Online Dating Sites, Oh the Humanity…

So why am I writing about this? Because in over a year of living in New Orleans, one of the most social cities in the country, I have have not met any (single) men I have ‘clicked’ with. I’ve met a lot of nice guys, but they always seem to be married. And I seem to have met most of the people in the local Goth scene. Who also seem to already be coupled or are in their 30’s, which is a little young for me. Part of my problem is most of my friends are married, or gay (I’ve met lots of great gay guys, my personal curse 😉 which also makes it harder to meet people. And I’m very picky. And very wary of strangers. I kind of have to be after the last few.

I’ve had two close friends who met their significant others on online dating sites. One is going very well (knock on wood) and the other started off much too good to be true and then exploded into drama. But I have a bad habit of thinking if you (men) have to pay a service to meet other people there’s either something wrong with you. Or you’re a player. Or both. And I believe that relationships just sort of happen if they’re supposed to. (Naive, yes I know) And though I’m going out and doing more socially than I’ve done since my early 20’s, I’m still single.

I’m not in any big hurry to actually get into a serious relationship with anyone, but I have no idea how to casually date. Before I was married (and between marriages) I only dated people I knew. People I worked with, friends. And I never dated more than one person at a time, I’m just weird that way. I’ve had exactly two dates with ‘strangers’ in my life and both were OK but non-eventful and awkward. And I’m not a flirt, I’m very direct and honest and it confuses me when people flirt and don’t really mean it.

I have never gone looking for a boyfriend in my life. Some were strays that I ‘felt sorry for’ and thought I could help (never do that, btw, it never ends well). One stalked me until I finally said yes to make him stop coming to my workplace. The last two were strangers I met in social situations. My ex-husband and I had so much in common all I could think was ‘What IS wrong with you?’. Unfortunately for me, it took me years to figure it out and then I still thought I could help him. 19 years later I gave up. I was ex-wife number three for him.

The last one was a complete train wreck who hid nothing, but had ‘potential’. I had been separated for a year and a half and was almost finished with the divorce paperwork, was feeling confident and figured why not? I was taking risks now and looking for some adventure, here it was. He seemed to be the polar opposite of my ex-husband (which proved untrue in many ways, but that also took time to discover). He seemed overly honest, and he was extremely intelligent. He had zero social skills. My ex-husband had been a liar, a scam artist and was Mr. Personality, but unfortunately not very smart. New guy was the most amazing alcoholic I had ever met (his skills far surpassed my first boyfriend, who I only thought had been a serious drinker). But he had been ‘someone’ before I met him, he had obviously had a serious work ethic at one time (my ex-husband didn’t work in the 19 years we were together). He had created a successful business, claimed he had a long term relationship (which I discovered to be untrue after we broke up), had owned several huge houses, several expensive cars, boats, his stories all seemed to jibe. And then he had lost it all, and lost his mind. Everyone has conspired against him (red flag!), stolen his business, his houses. But his stories started changing, ever so slightly at first, and eventually the facade crumbled. I did somehow manage to help him recover his health (enough to function and move away from Texas, where he claimed the humidity and mold was making him ill and overweight), and he told me repeatedly that I had ‘saved his life’, but he just went from depressed and sedentary to a manic exercise freak who blamed all of his problems on me. But that’s another story.

So after all that, I just wanted to be alone for awhile. And I have been. Just me and the cat and it’s been glorious. And quiet. But often lonely and boring. And I am curious to know, because over 20 years have passed since I was single, what sort of guy do I have to choose from now? Most men over 40 (and 50!) have been married, or in at least one long term relationship and have a lot of baggage. And usually children. And the ones who have never been married are even scarier. (What’s wrong with you??)

And in this part of the country, there is the redneck factor. I somehow ended up with a free trial of Eharmony last year, and just used it to look. I input a fake name to see what came up. And frankly, it was scary. Not one person in their ‘pool’ was anyone I could relate to. It was a sea of ‘hunting and fishing, camping and boating’ outdoorsy Christian guys, most overweight and balding. Many semi-illiterate. So I deleted the app in my iPad and went back to doing things by myself or with my (mostly female) friends.

I started doing things I really liked. I rode my bike on long (solo) journeys around the city. I started taking hooping classes (with all women). I got serious about my photography obsession again (very much a solo activity). I went to the gym (in the middle of the night). I went to clubs for Goth nights (with my female friends). I went to vaudeville and burlesque shows (with more female friends where the audiences were mostly couples and gay guys). I even went to karaoke nights at a few places (alone and scared to death). So you can see my problem. I’m not a very social person, I’ve always been kind of a loner. And I do things at weird hours when there aren’t a lot of people around.

