DATING SITES: Shooting fish in Cupid’s barrel

Dear Mrs. Crabby,

I am an attractive, intelligent, divorced, 48-year-old woman. I have two teenaged children who live with me as well as my 89-year-old father, who is a handful I tell you what.

I’ve lived on my own for ten years. Now that my children are more independent, in high school, and my father spends all his time in his chair, drooling at the T.V., I want to pursue dating again. However, having been out of “the market”, so to speak, for so many years, I have no idea what to do.

My friends told me to register on dating sites. The first two I went on would not let me see how their site worked until I set up an account. I set up the account and looked at photos of men who were supposed to be my age. Half of them looked like my grandfather!! And, OMG, it was like a police line up, Mrs. Crabby. I felt like a detective had me looking through a book of mug shots to find the perp! Immediately came the pop-ups, asking to “chat” with me. Some of these fellows were in their twenties, looking for a “hot older mama.” Well, I cancelled these accounts immediately. One site keeps sending me e-mails that a really hot man has “viewed” me and wants to meet me, but they’ll only show me his info if I pay several hundred dollars for a minimum of six months membership. Yikes! Very scary.

I looked into a couple free dating sites. These were a bit better. Not as many mug shots. A lot of fellows holding their arm out with their phone camera pointed at them, grimacing more than smiling. Some are standing next to a woman, obviously their wife or girlfriend. I don’t want to date a couple, Mrs. Crabby. I just don’t swing that way. And shouldn’t there be a separate site for that kind of thing? The group photos are the most confusing because you just can’t figure out which one is the guy.

Anyway, I found a couple interesting fellows and “showed interest.” But I have not heard anything back from them. I have only heard from one fellow who looks like a young Charlie Manson who wanted to know my blood type and a couple others who want to “get married now!” And one fellow who wanted to know how old my children are and if we don’t date, he’d be ever so glad to babysit. For free. I don’t want to get married now, Mrs. Crabby. I am certainly not leaving my kids with a stranger. Ew. I’d just like to meet a nice man for some pleasant company and see what happens.

I’m about to throw in the towel. It should be easier to meet someone. What do you think?

Signed,

Lonely Lola

 

Dear Lola,

It should be easier. I agree. But it isn’t. The American Dream has become a fractured fairy tale, hon. But I certainly applaud your spirit in getting back “out there.” Though in the past couple of decades “out there” has become more like the Outer Limits.

These sites do not seem to offer much coherent advice on the best way to present yourself. I would wager that most of the men are wonderful people you would enjoy getting to know in other circumstances. You used to be able to find nice people in church or have friends fix you up. But current society has somehow eliminated all “other circumstances” as a result of various anthropological shifts. Like the economy and the Kardashians.

Don’t be lonely. Take a chance. But be careful about it. Meet them for a coffee first time out. After you have his name, do a background check. Have a family friend or relative ready to follow him home after your first date to make sure he doesn’t drive back to a psychiatric hospital, minimum security prison or the Bates Motel. Don’t give all your personal information at once. Take at least 17 dates for that. Maybe 20. And make some of it up.

If he invites you to come back to his place after a date, don’t ride in his car. Especially if the door locks are sawed off. Follow in your own car. That way, if he leads you out-of-town to deserted places and off-road paths, you can turn around and make a safe getaway. Likewise, if you spy rope, gasoline and a shovel in his trunk, best not make another date with that one.

And, if there’s no chemistry, don’t be afraid to say “close, but no cigar” and walk away. Hopefully before he knows where you live and work, so he can’t stalk you and spray paint “LOVE ME I’M LONELY” in red spray paint on your garage door as a “romantic gesture.”

It’s sad that one needs a Navy Seal caliber course in survival training just to have a blind date these days, but that’s the way of current events. Be smart and be safe, hon. But still, get out there and go for it. Lonely Street is not a happy place to live. You used to have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince. Nowadays you need security clearances and lab test results to kiss even one frog. You’ll get there. It just takes more steps. A lot more steps.

Happy hunting!

IB Crabby

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