What I Learned from Match.com
I recently ended my last, not-quite-most-expensive social experiment. Me and Match. Now, let me say first, that I don’t have anything against the site. I’ve met plenty of interesting people there over the course of the past. Fifteen years ago I met a really cool dude who wouldn’t have sex with me, finally told me why and then vanished. Until he moved in next door to me while I was on my honeymoon. Seriously. Most recently (ok, if you consider sixteen months sorta recent, it counts, right?), I met Judge Judy dude. My last date who was 20 minutes late to his own house, decided on Chinese delivery, and, after putting the food on plates & after I put on the kitchen table to continue our really great conversation, he picked up same plates. And put them on the coffee table.
And turned on the television to Judge Judy. And then left it there. Until Divorce Court came on. And, then said, “I can’t believe I feel so comfortable around you.” Ayup. My last date that wasn’t.
I’ve also entertained folks with shenanigans connected to online dating because you really can’t make this stuff up. This go ’round, though, I figured I’d give it a shot again. I mean it’s only $35 a month. Why not? I’m a modern kinda woman. I’ve not had a date in over a year and, well, now at the ripe age of 45, I could use some lovin’ in more ways than one. Plus I miss good men in my world.
Oh. My. Gad. So let me share my lessons with you.
Lesson #1: I’m judgmental. Yes, indeed, I am. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We have developed, particularly in the ‘speerachul’ circles, the notion that judgement is baaaaaaad. We must not judge. But we can ‘discern’. Puh-leeze, people. Synonyms. Judgement is is something we do every day–we begin at the start of the day. We judge whether it really is time to get out of bed. We judge our asses, our children’s choice of clothing, our partner’s silence. We also judge whether situations, people and places are safe for us. Judgement itself isn’t the issue. It’s often an instinctive, intuitive knowing combined with prior experience, bias, community, and other factors. Judgement becomes an issue when it is used to cause harm by denigration. So don’t tell me you don’t discern by race, weight, braces, glasses, gender, religion, culture, continent or country of origin, political persuasion, smoking, drinking, food choices. driving capability, toe nails, body hair, accent, bindi, nose ring, tattoo, prosthetic.
So, when I was introduced men (because what you put out there on your Match profile really is your introduction) to men who wanted to be seen hungover or high, I judged that was not for me. If your stated ideal match was 25-42 years old, I judged I was a-okay with that and didn’t connect (unless there was another connection). If there he was a staunch Republican, prolly not a great match. Those were judgements. So were the things that made me raise an eyebrow and initiate contact. Obviously to no avail.
Lesson #2: Honest really is the best policy. It may not always be appreciated though. At least not qualify you for more than a cup of coffee. And, it’s really not SOP for a lot of folks. Don’t lie. Because #3.
Lesson #3: The truth will always come out. Always. I thought everyone already knew that. I was wrong. If you say one thing and your photos don’t match that one thing?
Now, that’s not to say I don’t lie. I do. I withhold information I don’t think people can handle. When people ask how I am, I often lie. Because if I look like they need to ask, they can’t handle my truth in the moment. So I lie. That whole notion of me lying because I don’t think people can handle my truth when I’m in the shits? They know I’m lying. I know when they are, too, for the same reason. We dance that together sometimes. I lie at restaurants all the time. “How is your meal?” Do I really want to wait another 45 minutes for something edible to be put in front of me? “It’s okay, thanks.” I’ve made up a lie or two to try to gracefully get out of stuff I’ve not wanted to do (been busted doing that, too! That’s notso graceful.) I no longer lie to myself (unless second-guessing counts and I’m on the fence about if that counts as a lie). And, I certainly don’t lie when I’m trying to get a date and there’s the potential for nikkedness. Then, hello, #3.
And, then, there’s the whole judging someone else’s honesty. Oh, yes, I did. Dudes sometimes have the courage to say out loud what they are looking for. Like, someone who works out seven days a week, is competent with an iron & vacuum & vagina. And I say, “You want what?! You asshole.” I know. It wasn’t right. But I did.
Lesson #4: A picture really is worth a thousand words. They can say, “Heeeellloooo, hotstuff!” or “Ew.” Or, they can lead an intuitive lady to see straight through #2 to #3 and say, “Liar, liar.” Or “RUN!” And that doesn’t even include when one is introduced to your fine self with a seated picture. From the toilet. Ayup. And, no. Just. No.
Lesson #5: $35 to fool me once. $35 twice, I’m the fool. Foolish girl, I am.
Lesson #6: I have no earthly idea what men of my generation are thinking. Or what they want–besides the obvious. I mean, who thinks coffee is a date? Once I’ve figured out I want to see you, then I don’t want coffee at a place where you can people watch instead of pay attention to each other (okay, me). I want you, the dude with whom there’s potential nikkedness, to put as much effort as I do. In fact, toward the end of my last Match tenure, I actually said something along the lines of “Coffee = flip flops, dirty toe nails, no shaving of legs, no stray eyebrow plucking, no makeup but possibly deodorant and probably teeth brushed.” A guy not from my generation thought that was pretty reasonable.
Does that limit me? Oh. Sure. I could have the best freakin’ cuppa on the planet with a really cool dude who also thinks mutually-fun nikkedness is a great idea. And, then wants to keep on having fun that way for years. Could. Same goes for the rest of life. You have a limited notion of what you want or what others will want and, well…
However, this time, I took the chance that I would walk away from more $35 mistakes and missed coffee klatches. I’m pretty sure I’m not missing much.