Giving Love a Chance.

On the wild, wild, web…

Are real people writing this “stuff”?  Is it one big joke or are they serious?

Everyone seems to be doing it. Well, not everyone, I hope. Although with the anonymity of the internet, many people are dabbling who probably should not be doing so.

I am referring to online dating, which has resulted in one in four modern-day relationships.  Not sure where I read this but I did, and that means there is a real need, even if it’s one in 94 relationships!

Another statistic: 15% of adults in the US have used or are using dating sites or apps. That is, 15% who own up to it. It is estimated that in 2020, dating sites will generate about $3.2 billion dollars in the US.

For the sake of journalism, I signed up for a site catering to people over 50.

Once upon a time we were introduced to friends, met likeminded people at school, at college, at parties, summer camps, or playing sports.  Not anymore.  It is now accelerated as we are offered an algorithmic mashup of suitable and unsuitable suitors … and can instantly flirt, connect, message, exchange phone numbers and emails, comment on their picture and “meet” as many as thirty or forty people in one hour, all managed on a website, with data points and layouts as organized as a spreadsheet. What’s not to like?

This is quite convenient. You don’t have to get dressed up each time to go on a date — in fact, you can sit in your pj’s expressing your love for someone on seeing only their photograph accompanied by a description (perhaps deception is a better word!) of their scintillating personality and outstanding character (as seen through their eyes).

To begin one has to fill out a profile, with age, height, body type, coloring, and a few other details. But this is where it gets really scary. I have never seen so many men who look 80 giving their age as 53.  My first instinct is to ask them what year they started school, but I leave it at that. It is their little secret.

Enter the scene, James. Age 51.  I think he really is 51, a Southerner. I love the charm and good manners of Southern men so he was at an immediate advantage. Among his accomplishments, he has a doctorate. This was his opening salvo:

James: “Good afternoon Ms. ‘Lady Phyl.’ After seeing your picture and reading your ad (I think it’s a bio, not an ad), I would be remiss if I did not stop and say that ‘Your beauty is one of a dubious kind one that captures a man’s heart and also his mind!’.  That was Shakespeare but you were the inspiration. You look great!”

I hope he doesn’t think I was around during Shakespeare’s lifetime.

James: “I know I am a little further than what you are asking for, but it is never too far to compliment a lady! I would love to hear from you and get to know you better.”

This was James profile:

I am 50% physical, 40% humorous, 30% erudite, 25% sensitive with a great aptitude for math. He then went on to describe himself as a “simple person” in a “complicated world.”                                  Furthermore, he said of himself: ” I would describe myself as confident but willing to waiver, good looking but not conceited, intelligent, but not arrogant; strong but not inflexible.”

He was good-looking with salt and pepper hair and beautiful eyes — and as he wanted one to notice, a beautiful body as well. His bio included a set of images, some clothed, others barely clothed in various poses, toned body, wearing trunks only just covering “the essentials.”

I replied, not commenting on his photographs or Adonis-like body image (like I had not noticed of course). “Thanks! I think you write romance novels and are masquerading as a mathematician.  I am not that good with maths but your numbers add up to 145%, Aren’t percentages supposed to add up to 100%?”

James: “No, I am just a simple lawyer! You seem like a person who ought to be with a younger crowd. Men your age might be intimidated by You! Your good looks can be a turn off to a man who would like to date the traditionalist type older woman. Your pictures would speak for themselves. I believe you have more energy than you had 25 years ago.”  (I wish !!)

Me: “Do you want to tell me what you really do when you are not scanning this website and I don’t know how many other sites? You are definitely not a mathematician and I doubt you are a lawyer — and while the quote may have sounded Shakespearean I could not find a reference to it. Perhaps you write sonnets, though I doubt that also.”

We corresponded back and forth. He does have a doctorate and he was a really interesting “younger” man, totally self-made who had begun working at 14 years of age cutting lawns and is today a  successful lawyer practicing intellectual property law with a large legal practice in Illinois. There was more to this story, but that is the gist of it.

Now that you know this, you may look at your lawyer differently the next time you see him as he could also have a side hustle on a dating site.

This is the internet and it is wild. Inexperienced as I am, I can only speak of one site for one month and I have found there are interesting people … but more are bland, even weird, and watch out for scam artists.  I do not understand why people cannot be themselves and feel it necessary to play charades, but maybe it is a sense that everyone else is “bluffing” too.

