Friday, February 14, 2014

Chat Rooms, Computer Dating, and Early Escapades

I know that for every story, there is an exception. I was not one of the exceptions.

A few friends of mine have been recently complaining about their lack of success with dating sites, matching agencies, singles clubs and the like. It seems to become a particular issue around this time of year, Valentine's Day. One friend told me that she plans to venture into the realm of chat rooms. I was unable to offer any useful advice on that score. Since I've been there and done that, spending countless hours getting to know strangers and yet not knowing them at all, I did not want to discourage her efforts.

On this Valentine's Day, I've decided to fess up about some of my own single years dating adventures.

I won't use my formerly exhausting job or status as a single parent as an excuse, however, they did contribute to my experiences. I would come home at night, fatigued after a long day of work, deal with my then teen children and whatever chauffeuring, bills, housework, job preparation and so on needed my additional attention. After that, I'd flick on the computer and see what was new in chatroom 3. I made some acquaintances and even a few friends.

I actually "dated" five people that I met online and had a brief long distance relationship with a sixth individual before I was cured of this new age method of meeting people. I will try to describe some of my dating highlights as nicely as I can. Don't judge me until you've walked a mile in my shoes.

Date #1 - The first date was a man who was somewhat younger than I. He lived and worked in the city. It took him awhile to convince me to go out with him since I did not consider myself a cougar by any means. He enjoyed my sense of humour and offered to meet me in a public place to buy me a drink and chat. I went. We had a good time and met again a week later. We were more suited as friends or perhaps siblings. He brought me a gift. It was a bar martini menu.

Date #2 - This was a local person with whom I spoke on the telephone several times. He contacted me through and sounded nice enough. When he offered to take me to a church presentation, I accepted. He showed up at my door at the prearranged time...a tall, bald man in his late 50's with ill fitting clothing, indistinct features and a British accent. He had been a pleasant conversationalist and I am not that superficial. Unfortunately, he was. We headed toward the church when he made this comment "You women always post pictures of yourselves that are at least ten years old". I suppose I should have asked whether he was suggesting that I was guilty of some kind of deception and offered to remove myself from his vehicle. Instead, I sat in stunned silence. The photo had been three months old. We arrived at the church, viewed the presentation which if I recall was some type of Christmas pageant. On the drive back, he prattled on and on about relationships and how there was no point to them. We got back to my house, I thanked him for the show, wished him luck in his search for a pointless relationship and said goodnight.

Date #3 - I agreed to meet this man at a donut shop. He was very nice and actually seemed quite enthralled with me. He offered to take me to dinner. Again, he was a local person. We had a pleasant conversation and a nice dinner. At the end of dinner, he told me that he had a present for me. He removed a jar of pickled onions from his pocket and proudly announced "I got them at the dollar store for only a dollar."  I kept in mind the old saying, "It's the thought that counts." Honestly, though, I'm wondering what he was thinking. We hung out a couple more times but didn't really have much in common.

Date #4 - Once again I agreed to meet at a bar. If I wanted to meet people at a bar, I suppose I could have gone to a bar in the first place. He was younger than me, had 3 kids (a slight deterrent), but when he started to smoke while sucking back beer as if it were water, I politely excused myself and headed out to get some rest for my "early day tomorrow".

Date #5 - This one came all the way from northern Saskatchewan. Imagine that. He brought me flowers and was in town for a number of days for work. We talked, walked, ate Chinese food, swam, bowled, went to the top of the CN tower and enjoyed a movie. It was fun. He offered to visit more often. Unfortunately, I saw no future because I had no interest in potentially living amongst the polar bears in a town of 100 people. Did I mention that he was missing three teeth? Maybe I am more superficial than I thought.

So I say, congratulations to people who actually met in chat rooms, on lavalife, plentyoffish, eharmony, christiancafe and the like. Perhaps I just didn't have enough patience. Perhaps my expectations were off the mark. Perhaps I was waiting for the absolute perfect person. How lucky am I to have found him...and I didn't even need a computer, a dating service, or a bar.

Happy Valentine's Day to  my dear husband Adam.

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