The last time I was in the man-meeting market, looking for dates was as easy as:
1 — Head to the convenience store and buy a copy of Casco Bay Weekly ($1).
2 — Sit at the typewriter (with no correction key) and compose a witty, charming, thoughtful, exciting yet mysterious ad that will capture the eye of every single guy.
3 — Jump in the car, head over to the post office (gallon of gas: $1.07).
4 — Wait for the ad to appear in the once-a-week paper.
5 — Wish, hope, and pray the kind folks at CBW will find a free moment to collect my 100 responses, stuff them in a large envelope and forward to my home address.
6 — Get the package! Sit down! Open each envelope (what?? only 15??) with bated breath. First one: uh, what’s with the spelling? Second one: ohmygod, does this guy live on hamburgers and fries? Third one: he lives in Calais? You get the picture. Simple, right?
Well, not terribly simple, but good enough to meet my now ex-husband.
Fast forward 20 years. Wow, have things changed.
Within an hour of signing up with an online dating site, writing a witty, charming, thoughtful, exciting yet mysterious ad, posting photos (thanks, Photoshop) and giving my credit card number with trepidation, I have 53 responses. Whoa Nelly!
I’ll call him “Hank.” We have so much in common! Love to eat! Love music! Books! Dogs! And cats! The beach! HE is the ONE.
And “Hank” would’ve been, except I felt absolutely no chemistry. Let’s be honest here, peeps. I have fantastic friends. A loving family. A successful career. I don’t need a friend. I want someone to snuggle with. Chemistry is important. Bye-bye, “Hank.”
His name is “Dick.” The profile was short, but the photo – oh, the photo. Sitting in a sailboat (not his), looking out to sea with a pensive look. Calling me, come hither! I hithered. We met for coffee at Starbucks. Now I know why the pensive look. “Dick” has no teeth. Yup, not a one. Well, I didn’t check the molars. Perhaps he has a few. Maybe not. I poured massive amounts of cream in my coffee to cool it down, gulped as quickly as I could and said, “Thanks, ‘Dick.’ Got to head out to get my teeth cleaned.” (I really didn’t say that). Bye-bye, “Dick.”
The Very Ugly:
Let’s meet “Jack.” Loved the profile; my mother would’ve picked him out for me. Nice photos: on a 100-mile bike ride, running a marathon, sitting at an outdoor cafe with a lovely grin (he has teeth!). Works for The City. You had me at first click. Feeling’s mutual. Let’s go bold! Dinner for the first date. WOW. Three hours later, it was a match! Hugs, followed by a sincere “I-want-to-see-you-again-how-soon-can-we-get-together-again?” After countless emails, texts, phone calls, date two arrives. WOW. Four hours! Lunch, walk around Mackworth, holding hands, talk, laugh, sharing our inner, outer, and past lives, and yes, kiss. KISS! The kind you don’t do with your cousins. Ah, yes!
Ah – no. That was it. End of story. No communication. No word. No explanation. Rien. Finito. (For the record, I did follow up a couple of times, but was met with short and cursory responses.) Huh??
OK. It’s time to regroup, rethink, relax and rejuvenate before jumping back in the online dating saddle again. I haven’t given up. Just letting go for the moment. It’s not easy finding someone, and the older we get, the harder – well, you know how it goes.
But I’m beginning to miss the simpler, good ol’ personal-ad days of Casco Bay Weekly. Where are those remaining 85 responses they never had time to mail?
Portland resident Nina Allen can be found tooting her own French horn in the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Her favorite composers are Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Zevon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.