What Happened When I Joined Match.com at 58
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For my maiden voyage, I had coffee with an accomplished local man, who said his last girlfriend had been religious, a devout Jew, and this had driven him crazy. I said I was probably worse. We parted with a hug.
I selected a nice-looking Englishman with grown children for my second date. He said he had a good sense of humor, loved movies. He was, perhaps, the tiniest bit fat. I don’t care much about weight, or hair loss. I emailed, and we arranged to meet at a Starbucks halfway between our homes, on a Sunday morning before my church.
This is a true story: He was 10 minutes late, and shaken, because he had just seen a fatal motorcycle accident on the Richmond San Rafael Bridge. He had stopped to inspect the body, because he was worried that it was his son, although his son rode a dramatically different brand of motorcycle. He had gotten out, talked to the police, and gotten a peek at the corpse. This sort of put the kibosh on things for me. I recommended that we reschedule to a day when he hadn’t seen any dead people. He wanted to proceed. I got him a nice cup of tea.
I liked him, though, and we exchanged adorable and kicky emails, arranging another date, for sushi, and he was lively, cultured and sort of charming. But at lunch, he accidentally forgot to ask me anything about my life during the first 45 minutes of the conversation. It was fascinating, that we did not get around to me until that one question. Then I got cut off.
My pointing this out politely in an email the next day did not sit well.
The next guy was also highly cultured, a creative venture capitalist, who was familiar with my work, and turned out to be a truly excellent conversationalist. We had a coffee date, a long walk on the beach, a candlelit dinner, texts and emails in between, definite chemistry, and then I didn’t hear from him for five days.
If I wanted to go for five days without hearing from a man with whom I had chemistry and three almost perfect dates, I would repeat junior high.
My friends were great. They turned on the man immediately. (Of course, I mostly talked to my single friends and to Sam about Match.) They knew how brave it was of me to go on dates. I was their role model.
This pattern repeated — a flurry of dates, followed by radio silence on the man’s part — and made me mourn the old days, when you met someone with whom you shared interests, chemistry, a sense of humor, and you started going out. After a while — OK, who am I kidding, sometimes later that day — you went to bed with him, and then woke up together, maybe shyly, and had a morning date. Then you made plans to get together that night, or the next, or over the weekend.
But that is the old paradigm. Now, if you have a connection with a Match.com man, he might have nice connections with two or three other Match.com women, too, and so each date and new dating level — coffee, a walk, lunch, and then dinner — is like being on a board game, different colored game pieces being moved along the home path in Parcheesi.
Every few weeks, I went out with a new man and practiced my dating skills – i.e., listening, staying open, and bringing the date to a friendly close. My son has “We don’t give up” tattooed on his forearm, which is sort of our family crest. So I didn’t give up, even when that day’s date had an unbuttoned tropical shirt, or explained that there is no real difference between Republicans or Democrats.