Monday, July 20, 2009

On-Line Dating & Other Anomolies

One of the cool things you notice if you blog long enough, is that thoughts seem to run in cycles. You'll also find that it's not uncommon to have blog entries sync with other bloggers. So, I grinned when I went for my daily laugh at Joanna Jenkins' blog, The Fifty Factor to read an hysterical story about her husband's great idea of hooking up her best friend with an acquaintance of his. She's lucky she still has a BFF. I had this post already in the works when I read her piece and I just knew I had to go with it.

I am a survivor of the On-Line Dating Wars. No, check that; I'm not a survivor, I am a champion! Listen to me here, because I absolutely know about this! And, you know I never lie so you'll get the real 411 on this bizarre topic. You also know you have a friend who could use this tutorial!

While I was on my own, after years went by and I wasn't dating, friends tried to help but most were paired up and didn't know anyone to introduce to me. Every now and again, someone would find a guy and the ensuing blind date left me thinking, "Holy crap I've been friends with her for a thousand years! Doesn't she know me at all?! What did she think the two of us would have in common?!!!" Other than both being alive, I mean. Well, check that, on a couple of those, I wasn't sure the guy had a pulse. It was almost enough to make me say, "No really, I like living alone. In fact I'm taking hermit lessons now! I hope to live that way for the rest of my life."

I knew they loved me and were well intentioned, but it got so I'd quake at the mere notion that they might know someone who knew someone who knows someone for me to consider. NO! So time passed and I still wasn't in a relationship- or even close.

My friends pondered, "Wow, Holly you work at a huge hospital! There must be lots of men, can't you find anyone there?" I would then explain that most of the staff happened to be female and I'm not gay. And that doctors were only available on soap operas but in real life, already involved or married. They'd say, "Oh, yeah, I see...gee have you thought about joining a church?!" How's that for a segue, huh?!

One day, when I'd stalked the bookstores yet again, sitting with my coffee and book, attempting to look fetching so that some guy reading Guns and Ammo, or Gear Head Magazine might look in my direction, I thought, "There has to be a better way!" Getting involved in groups or volunteering wasn't any better.

Going to bars was out; no way that ever turned out well. Going to friends' houses was good fun but Mr. Right wasn't ever there holding a drink and looking awe struck when I entered a room, "Surprise! I've been here waiting for you forever!!!" Nope. Never.

So, I got the idea to look into on-line dating. I lurked for quite awhile before I worked up my nerve and posted a profile with picture and began chatting. I learned that, generally, women are more serious about the quest to meet a partner. Women are looking for relationships, but most of the men on-line are looking for episodes. The guys are on the hunt to get laid or were bored with playing Guitar Hero, or their buddies were paired up and their new women afraid of his bad influence on their newly domesticated men, just wanted the free-wheeling bachelor gone.

Once I learned the basic rules of engagement, it became a pretty interesting exercise in Human watching. And while it had its weird moments, it was also a great deal of fun.

When my friends found out, they sounded the alarm, "Oh my god, Holly, you're not going to do that are you? What if he stills lives with his parents or spends time playing Dungeons & Dragons in their basement! How the hell can you trust any of those men? Most of them are probably lying or married, or who knows what?! " To which I calmly countered, "Okay, so you're suggesting that because the guy's on the computer, he's probably lying, but the guy I meet in the bar who really just wants to get laid, oh, that guy surely can't lie, right? Look, let's be real- if a person wants to lie, they'll lie. The venue is not what makes that more possible. "

When reasoned that way, they couldn't argue. So, I started in-

And, I met a lot of interesting, nice guys. Not all of whom was I romantically, physically, sexually, intellectually interested in. I only met two who still lived at home and that's all I'm saying about that. Likewise, I was not always the gal for some of the guys for whom I thought I was a good match.

Women aren't constrained by geography when it comes to finding the right guy. If we think a guy's a good prospect, we start Mapquesting to plan the fastest route. Heck, some women even chat with men in foreign countries figuring, at the very worst, they'll wrack up frequent flier miles!

But, men? If you don't live in the shed in their back yard, you probably live too far away to consider. You quickly learn that usually, if the guy is willing to come any distance to meet you, he's probably fished out the waters in his immediate area and now has to go to new fishing holes to get lucky. A rare few were enlightened men who knew quality and were not going to let geography get in the way. If distance wasn't a deal breaker for the guy, I knew he was more serious about the possibility of connecting. John was like that; he lived in Virginia and I was in Maryland. It was hard, but we worked around it.

The next thing you learn is that some sites attract more nuts and those who are just looking to get lucky. Match.com was like that for me. Although I hear it's changed now, when I tried it, I seemed to attract guys who started out okay only to have them send pictures of their penis. Is the plural of penis, peni??? After the second time it happened, I dropped the site and demanded my money back...which I got. Men? I know you think your Johnson is the best thing ever, but we females just don't find it that charming as an ice breaker. Got it?

