I always had a hard time trying to figure out why my pretty, blonde, blue-eyed friend Susan (not her real name) is alone. Six years after the break-up of her marriage, she’s not only still single, but she has yet to experience a meaningful relationship.
Was there something strange I didn’t know about her, I wondered? Was she like the girl in Wedding Crashers? When Vince Vaughn went to her house to pick her up for a date, he was totally turned off to find it filled with the girl’s freaky unicorn collection. I visited Susan’s apartment. No unicorns or anything else weird, for that matter. Quite frankly, there’s nothing about this forty-two year old woman that isn’t appealing.
She’s a physical trainer with an amazing body–toned and lean–that she knows how to dress. She’s fashionable without being in-your-face, (you know those in-the-face girls, who tempt you to shout, ‘yes, you have nice boobs, now get ‘em outta my face!’). She’s also personable, upbeat, and has an adorable giggle. At the end of the day, Susan is just someone who people like to be around.
After a string of dismal dates and disappointing flings, Susan decided to take matters into her own hands. “Look, I’m really not asking for much. I just want a nice guy, who I can connect and share things with. He doesn’t have to be drop dead gorgeous or loaded. I want someone who makes me feel loved–someone who can be happy just uncorking a great bottle of wine on a Friday night. That feeling when you don’t have to go out –you just cook a great meal–have great wine and conversation and you’re perfectly happy.”
She’d heard a few success stories about match.com. One day she was feeling bold and she signed up for the on-line dating service for $39.99 a month.
“It was hard filling out the profile–putting into words what I’m like and what I want in a man. I tried hard to be honest. I was quite frank about wanting a serious relationship rather than just wanting to date, i.e. have sex. Honestly, that is what a lot of people want out of a dating service. Not me.”
She quickly schooled herself on the match.com process. It typically goes like this: members are allowed to view your profile and send a “wink” if they’re interested. You can either ignore it or wink back, as if to say, “I’m interested.” Once two parties have given the thumbs up to each other, they can exchange emails and begin corresponding via email. If that goes well, a phone call can follow, and then, possibly, a date.
Week One. Susan spends a few hours online and winks at 10 men. Seven wink back and a dialogue ensues. She finds it appealing when men are honest–volunteering information that could be perceived as a negative. One guy, for example, says that he has two children from a previous marriage. He and Susan go back and forth via email and he eventually asks if she’d like to meet. She says “yes” and he responds, “let’s get this show on the road!” To Susan, that comment is a total turn-off. She feels intimidated by this whole process and wants to take it slowly. She presses “delete.”
Susan also, initially, likes a guy who, like her, grew up on the East Coast. But when it comes to making date plans, he asks her to drive to his neighborhood, some forty minutes away. Susan thinks this reeks of self-centeredness. Again, she presses “delete.”
Meantime, Susan is shocked to discover that she has received nearly 700 winks–guys who have given her the signal that they’re interested. She contacts match.com customer service to see if perhaps there’s been a mistake. No mistake, but the rep does recommend a few thing to whittle down the number of suitors. Susan might, for example, say that she only wants to date men who live within a sixty-mile radius or between the ages of say forty to fifty five. Susan amends her profile.
Then, another possibility. Susan winks at a guy, who nearly at the same time, winks at her. They then have a laugh at the fact that they were not responding to a wink, but sending one at nearly the same time. Good sign, right?
After several emails, Susan agrees to go on a date. She admits the initial attraction was the fact that he has an interesting look. “And, I liked that he offered he had a child who lived out of town with her mother. That seemed honest to volunteer that kind of information.” The guy, who we’ll call Mr. Attractive, said that he was forty eight and a production designer.
Susan and Mr. Attractive meet for a drink at the bar of an elegant, beachfront Santa Monica hotel. “I figure it’s just one drink. How painful can that be?”
Mr. Attractive, turns out, isn’t that attractive. “In the match.com photo, he had sexy, tousled dark hair, with a conservative look. But in real life, his hair is grey and just crazy, going in ten different directions and tons of gel or pomade. I’d have put his age at around fifty six, which isn’t a big deal. It’s just a turn-off because it’s a misrepresentation. He really had more of an eccentric look, with earrings in both ears and dozens of silver, chunky bracelets on both wrists. I have never worn that much jewelry in my life!”
Susan chugs her first glass of wine and digs her thumb into her hand until the second arrives. “It wasn’t even the look that turned me off so much. It was him. This guy rambled on about himself for nearly two hours. He told me everything, his background, career, upbringing, family, first marriage, previous relationships, everything. I could have written a book on his life. He never once asked me a question about myself–nothing. He never even found out that I am a personal trainer, or a twin, or a divorcee. Nothing! I was just a sounding board for him.”
At one point, it was almost shocking. “Mr. Attractive started going on about his work-out routine. He said, ‘I train shoulders by doing lateral raises and front raises.’ I said, ‘do you do anything for your posterior deltoids to balance your anterior deltoids?’ Then, I added something about the neuromuscular system and the whole kinetic chain. Lots of technical stuff, information only a doctor or physical trainer would know. Went right over his head! Instead of (hint, hint) asking why I knew so much about the body and fitness, he nearly gasped for air as he rambled on non-stop.
“The funny thing is I just couldn’t let it go. I said, ‘do you ever do the push/pull method or work agonist vs. antagonist muscles?’ Zippo. This self-obsessed shmuck simply segwayed into his abdomen routine.”
All in all, Susan’s Week One was a total bust. “I’m disappointed. But I’m not giving up. I’ve put some time into this thing and I’m going to give it a full month. Right now, there’s one guy I’m emailing that sounds interesting. He seems honest and he’s not rushing it, which I like.” Stay tuned…..we’ll have Susan’s Week Two….next week.
Now, I’m going to chug a glass of wine, on Susan’s behalf.