Those of us of a certain age will recall that when we were much younger, circa 1981 or thereabouts, there was no “online”, so if you wanted to find someone out of your social circle you picked up one of the classified guides that had a personal section and went from there. There was a time after my first divorce and after my subsequent live-in love, that I gave it a shot. I wrote a brief description, what I was looking for, and a few photos. Yes, actual physical pictures! My, that WAS a long time ago! Anyway, off into the mail and then the interesting part began.
The responses began rolling in. Yes, actual physical letters that these men had written in longhand, no less. I confess it was a riot to pore over all the responses. Most were very quickly tossed into the “no way, Jose” pile. And there were a LOT of letters! Back then I was young and not too shabby to look at, and got a lot of “what are YOU doing looking in the classifieds???” Well, if you work and you live in a relatively small town, where are you going to meet people? I also foolishly thought the classifieds might give one an edge, since you’d be weeding out the inappropriate people instantly and would already have an inkling of the character and likes and dislikes of the other party.
After about two weeks and an enormous pile of responses having been cut to two, yes TWO, I thought surely one of these two would be perfect. The first guy was a psychologist I think. I honestly can’t remember what it was about him that set him apart from all the rejects. Had to be something because I was being really picky. Anyway, we set up a meeting. Perhaps I was not as savvy as one might think, because he was coming to my apartment and we’d be going out for a bite to eat. Just a little get-acquainted meeting. He showed up, and there was NO chemistry. I mean none. Not only that, but I believe his profession had him psychoanalyzing me, which I found off-putting and quickly annoying. Exit number one.
The second prospect was very cute, which didn’t hurt, plus he had a degree in ornithology and was very up on birds. Of course that was appealing as well. Drawback to this guy was he lived in Maine. He said he traveled a lot and it wasn’t a big problem. The first guy hadn’t turned out to be an ax murderer or rapist or anything, so I set up a time for this guy to come visit.
There was definitely some chemistry with this guy. He was cute, well-spoken, and could hug like nobody’s business. Something was missing, though, and I’m not sure what it was. But I really couldn’t see myself going long-term with this guy. So out of a huge stack I had cut it to two and neither of those made the grade.
Jump ahead to 2018, about 37 years later. Everything is online, which is both good and bad. My son said, “you should try match.com” and my son is pretty smart. So OK, we’ll give it a shot. I’m 62, so I’m looking for somebody maybe 60 (and even that feels a little like robbing the cradle) to 70. You can actually put in a very basic search using gender, age range, and location in terms of so many miles from your own zip code. Then you get to start poring through the results.
The first thing I notice in checking out some of the available men is that they either lie or they are just insane. Do these guys never just sit home and watch TV? Read a book? Take care of their yard? Apparently not, because all you read is how they like to sky dive, run 20 miles a day, travel to other countries, scuba dive, climb mountains, and on and on. It’s exhausting just reading about what these guys claim to do. I’m not buying it. I would bet these guys were not that active when they were 30, let alone at 60 or 70. Much like the paper classified guide of all those years ago, there are many men to look at, with very, very few getting a second glance. Again, pretty much two, so that must be my limit.
I should also say that I first got onto match.com by clicking an ad that popped up while I was in Facebook. “Sign in with facebook!” Really? OK, that sounds harmless enough. What I didn’t realize then was that I was apparently giving them permission to use my facebook picture as well as birthdate / age info as well as location. So over the next few days I start getting emails with lists of “matches”. At the time I still had a lot on my mind and hadn’t really decided to do this, so I wasn’t really paying much attention. Then I got a few messages, and I’m wondering why. So I finally smartened up and went back into match.com and realized I had a picture up there as well as a very few details. No profile, but that didn’t seem to be a deal-breaker. So I removed my picture and a few days later actually took the time to make a profile and even subscribed for six months. I was committed!
Unlike the optimistic men that apparently fancy themselves as athletes – or are fantasizing that it might get them a very active 20-year-old – I chose to be very honest. I don’t want to travel. I am a homebody and like to stay at home. I don’t like crowds, I like the peace and quiet of the country. I raise birds and have an obnoxious dog that you will have to deal with if you want to be part of my life. I’m low maintenance and happiest in shorts and a T shirt or jeans and a sweatshirt. I’m a conservative and miss the America in which I grew up. And on and on. I figured there is either somebody out there that values all that and wants that in a best friend for life, or doesn’t. Truth in advertising.
The matches that match.com finds are sometimes questionable. Like the flaming liberals they send on occasion! Or the ones that want a traveling companion. Or the mountain climbers. So as I said, out of tons of possibilities, two struck me. Here’s where it gets tricky, though. Do I go for the safe bet that seems a lot like what I had for the last 34 years or the one I keep looking at without even knowing for sure why? The eyes that keep drawing me back. The one I can tell is smart as hell which is extremely attractive.
What would you do? Yeah, me, too. Let’s hope he’s not an ax murderer. 🙂