Now, we know I'm not a prude. Don't even play one on television. I'm pretty open to most conversations and topics. I will warn you, however, that when it comes to on-line dating, you have to have limits, stick by them, and call the person on it when they cross your line. But, you have to remain open. With that said, you have to be aware that most guys want sex pretty early on in the dance. So don't get all offended. Don't get all worked up about not being respected. It's got nothing to do with that. It's just the way it is. You have the choice to pass or play along. If the guy is a player, and you don't want to play, tell him, "Thanks but no thanks," and wait for the next bus to come along.

Here's the thing: When I didn't want it, "No," was the answer and I stood my ground and was not talked into it. However, when I decided yes, I had a great time with the ones I chose. Sometimes I knew it wasn't going to be much more than a physical thing, but so long as it was my choice, it worked great. Don't make the mistake of thinking if you have sex, it will open the door to further discovery and interest on his part. That doesn't happen.

If you want to sleep with the guy- do it. But, be prepared that it might be nothing deeper than scratching an itch that you can't scratch for yourself. You're a big girl; deal with it. If you want it, go for it. Booty calls are not just for men, you know!

So here are the rules of engagement: If after chatting on line, you decide you're interested in each other, the next step is talking on the phone. You get a feel for the person by how they sound, what they're interested in, how they approach you and subjects. You should talk a few times on the phone before committing to meet.

Your first meeting- go someplace for coffee or lunch. Those imply a brief meeting. That way, if it's not good for you or him, your expectations aren't set too high and there's less pressure on both of you. If you click, stay and chat for as long as you like.

I never met a guy without the following in place: I always drove to meet him; no having them come to my house to pick me up until I knew them better. I always picked a place where I felt comfortable. I once met a guy at a great bar where I was friendly with the owner who is a burly Greek guy. Gus hung very close by at the bar. Eventually the guy, who I wasn't all that comfortable with, noticed that fact. It was good to be able to say, "Yeah, Gus is a friend of mine and he knows I'm having a meeting with you." Can I tell you? The guy began to behave himself a bit better. Score 1 for me! And, realizing he wasn't going to get lucky, excused himself shortly after. Gus poured me a fabu martini and I spent the remainder of my evening in pleasant conversation with him.

I always had my cell phone with me. You must have a wing-man; someone who knows where you are and can be called on for back up. I always told my sister-in-law Linda, where I was and the guy's name. About a half hour after the meeting started, my phone rang as planned and Linda would ask if things were all right. If they were, I'd say yes, and if they weren't, well, I had an excuse to leave. I only had to use that emergency hatch one time.

Don't be afraid to tell the guy that the call is your family checking on you. If the guy thought it was lame, that was my clue to say, "so long." For the most part, the guys were pretty impressed with my thinking and precautions.

If the man wasn't someone to whom I was attracted, kindly and honestly, I let him know at the end of the encounter. Yes, it's awkward, but it's still more respectful. I said I believed that their time was valuable and their quest was as important to them as mine was to me. They always accepted and thanked me; a few said how refreshing it was for someone to be honest. I behaved the same when it was my turn to be told that hard message. Being graceful in a difficult moment is always remembered. It's a good skill to master.

I'm still friends or friendly with several of the guys. I was lucky enough to work with one who is a professional photographer. Even though he and I were not a romance match, he is a great guy and we worked together very well on a couple of projects. Others, well you can never have too many friends. And, some were great lovers and that's all they were. I remember them all very fondly.

I tried several dating sites and you should, too. Even though you may run into some of the same faces, don't limit yourself to one. Take it seriously, but don't think it's the end of the world if you don't find Mr. Right right away. Guys have more fun with this than women do because they're all right with the process of the hunt. I'd say, stop desperately hoping every encounter could be the one because investing that sort of energy just wears you out after awhile.

Sometime you just need to take a break. Pull your profile down for a bit. Take time off. The second time I was on Yahoo personals, my subscription was just about up and I had decided not to renew it. As a farewell, I scanned the profiles a final time to see who was there that might not have shown before. I even looked at ones that the system didn't pick as a match for me.

And just before I signed out, I happened to come across this guy:

He only lived about 30 miles from me...he was really cute. When I read his profile and got a couple of laughs I thought, "Wow, how come this guy was never seen before and how come the system didn't pick him as a match?!" I looked further and without finding a reason to discount him as a potential, I sent the following, "Nice bike!" That's it, nothing more.

A short time later, I got an answer back, and it went from there. Turns out the guy already had my profile bookmarked and liked what I had to say. He was quite gentlemanly, educated, charming, witty, and you could tell, a bit shy. We talked several times on the phone and made a date to meet for lunch where we ended up talking for three hours.

