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Monday, July 23, 2012

ONLINE DATING:MY PERSPECTIVE

In writing about Internet Dating, I saw it would have to be broken down into a few parts – one for general ideas and another for my own experiences.

Here's my view....

I bought my first computer in 1995 and it had all the bells and whistles. Unfortunately, I didn't know how to ring the bell or blow the whistle! Anyway, when I first started, it was in chat rooms using the messenger that i first started talking to anyone who would listen. While I was never good at meeting people in bars, weddings, or bingo, it was fun to chat with folks and I found out I could express myself better in print then off the top of my head. Seems like I need a moment to form my thoughts and another to actually express it.

I eventually met Maria from Peru using Yahoo. I chatted with Aurora in Miami, I met Audrey in Ohio. I met Virginia when I had my jaw wired from an accident. We wanted to meet despite the less-than-desirable condition I was in. I met Darlene from Georgia, Johanna from Albuquerque, Sha'ron from New Jersey, Annette from Baltimore, Ivanne from Ocean City, Tori from Maryland, Charlene from Staten Island, Nneka from Nigeria, Rafiatu from Ghana, Charity from Senegal, Linda from around Pittsburgh, and many more, just from contact online.

There are great memories. I got to see the Indy 500, and took a balloon ride in New Mexico, met ladies in Atlanta, New York City, Chicago, Philly, DC, and other towns and cities. It has been fun to learn about new places and people. I highly recommend it!

None of these cool people would have crossed my path if we had not talked first and found each other interesting enough to meet face to face. I had conversations that went on and on – one was from Toledo, and lasted a most memorable 8 hours! I felt strongly for this young lady, even though we never met face-to-face. It made me question if I could fall in love with someone I never touched. It was that perfect. Then she was gone...

I found out about honesty when meeting Josetta for the first time. We had many GREAT talks, and finally said we should meet despite being 200 miles apart. I was looking forward to sitting across from the young lady who had so much to say, a quirky way of saying it, and the creativity to keep coming up with more. When she walked in and didn't look like her picture (she had gained a LOT of weight) it was a disappointment. I wondered what else was fake, false or a lie. We didn't stay in touch, sad to say.

Having more than a few CURRENT pictures (outside the bathroom!) goes a long way to painting a true picture of your appearance. If you use ancient ones from the previous century or from 150 pounds ago, expect issues when you finally get the opportunity to meet.

When I meet a fascinating young lady (yes, they are ALWAYS young, with ages ranging from 20 to 60!!) for the first time, it's always a surprise to me. I am amazed that this woman would take time out of her life to spend it with ME. It's not that I think I'm unworthy, far from it. It's the fact there are a LOT of nice, single, good looking guys out there and she chose ME. I respect that and treasure it, even if there is no connection.

So how do I stand out among the masses? I just be me.

Not only is it the easiest thing to do, (I have four decades of practice!!), it's also the best for my new friend. She will know the real, unvarnished, every-day me. The one she might choose to live happily ever after with. Or the one she wants to leave, minutes after we meet. We won't know until we actually DO.

I'd like to think most people who I've seen can say that I am easy to be with. There is no pressure, no uncomfortable advances, and no forgetting my wallet! If there is one thing I know I'm good at is letting people be themselves and laugh a little bit. No drama, just enjoying the newness of meeting someone and finding out why at least one person in the world wishes they would just disappear. No one's perfect you know... Most folks admit to a little nervousness, but it quickly disappears. They can see I am genuine and not trying to steal their purse, or worse. I ask questions and am interested in what they have to say. How else am I going to figure out if they are sane.... or stupid..... or defective in some deep-rooted way. Once we settle in and enjoy the evening, we may or may not see fireworks, sparklers, or at least a matchstick. If not, we can part as friends and know we at least tried. No “what-if's” here!

As most of you know, more times than not, the love-connection was just a wrong number and we have to try, try again. It gets tiring after a while, having wonderful people you meet and nothing comes of it. So tiring that we sometimes put ourselves in time-out. We need to recharge the batteries and get that enthusiasm back. Not only is it an effort, but it gets damn expensive dating!

