I overdid the online dating thing and am now in recovery. I have killed off my avatar of amour, my doppelgänger of dating. I am no longer on any sites, my phone is quiet and I have stopped over-using the emoji library. Since we are mortal and I hate to think it was all a waste of time, here is what I learned from being Ladywriter99 on Tinder, Plenty of Fish, J-Date and OK Vapid.
1. I'm not a Commodity
Meeting new prospects required serious maintenance. No dirty nails from gardening. Dieting to remain at my "fighting weight." No postponing appointments with my (ahem) hair colorist.
One Harley-driving fellow suggested I put up hotter pictures on my dating profile. Perhaps in heels and a tight black dress because I looked too girl-next-door. It's hard to think of yourself as merchandise. Although it's probably realistic.
One of my girlfriends met her soul mate within a few weeks of going online. She gloated "I don't stay on the market for long!" I contemplated my far longer time "on the market," i.e. Plenty of Fish, and felt like a cut-rate flounder. Maybe I should discount myself.
Enough. No more marketing myself to strangers. I groom less. I've stopped wearing eye make up. I eat lots of carrot cake. I'm in a happier place.
2. My Time is valuable
Even for an unemployed slacker like me, online dating takes a lot of time. Some guys proposed a first meeting on a day they claimed to have free time, saying they'd text me that day with the meeting time. And that day, I heard... nothing.
After I'd arranged my day so I wouldn't be covered in gardening dirt or exercise sweat around the meet up. Which never happened. I hadn't insisted on a set time because I wanted to seem flexible and chill. Actually, I am rigid and high-strung. If you don't want to meet me, just say so. I'm a writer, I can deal with rejection.
3. Dating and Regurgitation Do not Mix
After a few first dates with the "not yet emotionally processed" divorced, I started to feel like Miss Lonelyhearts. This is a date. I won't tell you about my acid stomach problems. Please don't discuss your money-grubbing ex-wife, who didn't appreciate you, and/or had an affair with your exterminator. After listening for awhile, I start to question YOUR judgment skills.
One otherwise charming fellow insisted on discussing "The Women who Ruined His Life" in excruciating detail. Like to understand him, I needed a topological map of his past relationships. Um...no.
And yes, I did used go on too much about my late husband. I'm working on that.
4. I'm Good at Meeting Strange Men for Vapid Exchanges
I was with my late husband for 32 years. After he died, I planned to melt into my sofa in a haze of dark chocolate gelato and Nicholas Sparks movies. I'd be the woman in the bourbon-stained bathrobe buying the giant, economy Bombay Sapphire gin and twelve Butterfingers at Bevmo.
But I "got out there." Too much.
Still, I enjoyed the process. Most of the time. Having two or three meet-ups in one day, my multi-tasking skills improved. I can simultaneously text, e-mail, eat pre-made kale soup (fighting weight) and watch Californication!
Maybe this will prepare me for job interviews. Probably not. But I did feel socially adept. And resilient. Which is far better than isolated without options. Good bye for now, Ladywriter99.
Read the original, longer and unedited version of this post at The Hungover Widow: http://www.thehungoverwidow.com/dating-lessons-from-a-cut-rate-flounder/