I'm sitting cross-legged on my therapist's couch 4 months after my husband's announcement that he wants a divorce when my therapist informs me that he thinks I should start dating again.
I had told myself and others that I was going to take time off to concentrate on myself for once. Between a husband and three boys, I didn't know who I was anymore. I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends, drink martinis like a fish, and let the hair grow long on my legs if I wanted. I had even gone so far as to announce to my friends that I was going to take a full year off from any kind of relationship.
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One of the interesting things about people knowing that I write a dating blog is that I frequently get invited to various activities to which I wouldn’t ordinarily be exposed. Often, I feel as though I’m being invited just because the host is hoping I will write a blog post about it. There have been countless happy hour invitations from people I barely know after they have learned about My Dating Prescription. Then there were the more exciting invitations, the vibrator party and the invitation to be part of a swinger’s club.
Often, I decline.
The singles party I attended last Saturday, however, was not one of these events. I had actually been invited, by a good friend of mine, to this party a number of times. The host and hostess of the party happen to be married (to each other) and throw this party at their house every year for their single friends and their single friends’ friends. The party has been going strong for well over 10 years, and I had actually been invited years ago, before I was married. In the past, something always came up and I had to decline but not this year.
The invitation to this party is time-sensitive, because the hosts only accept invitations from the first 50 men and 50 women to respond. To get onto the guest list you have to provide an interesting tidbit of information about yourself; it has to pass muster with the host and hostess; and you hope that you get the ok before the guest list becomes full.
Believe it or not, I didn’t know what to write fo my tidbit. I didn’t divulge the fact that I write a dating blog. Instead, I wrote some crap about having lived in Rome for a short period of time and taking cooking classes while I was there.
This turned out to be a mistake,…and I should have known it would be a mistake. At this point in my dating journey, I have read enough online dating profiles to know that most people try to sound impressive by listing all of the places they have ever travelled in the world. It actually becomes a little annoying. Let’s face it. If the most exciting “favorite place” you can think of is a vacation you took 15 years ago, your life is pretty dull, and you need to get honest with yourself and your potential date about the fact that you spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on the couch with the remote. That goes for me and my cooking in Rome too. I should have known better than to provide that tidbit for this particular party.
However, I would like to state, for the record, that on my online dating profile I DO NOT list the countries I have visited. I mention atmospheres I prefer instead.
But anyway…Rome was a mistake. Approximately 50% of both the men and women at the party provided a tidbit about travel. Alas, it appears I am neither unique nor creative.
So, I had sent in my poorly chosen tidbit, received an email informing me I had been allowed access, and was sent a list of various alcoholic beverages from which I could choose to help supply the singles bar. Check, check, and check.
On the night of the party, I showed up at my girlfriend’s house for a pre-party pre-funk. There would be four of us going to the party together. Safety in numbers.
We arrived at the party, deposited our alcoholic beverages at the “bar,” which was a long folding table filled to the edges with bottles of hard alcohol, no beer, no wine allowed. Extra bottles were sitting on the floor behind the table along with a couple of ice chests and other various bar implements. It appeared that most of the living room furniture had been removed or pushed back. Good call.
My girlfriends and I were each given a pink piece of paper and a pen. The men got blues ones. (It seems I’m not the only one lacking creativity.) On the paper were the tidbits for all of the men at the party. The men, of course, had all of the tidbits for the women, including my unoriginal tidbit about Rome.
To make things interesting and to get things rolling there was a contest. I’ll be honest. I didn’t pay attention to what the prize was, and I didnt’ take it too seriously. The objective of the contest was to match the tidbit with the person who had done the tidbit. Let the mingling begin.
Here is a sampling of tidbits for the men…
…(who)se travels include a max elevation of 60,000 ft & a min. of -1,380 ft below sea level.
…has been inside the Kremlin.
…was a volunteer radio DJ at two rural colleges in the Phillippines.
…has a new town named after him in the Peruvian Amazon.
See what I mean? I would need a drink before I went on this little adventure. I tried to get to the “bar,” which turned out to be almost impossible. Apparently, I was not the only one who needed liquid courage to embark on this evening. It was worse than a packed night club on a Saturday night. The “line” was at least three people deep, and the floor was already sticky.
I finally got a Manhattan, and scanned the room for my first conversation. I suddenly realized that I am not good at this. I’m okay at networking, but the extra pressure of the situation being a singles party threw me off. Even when I’m cruising the online dating sites I don’t like to reach out to a man first. It’s just not my style, and there I was, expected to go face to face, toe to toe, and ask someone if he…let’s see…”had to spend an unplanned night in the Costa Rican jungle when his guide got lost.”
Being single sucks!
There was something else I noticed. My girlfriends are much better at this than I am. AND, they have no problem talking to the best looking men in the room. I, on the other hand, avoided them. WHAT is wrong with me? It appears I have confidence issues.
I tried to escape to the kitchen. There I encountered a very tall, very loud man who asked me what I was drinking.
“It’s a Manhattan,” I said.
“Oh, good call. You’ll need it.”
I noticed he did not have a blue piece of paper.
“Oh, I’m not part of the party,” he said, “I’m just helping with the food. Have you tried the guacamole?”
I had not. I was not going to stand next to the food table, gorge myself on party food, and refuse to speak to anyone. I had to put my big girl panties on and go talk to someone. Fuck. I hate my life sometimes, and I hate my friends for talking me into this shit.
I headed back out into the fray…
After posting my note about deciding that I might need to speed date, I received the question, “What’s the hurry?
There’s really no hurry, I guess. But, I had forgotten how much work goes into online dating. I’m only two completed dates in and I’m quickly becoming fed up with the process. I wish I had an assistant or a Human Resources manager who could do the initial screenings, send introduction emails, and conduct initial interviews for me. It’s so tedious, I just want to poke my eyes out with a sharp stick.
For every date produced, I probably end up looking at over 100 men, rejecting 80% of them, and sending a handful of emails. In fact, numerous times per week, I receive an email from Plentyoffish stating that someone wants to ‘Meet Me,’ and typically my reaction upon opening the link is something like, “Ugh, oh my god,” before I quickly close the website. It’s the same reaction I have when I discover a forgotten container in the back of my refrigerator, open it, and realize I could have gone my whole life without seeing what’s inside.
When you really get into the numbers, this means I have taken on a VERY big project. It could be three years before I date 100 men. I’m convinced. My therapist is a nut job!
And, it’s not as fun as I thought it would be. Men on online dating sites are really not very fun. They’re not.
They go on and on in their profiles about the woman they want. Their lists of requirements are typically so long they will never find the woman that will fit them. And, in addition to that, most of them do not break their bios into paragraphs, which I find EXTREMELY annoying. English 101 people! If you change topics, it’s time to add a little white space.
The rest of this post is included in the first book from My Dating Prescription, due out in 2013. To receive news about its publication, sign up using the MailChimp Book Release Notice widget in the sidebar.