On-line Dating (Part 1)

As I began online dating a few years ago, I quickly realized I was going to have some trouble here in Northern California finding a match.  I am one of the few females in this neck of the woods who doesn’t: hike, bike, sail, climb, ski, snowboard, ride, surf, do yoga, drink wine, travel or lastly, attend Burning Man.  “Well, what DO you do?” I would often be asked.  Let’s see, I work. Take care of my kids.  Read.  Shop? Uh oh.

The difficult question for me to answer was, “What are you looking for?” which is the kindred Sister question of, “What do you actually have time for?”.  I struck out at these inquiries for quite awhile too.  I am in a very small minority within the category of Single Mothers in that I have my kids 100% of the time and I am also the 100% breadwinner for my offspring.  I have no free weekends, free nights, weeks off-you get the point.  So what was I looking for?  That took awhile to figure out but what I found in the process is that there are 8 types of men in online dating here in the beautiful Bay Area:

1. Helmet Guy

This is the most abundant type of man you will meet here in Northern California.  He loves to run, cycle (mountain or road although you learn there is a BIG difference in gear alone), ski, snowboard (but not both probably because he specializes), race, surf, kite board, wake board and whatever other sport they will invent next.  This guy is almost always looking for an “activity partner” to be sporty with.  Men like doing things with their dates so this is not an unnatural request.  I get it.  But, unfortunately my main source of exercise these days is drying my clients hair so this was not a match.

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2. Torso Guy

This guy just shows his upper body to give you a taste of his physique.  As you can see, it isn’t always amazing but hey-at least you know what he’s got.  He is only showing his torso because he just wants sex or wants to remain anonymous because maybe he is in a relationship?  Not sure.

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(Note-the above correspondence was his actual message to me.  Hot, right?)

3. Sailboat Guy

He drinks wine, wears his sweater around his neck, might even belong to a Country Club.  “Tennis anyone?” He is usually pictured on his boat at the helm.  He is looking for a “lady” to go to Napa on weekends with.  There is also a more rugged version of the Sailboat Guy which could be it’s own subcategory and that would be The Fisherman.  He is always shown holding a big fish, presumably that he caught.

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4. Tech Guy

Very, very common especially in SF is the guy who moved here to work in tech.  It’s the new Gold Rush and these guys are here to “explore all SF has to offer”.  Make no mistake, this is not to be confused by the “Work Hard Play Harder” guy who somewhat crosses all categories.  (That’s the most common descriptor men use for themselves.)  Tech guy works hard indeed but in his free time is into finding cool restaurants, live music and has only heard of Marin (where I live).  Tech guy is probably my most favorite type because he likes to text a lot, he’s well read and curious but he has two major drawbacks.  He has ROOMMATES and NO CAR.

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5. Berkeley Guy

This is my least compatible type.  He does yoga, rides his bike only because you shouldn’t have a car. Doesn’t want to date out of his zip code because it’s bad for the carbon footprint. He is often almost as smug as Seminar Guy (another sub category that crosses genres) who is a capital-A Asshole but goes to workshops at Esalen once a year so feels alright about it all.  He accepts himself. Berkeley Guy likes me (hippie name, minimal make-up) until he finds out I work with chemicals and alter women’s appearances for a living.

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6. Harley Guy

He’s a modern Cowboy really, with all his motorcycles instead of horses.  He’s almost always featured riding one proudly.  He is a throwback to a Bay Area before all the tech money came.  He often has a mustache.

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(Note-one site I was on for a long time does not use your real name and it was always fun to see what name was chosen for oneself.  Hotwhiz69…wonder what that meant?)

7.  Burning Man Guy

This can be a sneaky one to discern because in a lot of pictures, he looks like a regular guy but wait for it.  Keep looking at his pictures because there is always that one that gives him away.  The picture where he is in front of the Temple at “La Playa”.  He has a distinct sparkle in his eye.  He’s definitely looking for a kindred, adventurous spirit.  I even met one who called himself a “Bliss Pimp”.  I have a lot of brilliant and amazing friends who attend Burning Man and I am happy it is there for them.  It’s just not for me at this time so I am not the girl for this guy.

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8.  Last but not least, Giants Guy

He is always at a game.  It can be the 49ers or the Raiders or the Giants or the A’s or the Warriors.  He is in pictures with his buddies, holding a beer or a kid.  He is a fan.  Fun for him revolves around sports.  We have amazing teams here so he is always busy!

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Ladies, it’s not a lost cause.  There will be that guy who defies categorization or maybe crosses categories and isn’t as easily summed up as I have made it seem here.  Men have horrible things to say about us too.  It’s now common practice to heckle women for their come-hither cleavage pics, duckface selfies, yoga poses on a mountain and relaxed pictures with our cats.

As the late, great Mike Mitchell once said, “There is an ass for every seat.”  He was a Race Car Driver and a Plumber.

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On Bad First Dates

True confession-once I realized how much fun it was to talk on Facebook and at the salon about my bad first dates, I sort of started to look forward to them.  Not that I would seek out ill-fitting Suitors mind you.  I just knew that my friends and clients would be entertained.  Of all my bad first dates, this one took the cake.

I arrived at the restaurant first and waited outside.  I spotted him parking his white, American car and could tell from his swagger towards me, this gentleman was not “the one”.  He had a Bluetooth in his ear as well as two phones on his gadget belt and the Khakis were ill-fitting.  Tight, navy golf shirt, belt up too high on his waist, spiky hair gelled to the point of no motion, high testosterone.  How did I end up in this position, you might ask? Doesn’t a Hipster girl screen out guys like this?  When I hastily got back into internet dating the second time around, I forgot my basic rules, one being don’t have a meal as a first date.  And he was my first date back on the market so, we sat down to eat.