And that's how Holly Dietor met Michael Frock. We wouldn't have met had we not been brave enough to take our destiny into our own hands and try something that made us a bit uncomfortable. Try stepping out of our small worlds and into the world of on-line dating.

Yeah, you'll meet a lot of odd ones, and nerdy ones, and ones who don't want even remotely what you're searching for. You'll have some sexual encounters that are great fun but don't lead to romance. And, I won't lie, you'll meet some where you think, "Eww, I don't need to do that again."

But all are Human Beings who are doing the exact same thing you are, which is hoping to find the one that makes the world a bit more complete. Hoping to find the one that makes you feel, when you hear them speak your name, as if you are hearing the most beautiful music.

And, if you are serious about it, and open to the possibility....

...you just might get your happily ever after, after all.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Mrs. Michael Frock

40 comments:

Alison said...

Fantastic Holly! I laughed and laughed when I read this - been there, done that - and you describe it so well! I also smiled at the lovely ending. Hmmm... perhaps when I get back home after my year in France I should try on-line dating again....

Rose said...

Aw! I love a nice romantic story....

Marisa said...

Great story Holly.How long did you date before tying the knot?

anne h said...

Another great, insightful, witty post from you, Holly!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

A funny and wonderful post, just the thing for a Monday morning! Thanks!

Mel said...

Awww, I chuckled the whole way through and then at the end got a little misty....what a lovely story!!

*sigh* I just LOVE happy endings...:)

QueenBee said...

I'm so happy for the two of you! What a wonderful story! As the mother of three young women, I've watched Captain Amazing turn into Major Butthole more times than I can count. Thanks for showing me that the good guys are still out there, and that love, honesty, and integrity are still alive, just in a different format!

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Holly, I love your honesty and your writing. Plus, happy endings are wonderful, aren't they? :)

James said...

That was a great story! But your guy does look like he might read Guns and Ammo.

Kyddryn said...

Sweet...and funny...and sweet.

Thank you, ma'am...you give a gal hope...

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

Toni said...

hmm.
all I can say is how happy I am not to need those services in any of their forms. Although I LOVE a happy ending (beginning!)

The Fragrant Muse said...

I haven't even read your post yet, but I had to scream 100 followers!

The Peach Tart said...

That's a great story. I too met my honey on the internet (Match.com) and we've been together 5 1/2 years now. However, I did also see a lot of dick pictures and kissed a lot of frogs before I met him.

Congratulations.

p.s. he is a cutie

Kavindra said...

After I read the first paragraph or 2, I jumped up to get a cup of coffee and settle in. I thought it was going to be a laugh riot.

But it wasn't. It was a honest straightforward empathetic account from both sides. Humorous but mostly refreshingly honest and kind.

You are so lovely. Glad you found someone who deserves you. That last photo is so sweet.

And yeah guys, no-one is interested in the formal penis portrait. I bet if "those men" didn't have us socializing them they'd hang the halls with those pictures in gilt-edged frames in place of their ancestors.

cinner said...

I Was laughing through it, I swear my one sister met her fellow online and it was a long haul to meet the right one...she used to call complaining about getting the penis pictures. One fellow was kinda a wanna be stalker, but she is a smart girl and played it safe. Actually I think it is safer than in a bar...I am glad you met your man and you look beautiful in your wedding pic. congrats on the 100 followers...i have been watching it all week. take care,cinner

chrisk said...

I loved it!! It made me laugh out loud, and smile at the ending. How sweet! I never would have the guts to do what you did, and with such style. Bravo.

Cam said...

Did the Queen Mother really just say booty call?

Still laughing about these rules of engagement...

Love it!

Genie Sea said...

Lovely! What a great story. :) I went that route extensively and it was not as successful for me. :)

joyce said...

Wjat a wonderful happily ever after story! And I love the "nerdy" pics you used. I also really like the wreath around your head in the wedding?? photo.
I would be way to shy to meet someone I really didn't know...even just for coffee...my main thought when I have to be one on one with someone..anyone..is "what am I going to talk about?" Hell ,that may be an idea for a future post!

Big Pissy said...

What a fun, wonderful and romantic story. :)

miss*R said...

oh what a fantastic post!!! I laughed too.. and wonderful ending.. I met dutch husband after many blind date episodes at Parents without Partners and we are still together 21 years later.. and he rides a bike ;)

beth said...

this was amazing to read and WHOA...if I am ever alone and in need of online dating, you've the got job as being my coach !

and what a fabulous love story in the end...and some life lessons along the way....

hugs !

Arcta Firebringer said...

You rock, Holly! I needed to hear that today.

peppylady (Dora) said...

