Guys, let’s get down and dirty with dating in the current year. What the hell happened to dating? The last time I was “out” in the dating scene, I was in my twenties. Now I realize that a lot changes in a decade, you guys, but this has been a serious metamorphosis.
When Big was a year old, my sister set me up with Big’s babysitter’s son, who was in his 20’s. PERFECT, I thought. He was super good looking, had a great job, seemed semi-normal and maybe I’d get discounted child care. The first date was arranged by him physically calling me, which in these days is apparently a strange phenomenon to the male gender. He actually might have even paged me first on my beeper; I truly can’t confirm or deny that. I vividly remember lying on the floor of my bedroom, twiddling my hair nervously between my fingers, and making plans to go to Sedona for a romantic dinner. There wasn’t one minute that I spent considering that this man could be a serial killer. Seriously, now that’s a thing! Haven’t you seen the Craigslist Killer? Watched any news story after 5 pm? I was prepared to travel 45 minutes out of town with him and commit to a solid chunk of time getting to know him. Not once did I try to plan an escape route. As he drove up to my house, I peeped out the front door and caught my first glimpse! Be still my heart; he had dressed nicely with slacks and it even appeared that he had washed his car for me.
Dinner was great and the conversation was better. I cannot remember having a cell phone at the time; if I did I never checked it once. My beeper never even beeped. (By the way, I wasn’t a drug dealer, this was the normal thing to do at the time.) We dated a few years. I fell in love hard, and admittedly still love this man today. I give him all the credit in the world for dating me and loving my child like he were his own. He is my absolute best friend to this day. Timing is everything though and our timing was just wrong.
Fast forward to today. The very quick recap, Cliff Notes version, of my love life is this. I moved to this town six years ago to start fresh. I had my heart broken (I swore for the last time!) and moved to Prescott to be closer to my parents. I was here for about a year and became infatuated with a man. We were engaged within the first month of us dating (Alarm! Alarm!) and got married a few short months later. Hub and I never should have gotten married; but out of it we made one hell of a Little. We didn’t stay married long and can now share a great laugh about what a mistake it was and how we should have waited. He and I have an amazing co-parenting relationship and he quickly remarried. I do consider him a good friend as well. Admittedly, I’m increasing surprised every day that my family didn’t disown me over this mid-life-crisis-must-immediately-marry-the-wrong-person phase I had hit.
Super. So to sum up, I’m friends with almost all my ex’s. I’m “friend-zoned” a lot because I’ve been accused of intimidating men, being too independent, too career driven, and too much “into” my children. All of the above heinous statements are true and I feel are actually great qualities to have, and when I’m accused of them I consider them complimentary. I’m not willing to budge on any of them, EXCEPT perhaps I can be less intimidating. It’s kind of fun though.
My mother gets exasperated with me. She doesn’t understand why I can’t “meet a nice man at church,” or just settle down and accept some situations that I’ve been presented with. I cannot sum up how many conversations my mother has ended with eye rolling and a huge sigh followed up with, “Ughhhhhhhh, why can’t you just find a nice guy, Holli.” The answer is simple. I won’t settle, and honestly – neither should you.
My sister built me an eHarmony profile one Christmas. She begged and pleaded with me to make one. After much debate, I let it happen. I was matched to a scientist. A SCIENTIST, Y’ALL. We began an email relationship and never spoke. We lived about 45 minutes from one another. This email affair carried on for maybe three months. He would tell me all about his scientific studies (yawn) and I would tell him all about my life at my job. One morning while I was pouring my day into an email to Scientist, I realized that we had never spoken on the phone and had ZERO plans to meet in person. This was not the relationship I was looking for, obviously. I will say that aside from Scientist, eHarmony struggled to find any matches. That’s super special for someone’s self-esteem, by the way. My sister insisted that I was just “too picky.” Dear Sister: I will not settle for a scientific email addict who uses the wrong “there/their/they’re” in emails. Hard pass – no. The dating pool has been whittled down by 25% of men.
