Years ago, being in the restaurant business was the best. For a number of reasons. First, the hours coordinated perfectly with my college schedule. Academia by day, money-maker by night. Second, I learned an incredible amount about food and wine. Carpaccio, capon, baked chevre, old world wines, new world wines, and torchons of foie gras. But third of all, and very best of all, the restaurant business was a buffet of young, fun, beautiful people, many of whom were smart, talented, and still unfettered by the hardships of life. We laughed a lot and drank even more. I’d like to say that I was strict and highly selective in my dalliances but I’d be lying. And the turn-over in the biz was fairly high, so the beautiful people, like buses, came every 15 minutes. To all recent graduates of high school, I highly recommend you become a server or bartender immediately. To all my friends with kids- I highly recommend that you never let your kids anywhere near the restaurant business.
Eventually I met someone I really liked and we were together for a while. A fairly long while. Long enough that the relationship lasted through the duration of my restaurant career and into my next venture. Where I remain to this day. Single. Working with my mom, selling dog food to married couples and being in a position where if I dated someone I worked with, they could sue me for sexual harrassment. Not exactly the best conditions for meeting someone. In fact, maybe the worst.
Okay, so not everyone meets their significant other at work. True. There’s bars? Yes, but at my age the only people drinking in bars are young enough that when you tell them your favorite actor is Tommy Lee Jones, they say, “Isn’t that the old guy in Captain America?”. Yikes. Or worse yet, they’re forty-five and drunk in bar at 4pm on a Sunday… outlook not so good. Maybe hobbies? Yes, I love to cook so I will spend all my down time in Whole Foods. I’ll reach for the lychees, he’ll reach for the lychees. Our hands will touch, our eyes will meet- boom! Love at first sight. You love pre-peeled packaged oranges? So do I!! Or the butchers and fish-mongers. Even better. Something so sexy about a man covered in guts with multiple tattoos. Seriously. But they’re always married. Obviously. Any woman who knows what she’s doing doesn’t let fishgut guy get away. Second date and you’re making him engagment chicken for sure. So no deal.
After several (save for one live-in but short-lived relationship) single years, I decided to give online dating a chance at the age of thirty-three. I had heard so many success stories. Gay, straight, young, old, black, white, everyone has now met their significant other online. In fact statistics show that 97% of people who inhabit the same space at any given time, met via the internet. Sounds promising. I’m in. I filled out some basic information. Posted some photos and waited. What happened next was interesting. I mean, sh*t got wierd. I received lots of messages. Since I was new to the site I was thrown into the spotlight and featured. The messages were incredible. The good, the bad, and the ugly. (To all the young guys in the bar, that’s a movie with Clint Eastwood, the old guy in Gran Torino). Some boys tried their best to be debonair by telling my I was pretty and that they would like to get to know me better. Some were less refined and told me I was pretty and that they would like to get to know me deeper. And there were many in between.
Eventually, I decided to go out with one of the boys that sent me a message. He was handsome. He had a nice job. His profile made him out to be quite normal. I even Facebook “verified” him. He had friends. His profile pic wasn’t the clown from “It”. I met him for a casual bite and a drink. Seemed harmless. Public place. Seperate cars. No addresses exchanged. Small talk, small plates. Yet I knew right away that it would likely go nowhere as the ground didn’t shake and the Earth didn’t shatter. I drove home that night assuming that our interractions would end there. Oh, how I wish that were true. Turns out handsome boy had gone about drawing up his online profile all wrong. He forgot to mention that the day after a date, he likes to surprise a girl by sending her a photo of his willy while she is watching television with her grandmother. And he also forgot to mention that when said girl, frozen with horror, doesn’t respond, he likes to send her a follow up video of him engaging in a bit of self-gratification. With commentary. Yeah, that happened.
But I don’t give up! My momma didn’t raise no quitter. I backed off a little but kept the profile up for the six months I had paid for. I dated a vegan twice (two dates, not two vegans). I met a man who had lied about his age. I’m sorry but forty-three is not the same as fifty to a thirty-three year old, although thank you for getting all my movie references. There was the guy who was obsessed with his own sexual inadeqacy for some unknown reason, spending the (short) duration of dinner talking about how he “measured up”. There was the guy who posted nothing but old photos of himself, and when I met him he was at least forty pounds heavier. *note- I have dated big dudes, this I don’t mind at all, but to me it showed a lack of confidence and dishonesty right off the bat. Am I forgetting anyone? Hopefully. I wish I could forget most of those.
I’m sincerely happy that some people have online success stories. I’m always happy with anyone’s success stories. I am, however, even happier to stay away from dating sites for a while. I think the only thing I’ll shop for online are books and vitamins and leave the dating to accidental in-the-flesh encounters. I promise you all an invitation to my wedding, forty years from now.