The going wisdom in the world of online dating is “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince (or princess).” But I had to overcome my aversion to green, rubbery lips before I could immerse myself in online dating.
Well, let me back up.
I’m a woman in her mid-fifties, widowed for ten years with two children. My daughter lives with me. She’s the one who actually encouraged me to go online. “Mom, you really should,” she said about twice every week. “You need to go out.”
It’s not like I hadn’t heard about online dating. How could I not? It seems like there’s a dating site to match every religious affiliation, ethnicity, race, and so forth, a Bay Area of choices.
But before I could do anything, I had to do two things: decide on a dating site and then create a profile.
I picked out a site that some of my friends had had success with and was also free. Then I attacked (not literally) the profile.
Call it a marketing resume, a single point of contact that could make or break my abililty to realize a social life. A profile is supposed to give a potential friend or partner a thumbnail sketch of who I might be with the ultimate goal of eliciting a flirt, a message indicating interest, or at very best, courting an actual email.
I gave it a shot. I needed to say “A little about me.”
“Gorgeous brunnette with a figure you could die for, at least I do several times a week in the gym,” I began, “is fluent in several tongues , is looking to meet someone who enjoys watching tomatoes grow at the Alameda County Fair.”
“That should do it,” I said to myself, and posted my erstwhile notice with a flourish of a single keystroke. My half-baked profile would come up, of course, in searches and I could even send an initial icebreaker with some canned expression of interest like “Hello, there tiger,” or “You’re an Errol Drool and a Half;” but my description was floating around in the electronic ether without a photograph, which nine out of 10 times is an admission of guilt.
Speaking of photographs. I’d like to speak about them for the moment.
I went through my collection trying to decide which one to use that would tantalize the troops into thinking I was a hot number. But that really wasn’t my goal, I asked myself, now was it?
I clicked open my stock of jpegs. This particular one of me lying on a tattoo parlor bench was going to give the wrong impression, not that I knew what the right impression was, but certainly not one of a single rose curling up the middle of my lumbar region. It revealed a lot more than I thought was appropriate, particularly with a skimpy white towel draped across my ample behind. Another more recent photo showed me in full dress attire but I was standing before the entrance to a Howard Johnson’s Motel, and I didn’t want to communicate a certain flighty disposition.
This was about forming new and meaningful relationships, I waffled again. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do this. Finally I located a rather nondescript photo of myself. But then in a sudden moment of abandon, I posted the photo of myself on the tattoo table. I decided it demonstrated that I was daring.
The next day I received my first communication from the service.
It was a stern letter telling me that my picture had been rejected, rejected by the online dating photo police.