My co-worker and I were eating lunch one day in the back office, and she was sharing how she had this AMAZING date from Plenty of Fish, another dating website. Ugh. Fine. I build a POF profile, and my number one match was someone who I already knew and was kind of in my life. I sat there flabbergasted at the results. All the men in the state of Arizona, and that was who the computer thought I was compatible with? No. I talked to a few men on that site, all of which either didn’t have careers but “were searching” and just couldn’t find anything yet. Does no one have careers any longer? And if that’s true, don’t you think perhaps that wouldn’t be the first thing you tell someone you’re trying to impress? It’s not attractive. My current boss teases me and tells me that I simply “cannot date a man that doesn’t carry a briefcase.” The dating pool now has been cut down another 45-50% of men in my town.
The best story from POF came from an extremely attractive gentleman who I shall only refer to as D; because well, small town and all. D and I communicated via text for 5 weeks. He had my number after week one and never once used it to call me. Ladies: if you meet a man and he won’t call you, he isn’t calling you for a reason. In D’s case, I did a little searching and realized that D worked with a long time family friend of mine. I called the friend and casually asked about D. My friend informed me that he just wasn’t entirely sure how D had time to communicate with me, since his WIFE and CHILDREN kept him pretty occupied. I tried again once more and met a man who I hung out with for about three months. He was ultra-clingy (OMG, gross) and super needy. When I didn’t spend time with him he got a little terrifyingly angry. I kicked him to the curb; and about three weeks ago he was in the Prescott police log. To sum up, we “flushed” the POF profile, and I resigned to the fact that there were NOT Plenty of Fish in Prescott. If you’re keeping tabs here ladies, I have about 25% of the single population left over to pick from. My fishbowl was cloudy and had algae growing all over it.
Most recently, I added myself to Tinder. Gals, run. Just, no. Have respect for yourselves and uninstall this app on your phone. I had two experiences on there, both of which I’ll share with you. The first: I met C. He was attractive and seemed to be a bit shy while I was initially texting with him. He had a solid job but did not carry a briefcase. I let him come pick me up from my house (side note – this caused my mother to have a heart attack, with good reason. Do not let strangers know where you live or pick you up in their car) and we went to lunch. At lunch, C conveniently “forgot” his wallet and claimed that “this was 2016 babe! This is how it is now!” I reluctantly paid for lunch as the line behind us grew longer and longer with people. To save myself the embarrassment, I grabbed my cup and proceeded to go to the fountain for a diet coke. When my cup was ¾ full, C grabbed my wrist and forcibly poured the diet coke out, claiming that “with my body I should drink Coke Zero.” He’s super lucky I didn’t punch him in the gut. Next, I literally choked down my lunch listening to him ramble on and on about his weight loss journey. At one point, he FINALLY asked me a question, and mid-response he put his hand on mine and apologized for interrupting, but “had I ever considered professional teeth whitening?” I’m sure C is alive somewhere out there, but nowhere near my fishbowl! He did follow up our AMAZING date with a text that read – word for word – “I had a great time with you today. I can’t wait to see you again. I’m glad we didn’t hook up so that it would give us an opportunity to get to ‘no’ one another better.” Ugh. Dating pool – 5%.
In conclusion, I would like to tell all you single ladies that you’re not alone in this shallow dating pool. I realize that we are dealing with the rare instance of a decent, hardworking, honest, loyal, non-serial killer single male. A unicorn. I have to believe that they are out there somewhere. Men – if this is you – know that we women are stand offish for a reason. We absolutely will not settle for anything less than perfection; a perfection that is unique to each one of us. We’ve been alone for so long that we are in love with our independence; but we would love to curl up in your arms after a long day too.
Until then though, I’m content with my amazing life with Big and Little taking 100% of my time. Dating can come later; when I meet the right person. Up until that point I will spend 1,000 perfect moments with my children on my own because I want my children to remember that I was there for them all the time. Gals who are searching for love; good luck with the remaining 5%.