What a Long Strange Trip It's Been

Once there was a middle-aged woman who found herself single at fortysomething. She joined Single Parent organizations, met people before the dawn of the scanner and picture exchanges and survived the resultant trauma.

Mar 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Once there was a middle-aged woman who found herself single at fortysomething. She joined Single Parent organizations, met people before the dawn of the scanner and picture exchanges and survived the resultant trauma.

She allowed well-meaning friends and family to set her up with people they just knew were perfect for her. She wondered how well they really knew her or if there was some grudge-settling going on. She danced the Electric Slide at more singles dances than she cares to remember and has the bone spurs to prove it.

Along the way in her journey, she actually met some great guys and had some wonderful experiences — enough, anyway, to keep her out there looking. The triumph of hope over experience, as they say.

And, yes, she is me, and having just returned from visiting the world of Internet Dating I wonder if you could help me achieve that infamous “closure” on this experience? Misery loving company and all that, let’s compare notes. Just answer the following questions and consider my plea at the end.

Have you ever…

• Realized one keystroke too late that you just “winked” at your ex-spouse (I thought he looked familiar) or your children’s English teacher?

• Cried “ohmygod” out loud to no one in particular upon viewing the pics of your latest online admirers/winkers?

• Looked at same-gender profiles just to get an idea of the competition?

• Realized that because you “peeked” at said same-gender competition now your picture will appear in their “viewed you” folder and these women will think you were checking them out?

• Can’t decide if you’re relieved or insulted that not one of those skanks responded to you?

• Snorted condescendingly at women who run pictures of themselves in the most revealing of poses and outfits, then declare their love for the Lord and berate the horny men who contact them who seem to be interested in just one thing?

• Proceeded to spend $70 on a bra for your new profile pics that takes every inch of fat between your waist and neck, back included, slamming it all together most painfully to create your very own come-hither 1-inch cleavage?

• Mercilessly slammed the one poor lovestarved “sexist pig” who even notices and comments. Ignore the rest who looked only at your chest and inquired how soon you’d be “legal”?

• Found yourself inundated with potential suitors one day and desperate and dateless just one week later?

• Realized that 75 percent of people our age don’t realize they look our age?

• Wondered about the psychosexual makeup of men whose favorite travel destination is Thailand?

• Questioned the limits of the size range involved in an “average” body build?

• become so weary from surfing page after page of like-sounding profiles you had to lie down and take a nap midway through the process?

• Wondered “what’s up” with all the people posed in front of Christmas trees? Only time they get their picture taken? Only time they’re smiling? Emphasizing their Christianity?

• Noticed how many fiftysomething men feel compelled to tell you on the first date that, unlike all those other guys, they don’t need Viagra, and that they want to prove it when you’d just as soon take their word for it?

• Recognized the person about to replace your brakes as someone you rejected online because he seemed psycho, and he recognizes you, too, and has that really big psycho grin on his face?

• Questioned how the young adult kids included in some profile pics feel about being a prop in dear old mom’s or dad’s advertising for a lover scheme … or if they even know about it?

• Laughed derisively at the average-earning fiftysomething guys looking for twentysomething girls, thinking they might actually be successful?

• Theorized about the potential Mommy hang-ups of the thirtysomething good-lookin’ guys who contact fiftysomething women like me? (Note to self: Explore theory further.)

• Wondered about the physics of a situation in which you can be 5-foot-2 wearing flats and still find yourself eye-level with someone who described themselves as 5-foot-11? Optical illusion?

• Hidden your profile, forgotten to “unhide” it and then wondered for the next two weeks why all of a sudden you weren’t getting any “hits?” • Questioned who would want to be intimate with someone who describes oneself as a “Teddy bear.” Are there women out there with a stuffed animal fetish?

• Sucked a lemon seed from a straw directly into your windpipe at a “first meeting” with someone you really wanted to impress?

• Realized how the constant influx of “new” members feeds into that “grass is always greener” mentality that keeps all of us thinking that, gee, while this one is nice I bet there’s probably someone out there who’s even more perfect just around the bend?

To those of you who haven’t experienced the above joys, please consider signing up ASAP. My expiration date is fast approaching, I’m gonna bail, and that void will need to be filled or they’ll force me to participate another six months — free of charge.

My photo will be enlarged to unflattering proportions and highlighted, the “hide my profile” link disabled and the profile shared with Internet sister sites across the globe unless I produce a replacement pronto.

My “must haves” for my substitute: A “fun, fit” individual in search of “special someone” who wants to be “friends first” with anyone with a “recent photo.”

Oh, and best of luck in your search!