Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Dating is Dumb

Dating in 2009
I’ve been divorced five years and I’m on Match.Com. People say computer dating is dumb. It is, because dating is dumb. Computer dating is just the latest version of an old custom.

Dating is dumb. In fact, dating is the principle motivation for people getting married. Then they don’t have to date anymore.

Old dating customs linger in my age bracket. The man usually initiates contact. He journeys to a location convenient to her house for a first encounter. He does most of the talking, because she wants to check him out, asking questions in order to screen for perversion, psychosis, malignant jerk-itis, or chronic creepitude.

After that initial phase, one is supposed to achieve “chemistry” or to “feel a sense of connection” or to laugh.

I don’t get that part. Chemistry?

I have just achieved three first dates in this past month. I wasn’t hoping for chemistry, just survival. They were very nice women -- wholesome, intelligent, accomplished, good-looking, understanding, and kind of fun. That part was gratifying, knowing that women of a decent quality were interested in getting to know me.

The first date was pretty easy. She took off from work at lunchtime and we spent a pleasant half-hour on a park bench looking over the water. She brought a snack and we talked.
Then she said goodbye and it was fun, and I said I would call her, but I didn’t. I mean, I still could call her -- the ticket hasn’t expired. I thought about calling her today. I still have her number.

The second date, we met at the Honey Bear Cafe in Seattle. She was nervous. She said she wasn’t used to meeting men. So I became nervous too. Even so, I liked her, and the conversation was pleasant. But after 45 minutes, I figured that was enough talking, so I kept giving these “we’re done” signals because, being a gentleman, I wanted her to have the opportunity to say “I have to go now.”

She missed the signals. She became more nervous, and continued talking. I became silent. Her monologue went on for another 30 minutes. I finally said, “I have to go now,” but very nicely.

I still liked her. What’s wrong with being a little nervous? I suggested a couple of things we might do together some time, like go to a movie, or rent a rowboat in Lake Union. I selected those two options, because there’s not much talking involved

I don’t like talking that much, even talking about myself. After a while my jaw starts to hurt from too much flapping. I especially like being with women who do not rush to fill-in every pause. I like silent pauses. Actually, I need pauses, because I come from several generations of slow-talking men.

My third date was awesome, like a major event. I noticed her profile on She was too rich, too beautiful, and too young, so I did not contact her.

But guess what? She contacted me and said she’d like to know more about me. I was being set up nicely. I wrote back and told her about myself, but I kept thinking she’s not going to be interested in a chump like me -- this woman of high income and professional accomplishment. And she’s eight years younger than me -- a bit of a difference.

Then I said to myself -- Fred, have a little confidence in yourself. She likes you because you’re such a class act, one-in-a-million. Yeah, yeah, that’s right, I said, doing a one-man pep rally.

So I’m ready for the next step, but my expectations are rising, and I didn’t think that was good.

Beryl (an old-fashioned English name ) replied from her home in Vancouver -- “I’d like to meet you.”

Not only that, she wanted to come down to Fir Island, because I told her about the trail across the salt marsh and we could walk on the beach. My expectations continued to rise.

She drove down on Saturday afternoon. I met her at the Rexville Store. She was gorgeous, better than her photos, wearing dazzling jewelry and a pair of sunglasses that cost more than my car.

I think I’m in over my head now, but off we go on the hike. She’s asking me the usual questions -- the vetting process. Only it’s much easier because we are walking down a trail, so I get my necessary pauses.

The fragments of my life do not quite make a whole -- it often seems that way to other people. Well, too bad. My life has been about making mistakes, being in the wrong place, and saying the wrong thing.

That’s how I got to be so smart -- because I took chances.

Beryl’s life at work is very different than mine. She is in command of her enterprise and she expects the seas to part before her.

I’m very impressed by this, but I wish she hadn’t brought this attitude along on the date. I wanted to tell her -- I’m a boy, you’re a girl, we’re on a date, and we’re just supposed to be having fun.

I sensed that her life was her career and she didn’t really have time for someone like me. And I felt sympathy, in that a woman of high professional status might actually have a hard time finding a date.

But it was lovely on the beach, wading in the water and picking up driftwood.

Afterward, she emailed me and said there was no chemistry -- that word again.

I really liked her brilliant mind. She inspired me to write and that was like heaven. But I doubt that I will see her again.

So I’ll keep looking. I feel like that 12-year-old boy who liked the girl with the curly hair. He’s standing on the sidewalk in front of her house, pawing the snow with his boots, not knowing what to do or what to say.

It’s no different now, although I am much older.

1 comment:

Alan Archibald said...

Mark my words Fred. It won't be long before people accuse of us decreepitude.