The point is, that these fellows cowardly sit behind their computers or phone and send out “flirts” targeting older women who are vulnerable.  It turns out he was quite respectable but I wonder how many older women have received his racy pictures and romantic quotes. Perhaps James should get a life, get a wife and cease playing with people’s emotions on the internet.

Fasten your seat belt, here comes another one:

It begins with a bio from Tom.  “Grew up on the East Coast, is a down to earth person who is open, honest, and have [sic] moral absolutes that guide me. I flew combat aircraft for the US Navy and [sic] currently a leader in tech, and have a Masters [sic].” He stands 6’1” tall, his eyes are hazel and his pictures showed him to be in good shape, another Adonis

” I enjoy discovering new places and every day is a new adventure.  If interested let our adventure begin.  I focus on one person and one relationship.”  How smooth is that !!

This is Tom’s first email, together with his photo in case I needed a reminder who he was:                  “Hello from Tom”. Picture of this gorgeous man, with short sleeves and muscled arms, tall, well-built, with a beckoning smile. He must have known my type because it was spot on. He was 53 years old, perhaps.

Tom: “I’m interested, are you?  Great profile I would love to hear from you. Feel free to send me a message.”

All my senses tell me this is a “player”. I named him Tomcat because he was prowling all over the internet.

Me:  “Tom, this is a reality check. Did you notice I am a few years older than you!!”

From Tom: “I think we would be amazing fun together.  My number is (I’ll keep it private unless one of my girlfriends wants to contact him) or I would be happy to call or text you.  Tom.”

More from Tom:” Would you mind being romanced by a slightly younger man?  Tom.”

From me: “Would I mind? Of course not.”

“Do I think it would work?  Not really”.

“Just for the fun of it?  Maybe………”

No further word from Tom.

A week later a text: “Hello from Tom.”

Me: “Surprise !! Hello Tom.”

Tom: “Well hello my angel.” (So smooth and practiced).

Me: “Hm…Angel, not so sure. But hello Tom.”

Tom: “You are so lovely.”

Me: “And you are so funny.”

Tom: “Would you like to get together this weekend?”

Me: “Thanks but this weekend I absolutely cannot.”

I thought that was the end of that and he would move on to his next Angel.

No, not Tom.  He was having too much fun. Saturday night there was a “flirt” from Tom and I replied:

“Hello, again Tomcat. I see there was also a flirt from you today. How lucky can I be……Sorry, it didn’t work out this weekend. I remain one of your huge harem of ‘Angels.'”

Sunday morning at 1:30 a.m.. there was a text with a selfie of Tomcat, taken in the gym that night, showing his just showered body, ripped muscles, with a blue and white striped towel scantily covering “the essentials”.  Let me say his hair looked grayer than in the earlier pictures !! Was he older than his professed 53 years? And were his photos current or from ten years ago when his hair was blonder?

This was the message I woke up to in the morning accompanying the buff body selfie with the striped towel:

“Would you like to get together tomorrow?   …..Tom.”

Followed by: “I think we would be lots of fun together.

We will be each other’s Valentine ????. Would you rather do tomorrow?”

Time to pour boiling water over Tom.  He was having too much fun, getting away with too much.  This needs a reality check.

I replied, making no mention of his ripped muscles and the “essentials” that were under the towel.

Me: “Coffee, What time and where?”  It was time to call his bluff.

That was at 9.21 a.m.on Sunday morning.

By 4.30 p.m. there was still no answer, so I messaged Tomcat.

“Tomcat, I think you’re gay in which case you’re fishing in the wrong pond.  Cross over and you’ll easily find someone to lust after your buff body and be your Valentine.”

Instantly he came out from wherever he was hiding  in the recesses of the internet with this:

Tomcat  “That’s odd”…..(making no mention of the fact that we were supposed to get together the next day.)

Me: “Why?”

Tomcat: “I’m very straight.”

Me: “Really? One never knows.”

Is this the same person who described himself as  “open, honest, and have moral absolutes that guide me. I focus on one person and one relationship”.

Just amusing himself — as was I!

This was probably the worst thing I could have said to Tomcat, with his high testosterone levels, an assault on his sexuality! But it did flush him out.

Where else can I have such fun?

Happy Valentine’s Day!! As John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote: ” Love is all you need.”

Or an online Dating Site.

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the road less traveled