Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Is There Intelligent Life on Mars?

To continue Fizzy's dating theme, I thought I'd follow up with this.

It has been over a year since my separation and six months since my divorce. Both my brother and sister have been urging me to get on match.com for months - my happily married sister's good friend at work had luck there and my younger brother (26) in law school had luck. "Giz," they told me over the phone, "It's cool to get on match.com now! Everybody does it!" But they are both in Atlanta - way more cosmopolitan than Little Rock, Arkansas. So I have been highly skeptical. And not ready. Still not ready, but sometimes I think for me just getting into something - even a friendship - slowly, might be an important step, based upon my history.

So Friday night, after dinner with a friend and a couple of glasses of wine, I took the plunge.

No most of you happily married mom's out there have no need to get on match.com, so I'll tell you a little about the premise. You set up a profile, with photos and interests, not unlike Facebook. You have a profile page, with a header (It's what everyone reads first - sum yourself up in a simple sentence that will grab someone! - puke) and a ridiculous amount of space to tell who you are and who you are looking for. They give you enough room to write two essays. I wrote two short paragraphs. Anyone who wants to know more, I decided, could find out in a message.

There are three ways to communicate with someone - instant message, message, and winks. The winks show a small picture of the person winking at you with a link to their profile. They tell you to "wink back or send him a message." The next morning, I had a bunch of winks. I was deflated. The winks annoyed me right away. What the hell does a person do with a wink? And some of the people winking so completely grossed me out that I wanted to close out my profile and hand back over the sixty bucks I paid for three months. I sent a message to one person that winked, trying to find out about the winks ("Are they like a poke on Facebook," I asked? Not that I've ever poked anyone) and the ensuing brief exchange of conversation was so abysmal that I vowed never to respond to a wink again - Tenet #1.

Then there are all the strange messages. I don't know why many guys think it is perfectly appropriate to approach a girl they do not know with text message abbreviations. I don't even understand half of the text message abbreviations. Tenet #2 - do not respond to messages written in text slang.

Tenet #3 was formed quickly - do not respond to anyone who comes up with a tag name pairing their first name with the suffix -tacular. The tag name is the anonymous name you use that goes with your profile. I'll leave you to imagine the possible variations. Use your spouses or boyfriends name, for instance. Or mine. "Hello, I'm Giztacular."

Unfortunately (or not), my three tenets have severely limited my interactions on the site, which I can only manage to check for a few minutes anyway, after blogs and Facebook, at night. Oh well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I called my law school brother for support (who has been dating a smart gorgeous girl he met there for a couple of months) on Sunday night telling him I was completely disgusted, felt like I had been approached by a bunch of drunk rednecks at a bar all weekend (text abbreviations are kind of like slurring, after all) and wanted to close out the profile. He said, "It's work, Giz. You've got to laugh at all that, or you'll never get past it. You should have seen this lady twice my age in fishnets and bright red lipstick following me for days. There's a block function. If it gets too intense, use it. It's all anon, anyway. Edit your profile. Take your time. It will take a couple of weeks to get comfortable there, anyway."

I also got advice, strangely but happily, from my ex when I called to talk to the kids Saturday morning. He has apparently been on since last summer, and has had a few relationships. I did not tell him I was on - he had already seen me there. He told me to get a couple of things off of my profile that might identify me. He talked about some missteps he had that cracked me up. He cathartically described the women he dated, briefly, as if he had been holding back for a long time out of respect for me and my presence on the dating site released him. Then he wished me luck and offered to watch the kids if I ever needed help babysitting. Wow. What a difference a year makes.

Yesterday afternoon I got my first intelligent message. I came home, ran, went to get the kids, tucked them in, and decided to blog about this crazy embarrassing experience over the last few days. Now I think I'll send a friendly message back. It's nice to know there might be intelligent life on Mars, after all.




14 comments:

  1. One of my professional male friends is recently divorced and has been on match.com for months. He's met some nice women and been out on a few dates. He has also encountered the weird, kooky, kinky and just plain creepy. Definitely utilize the privacy features when you think it's appropriate.

    Too bad he's much older than you are and lives over 1000 miles away from Little Rock. :-)

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  2. Best wishes to you, Giz. [oh, I kinda like the sound of Giztacular, but then I know you and know you are spectacular!]

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  3. Good luck, Gizabeth! I have a friend who's had some success on eHarmony. It does take some time though to reap some results, so hang in there!

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  4. Two of my closest girlfriends met and married men off of Eharmony. One moved to our city from a city far away for her. Now these guys are some of my husband's closest friends. If Match annoys you too much - try Eharmony! Seriously!

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  5. I met my husband (it is both our second marriages) on match.com so it can happen! You do have to separate alot of the wheat from the chaff though. It helps if they are honest about their interests so that you can figure out if they coincide with yours instead of just the superficial, generic things that alot of people post. Good luck and try to have fun!

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  6. I met my husband on eharmony, which I deemed a little less creepy after scoping out match.com first. Never thought I would internet date, but after having a conversation with a few residents who had done it in the past, figured there must be other reasonable people out there doing it!

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  7. Thanks for the support, all - yes, there is a lot of creepiness that makes me want to flee. Will definitely consider eharmony as well, I did not have that take. It does seem like a smart way to do things - instead of rely on your already explored social circles or "chance," which is incredibly unlikely when you are a working mom unless it is at a ball game or in the lab (ha!). And it is nice to scope people out sort of anonymously.

    I'm in no rush. I'm really enjoying me+kids right now. It will be a long time before I bring anyone into that mix.

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  8. I went on eHarmony when it seemed hopeless that I'd meet an interesting person in real life. Match.com seemed more like a hook-up site (at least for my age group). eHarmony worked out great. Date #1 was really nice, and remained a friend for a while. Date #2 was not a perfect match. Date #3 is now my husband. It was never my intention to get a marriage out of it, just a longer-term, more substantial relationship. But it really does work!
    Good Luck!!!

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  9. met my husband on match.com .... it started out only as me looking for some fun, casual dating after having gotten out of a stifling 2 year dud of a relationship. one thing lead to another and we've been married now for a year and a half.

    SO much better than trying to date by "meeting people" out in the real world, especially as a female surgical resident, where my options probably would have been co-workers or guys who would get annoyed/freaked out/intimidated by my life/career/work hours.

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  10. I've done both Eharmony and Match. Match seemed like a hookup site a couple years ago, but seems a lot better now. The problem I had with Eharmony was that everyone it matched me with was on the other side of the country even using my geographical preferences. Do you guys ever wonder/worry about running into a patient on there?

    I saw my doc on there and it was a bit weird. He didn't post anything inappropriate, but I'm fairly confident he lied about his height by a few inches, lol. d

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  11. Thanks for additional support.

    Good point - anon@12:54 - luckily I am a pathologist and don't have too many patients! I did worry about others seeing me and recognizing me as someone they know in their professional life, but I thought hell, life's too short.

    Ha about the height exaggeration - I sure hope the guys I'm talking to are not because I'm pretty tall.

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  12. Oh, I have so much to say about this! I was on Match.com for a bit, but let my subscription lapse. I am on OKCupid now. I put in a sentence about being a single mom, and not wanting someone to be my kids' stepdad, but also not wanting to be a MILF/cougar for some barely twenty-something. I swear I am now getting hits because people are searching for "MILF" and "cougar".

    Sigh.

    Good luck.

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  13. Ugh! That sounds unpleasant. I met my husband online...but we were 13 back then. Ha! Different times.

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  14. Mom TFH - we are overdue for a chat.

    Kyla - online at 13? I don't think there was an online when I was 13. Different times indeed.

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