In the land of misfits, mismatches and perfect fits
By Julie Toye

When I was first asked to write about my experiences with on line dating, I was
uncomfortable with the idea, but grew more at ease as time and more first meetings
passed.

The following is my honest account of my time in the on line land of misfits,
mismatches and perfect fits. I aimed to disprove all of the negative reports that Iâ
€™ve read so far about online dating and wanted badly to note positives - - perhaps
only because a positive might have meant that I met someone wonderful. After being
married half my life, I was eager to start the second half happily with someone.

Tonight as the editor of this publication asks for an introduction paragraph, I relay
this brief summary of tonight’s first meeting and date with one of the online men
who will be my last, at least for a while. Mr. College Professor wrote to me for almost
4 months and called me almost daily, sometimes several times daily, saying all along
that I am the woman of his dreams.

I delayed meeting him because I thought something was going to work out with
someone else, but it didn’t. We finally met earlier tonight over tea and coffee.
Goodness, was he ever as nice and conversational as I hoped he would be. Much,
much better looking than his photos. Sweet but sexy smile. Good looking, bad boy
college professor who brought along an extra motorcycle helmet, ready to ride off into
the sunset.

The final test. I delayed looking, prolonged looking, but did... No, no wedding ring tan
line on his left hand! Had I hit the mother lode, or what?

Hardly. On the way outside the restaurant, we passed his big, burly brother in law -- i.
e., his wife’s brother - - who sucker punched his pretty face and informed us that
my date, Mr. College Professor, who was lying on the ground at this point, was about
to become a father for the third time.

Naturally, of course, for me, it was an early evening.
I knew they were up to something but couldn't quite put my finger on it all evening. I
stared at the familiar smiling faces of friends down the bar, then around the table, then
down another bar as the evening progressed. I hadn't been out with these friends in a
few months. I noticed heads together talking at low volume at times and really expected
before the night was over for one of them to say that my ex had a girlfriend or
something on those lines that they foolishly thought would've been perceived as bad
news -- especially when they invited themselves to come back to my apartment on
mountain roads frozen over with winter weather.

This group consisted of four long-time friends, two in their 40s and two in their mid 30s.
The two younger were divorced in recent years while the third has been married fairly
happily for about 16 years. The fourth had broken up with someone she lived with for
about 10 years. With the exception of the one married lady, the rest of us were all single
again at the same time for the first time in years.

Back at home, the boots were kicked off and the wine started pouring. When I came
from the kitchen, my friends surrounded me in my livingroom as people sometimes do
to a loved one with an alcohol or drug problem in an intervention type effort to reason
with that person to seek help.

"We're worried about you," one said to me.
Huh?
"Yeah, you're not dating and you should be," the next said.
"Why didn't you give that guy your phone number?" the third asked about a man I
talked to for about an hour in the first happy hour that we were at after work.
"We're worried that you'll never date again if you don't start now," blurted out the fourth
who said she counted five men who flirted with me while we were out in 4 hours.

True, I hadn't dated since the Reagan administration. That was no secret. I left a 23 year
long relationship and marriage two seasons earlier. That I wasn't out dancing till dawn or
living the wild life that they thought I should be living bothered my friends. That they
witnessed men talking to and laughing with me that I wouldn't give my phone number to
completely baffled my friends. I needed an intervention to start dating again, they
reasoned.

They were serious. Oh, we laughed till our sides hurt but they were dead serious. I wasnâ
€™t trying to meet someone and my girlfriends were appalled. I could’ve had a date
scheduled, I could've been having sex at that very moment, they said, but I didn’t
want to pursue any of the men who seemed attracted to and interested in me the couple
hours we carried on in the bars. Could I have even seriously had the nerve with all my
girlfriends' heavily made up eyes watching? Probably, if I wanted to, but I didn’t
want to and that drove my girl friends to the point of getting on line to start composing a
computer dating profile for me.

They had to be crazy, I told them. No way under the sun would I consider on line dating
services as a way to meet a man. They wondered how else I would meet someone since
I had my son to take care of most of the time and worked full time. A nice man might
but probably wouldn't come my way at the playground, video arcade or supermarket.
They had a valid point.

So over a bottle or three of wine, two of them composed their own profiles at my place
and then I composed mine in part but did not post it. I wanted to add more to the self
descriptive paragraphs at a later time. I definitely would not allow a photo. I'd finish it in
a couple days -- which turned into a week during which I reconsidered. I didn't want to
be part of the internet dating networks. I just didn't want to try it.

Within a week, my merry prankster friends returned to my door. I had 37 responses,
they said, and I better start playing the on line dating game. They submitted my profile
for posting without my knowing it. After I changed my password on the on line account
as well as a new email addy without my name created specifically for that profile, I
weeded out men who obviously did not read the profile and then those who I knew
would not be compatible
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