Six months ago, a married friend urged me to join a dating site, more, I think, to fulfill her own fantasy of going out with a lot of different men than because of any perceived need of mine. She promised to help me weed through the site to find men who might be compatible, but still it took one entire sleepless night for me to make the decision to play her game. I’m not sure what I was afraid of — moving even further beyond my deceased life mate/soul mate perhaps. Or maybe accidentally falling in love again and tying my future to another person.
Although I wasn’t looking for a serious relationship, I was lonely. Thinking it would be fun to meet people, maybe go on a few dates, I signed up for a dating site and paid for a six-month subscription. I originally planned to pay for one month, but I didn’t want to sabotage myself by counting the cost.
At the beginning, I wrote charming messages to all the men my friend thought might be suitable, and even some the site found for me, though the site’s computers seemed to think I was looking for an inarticulate, overweight, tattooed smoker who rides a motorcycle. Um, no.
I suppose it’s understandable I got not a single response to my notes. Inadvertantly, I’d created a profile that guaranteed I wouldn’t catch any man’s attention — I told the truth about myself, used more than 95 words, didn’t downplay my intelligence, didn’t show cleavage, didn’t use words like “fun-loving” that could connote an eagerness for mattress games, and most of all, I didn’t lop years off my age. Eek. I must have seemed like their worst nightmare!
I eventually joined two free sites besides that first fee-based site, but the free ones garnered me no attention either. (In fact, those sites matched me with many of the same unsuitable men the first site did.)
Last night, my paid subscription ended, so I laid my profile to rest. I deleted my photos, deleted the description of myself, deleted my thoughts about what I was looking for in a man. Then I went through the whole rigmarole of deleting the profile. They promised that the profile would be permanently deleted from their site, but a while later, when I tried to sign in to make sure the profile really was gone, there it was along with a welcome back note. So I deleted it again.
The truth is, I am glad I didn’t find anyone to go out with. I am finding my wings, waiting to see if I can fly, and I don’t want to be held earthbound by anyone else’s expectations of me, no matter how potentially rewarding the relationship might be.
Goodbye, online dating. Goodbye, romance.
Hello to . . . whatever might come next.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.