Before you can meet your Irish prince, you have to kiss a lot of frogs. And what better way to sort the amphibians than with the obligatory post-modern hop through the lilypad pond known as match.com!
For a happy hetero-divorcee such as myself, 21st-century dating represents a brave new world. Of course I know the words to every song from "Fiddler on the roof" and have followed my friends' on-line dating adventures, but the last time I dated, there was no internet, my breasts were where they belonged, and there was no aids. (Well, there was, but there was no test, we didn't know from HIV, and we didn't even pretend to use condoms. Now, apparently, I will be expected to have them in my purse.) We certainly didn't meet through "artificial means" --except for my parents' upstairs neighbor, Ruth, who, after her husband died of cancer, used a matchmaking service to meet a new partner with whom she made love EXTREMELY volubly for the rest of their lives.
I did, however, have one spectacularly awful blind date arranged by my grandmother's Israeli friend Ora, who set me up with a young man who referred to Gaza and the West Bank as Judea and Samaria and told me -- as a positive -- that his father reminded him of Meir Kahane. My one carry-forward lesson from the eighties? Meet for coffee before you agree to anything else. (But -- and this is not very attractive -- if you are stuck having dinner and he is paying, order a second dessert. After all, you deserve something for your pain and suffering.)
Now, preparing to meet guys is less about putting on lipstick and going somewhere and more about hunkering down with your laptop, and maybe a glass of wine. (Personally, I prefer a small plate of mini-eclairs.) I am happy to report that, like those bygone days, it still involves giggling with your girlfriends, although now the process is less about lipstick teeth check and more like taking those quizzes in Seventeen magazine.
Being a "glass half full" kind of a girl, I happily envisioned recovering from starbucks encounters with latter-day ben-Meir Kahanes through animated racconteurism to my friends, but I did not realize that the on-line dating process -- emails, "winks" and plain profile-reading -- would provide so much humor right in my very inbox.
To denizens of match.com, eharmony, and -- yes, I saw it but did not join -- irishsinglesnetwork, what I greet with laughter, shock and awe will no doubt seem oldhat. But to folks like my beloved sister, bella psicologista, who has had two first dates in over 25 years, my revelations will be, perhaps, a bit more, well, revealing.
It seems there is some guide to online profiling for men that tells them to write what women want to hear. Or so I suspect. Are there really that many men out there who--unprompted--would describe themselves as "sensitive and a great listener"? And who are totally into nascar, moto-cross and sporting events, but whose favorite film is "casablanca"? After much cogitation, I unlocked the key. The secret to understanding these statements is to realize you are reading only the first part of the sentence-- -- as in, "I am as comfortable in a tux as in jeans" -- when you are s'ing my d.; "I love snuggling with my lady and watching "sleepless in seattle" -- when my lady is s'ing my d. "I love to gaze at the stars -- while ... well, you get the picture.
Another cringe-worthy factor (or, in the fabulous spanish term I learned yesterday, verguenza ajena -- "shame on behalf of others") demonstrated above is the use of "lady." Although I aspire to lady-like behavior (often hard to pull off when you are a disorganized, somewhat uncoordinated mother of four with wild hair and no time), no man except Barry White can get away with referring to his "lady" without asterisks or irony. (The jury is out on "lay, lady, lay" -- but it's not in my top 100.)
Here's a time-saving tip many resourceful would-be ladiesmen have learned: Cut and paste very passionate declarations of a lady's great beauty -- and send them to as many women as possible! Avow you're not a player and assert how much you long for a deep relationship with a lady who lives, oh, two-thousand miles away. My personal favorite thus far was "hearthatlove," an Englishman (living in England, mind), who rhapsodized about all he could read in my eyes--through the sunglasses in my profile picture?
Given my personal passion for close textual analysis (although "love cta" is not in my on-line profile), in later posts we may review some of the most memorable missives I have received, but I recognize my tendency to ramble, so I will leave you today with this query: Are misspelled words a turn-on to some ladies? Bella professoressa would like to know.