I swore I would never do this– write a post about the men I encounter on internet dating sites. It’s cheap and low brow, and I am a classy girl. More than that, I recognize that I am potential fodder for someone else’s jokes. I realize that a chunky, 40-year-old mom trying to rustle up some action with her not-so-sexy pics could be pretty amusing to a lot of people, so I vowed not to throw rocks from my glass house.
I can’t help it. There’s just too much material.
For starters, at least I know I’m a chunky, 40-year-old mom. I’m nerdy. I like to read and garden and I make that very plain on my profile. No cleavage pics, no sexy pouting, no enticing descriptions of a wild, party-girl alter ego. Which is why I’m shocked when I’m approached by guys like this one, who actually emailed me this morning:
I’m sorry, Natural Born Hustler; did you mistake me for a hoodrat honey? Do I appear to be thuggin’? Cuz I ain’t, Hustler. Although I cannot see your pants in the picture, I’m sure that you need to pull them up.
Holy cow, I could write a whole post about this guy and how I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. Not him, not the tattoo, not why he approached me at all. Do you think he wants to rob me? I just don’t get it.
Then there are the screen names. If your screen name is, “4U2SEXWITH,” I don’t want to meet you. And because I am crazy, the thing that bothers me most about that screen name is not the inherent sexual proposition, although that is extraordinarily tacky. No, the thing that bothers me most is the use of the word “sex” as a verb. I hate that, because when “sex” is used as a verb (all by itself, with no preposition or helping verb—yes, I am a grammar geek), I always interpret it as “to determine the sex of.” Since I don’t have a litter of puppies or a batch of chicks at the moment, I don’t need anyone to sex with. I don’t need to sex at all. By the way, “4U2SEXWITH” is a real screen name from a real person who actually emailed me. I have no idea what the email said.
Another recent email came from a guy with the screen name “Footguy.” He wants to know what color my toenails are painted. He wants to know if I like foot rubs and he hopes I am enjoying a relaxing evening at home, barefoot. Criminy.
Then there is the massive barrier that results from trying to communicate with someone in writing. This morning a man—a good-looking man with nothing offensive or off-putting in his profile—attempted to contact me through the dating site. The conversation looks like this:
Man: Hi pretty
Meg: Hi there 🙂
Man: Your pretty
Meg: Thank you. I think you’re cute, too.
Man: I like your profile
Man: Can I call u
This guy is trying to be nice, but he’s certainly no conversational wizard. Yes, the incorrect “your” is his error, but I try really hard not to tweak on that. Plenty of intelligent people make that mistake, and I know some very smart people who can’t spell. The problem could also be typing. Some people, especially those who don’t work on computers, have to type everything with two fingers. If they tried to be dazzling and eloquent, it would take all day. I’m really trying to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, but still, this is all I have to go on. I can’t form an impression from this grunting sort of communication. Am I the only one who reads that exchange in the voice of Animal from The Muppets? “YOU. WOMAN. PRETTY.” I don’t want to be critical, but I really don’t know what to say in response to that. Hi. Thank you. No; it’s probably better if you don’t call me.
Then there is the flip side: flowery messages by romantic men who are trying to woo women they know nothing about. One guy signed his sticky-sweet but generic email, “Captivated by you.” Really? Was it my sexy mom pics or my list of exciting domestic hobbies that were captivating? Do tell! One guy sent me the message, “Hello, Beautiful. You have a very enigmatic smile.” If you know me, there is really nothing enigmatic about me or my smile. I have a pronounced overbite and I’m a goofball, so what I have is a dorky smile. I’m fine with my dorky smile, but I know damn well it isn’t enigmatic. How to answer that email? Should I flutter my eyelashes and say, “Aww, shucks, I bet you say that to all the girls?” Because he does, apparently; a week or so later I got the exact same email from the same guy. That’s his form letter.
While I was writing this post, I received a message from a guy who is 21. TWENTY-ONE PEOPLE-YEARS OLD, messaging a clearly-labeled 40-year-old on a dating site. With an age gap that big, it’s not even flattering; it’s just baffling. He is new to the area and wants to know if I will “hang out” with him. Poor lamb– I suppose if he is lonely I could set him up on a play-date with my 19-year-old son.
One perk about online dating: the longer I do it, the more I am content to be single.