I thought this was pretty funny. This is the advertisement I found in my inbox for True.com, an online dating website:
Over 19 million singles. (Okay, that’s not too bad – I should be able to find one or two that still have some of their hair and most of their teeth.)
Connect with women near you. (Well, okay, staying open-minded; but if you have 19 million singles, I’m hoping that 5 or 6 million are men. If I go through all of them and still have no luck, well then, “connecting with women near me” might be something I should consider.)
Chat with women live. (Alright, now I’m getting a complex that you think I just won’t find a man that I can connect with, much less with whom I could carry on a conversation. And just for the record, is there a “chat with women/men on a time-delayed basis so you can check your spelling, ask your friends what to say, consult books for clever phrases, etc.?”)
And the final selling point to this site:
We screen for marrieds and felons. (Well, the factg that they put these two categories together is interesting to me, and the more I think about it, marrieds on a dating site is tantamount to felonious behavior, so I get it. But when they say they screen for marrieds and felons, do they mean they pick the best of the marrieds and felons to put on their site? Is that how they get to 19 million in the first place?)
I’ve actually done quite a bit of online dating – well, you actually only meet online, you do the dating part offline, in the real world. I’ve had some, um, interesting experiences and some wonderful ones. A few of the people I dated have remained good friends. A few caused me to change my cell phone number. There was the personal trainer who met me at a local pub for a drink. I ordered a chocolate espresso martini. I can’t remember what he was drinking – wheatgrass and grapefruit or something — but he was salivating when mine came.
He leans over the bar, points to my drink and asks the bartender, “How many calories you figure are in that thing? Like, 3,000?” I had just taken a sip, and estimating that there were about 20 sips in that drink, I figured I had 600 calories in my mouth. I was basically drinking a Big Mac meal. What kind of guy asks about the calories in a drink? Obviously, not the kind of guy with whom I go out on a second date.
Then there was the guy I invited to a black-tie dinner dance. In addition to being an expert dancer (he said), he also told me he was a black belt in karate, scuba certified, gourmet cook, mountain-climber, water-skier – well, you get the idea. I should have been tipped off when he showed up in a tux but without a tuxedo shirt or a bow-tie. He was wearing an open-necked white shirt and told me that this was his choral uniform. Choral uniform? Yes, he sang in a choir. Okay, I said to myself, chill out. It’s just one evening, you can hang in there. We get to the event where my friends were already seated at our table, and within minutes he was arguing with my best friend about the manners of her children, whom he had met for all of 22 seconds when we picked her up at her home. I poked him with my elbow as a gentle reminder to stop talking, but he just said, “Excuse you” and kept ranting.
It got worse. He led me to the dance floor and it was all I could do to hang on for dear life. He was spinning me – multiple times in a row – then twirling me away from him where I had to catch my balance on the other side of the dance floor. I tried dancing separately from him but he would grab my hands and give me another whirl. We were bumping into people left and right, and I was wondering if I could break off the heel of my shoe or something and sit the night out. That’s when it happened. He grabbed me behind my neck – hard — and dipped me – very low, without any warning. We ended up in a small pile on the wooden dance floor, and I finally limped back to our table. I told him I could no longer dance that night, which in hindsight, might actually have been better than having to endure his conversation for the next two hours.
I did learn something extremely valuable in my early dating experiences. I learned the art of saying “no” – kindly but firmly, at the end of the first date. There are 19 million men online after all, so it’s best to be quick.
I typically started off by saying, “Thank you so much for tonight. But I really don’t think we click. I wish you the best in your search.” There, nicely done.
Incredulously, most of my dates want to argue with me. They don’t fully appreciate the thoughtfulness I had put into this art of saying no. Most of them asked me to give it another chance. Several asked me how I could posibly tell with just one date?
“I just can tell, really, thank you. I have an idea of the type of person I’d like to be with, and this just isn’t it. But thank you, really.”
“I think you’re making a mistake,” some would say. Others were more direct: “You need to go out with me one more time.”
And then I would pull out the ringer, the one-liner that I developed because it felt honest and true to me. “No, thank you. Really. But just because we don’t click, please don’t let my preferences define you.”
This is my version of “it’s me, not you” and I really mean it. I have my own wants/needs/preferences that, ironically, don’t have much to do with another person but have everything to do with me. And just because I feel someone’s not right for me, doesn’t mean he’s not “right” at all — he’s perfect the way he is if that’s what makes him happy. He’s perfect for the person looking for all the qualities he possesses. I want him to know that.
And I remind myself of it everytime a guy doesn’t want to go out with me a second time.