First time here I believe. I came over from Miss R.
What a fantastic blog and your posting.

I never tried on line dating. I been married for ages and still.
But I know people who had a great experience and bad ones with on line dating.
I even recall people placing adds in papers looking for that special someone.

Coffee is on.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Oh My Gawd Holly!!!! I can't believe it's nearly 10pm and I finally got a chance to check your blog today. Oh! My! Gawd!!!!!! THis is he greatest story EVER!!!!! I love this.

First, it's a great story that had me hanging on every word.

Second, I had no idea that's how you met Michael! And what a hunk he is on that bike ! Oh baby!!!!

OMG!!!! That's all I can say.

That and Woo-HOO!!!!!!

And Thanks for he shout out.

Love ya sis :-)

Chester said...

Great story with lots of advice attached. Going to point my guy coworker to it who just recently signed up to EHarmony.
Chester's Mom ;0=)

Samantha said...

Oh my god Holly, I'm so very glad you told me this story. I feel so much better. I'm in the online-dating game again, and it's really hard. At least it's not frowned upon so much anymore ~ everyone seems to be doing it. But I often despair of the whole process, and wonder if it ever truly can work.

I'm particularly fed-up with Match.com, as they send me all these 'matches' that are nowhere near a match for me. Hilarious. Then if I read someone's profile that has winked at me, they offer me to see a whole bunch of other profiles that are similar ~ and, I have noticed that "similar" means "also has a bald head" or also lives in Liphook. How on earth does that make them a match on all the important qualities that I spent ages listing in my profile?? You gotta laugh.

I will chat more with you about this, as I have a few great backstories to tell ~ this not being my first adventure in the world of internet dating. But thank you for giving me hope.

Much love.

Sarah said...

I Love this post - how did I miss it yesterday??!! So glad you found a good guy hon! What can I say..I married my body guard!! Not tomention the fact that he is several years younger - ya just never know!! Hugs to you and I totally think you were right in what you said. Hugs and love, Sarah

Hybrid J said...

Hi there, love your story!!

I've been wanting to try on-line dating for a few years, but never pluck up enough courage to do it. But then reading your story maybe I could give it a try, especially when I got a bit stuck with my writing ... ;)

And thank you for every one of your comments to my posts. You're such a generous and loving woman. I feel very honored to be in your company.

Cheers and have a wonderful day.

histreasure said...

Insightful, hope inspiring post.. and the ending? lovely..wish u a glorious marital experience.

Life With Dogs said...

I had no idea Holly. And I sure didn't expect a booty call endorsement, but that is just icing on the cake! I had a neighbor who used match.com frequently, and he certainly met a few duds, but had a great experience overall. It's a viable alternative to the traditional dating scene...

jane said...

hi holly. just found you. great post! i have tons to do, but couldn´t stop reading until the end. love, love, love your writing...
jane

Ribbon said...

Awesome!

best wishes always
Ribbon x

Christine said...

I'm over from Joanna Jenkin's. Lovely story, online dating sites do work!

Alix said...

Greetings Mrs. Frock!

Followed you over from Joanna's blog and am I ever glad! Love your post about dating and your online adventures. I too am the lucky beneficiary of a great online match (it all started with an AOL disk, a lonely Easter Sunday, and an instant message...). Now, a dozen years of marriage later, I'm still a very happy satisfied blushing bride - which just goes to prove it can happen.

So glad you found your happily ever after. You've inspired me to post about meeting my husband online.

PS: I'm subscribing to your genius blog immediately!

Alix said...

Greetings Mrs. Frock!

Followed you over from Joanna's blog and am I ever glad! Love your post about dating and your online adventures. I too am the lucky beneficiary of a great online match (it all started with an AOL disk, a lonely Easter Sunday, and an instant message...). Now, a dozen years of marriage later, I'm still a very happy satisfied blushing bride - which just goes to prove it can happen.

So glad you found your happily ever after. You've inspired me to post about meeting my husband online.

PS: I'm subscribing to your genius blog immediately!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Followed the link from Joanna's blog and loved your post - just like she said I would. Wondeful story.

And the peni as plural for penis - still smiling...

Kathy said...

Glad I found your blog. What a wonderful story. Times have certainly changed and if you want to continue to find your way in this world...you better be ready to change with them. Good for both of you and congrats!

TechnoBabe said...

That is wonderfully written and so loving and fun. It has given me the spunk to write in my blog how I met my husband 4 years ago online. Great picture of you both too!!!

My name is PJ. said...

Hi Holly, I've read your comments many times over at The Fifty Factor and finally made my way over. Loved this post! I sent the link to my sister who has had 'nothing-but-notgonnahappen' luck on Match.com. I enjoy blogs written by women my age.... :)

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