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Online Dating: Kmart or Crack?

My friends have cleared me to date, "get out there" has been stated, texted, messaged, and posted by my inner circle. I've been in two serious post-divorce relationships and just ended a little something. But, where the heck is a divorced single mom going to meet the perfect guy?
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Hispanic teenager using laptop in bedroom
Hispanic teenager using laptop in bedroom

My friends have cleared me to date, "get out there" has been stated, texted, messaged, and posted by my inner circle. I've been in two serious post-divorce relationships and just ended a little something. But, where the heck is a divorced single mom going to meet the perfect guy? I work from home, school is finally over, and I'm not parading around the gym. Nor am I going to the supermarket with the hope that some guy is going to ask me to help him pick out a melon.

Everyone keeps telling me to give online dating a try. Just recently Martha Stewart posted a profile. Why not me?

But I can't shake the feeling that going online to find a date is like being dragged to Kmart as a teenager. You may have had that childhood experience running errands with a parent when all of a sudden it was announced "I just have to pick something up at Kmart." You believe that stepping foot in the store is an act of social suicide. You protest, expressing concern that someone will spot you, to which your parent answered, "Well if they see you shopping in Kmart, clearly they are also shopping in Kmart, so what is the problem?" The problem is that I am spotted shopping in Kmart, end of story.

And this is my general feeling about looking for love online. It would be horrible for someone I know to see my profile, as if it is some indication that I am so pathetic I have to look for love online. But, it also means they are online as well. Yeah, still no.

So in preparation for writing about this perception of online dating I did some research and received stories from friends of both marriages and stalking. This blog post was ready to roll. My position was cemented, never ever ever. But then thought I can't write about online dating having never tried. So, late one night last week I started a profile and I quickly realized online dating is not like Kmart; it's like how many have described the feeling after taking a hit of crack cocaine -- completely intoxicating, utterly insane, and very very addicting.

I instantly started getting messages... wait what? Guys are interested? In me?

I sifted through profiles. Now, I have a very clear idea of what I am looking for in a potential date and a detailed list of deal breakers. I was concerned both may be too over-analyzed. But I learned others have put the time in developing their own lists. Men describing in great detail that they are not looking for crazy:

"crazy looks like you sitting in front of my house for hours and sending me 100 text messages I do not reply to."

Or my personal favorite:

"Seriously, one cat is OK, two cats means you'd better be amazing and three cats means invariably you are on more than a few mood stabilizing drugs. Seriously... this is not my first rodeo."

Drugs, uncontrolled anxiety, and smoking are on my list of deal-breakers, but pets? Maybe gangs of iguanas and ferrets running around a house -- but a few cats? I don't have cats by the way.

As I searched through pictures, I wanted to message people and say "Taking a snapshot of you on an unmade bed with a full basket of laundry to be folded is not hot." I also started to wonder how some guys look incredibly hot in one of their pictures but then like a serial killer in another. Some look like they only want to steal my children and sell them into slavery -- and yes, I know that look, mother's instinct. There were pictures of men with white patent leather shoes, gold chains, others holding large fish, guns, and chain saws. Some men try to impress by posting images lifting heavy objects -- large rocks and tree stumps. I saw a lot of camouflage and guys with expressions of "hey baby." And yet, as pathetic as it all seemed, I couldn't stop looking.

It became clear that men didn't pay attention to women's profiles. I was contacted by men in Maryland and New York (yet in my profile I state you must live within 20 minutes of Quaker Bridge Mall). I wrote I am looking in the age range of 42-47, but received messages from 22-55 year olds. One potential 55-year-old suitor wrote to let me know that my age restriction was ridiculous, and I pondered his delivery and thought "is he really starting off this relationship criticizing me? That is not going to go well."

During my experiment I didn't see anyone I knew and my Kmart theory started to fade. But, I can see it being exhausting. I have been warned that so many profiles are faked by psychos and stalkers, and a few may eventually require a restraining order. How many times will I have to introduce myself to someone new before the process gets stale? With working and raising my kids I'll need a personal assistant to handle the messaging. ut it could be worth it, there are many who have found great love. Hmm... lots to think about.

And then it happened. Someone very interesting sent me a message. He fit all of my criteria and I had a decision to make -- play big or go home. I wasn't going to engage if I wasn't interested, that wouldn't be fair. I'm not disclosing details but I will share that my preconceived notions are starting to collapse. As always faithful readers... I will keep you posted.

So I need to run and address the messages waiting in my inbox. A guy with the user name of Wizard will not leave me alone. Shocking that I am passing up the opportunity to meet the Wizard. There is also a 21-year-old, who has sent me a number of messages explaining he is desperate to give me a foot massage. Um... no.

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