In his last article, Charles discussed feedback from his previous writing about online dating. In this article, he nears the end of a really short list.
Online dating was all a bit awkward at first, sticking my neck out, exposing vulnerabilities to strangers over the Internet. Even so, email is a convenient, no-pressure way to communicate basic compatibility. Although, I quickly find myself wishing I could meet my correspondent, and talk in-person, to figure out if we share a compatible foundation of interests and values on which to build a serious relationship.
But, if the email contact seems promising, then we go for coffee or a walk. And if that goes well, we go for a hike or a paddle, or one of us invites the other over for supper.
Is there a spark?
Some of my messages to women on the dating site go unanswered. Okay, no loss. I’m looking for someone who understands basic courtesy.
Some of my messages elicit a “thanks, but I don’t see a possible match” reply, and that’s okay.
Some women initiate contact with me; that’s exciting, but I have replied to these with my own “no thanks” messages, crafted, as sensitively as possible, when it’s clear our values and interests aren’t even close.
Am I being too hasty?
An unexpected benefit of my What’s Up articles was one woman herself, and the matchmaking friend of another, contacted me to explore the possibilities of getting to know me better.
I have also established more than transitory contact with several women through the dating site.
I’m not the sort of person who tries to run parallel relationships, playing one woman off against another to select an eventual “winner”, and there’s no looming deadline here. Instead, I’m exploring the possibilities with one woman at a time.
All the women I have met as a result of this exercise have been at least nice. One woman quizzed me like a job interview about what my last ten girlfriends would say was my biggest weakness. I guess I didn’t get the job because remembering my last ten girlfriends required going back decades.
I met a woman through the dating site who I liked very much, and we shared many common interests. My online profile clearly said I was looking for a relationship while hers said she was looking for friendship. Given that she had contacted me first, I assumed that she was looking for friendship that could possibly blossom into a relationship. But no, to my great disappointment, she really wasn’t looking for the same long-term commitment I was.
At least we were honest and trusted each other enough to talk about it, but that took a while to figure out.
We remain “just friends”.
A third woman was very enthusiastic about meeting me, and our profiles seemed to match, but there was just no spark. And a fourth decided that she wasn’t sufficiently over her last relationship to explore the next.
All the others, aside from a very small number in the to-be-determined category, have been variations on these same themes.
Just a note about honesty: one woman I met in person bore only a superficial resemblance to her photo, which I assume was taken years ago. It wasn’t the woman’s actual appearance that bothered me; it was what I considered misrepresentation. I’m looking for a woman who is comfortable in her own skin; this is an emotional quality, not a physical attribute. I understand that women my age have wrinkles and don’t resemble Barbie dolls. I’m interested in who they are today, not who they wistfully remember being in their youth.
So after months of searching through the small potential pool of Whitehorse online women, I have still not found anyone even as I near the end of the list. There is some Yukon turnover on the dating site, but not much.
One woman with whom I corresponded disappeared from two sites; I hope things worked out for her. The profiles of two new women meeting my search criteria have appeared, while those of potentially interesting women who never visit the site are still online.
So what to do?
Most of the women I have spoken with report that finding good men (online or anywhere) to be difficult. Perhaps concentrating Yukoners on one dating site (pof.com is free) would help. But there has to be a better way.
One of my correspondents noted previous generations held dances and socials so people could meet. Hey, I’ve been to barn dances at the Old Fire Hall. They’re fun, but once I get past all the children, it’s hard to figure out who’s with a partner amidst the swirl of dancers.
Are there any age-specific activities in Whitehorse for the 50-to-60 group? Do you have any ideas on other imaginative and low-pressure ways of getting unattached, mature, but active, Yukon adults together?
If so, please let me know.