Gray in L.A.
OK, I admit it. I have been in the dating zoo for a while -- with a certain lack of enthusiasm and a fair share of ambivalence. You know how it is. I love being single, but wouldn't mind dating. And like many others I was too cheap to pay for some websites that promise that you will finally find the missing half of yourself (I personally haven't lost any piece of me) in the form of some 64-year-old rotund "readiforlove" guy from Tarzana, CA, with a jaunty hat and a Cocker Spaniel... and too afraid to check out Tinder and therefore being offered too much adventurous sex with a hot-blooded much too young "cupidangelo" who likes to explore "all there is."
So I signed on for free to the dating site OK STUPID. Did I say STUPID? Yes, I guess I did, because it is. It isn't only that even the notoriously game CUPID himself has not been seen in action there by anyone I've ever talked to - and frankly, I can't blame him. It's the OK-men who are mostly depressing and live in a world I don't understand for the life of me.
I can't complain about mild to enthusiastic compliments and attention. I get a fair amount of mails from men between 32 and 78. I do have a pretty picture posted (and don't lie about my age).
Yesterday, there was one Barry, 70, from Bakersfield, a part of L.A. I've been warned about -- no, not gangs, but boredom. He writes: "Hello smiling face!" That's it. I guess that is nice and reminds me of that lame old James Taylor song "Whenever I see your smiling face". James is probably about my age. Maybe he is secretly on OK?
What is going on? What do these men want from me? One was "looking for a levelheaded lady" - that's definitely me. A 22-year-old simply said: "Let's hang out sometime! I can handle anything!" That's the spirit! Yet, I declined. Another pleaded: "Tired of living alone... Please, come save me!" Nope. Save yourself, bud. But they want it all: Trust, faithfulness, commitment, Christianity, kindness, selflessness. I have to be tolerant, clean, sexy, modest, playful, humorous, honest, somewhat intelligent, and love his dog, kids, grandma, nature, the ocean and Italian food. They have a lot to offer, too, mostly manly understanding for the female soul that is alien to them. And they share. A lot. In their summary they say things like this:
The first things people usually notice about me: My sensitive hands and my naturally rosy cheeks
The six things I could never do without: Oxygen, water, coffee, sex, burning man, pizza
I spend a lot of time thinking about: You and how I can get you to loan me some money
On a typical Friday night I am: Watching porn while eating popcorn
I made only the last two things up.
I think I speak for most women when I advise men not to start a conversation with just "hi" or "Hi, pretty lady, how was ur day," or "care about a chat?" or "can I know you, please?" No, you definitely can't with that grammar! Also, please, no photos of your car, ex-wives, mother, best buddy, dogs in sweaters, vacationing anywhere, especially not snorkeling pictures, theme parks, having a glass of wine in your hand, costume party pix, selfie in bathroom mirror with shower curtain, patting a horse, hugging a kid or playing an instrument, OK?
So, now you want to know: Did I date eventually? Yes, I did. Nothing too exciting happened. As usual, the men (all over 60) had lied about their height and their hair, meaning they were shorter and had less hair (I heard that women usually lie about their weight and their age). The conversations were polite but tepid, all men wore glasses and their shirts over their jeans, and all were irritated that I don't have a car. So, I was the odd mystery woman. I like that. I walked home, thinking each time: "I'm actually not looking for someone."
So these are my tips for incorrigible people who can't stay away from dating sites for older folks. Sign on, search and play the game only if you:
1. Have lots of time to waste and the patience of a saint.
2. Know a translator or language specialist to decipher the crazy, inane grammar of the candidates.
3. Have a jolly disposition and a forgiving heart.
4. Don't mind pictures of tanned old guys in tank tops and "cool" big cargo pants sitting on shrill-colored motorbikes.
5. Don't mind pictures of jovial pensioners in jogging suits and sandals visiting Disneyland and hugging Goofy.
6. Don't mind blurry phone-selfies of bored young dudes in t-shirts and wool caps watching TV in bed and eating snacks.
7. Are easily taken by a "self summary" of likes that includes "a good glass of wine", "like to cuddle", "looking for a deep rooted relationship", the words "nurture", "share" and "passion for life" - and that are longer than "Gone with the Wind" but lack Rhett and Scarlett's chemistry.
8. Really, really like to hike with a stranger in the Santa Monica Mountains.
9. Love to receive links to animal-related videos three times a day that are signed with "lol."
10. Believe in miracles.
I've noticed that in the end it's not about getting to know somebody, it's about throwing your individual dreams at somebody and see whether they stick.
So, to make a way too long dating story short and reveal in OK STUPID style "The most private thing I'm willing to admit": Sorry to say with the words of Bob Dylan, himself a 70-plus guy: "It ain't me, babe!" Now, with Bob himself, that's another story. Is he dating? He seems like a cranky guy but he is rich and I like his pencil-moustache, Cowboy jackets and his hat. His songs, too.