The lonelies return after a bit, so back to the grind! It's not really THAT bad. Just frustrating when you find someone you like a lot and they do NOT feel the same. Oh well. Life goes on, no matter what we do so we may as well accept it and move on, huh?

Friends of mine who have heard some stories told me again and again to write a book about the highs and lows of my dating life. Since I am still single as of 7/23/2012, 9:28 pm, there is no happy ending yet. When there is, I'll write the novel. Until then, I'll tell you this

In no particular order -

Donna is one of my dearest friends, to this day. We met from Match.com, I think, and even after all these years, we remain very close. She is one of the best human beings I know and we help each other deal with life's ups and downs. The world is a better place with her in it, no doubt.

Linda is a fairly new friend that I got to know through my writing. She enjoys it and I am thrilled with her positive comments and encouragement. While she is hundreds of miles away, we stay in touch and find time to go treasure hunting every now and then! Boom Boom!

I had one first date last all of 7 minutes. For real. She arrived at the local Borders (it's been a while) and we sat down and started talking. I could tell she wasn't going to be president of my fan club, but didn't expect her to say that this wasn't going to work out. She did me a favor though. Didn't even cost a cup of coffee. I thank her every time I think about it.

Another first date was with someone who seemed more worried about how clean my Timberlands were than about ME. We had a few conversations but she admitted that her preference was to meet and see if there is any chemistry. I could understand that, so we met at Olive Garden. It was a relief to her that I looked presentable, and lunch turned into a walk around the mall, which turned into a movie, which turned into dessert, which turned into....
get your mind out of the gutter! We did NOT end up in an intimate way that night! It was perfect just like it was. We didn't want it to end. Eventually we spent a few months together. It was nice, but “forever” wasn't in our future. She is now happily married to someone better for her than me.

One first date that I will never forget is the previously mentioned Aurora. She was living in Miami and we start chatting on some website, graduated to the telephone and we kept talking and talking and before I knew it, I had $500 bills to pay! (Yes, this dates back to just after the Gilded Age). I was just crazy about this woman. She was smart, funny, and cute! AND she seemed to think I was OK too. She was flying to Spain and we decided I could visit her at the airport for the 3 hour layover. It didn't take three hours to see that this native of Chicago was something special, unlike anyone I ever met. By the time the plane took off, I knew what I had to do – make plans for the return trip! While in Spain, she kept in touch with me through email. It was such a nice surprise! Made me feel special! She had another 3 hours free at the terminal when she was going back to Miami and we enjoyed every minute. Six hours total with her and I was convinced what I would do next - buy a ring. Yup, it was after hundreds of hours talking, six in person, and thousands daydreaming of spending more time with this amazing female. I flew down for her birthday a couple months later and she was surprised by my proposal. Shockingly, she said YES. Of course I instantly lost respect for her (just kidding!). It was a magical time and we were the happiest we ever been. All that from meeting online. I wish there was a happy ending but when she moved to PA, things changed a bit (I'll take the blame for that) and we parted friends (sort of) a year later. She is still one of the most interesting people I ever met.

The reason someone is attracted varies wildly. Maybe because I don't look like Matthew McConaughey (or even a retarded cousin) but the folks I got to know had much different stories than I would have imagined. Bad relationships just prior to our meeting are very common. I was the “experiment” a few times for those who had never spent time with a white man. I've met fantastic females that didn't think I was, I've met selfish ones I chose not to hang around. I've had great first dates that never saw a second one, for some reason. No explanation, no idea why. This could happen with any way of meeting, not just on the computer. I've also had many, many wonderful women who would make any man feel lucky to have them in their life, and yet, no chemistry beyond friendship.

That's one of the hardest things to learn, that “nice” is not enough. Nice is part of the package but not the entire set. You need passion, mutual interest, shared values, and his and hers bathrobes to have any chance of succeeding together. Nice is nice but not good enough. Nice doesn't make your soul ache when they aren't around. Nice doesn't make you want to cross oceans to see them. Nice doesn't make you want to do anything, no matter how crazy, just to make them happy.

Nice is just.... nice.


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