I joined an online dating site but it feels like a mistake. Everyone is looking for their “forever“ person. I’m in no position to be anybody’s forever anything.
[And if you don’t already know from reading this blog, i’m married to asexual who’s given me permission to find physical intimacy elsewhere, assuming it’s possible….or desirable….eh, i’m still trying to work all that out. Read past posts on this subject if interested.]
Besides, forever aint what it used to be at my age (almost 56). I live in the moment. I’ll be happy to get through the next week without some real or imagined existential crisis.
So I feel like I’m just sucking up oxygen meant for people who are actually single on that site. I do wish for their success if it brings them any comfort. I don’t want to stand in the way of anybody’s comfort.
That said, I’ve been completely transparent about my circumstances. Maybe that works against me because i’m not participating in popular romantic myth of “happily ever afters”. I’m looking for a supplement not a cure.
I’ve even received compliments about how refreshing it is that somebody “lays it all out there with no fronting”, but i’ve found no dates or genuine interest yet – at least not from anyone i’d be interested in (i.e. close enough geographically and close-enough looks-wise).
But a funny thing happens when you’ve scrolled through hundreds of profiles; you begin to question your requirements and your comfort zone.
For example, I’ve had a lot of passing interest from black women, which is fine and welcome, just surprising. I’ve never considered dating a black woman before because of my relatively insulated, exclusively white, privileged, suburban upbringing.
I know enough to realize, generally speaking, that their experience of growing up in the US likely bears little resemblance to my experience (just watch US news on any given night); we may as well have grown up on different planets.
So even though I welcome the differences and I’m not at all averse to dating across racial lines, the cultural difference and our tortured history still give me pause. I’m tempted to try it just to confront my bias – which is lousy reason to date anybody. Swipe-left….
I did recently extend a hand to a nearby prospect, even though she didn’t show any interest in me whatsoever. Immediately following that I had a moment of panic; what if she says yes? What am I going to wear? Do I need to clean out the car? What are we going to do? How can we do it safely without worsening the firestorm of Coronavirus? (You may have heard that Michigan is the hottest hotspot in the country right now – not exactly conducive to dating.) How does anybody navigate this shit? Especially now; I haven’t even got my Covid shots yet.
But no danger; she never responded and I know she’s been on the site since I sent the invite. I’m starting to realize my being an “older man” does me no favors in the dating dept. Just as well, I think i’m more comfortable living in my post-sexual, quasi-marital, insulated bubble anyway. It may be passionless and dull, but It’s safe in here.
So I moved on from the hunting and gathering part of the site to the blog part of the site. At least there, I thought, I might get a better sense of who people actually are, what they think – as opposed to a list of various factoids and wishes. But it wasn’t much help.
The blogs are few and far in between; more like FB status updates than complete thoughts. And lo, if you do have the audacity to type more than two paragraphs on an idea and maybe even try to inject some humor into your post you’ll likely be flamed unmercifully for your efforts. The culture of this particular site reminds me of the early days of America Online or MySpace (there’s even a community chat-room with comments flying all over the place in no comprehensible order)- ugh, it’s the wild, wild, west all over again.
After only a couple weeks I concluded this whole online dating thing feels so inorganic, so unnatural, so forced, it’s no wonder people on these platforms are so suspicious and sensitive. It’s anxiety-inducing and depressing when it feels like everyone is walking around with an agenda – and not necessarily the one stated in their bio.
What’s worse is there’s a plethora of fake accounts trying to phish you, the site-owners trying to up-sell you (you essentially can’t do anything with a free account and what you get for a paid account is awful), and the players out there making you look bad. The whole prospect of finding a stable connection with somebody of similar age, character, and interests seems impossible.
No, i’d do better soliciting strangers with handbills in front of a strip-mall wearing a biohazard suit.