I’m a people person. I like to have real conversations that involve using my voice, making eye contact and reading expressions. I enjoy the sound of authentic laughter and the wispy aroma of a nice cologne.
I am so not cut out for digital dating.
My first attempts at online dating went reasonably well. I tried the site www.udate.com at the advice of a friend just a few weeks into my divorce. The thought was, from her, that it would get me used to talking about myself and being “out there.” Neither of us really expected anything to happen, certainly not right away.
Something did happen right away — I met a man from Eastern Iowa (I was still on the other side of the state) and we started what would become a three-year relationship that included moving my kids and I near Cedar Rapids.
I didn’t blame the digital age for the relationship’s downfall; that was due to something more controllable on a personal level (No, it really isn’t a good idea for him to date more than one woman at a time — that’s kind of a sticking point for me). Instead I waited a few months and tried again.
I tried them all: Match.com, Yahoo Personals, eHarmony. And that’s where the horror begins.
* Kevin* and I had great online and telephone conversations, and decided to meet for dinner when he got off work. Unfortunately, he was working the 3-11 p.m. shift and forgot to ask to get off early — so my phone rang at 6, at 7, and at 8 with promises of “being right out.” I should have hung it up there, but he kept telling me how much he’d been looking forward to going out so finally, at 8:45, he called to tell me he was off work. I followed him to the restaurant where he left me while he went home to shower. When he left, so did I.
* Robert and I actually got along pretty well. He was great fun, made me laugh and had a lot of the same thoughts and beliefs I did. There were two things that went wrong with Robert: a) I met him about a year too soon, just after my three-year relationship ended and I wasn’t really ready to date; and b) Robert was too interested too fast — he sang me karaoke love songs and told me he meant every word. On our second date.
* Larry was another who seemed perfectly nice and normal on the telephone. We met for dinner after a few weeks and had a great conversation, so great that he suggested we go to a movie. I tried putting it off — you can’ t really talk during a movie — but was eventually persuaded. He went to buy the tickets and his debit card wasn’t working and would I mind paying for the movie?
The list goes on; lost of first dates, very, very few second. The phone calls always go great but when it comes to the face-to-face meeting something just falls short. At least in “the old days” the physical assessment was done before you even took the time to talk to a person, let alone get their number.
I know we have gone digital for much of our ordinary lives: we pay bills, rent movies, arrange flights and book hotels sitting in our pajamas at our computers.
It just seems that something as personal as dating should be … well, done in person.
(*Names have been changed to protect the lame …)