I’m 40 now. I have a lot of years of dating in my bones. And until about four years ago I would have said it was some of the worst memories of my life.
Some people are lucky. They meet someone in high school who ends up being a perfectly perfect match and boom: married, kids, white picket fence, dog.
Some people aren’t.
I fit somewhere in the middle of that category.
I don’t know if there is Karma involved in the process of finding true love. I’m not sure it matters. But I do know there is a longing that has us making stupid mistakes, usually repeatedly.
When I was younger, I hadn’t figured out to lead with my heart yet so I learned to be crafty. I didn’t wait for that magic moment one full moon to take my soul mate down to the water where we bathed in moonlight lose our virginity.
I decided going to college a virgin was a horrible idea, so I propositioned a friend and got the deed out of the way (over and over again during lunch time) so I wouldn’t have to wait to find out what it was all about.
Does that make me weird? Probably. But I feel like I got to take control of a situation that scared me, and that made it ok.
When I got to college it was overwhelming how many boys there were. I was at a huge buffet and afraid to put anything on my tray in case something better was down the line. I didn’t want to fill up my tray prematurely.
One night, about six months into my first year I went to a concert. I think it was EMF or the Soup Dragons or something equally one-hit-wonderish…and I see this boy. He’s almost glowing like an angel. He’s super tall with long blonde hair and he’s dancing as if no one is watching. I happen to find that super hot.
I feel a plan hatching inside me. I’m dancing behind him when I see him whisper to his buddy that he’s getting some water. I nonchalantly keep him behind me and head to the water fountain. I make sure to bend over noticeably while drinking and when finished make eyes with him before I walk back into the gym. I returned to where his friend was. He whispered to his friend again a little while later and I did the water fountain trick again. I ended up doing this three times. On the fourth time, when I turned around and saw him there I stopped and said, “Are you following me?”
He looked at me like I was crazy. I know his mind was a little messed up because he clearly was initiating all these water breaks, but I was in front of him each time.
“What?” he stammered, even confused himself. ”Every time I turn around at this water fountain, you’re behind me. What the hell?” I asked, half flirting half insinuating.
He just shook his head and stepped forward to get water and I walked back into the gym on the opposite side this time, where he can see me dance when he returns. Now I dance like no ones watching…but I hope someone is.
The show was over and just as I planned, he came over to me while I’m fumbling with my sweater, trying to waste time before I ran out of excuses to leave.
”Hey, do you want to come to a party with me and my friend? It’s just off campus.” he asked.
”Excuse me? First you follow me all night, now you want me in your car and I don’t even know your name?” I smiled a little so I didn’t frighten him off.
“It’s Sam. Do you want to come or not?” he pushed.
“If I can drive your car I’ll come, ” I acquiesce.
“Are you crazy?” he almost yelled at me with this irresistible glint in his eyes. It felt like we had been friends for years with this banter and strange comfort. “I don’t even know your name and I’m supposed to let you drive my car? My car that I paid for by myself!”
“Then no deal,” I said. ”You could get totally drunk and then I’m stuck somewhere and have to take the drunk bus back to campus. No thanks.”
“Jesus, OK, If I get too drunk to drive, you can have the keys, ok?” So I agreed. And he did get too drunk and I drove him back to my room, and we were inseparable for 3 years.
But that just happened. It was spur of the moment and totally called to me. There was no premeditation. No dating. It just happened.
That unmistakable spark never really came again so I turned to the needs of my body and had lots of meaningless well protected sex with no relationship for years. I always waited until I just needed human touch, and then I would give in just to feel like part of the human experience again. I kept wanting a partner, but I never found someone I actually wanted to spend time with.
And then, years later, when I was actually at my lowest, I met the man who would be my first husband. We worked together. It was easy. He was sweet and stable. I was on the other side of the country away from everything I knew, broke, confused and incredibly naive. He courted me and I allowed it. But that was ten years of my life. So when we split (amicably I should add) a few things happened. It was TEN years later and almost everyone had their own computer. I also at this point detested bars. It also seemed that all my friends were married and their friends were all married. So getting fixed up was kinda out of the question. And for my final trick, I had no luck in the produce department waiting to be picked up by some hot yoga instructor who would cook me awesome vegetarian food.
Where does a single, lonely, healthy, relatively well-adjusted lady find a man now? If friends aren’t setting you up? And there is no one interesting at work? And no one has picked you up in the Whole Foods produce department…then your best choice really boils down to internet dating. When I first got out of my marriage I was confused about how to meet people and I was very very very horny. I even started with a Craigslist personal. I always had luck finding furniture, so maybe I’d have the same odds finding a man.
I found two well written and very sexy posts there, and replied with well crafted and insightful manifestos. Unfortunately, I got the same weird Christian conservative message back from both. That felt like a really really bad omen for me. (I say this, but my friend met her wife there…so maybe it’s a good place for lesbians?) Then I did what I think most people do, I joined Match.com. It was a desperate moment. It was Friday night. I just ate an entire Pizza by myself. And more than anything, I just wanted human companionship. I didn’t, however, know the rules of internet dating.
But like carbs, I just couldn’t stay away. There were mountains of men. Mountains of men. It was just like the buffet line at college where I immediately gained 15 pounds just standing there looking at all my choices.
Most importantly maybe, I didn’t have to go to a smelly loud bar. And I could read their thoughts before meeting them. And I could see (in theory) recent photos of them before even striking up a conversation. And even if I didn’t email anyone, I got to spend an evening kinda communing with other souls just looking for connection. The problem was, I was terrible at it. Why though? I used to be crafty, tricky. I used to snare the one I want and make it last until it was dead. I used to be witty and cute and fun. But I couldn’t even get a guy to email me back. And if they did, I couldn’t get them to meet me. Or even better, I was getting unsolicited emails from men telling me I had a nice rack. (Which I do…but that won’t score you a date with me.) Well I’m happy to say, no thrilled to announce I cracked the code. I figured it all out. I now have that guy who I did in fact meet online and do intend to keep…
And he’s not who I thought he’d be. And it happened almost like a dream, but not the Hollywood kind. And there is a magic to it like those who find their mates in high school and have a white picket fence and 2.4 kids. But mine comes with a life full of experiences. My Ah Ha comes with the magic of living life to the fullest and finding out who I am. Finding out what I need. And I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
I’m not alone in this miracle of self un-earthing. Thousands of us are getting an opportunity in our thirties and forties and fifties and even sixties and beyond to finally get to the root of who we are and what we want in partnership for ourselves.
And it’s fucking brilliant.
So for you, sweet friends, I thought I would look back at the evolution of what would over a few years become my unintended expertise…internet dating. Because I KNOW you can do it, and do it well. I know you can find what you may not even know you are looking for yet. And I have the tools for you to make it happen. And maybe you are like me and wish you had a little structure, a little guidance, a little insight before blundering through this whole thing alone. And maybe you just got out of a 10 or 20 or 30-year relationship and you are thinking, “What the fuck am I going to do now?” Or maybe like me, you just aren’t having luck and you want to turn the tables and start getting multiple dates a week, perhaps even a line waiting for you. Maybe you are ready to start meeting real quality matches!
Well, sit tight ladies. Help is here. I know by tonight you can be well on your way to a different and very pleasurable internet dating experience!
My book will be available electronically on Amazon and iTunes and all e-readers within the next month! I will keep you posted and be asking for your support in not only sharing the word, but also writing reviews!
This was simply a little foreplay to get you interested….