I’ve gone to the local 80’s night a few times. I love to dance but I’m not a barfly, and it’s always awkward going to unfamiliar clubs alone, and I tend to get more defensive than friendly unless I know someone there. (Too many years of law enforcement and security) Because unfortunately, most guys think if you’re alone and agree to dance with them you’re agreeing to more. And dancing with other girls is only fun if you know them, otherwise it’s just kind of pathetic. And most of the bars in New Orleans allow smoking, it’s like flashing back to the 70’s, in a bad way 🙁

Soooo…. I read this article and then the other night googled ‘online dating sites’ and came up with this list on Wikipedia.

Hmmm, Zoosk sounded interesting, but the target user is 25-25. And it’s tied in with facebook, which I’m guessing means my real name would be used and I don’t need any more stalkers. sounded interesting (background checks, cool!), but then I read the wiki on it, saw their slutty ad, read about the lawsuits, layoffs and financial problems and thought maybe not.

Already been to eHarmony, and it says it’s ‘designed specifically to match single men and women for long-term relationships’. I would feel like a fraud on that site, I don’t know if I ever want to get married again, though I would like to be with someone eventually. Just kind of gun shy still. And they got hacked last summer, oops. And they’re not gay friendly (I’m straight but not narrow, that’s uncool guys).

Lots of them are outside the US, no… they have one for extra-marital relationships? Eewww…

I’ve seen tv clips of the old SpeedDate (where people met in person), cool idea, but now it’s webcam stuff (I don’t even own one). Don’t think I want to know what Spray Date is…

Looking at the ‘200 niche sites’ at Passions Network, actually looks like several thousand now… Hmm, people who like TV (I bet that’s an exciting one, not). A site for divorced people, not sure it that’s a good thing or not. Cosplay and LARP, lol. Cougars… Ninjas?? Robot? Superhero. Hipsters (ha!). Stache (doesn’t that go with hipster?) Festivus!! Pirates (I know a lot of people who would appreciate that one) Smokers, more power to y’all (is there a non-smoker one? yes, there is). Frugal people, no thanks had one of those. Buddhists, Jewish, Catholics, Atheists, Wiccan, interracial, Punks, Socialists, vegetarians, single parent, no kids, there’s something for everyone. Overweight, tall, short (really). And of course, BDSM, tattoo, pierced, trannys. STD and HIV, somehow the word ‘passions’ doesn’t look right after those.

Promising but possibly scary, Goth, photography (could be good or bad, think about it…). Cycling. Dancing… (Why does the page for the Goth group have a big ad that says ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’?) Holy crap, the Goth group has 40 subgroups??? Including ‘vampires’ of course (I’ll bet it’s full of twilight fans, yep there’s a 20 year old Justin Bieber lookalike on page one). Funny, the sort age is 18-99, definitely for vampires, but it really should go to 200. Let’s do a quick search, only 3 males in the 35-51 yo range within 25 miles of New Orleans? That ain’t right. I’ll have to come back to this one.

So, since this is basically a lurking experiment and I don’t want to give my credit card out to anyone, I decided to sign up at a free site called Plenty of Fish to start. 40 million users registered (I bet). In the first three days with tons of filters on (no one married, no smokers, no drugs, no kids, no creeps, NOLA area, must have picture, 35-56 , have to change that), I got a dozen emails, and about 30 ‘would like to meet you’ pings. And all I’ve done is look at them, deleted a bunch, and then downloaded Mrs. Davis’ book because I have no idea what the hell how this all works and I don’t want to do anything stupid. And I honestly don’t want to even start a conversation with anyone because I can’t imagine meeting any of them in person. I’m very good at online conversations (in public, on facebook), I’ll banter with you all day. But privately? It just seems too personal.

No one looks ‘right’ to me. Lots of them (unfortunately a lot of photographer types with profile pictures of them holding their 300mm lenses like… you know) look downright creepy. One sent an email reading, verbatim (including the dot dot dot after) “Very pretty, maybe we should meet for coffee one day, become friends…”. (Imagines him twirling his mustache, and doing other things…_) *Delete*

Lots and lots of ‘hunting and camping and fishing and boating’ guys in gimme caps, many holding large trophy fish in their profile pictures. Everyone seems to be bald except for several with super long hair (who have strange, vague sounding jobs like ‘musician’ or ‘tour guide’. The only one that sounds halfway interesting, sent an interesting, personable email, is about to turn 57 and answered the ‘do you have a car’ question as N/A.

Ah well, going to bed, more later…

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