Hello, my name is Jennifer and I use to online date.
There I said it! The horror of it all! I'm melting! MELTING!! Mind you, this is probably one of the more mortifying confessions I've ever had....and if you remember correctly, I have openly confessed about my bowel movements and stuffing my bra. So, you get the point.
Before I continue, I must note that very few people actually know this wee-little fact about me (sorry I didn't tell you mom!) . At the time, it was humiliating enough that I was a 20 something divorcee' who had already experienced a failed marriage and the division of assets before most young adults experienced their first real paycheck. Add resorting to the Internet to get someone to buy me dinner was just the icing on the cake.
To backtrack, my co-workers were starting to worry about me. I had been separated from my ex-husband for 5 months now and the divorce was a few days away from being over. They knew my life revolved around coming to work and going home to share a Lean Cuisine with my dog and watch American Idol. I was okay with that life, but they were right. I was lonely. Terribly lonely. Like the type of lonely where I would have 10 minute conversations with Huck (my dog) about the weather. The type of lonely where I actually looked forward to going to work. The type of lonely that even a tube of concealer can't hide the swollen and puffy eyes the next morning.
My girlfriend at work insisted that I try online dating. Her dance card was full from all the dates she had scheduled from her on-line suitors. Literally, she would book her nights weeks in advance with a different guy at a new restaurant every night. Assuring me I would save tons of money by having my dinners and even the occasional lunch paid for by dates, that it was well worth the $30 a month membership fee. But what really hooked me on it, was she promised me the distraction would be good for me. It would help me move on. It would help me forget.
At this point, I was still extremely hesitant. First and foremost, I knew my mother would kill me. A natural worrier, she would assume the worst and imagine online dating to be something close to what she has seen on Dateline NBC, "To Catch a Predator". Secondly, I didn't know what to expect and I don't like surprises. Was it one big online orgy of random singles looking to hook up? Would all the men online be ugly? Would someone I knew see me on the site and tell everyone about it? Would I go blind if I sat too close to the computer screen? Who killed JFK?
So many questions filled my mind. But after days of contemplation, I took a leap of faith and got a 30 day membership to Match.com. I posted a few pictures of myself and I wrote this in my About Me:
I'm a small town girl, living in a big city. I enjoy the finer things in life but I can go down to the family ranch and play on the land with the best of them. I've got my daddy's money and my momma's good looks. I love adventure and love to travel but don't mind curling up on the couch with a really good book and wasting the day away. I can be honest to a fault and am strategically disorganized (which is a polite way of saying I'm a mess). I am a blond, not by nature, but by choice. This is a good thing because I have the brains of a brunette. My momma and grandmamas taught me how to be a southern lady. The advice a southern woman will give you about life and love are as follows: Learn how to fix a car but act stupid so a man will fix it for you, but at least you'll know if he's doing it right; It's just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is with a poor one; Never trust a man who wears more jewelry than you do; Whatever cooking mistakes you make can be covered by either gravy or frosting and ALWAYS remember who's daughter you are. If you noticed I am divorced. Although it is unfortunate, I have chosen to learn from my mistakes and go from there. I am definitely old fashion when it comes to love. I am fully capable of taking care of myself (and I do) but I believe there is something very natural about a man providing for a woman. Not looking for a ring on my finger by December, just someone who wants to take things slow, get to know each other, establish a friendship and go from there.Also, one more thing.....If you have a cat that you love and are not planning on getting rid of, don't contact me. Not that I don't like cats.....they just don't like me. I am deathly allergic!
And with a click of a button I was on the world wide web of dating. Within minutes, I had messages, winks and favorite request (these are online dating lingo) by tons of men across the metroplex. Basically, if you are good looking and don't claim you bedazzle t-shirts as a hobby, men will flock to you as if you were a Brazilian Super Model that tasted like a Krispy Kreme Donut.
