This is the story if how I got back into the Dating Game: Redux. In the next few blogs, I'll share my story with you, because, in my experience, whether you're in the dating game, avoiding the dating game, or with your partner, there is always more to learn about how we do relationships. So buckle up your parachutes and get ready for the great leap of faith this requires.
Bright Idea: I'll enter my profile on a singles site. Alright, I've downloaded the photos my sister took in her back yard. Let's see, which of them makes me look the very best? Well, that one makes me look sleepy, and this one shows too much of my wrinkled chin and neck, and this one shows how fat my midriff is, my smile's a little goofy in this one, and, well, I've narrowed it down to three shots that are OK. I sure hope the right guy sees these and thinks I'm really hot!
Now I have to write just the right words in my profile - enough key words to create interest but not THAT kind of message so they won't think I'm too free and easy. How can I convey what I'm looking for in a partner without being too wordy, too quirky, too intellectual, too picky, or sounding sex-starved?
This is going to be tougher than I thought. Because words have such power for me, I have to dedicate lots of time to writing, editing, re-writing, and re-phrasing my message. You'd think I was writing my PhD thesis.
It has to be the real me but not too bold or too weak - me in moderation. (Who am I kidding? I don't even know the meaning of the word moderation!) I feel kind of like Goldilocks looking for the "just right" profile to attract my ideal man. Ahhh, I think I have it, so let's hit "post" and move forward answering all of these meaningless questions. They give you options that are close to what you would choose, but not ideal in my world of exact expression. Oh well, I'll have to settle for the ones that are closest to what I'd say if I could simply write it myself. (I think I now get it - why they give you multiple choice options instead of letting you give your own answer to some of this stuff - not everyone has trouble with defining EXACTLY what they mean, nor do they want to write their own answers. Those are not the men for me.)
So here's the profile I submitted first:
Seeking a man who's honest with himself - has looked inside and been willing to change what he thinks needs changing and love what he knows is genuine. I'm a spiritual woman who believes in a Higher Power and want someone who is the same. You must see the humor in life and be able to laugh. Please be playful and positive. Good conversation is essential - you don't have to be my best girlfriend, but enjoy a good conversation. And, finally - chemistry is important - gotta wanta kiss ya!
Sounds good to me. So after the first few responses where guys were saying "Yep! I sure want kiss you!" I thought maybe I was giving the wrong message. They weren't getting it - I have to want to kiss THEM!
Now comes the waiting game as I watch for emails from interested guys. There were a ton of computer generated matches, and a few flirts and emails from members started coming in. Let the games begin: email exchanges with those who sound (and look) like I'd want to know them better. After a series of email exchanges, they'd ask for my phone number. The one thing I have learned from being in this space in the past, is never to give my phone number to anyone - get their phone number and a good time to call, then block my number on caller ID and dial them. Have a minimum of two probing conversations with them before deciding to meet in a very public place.
Applying my fool proof formula: email exchanges, then a couple of phone conversations before a decision as to whether we should meet for coffee and I'm thinking "OK", this is progressing nicely. I have a few men I'm interested in meeting. One is a few hours out of my area and I inquire how he thinks he can keep a woman living several hours away from him happy in relationship, he bats that back to me with the answer that it's not a problem and he can make it work for the right woman. I agree to meet this pilot who has his own small airplane - only a 45 minute flight from house to house - piece of cake, huh?
He agrees to fly in from NV to meet me and spend an afternoon together. No pressure there - the guy's flying in to meet me and spend time with me! What if we take one look at each other and want to run in the other direction? Well, I'm grown up so I make it clear that this is JUST a meeting and that at any time either of us can say "this isn't working for me" and end it - right? He agrees, but keeps reassuring me that he's confident that we're meant for each other. I, however, am more skeptical - remember, I gotta feel the chemistry before I decide if I even want to know him at all.
D Day arrives - I'm nervous, but feel like I've been clear in my message - both written and verbal. Checking my look before departing: clothes, makeup, hair, and scent. OK, I look pretty good, so I walk out the door to meet him at the small airport about 25 minutes from my house. I'm excited, nervous with anticipation. I pull up in my car as he's tying down the plane and there stands an old man - in old man clothes, and old man shoes, and an old man attitude! Oh no! I want to tell him to untie his plane, start it up and run, but my good manners kick in and this message floats through my brain: Toni, he's only 2 years older than you, give this guy a chance, there may be a real great guy hidden in that old man. I approach him and smile as we walk to my car already certain that I DON'T wanta kiss him.
I get in, he gets in, then he reaches towards me saying "how 'bout that big kiss now?" OMG! I'm paralyzed with shock! He thinks my message means that he's going to get a big kiss from me when we meet. I look at him with dismay and say, "I don't kiss strangers. I have to get to know someone before I kiss him." He patiently reminds me that my profile says "gotta wanta kiss ya". Now I have to go through the explanation about what that means - exactly.
"I have to WANT to kiss YOU. I'll know that in the first few minutes after meeting you. IF I WANT to kiss you, then I'll want to get to know you before I actually plant my lips on yours." Needless to say, we were not off on the best of terms already and I'd only met him 5 minutes ago. I won't bore you with the rest of the details of this dismal date. He flew away, I ran home and added the word "I" to "gotta wanta kiss ya", sent him a "Dear John' email the next morning telling him what a nice time I'd had and too bad we weren't a match and wishing him the best in finding his perfect mate, blah, blah, blah. OK, I'm not disillusioned yet, that's one down - surely HE's right around the corner. Little did I know that I was just getting started...