I had one potential match's profile left. When I read further,  I realized he did not want
to date a woman with a child. Left with zero.

So after my friends left on New Year's Day, I did a search of men on line with profiles
that were interesting. One face looked familiar. I kept coming back to him. He was
someone I knew of professionally in the 80s. So I sent him an ice breaker, not so much
because I thought he could be a potential date, but because I was curious whether  he
was who I thought he was aged 20 years. If so, I just wanted to say hello. Within a
minute, he sent his private email address and phone number. His code name with my
friends became Mr. Wonderful.

Information about him was easily accessed on the internet. He was in the political arena
and I remembered him also doing tv political commentary after I was a full time reporter
and he was an aide to a large city mayor. So meeting him was easy since I knew who he
was and that he wasn't an ax murderer.

Mr. Wonderful was so easy to talk to and I liked his New England accent. The work he
did currently was interesting, as were all his stories back to when he worked at the
White House as an intern. We made a date for Sunday, but ended up talking for hours
each day and having a romantic dinner mid week. That weekend we kept our original
first date plans to tour Frank Llyod Wright's Kentuck Knob home and property. When
the tour guide talked about a Valentine's Day event to be held there, he ran his hand
through my hair in the back and held my hand through most of the couple hours we
were there. We hiked through the woods to the end of the property overlooking a steep
mountainside with a breath taking view that looked around the mountain and down on
SW Pennsylvania covered beautifully in a light snow.  

This 50-year-old Mr. Wonderful was the perfect man to date and be involved with after
ending a long-time marriage. He was so comfortable to be with, so conversational,
sweet and romantic. He was a good cook and loved to laugh. My kind of man.  

The romantic dance with Mr. Wonderful lasted until almost Valentine's Day. One of my
friends who knew him only as Mr. Wonderful also came across his profile, sent him an
ice breaker that he responded to with enthusiasm on the same day that he sent me a
truly wonderful afternoon email about how invested he was in our relationship. That
followed an early morning chat we had in my kitchen before he left about how I needed
to change my son's school district to decrease his time spent with his dad. I disagreed.

Exit Mr. Wonderful, enter Mr. Married.

Mr. Married's profile intrigued me because he was seeking a regular dinner companion
for intellectual stimulation. He did not immediately strike me as a married man, but
rather some intelligent, creative, artistic loner. He was guarded about his identity,
acknowledged he was using an alias. I just knew who he was. I read his work and
recognized his impressive style of writing as his emails to me continued.

It was common to have 70 or more daily emails from this man over a few weeks. We
had a lot in common. Our paths could have crossed but didn't years ago when we likely
were in the same places seeing the same Pittsburgh bar bands when we were out of
college and single. We made a date for dinner. Enter passion. But also enter the bitter
sweet realization that he is married, unhappily, badly and painfully lonely as he
described the last six years of it...but married nonetheless. That his marriage produced
his children and mine produced my son are the only considerations that keep me from
saying that our paths should have crossed years ago but didn't.

Mr. Wonderful's analysis of on line dating that he shared the first time we talked came
to mind a lot sometimes. When he said that dating at our age is unnatural, I laughed at
him. He told me on New Years Day that he had had many, many first dates with
women he met on line that went no further than that one meeting. This started to
become the case for me as well for the most part. The emails and phone calls went well,
but some initial meetings were uncomfortable -- possibly because too many people on
line have a tendency to misrepresent themselves in their profiles or present themselves
so differently or in a falsely better way than they are in reality.

Coming to mind in this category is the subgroup of emotionally unstable, perhaps
mentally ill men which consisted of the 51 year old who said he's 41, smacked his fist to
the table during the first moments of the first and only date and called his mom a two bit
whore, then called me angrily asking me not to tell anyone his real age; the 40
something single dad who was unreasonably angry because I was three minutes late
meeting him and then nasty on the phone because I left the restaurant without ordering;
the 40 something business manager who provided false directions to a public place that
led to his door; the 40 something doctor who handed me nude photos of himself
moments after we met at his country club for lunch; the 50 something federal employee
who covered his tabletops and wooden furniture with paper rather than dust but
appeared normal outside his home; the clinically depressed 40 something agency
director who never cleaned and allowed his beautiful, old mansion home to resemble the
dusty house at 1313 Mockingbird Lane on the Munsters tv show; the 40 something man
who brought his RV to the restaurant "just incase" I wanted to have sex.

An amazing number of on line married men followed Mr. Married into my life who out
right lied about their marital status. Only one admitted it from the very start. We have
not met but are email buddies. We will never meet because we're so alike and probably
would be attracted to one another.

A few of the other non marrieds were truly nice men who continue to be friends when
there was no spark when we met. Some I've introduced to friends and vice verse. My
friend who never met but told off Mr. Wonderful and someone I introduced her to are
quite seriously involved at this time.

One of the men who contacted me said he never wanted to meet because he was
convinced I would never be attracted to him. He would rather live with the fantasy that
one day we would meet and walk off in the sunset together. He ended up being a she
who provided her brother's photo.

An amazing number of men who initiated contact did not want to meet any woman at
all in person.  They wanted an email buddy or friend to call in spite of their probably
untrue profiles stating otherwise. On the other hand, some men wrongly thought I was
meeting them strictly for sex -- maybe because some women before me had been so
eager to introduce themselves and immediately shed their clothes.

There was one last on line man who started to steal my heart. He looked like Geoge
Clooney, and had combined personalities, intelligence and wit of Mr. Wonderful and
Mr. Married. We were instant friends who waited a while then started to date. We had a
few very special dates and possibly might have been together longer had he not died

There are success stories, great love stories that result from on line dating, I'm sure.
Talk to people and they'll always come up with some couple they know to point out
who met on line. Talk to the same people and they'll always come up with another
couple they know to point out a disaster or fatal attraction that resulted. There will
probably always be married people who are lonely who post profiles for companionship
or sex. I still find it amusing when I'm out somewhere and notice couples from their
photos who are on line. In one instance, they looked very happy and I intruded for a
moment to ask. It was their 29th date with one another. They kept count
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