without a recipe, have a good sense of humor, like Star Trek, enjoy getting muddy and looking for mushrooms, have artistic tendencies, family oriented, loving and kind, and beautiful. Being a dancer is a plus. Why a dancer? I don't know, they are a special breed.

Or perhaps it is the thought of being vulnerable, exposing myself to millions of strangers in ways I have not even done with individual people. I am placing myself prominently in the produce section. I don't like it.

Online dating sites provide the opportunity to get to know the REAL you, how you see yourself, your expectation of others, and what you truly look for in a mate. But be forewarned, you might not like what you find. I have learned I am an egotistical, superficial snot. No wonder I am single.