“Dating”

Yes, about my speed...

Some people, when thrown, get back on the horse quickly, I guess. Any horse: real, figurative, merry-go-round, you name it. It’s what a good friend told me to do months ago, after we talked a bit about the New Crisis and the Fex and the IMD. “Get back on the horse,” the friend said (along with “Good riddance” to the Fex; guess there was a slight level of, uh…intolerance? Detestation? I was kinda surprised to hear about…). Online dating, that’s the ticket, I was told, the horse I should grab by the mane and boldly mount, riding into –

OK, enough of the horse metaphors, already.

Long story short, I tried Match.com.

What? No, no punch line. No horror stories either. Just several months of feeling…overwhelmed. On the one hand, I thought, isn’t it great that there are so many eligible women out there: your age, attractive, intelligent, looking for someone like – well, I doubt many are looking for someone exactly like me. Not quite the regulation male package, as defined by our society (and certainly not by the over-confident-by-half obnoxious Fairfield County divorcees who don’t even want to hear from you unless you make 150k per annum; though I guess there is much to be said for honesty).

On the other hand, it all felt too soon, at least in the beginning. I mean, I knew right away the Fex had thrown the switch, perhaps even long before she told me she wanted out. But it took a little longer, for me, for the reality to sink in. And to admit that the marriage I had tried so hard to save for so long, capped off by the move back to CT, was probably unsalvageable – and not even worth salvaging, given all I had given up and never had and would never have.

But no matter which hand you’re starting with, it was overwhelming. Hundreds of profiles and pictures and demands and deal-breakers. I wrote very few women. Fewer still actually responded, even if only to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” None wrote me, at least none I could take too seriously. There was the one woman writing on behalf of her vegan sister in central Massachusetts, who was appalled the sister was trying to fix her up with a stranger. And the 26-year-old from Alaska who said she was coming this way and looking for a good time. Uh huh.

So, no horror stories, but not much to feel encouraged about. After all, my friend had assured me that getting back on that emotional equine would be good for my ego.

Well, no.

I know the biggest problem was my status. Nothing says, “Big fucking red flag” to a woman, especially a sensible one over 40, like “Currently separated.” I understand. But as the weeks went by, and the emails didn’t come, that promised ego boost was nowhere to be seen. I had been sold a bill of goods. (Should have taken a much longer look at the teeth.)

But there was one woman…I will not say much. We exchanged several emails. The correspondence stopped. It started again. We “dated” once, then again. It was very nice, both times. There might be another. My being separated was not a total red flag; maybe more like a handkerchief she can’t really see, stuffed in my back pocket. But one she knows is still there.

“Dating.” I did not expect to be almost 51 and “dating.” I do not wish it upon anyone, regardless of how well each evening with my Match Miss might go. It’s “dating,” because I don’t know what real dating, no quotes, means. Never did it as a teen or after, don’t know what the rules are, don’t know how you know when something is clicking and might progress, or when it’s just the foundation of a friendship, at best, or a short-term sharing of a few hours that becomes nothing more.

“Dating,” because by reducing it to something a little ironic or not-quite-real, it seems less scary. And make no mistake, it is scary (and that is no reflection on Match Miss whatsoever, just my take on the process).

Of course, Dr. Chomsky, my therapist, probably does not approve of the whole Match thing. Of dating right now, for me, quotes or no. One year after the divorce, he advised, wait that year and then think about a serious relationship. No, you can’t start counting from the day she told you, or walked out, or filed the papers – even if she had cut you off emotionally so long before. Even if she took very little time striking another match (no pun intended) and starting anew, baby blue.

Well, Doc, all I gotta say is, you ain’t the one with no human contact day in and day out. No intimacy of any kind. No sense that an attractive, intelligent, fun woman actually enjoys spending a few hours with you. And I have enough self-awareness, I think, to be wary of the rebound phenomenon, to not ascribe to any woman all the things I thought I had with the Fex – and especially the ones I didn’t.

So let me just enjoy the time spent “dating” this woman and any other whom might cross my path before January 2012, hmm? Besides, the Match account is inactive, I’ve got plenty of work and little trips already lined up for 2011 to keep me busy, and I’m not looking to get back on a full-sized mare any time soon.

But a pony would be nice.

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~ by mburgan on December 24, 2010.

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