So, I was being pursued. Big time. But my heart wasn't in it. I just couldn't get into the idea of dating. Scratch that. Not only dating, but DATING LIKE THIS. To me it was almost like catalogue shopping. A giant J.C. Penny's catalogue of singles (or so they claim) ready and willing to meet you for coffee or a quick hump....whichever you choose. You posted pictures and then in 500 words or less had to convince someone that you are a worthier pursuit than your competition, DFWBARBIE4U.
Finally, a man contact me that I thought would be worth exploring. He was a golf pro at one of the finest Golf Courses in the metroplex. He claimed to be a Christian and he looked pretty cute from his pictures. I agreed to meet him at a Sushi restaurant. I had one drink, claimed I had to get home to my dog and left 30 minutes later. Why do you ask?
PHOTO-FRAUD. This guy looked nothing like his pictures. At first, I seriously thought it was a joke. Listen, I'm not that (just kind of) superficial. But, if he was willing to be that dishonest about the way he looked the what else was he hiding? For all I know, he was going to club me and make a necklace out of my teeth and use my skin to make a lamp shade. I got the hell out of there.
My girlfriend convinced me that it was a fluke and that I needed to give it another shot. Disgruntled and pessimistic, I accepted an offer to another gentlemen a few days later. Going in with a bad attitude, my expectations were extremely low. Except, turns out he was really nice. I mean a genuinely nice guy. Very Polite. He opened the door for me, took me to a nice dinner and gave me a side hug when he walked me to my car. I agreed to go out with him again and everything repeated. He asked me out to a movie for a third date. I said yes. Some time during the course of the movie after I finished off the large popcorn he bought me, he reached over to try to hold my hand. I quickly pulled my hand away from him.
"I'm sorry", I whispered. "I don't do that".
"You don't do what? Hold hands??"
"Ummmm....yeah. I don't hold hands".
He never called me after that.
I gave up. I was going to let the rest of the 30 day membership run its course and not renew for the next month. This dating thing just wasn't for me. I would go back to spending my nights walking my dog and organizing my sock drawer. I even contemplated moving somewhere far away like Poland, taking up the Oboe, and learning to speak French. Aside, from the loneliness that ate away at my strong will and hurting heart, life would go back to normal and normal was good, right?
But something happened. 3 days before my membership ran out, I got a message from a man on the website that seemed to stick out like a sore thumb in the sea of messages I had from other potential suitors hoping to catch my attention. His smile was intoxicating and I knew I recognized him from somewhere. I clicked on Plano_Mtn_Clmbr's profile and read:
Life is so short! We get one trip on this rock - if we're lucky, that's 22 Olympics, 90 Christmas Holidays (and chances to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story"), 3 fashion crazes involving bell-bottoms (2 down, 1 to go), and a lifetime of laughter, fun, and leaving a loving legacy. Seize the day - make the most of every divinely given moment. We are not promised tomorrow. This is my life's passion. Within that, I'm looking for someone to help me grab life and give to it all we can. This isn't decadence, hedonism, or debauchery, but a life of kindness, compassion, energy, excellence, passion, joy, altruism, and adventure. I'm looking for someone to share this adventure with - to be swept up in it. Whether it's what's for dinner, where to travel, what's that smell, or what is the meaning of life - the answer is to be found in God and together. I want someone who can match my passion, provide wisdom and reason, be a cheerleader, learn new things with me, and to show me the greatness of what make them unique. And for that special someone, I promise to bring all that I am, and all that I can become, to them. One last thing - the two most important loves of my life are my faith and my family (daughter, son, Mom, Dad, sister, niece, nephews, and okay, I guess brother-in-law too). Okay, enough about me - I want to learn about you! Drop me a line, and let's see if perhaps fate smiles on us and we get to live life to the fullest together. Now, stop, drop and roll...oopps, I mean live, laugh and love!
After I read it, despite the cynicism I had been feeling in my heart....something made me hit "Reply".
To be continued......