Upon being seated, he did a chiropractic adjustment/back crack in the chair that was so violent I had to ask, “What was that?  Are you OK?” and he proceeded to tell me that he was on his way to the Chiropractor after lunch. I took the bait,  asked why.  He asked if I knew the difference between Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow, which I did not.  He has Golfers Elbow and went on to explain the intricacies and how hard it was for him to continue to play.  Upon which I naively asked, “Maybe this is a dumb question but can’t you just switch arms?”. This was so offensive to him that he raised his voice and told me that that was like asking me if I can just switch hands to cut hair.  “Well, I  get your point but I don’t cut hair… I’m a Colorist.”  Silence.

When it came time to order he asked me what kind of coffee I drink.  I said, “I like Americanos, how about you?”. He said that he can only drink drip coffee now since getting the INTESTINAL PARASITE.  Oh?

So, how would YOU respond my friends?

A) um, gross (change the subject)

B) I guess you should have a drip coffee

C) Tell me more!

Now, you know from my personality that of course, I chose C.

So, apparently he got an Intestinal Parasite and his main concern was how it affects your protein absorption. For muscle building.  So he worked out extra-hard he explained and then, really-I swear, flexed his muscles for me and said, “I am still ripped though”.

As lunch went on he told me about his crappy childhood (mean Dad), his crappy divorce (took his money), his crappy last job (revolving door salesman, for real) and all the politics of having to “manage up” because of his crappy boss.  After answering a few work calls he HAD to take during our date, he asked me if I minded him telling me all this and I said, “No, go on!  My Mom is a Therapist.”  What that has to do with anything I am not sure but it felt like the right thing to say.

Online dating is not for everyone.  If you are very sensitive, easily offended or have your hopes up high with each date you may struggle.  We all have so little time.  There are hundreds and hundreds of potential candidates for you so it’s important to carefully screen from the get go.

 

Unless you are me and you want a good story.

 

Footnote-last I checked, he is still single.

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And so was this guy.  Go figure.

 

For tips on how not to date a clown, stay tuned for the pending entry, “On the 7 Types of Men You Will Meet Online”.

 

 

On Unicorns

In December, I met a man online and we fell for each other hard.  This was not just any man-this was the kind of guy I have only heard about that is usually taken/married/just in movies (picture Jake Ryan as grown man).  Not just smart, funny, wise, interesting, successful, a great Dad, athletic (but not obsessive), movie-star good looking and in a MEN’S BOOK CLUB for God’s sakes.  I kept pinching myself as we went on amazing date after amazing date and I came to label him to my Facebook friends as The Unicorn.  As I have done since I started dating about 2 years ago, I kept looking for the “dealbreakers” but really couldn’t find a bad one.  Dating in one’s 40s becomes a damage assessment game.  Will it be a crazy ex, financial stress, bad kids, STDs, DUIs…basically, I would screen each date like a Private Detective wondering, “How bad is it?”….

 

The only dealbreaker he kept showing me was his fear of love.  Fear of love?  NBD.

 

As it turned out, his fear of love was stronger than his desire to be with me so 2 months in he decided this whole love thing wasn’t for him and we stopped the BF/GF train on the tracks.  As crushed and blindsided as I was, I have always been of the school of, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them” (Maya Angelou) so I did NOT try and persuade him that his decision was a bad one.  I adapted.  We continued to date each other but not exclusively (against popular opinion which was to kick him to the curb) and I started Mission Get Over Him.

 

My mission was futile.  I seem to have the kind of heart that has an on-off switch.  When I love you, it’s nearly impossible for me to stop.  I give my whole heart to what I do and those around me, for better or worse. But I sure did try.  Here is a non-exhaustive list of what I did:

Read self-help books (Highly recommend the book “Attached”.  Brilliant!!!!)

Talked shit and asked existential questions about love on FB  and with Clients (very helpful!)

Wrote in my journal

Cried at night (late night was the worst)

Allowed myself to feel pathetic

Went over old texts to prove I didn’t imagine it

Massage therapy

Consulted a Psychic

Lots and lots and lots and lots of dating

Dated people I thought looked like him (a first and what I consider an all time low and extremely cliche)

Considered a mid-life crisis.  What things haven’t I done yet?  Date a 25-year old?  Visit a sex-club? Why not!

Read extensively about Consensual Non-Monogamy/Polyamory-maybe this is the future???  If I can’t have one relationship, maybe I should have 3 or 5 or 7?  

Made out with new guys

Sang sad songs

 

At one point, I encountered a brilliant 4-year old who was holding a toy purple plastic Unicorn.  Knowing that children are infinitely wise, I asked Josie if she thought Unicorns were real?  She said, “Yes, but they all died.”  And I said, “Why?” Her response was that when the boat came, they didn’t get on it.

 

An apt metaphor.

 

All said, nothing made my love for him go away.  I am sure he felt that when we spent time together but I had let go of any future between us.  Then, at the 5 month mark, my guy decided that he was ready.  I can’t speak for him and how that all played out but I can say that my response was, “Hell yes!” and here we are on the BF/GF train. So is he a Unicorn?  I guess it depends on how you think about it.  Is he rare and mystical?  Yes.  Is he exceptional?  For sure.  But he is a also just a man, with scars and fears and flaws just like everyone else.  It seems childish now to have ever used that label but at the moment, it made a point which is still true.  You don’t often meet Extraordinary.  And when you do, hopefully you are ready for him.

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