When I began online dating, I discovered someone highly intriguing who lived on the other side of the world. Although he assured me Topanga Canyon was a reasonable 26 miles away from my Pasadena apartment, Los Angelenos know this translates into a 60-minute drive in “real” time. This is if the traffic Gods are with us and is dependent on our being good to them which is rarely the case.
He was a seducer, with e-mails laced with poetry and pictures from coasts with sapphire seas. I announced from the onset I would not meet him as I had sworn off dating anyone outside a fifteen-mile radius. My brief encounter with a Malibu realtor cemented that one. So, Steve and I began a playful e-mail affair while I continued to look for a more suitably located future.
In the meantime, my friend Diana announced she wanted help jumping into the online dating pool. Being familiar with the agony of swimming in the ”over 50” category, I invited her over for several glasses of wine and a tutorial on creating a profile.” She is cute and petite and has an infectious spirit which convinced me she would have much success. After much laughter and a touch of plagiarism, the final product was submitted to her site of choice.
I warned her that she needed to emotionally prepare for the changes in her life that were about to occur. Wanting her to remain hopeful for at least the immediate future, I refrained from warning her that these changes could directly result in the swift death of her presently secure ego.
The content of the first day of school was to introduce the three tiers of guys available in this online universe. I told her the men behind door number one would be those she would only consider going out within a nightmare. These are the guys with pictures that look as if they have just been released from prison. One guy who contacted me was sporting a gun and toothpick, and another had a naked beer belly with a potable resting on it. A third candidate was standing in front of a white pickup truck replete with a confederate flag. My advice was for her was to press delete immediately should she view pictures that she found disturbing. No one needs haunting images taking up mental space. If she wasn’t careful, her open-minded persona could quickly catapult into a permanent lockdown mode.
Next are the guys that strike us as being worthy of inquiry. For these men I suggested Diana ask a single question then wait and evaluate.
The final group would be men she could research in her spare time of which she would have none. Therefore, this consortium was, at present, off the table.
Within five minutes of presenting her biography, she received several replies and was genuinely excited at the prospect of moving forward. Four days later she was ready to quit. She complained that group number one was verbally stalking her. I pointed out that her replies sang with prose that filled the men with hope; clearly not the intention. She immediately recognized her error. Fortunately, some students matriculate quickly.
The second group seemed to respond with a thesis which she found exhausting. With this faction Diana had mistakenly asked several questions opening the door for answers that were so long they were making her catatonic. So much for being an accelerated apprentice.
I received another phone call filled with exasperation and a plea for a powwow. Diana couldn't understand why some men would engage with her then drop off into oblivion only to re-emerge when she no longer had any recollection as to who they were. This seemed to be an emerging theme. Apparently, she had conversed with a guy in Santa Monica who was attractive, fit and well versed in Kinesiology, a field we both shared. A chill of recognition stopped me dead in my tracks.
“Is his name John?”
She looked stunned and asked how I knew. John and I had conversed for many months during my dating tenure yet we hadn’t moved beyond our curses. I recalled him constantly being on line and, in a moment of spontaneity I said: “let’s check if he is online now.“ We wrote a quick hello, and It took but a millisecond for him to reply. The three of us “chatted” for a bit and his decidedly dry answers were enough for Diana to readily retire him as a possibility.
She had also had communicated with a man she had much in common and was convinced there was a connection. They had exchanged several e-mails, and then, as with John, she hadn’t heard from him and couldn’t fathom why. She told me he was Vegan and loved gardening and was very spiritual and lived in Topanga….and there you go… Steve…Really? Yes, really… It was almost surreal that we were both sought out by the same two men in the vastness that is Los Angeles. One must admit it is a striking coincidence.
Fast forward to a year later, and Diana and Steve are a couple. I have met him on several occasions, and he is wonderful but he still lives in Topanga Canyon and I remain thankful I don’t have to negotiate with our traffic Gods to go out on a date.