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    BWS Stories - "Take A Walk On The Wild Side"...Dating

    "Take A Walk On The Wild Side"...Dating - Online Dating

    Nancy Edwards is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Minneapolis, an inspirational dancer and a writer. She can be reached at or through her web site,

    Online Dating

    Newly separated and having not dated in over 40 years, I really didn’t know where to begin. I still don’t, but at least I have a clue or two after nearly two years of piling up mistakes. One thing about being 60 is that I don’t feel as though I have a whole lot of time left to partner for the final chapter of my life.

    I’ve gotten myself back to a size 2, bought trendy clothes, become a very good dancer, updated my hairstyle and pretty much succeeded in shaving about 15 years off my appearance. I also come with some sweet benefits: financial independence and a cottage on the largest metropolitan lake near the city. With so many positive attributes, I thought for sure that eligible men would swarm me like flies on road kill.

    This was my first wrong conclusion! Two years in have taught me that, in this endeavor, men have 90% of the available advantages. No doubt about it, they not only rule the marketplace by comparison, they also rule the dating scene. I’ve been forced to realize that the numbers are simply against women in my cohort. Now then, I do not pretend to understand why this is the case, only that it is the case!

    Perhaps Viet Nam killed off many of them? Maybe the only good ones are still married? Possibly they’ve just died from stress-related medical problems?

    I suspect that the real answer is much more sinister though: they maintain the privilege of choice that women have never been afforded!
    By this I mean that men always have and always will have the bottomless range of choice in picking off much younger women.

    Because I’m a born-again 40 something brimming with energy and assets, I’ve stubbornly stuck to an age-range preference of 40 to 60. This has not served me very well, but I have learned that much younger men are quite a bit more open to dating someone my age than are men who are closer to it.

    Plus, younger men have a LOT more energy!

    In order to maximize the possibilities, when men ask my age I turn right around and ask them, “How old do you need me to be?” I’m so aware of the age bias that I hate being asked my age, so this reply at least amuses and distracts guys.

    It has occurred to me that I am doing the very same thing in my age preferences that I’m complaining about the guys doing: going for much younger pickings. I maintain my innocence though because they started it! Besides, as I’ve already said, the numbers are way out of whack.

    Now then, the online options are many & varied. The first one I tried shall be called E-Disharmony. I was impressed with the TV ads and signed up, even though it cost more than other options. “E-D” advertised a psychologically-driven, intense matching formula, which would do all the work of finding Mr. Perfect-for You.

    After extensive testing and making my preferences totally clear, I waited a whole month for them to email me a “match”. Finally, it came. To my utter amazement, this so-called “match” perfectly described my now ex-husband! Down to every detail.

    I still gave E-D a chance after emailing a scathing complaint. Three weeks later they sent me the profile of a 75-year old overweight man far from where I live. Now I was mad! I’d made clear that 60 was my cut-off, for one thing. One more mismatch and I’d had it: I demanded my money back. Getting it took another six months.

    I then decided to join the more common online services: Match, Yahoo, and
    American Singles. I was appalled to discover (six months in) that my carefully crafted, deeply revealing profile was attracting very questionable types due to an innocent error.

    I’d repeatedly used the term “intimacy” in appealing to Mr. Right to step up to the plate. Being female, this only meant emotional intimacy. Being male – as a good guy friend finally explained to me- this term meant, “I WANT A LOT OF SEX”! Appalled, I rewrote my profile, but not before being deluged with emails from characters with user names like: marathonlover; tonguem; lovnleather; and greatslowhands. There were some I can’t even print in this piece, but you get the idea.

    Yet another online service came to my attention: Hot or Not. This one gave me the choice of simply tearing down men’s egos by rating them real low on a scale of 1 to 10 or clicking on “YES” I’d like to meet them. No lengthy sales pitches were required, just a damn good picture which filled the screen. I took the risk of posting the best face shot I had, only to grow more demoralized by the day with sinking ratings.

    I tried one photo after another only to get the same result. Finally, in desperation, I thought I’d peruse other women’s ratings to see who was garnering 9s and 10s. Only then did I get it: any woman who showed her boobs or a sexy pose got high ratings, even if she was fat or really ugly!

    To be honest, I did end up meeting the only potentially good matches on this site but only after posting a bathing suit shot. Even with this, none of them stuck. This is troubling aspect to the online sites: few seem really serious about following through.

    I liken it to casting out a wide net for fish, then briefly noting the sizes, shapes and variety of what comes back in your net. Next, you just toss them back into the abyss and continue on fishing. Just when you feel you’ve got a great one on the line and do some emailing back and forth, PUFF, no more contact!

    People are dropped like toxic waste right and left with no idea as to why it happens. Actually, I do know why: fishing is more fun than catching. Fishing becomes the object of the online game rather than actually connecting with the opposite sex.

    I’ve learned that most people – men and women – lie about their own attributes. “Body types” include:”average”; “athletic & fit”; “slim”; and a “few extra pounds”. “Average” means that you’re 10 to 25 pounds overweight. “A few extra pounds” means you’re obese. “Athletic & fit” can mean that a man with a large belly is also muscular and hard to the touch (even his belly).

    An “occasional smoker” usually means a guy smokes at least one pack a day.

    I’ve heard horror stories about people saying they’re “average”, then showing up for a date weighing 300 pounds. When asked why they lied or whose picture that was, answers are, “Well, I used to look like that 20 years ago”, or, “It’s my sisters photo because she’s prettier”.

    It hasn’t ceased to amaze me that anyone thinks he or she can get away with these ploys!!! Time after time I see very out-of-shape men specifying their preferences for slim women. On the other hand, I’ve stated that I’m financially and emotionally quite secure and, well, that’s a stretch!

    A few of the rules for minimizing disappointment include: always insist upon a current picture as too many folks post their most flattering photo from years gone by; never respond to winks or emails that promise romance, roses, cards when you least expect them as these men have copied someone else’s words just to get you excited; and, always verify that a man is, in fact, not still married because the current percentage of married men who are fishing is around 35%. I have one girlfriend who goes into public records to make sure there’s a divorce on file before she agrees to meet a man!

    The best advice I can muster at this sorry point is: don’t take online dating seriously. It exists to entertain and amuse you, not actually to match you up with a lifetime partner! If you can accept this, then go ahead and have some fun with it, otherwise prepare for disillusionment. It is a fairly benign activity that you can do any time of day or night, and it is relatively safe.

    Just remember: the gander has definite advantages over the goose in this game of life, and ganders most often have only one goal in mind!

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