Thursday, March 24, 2016

So, I recovered enough, I guess, from my last relationship to try to "put myself out there" again, only I go to work, and go home, and "putting myself out there" here means "putting a clever, well written, articulate dating profile featuring flattering but current pictures on assorted dating websites." I soon found that my potential mates were all dudes who like to fish. A LOT. Dudes who were "sick of the games" and wanting to "settle down with the right one finally." Dudes who didn't offer anything about themselves in their profiles, but instead said "wanna no? [sic] just ask." The vast majority of those who were age appropriate had kids who were their "entire world. If you can't understand that, it's not going to happen." (I know that I'm being very sexist when I say that the women involved in this sick game do understand it, in ways that most of the non-custodial parents never, ever will.) I'd get messages from dudes who made boob jokes about "the twins" (OMG ARE YOU KIDDING ME, THOSE ARE MY CHILDREN YOU CREEPAZOID.) Once in a while I'd get a message from someone nice enough, and I'd respond, and we'd talk about our likes and dislikes, and typically within hours of exchanging numbers I would receive wildly inappropriate messages, including unsolicited nude photos, but usually questions about my preferences for particular sex acts and requests to see pictures of my breasts. (Except they of course, never, ever called them breasts.) One in, say, 50 dudes, wasn't gross and could spell (sort of) and had pictures of themselves doing things that didn't involve reeling in fish or taking down game, and we'd chat and we'd set a date and I'd painstakingly arrange for child care and then....I'd stop hearing from him the day before the date, or we'd go out and he was nice but there was no chemistry and maybe that's because we were both nervous but I've literally never, ever experienced real chemistry on an internet date and I've been on like a million. I'd find myself feeling guilty for not giving these men more of a chance, but for an average date I'm spending $50 on a sitter just to get out the door...and I find myself wanting to either hang with my monkeys or with my Lady Tribe instead. It's frustrating, and I've given up. Again. Although I have developed amazing friendships with women online, friendships that have moved from the computer screen to "IRL," I don't have faith that it can happen romantically, even if our "match percentage" is 80% or better. If I can't meet someone organically, I don't know that I want to. What I do want: I want a grown-up with whom I can share the adorable things my monkeys do. I want a big hairy man hug once in a while. I want someone who will take me out to dinner, with or without my children. I want someone who understands that my monkeys and I are a huge responsibility. What I do not want: I do not want someone who complains about "all the money" they're sending to the other parent of their children. I do not want someone who tells me I'm not tough enough on my children. I do not want someone who wants to date casually. I do not want to be raped or murdered. The biggest, an dmost alarming issue that I've become amazingly aware of in all of this is that this is scary. This is not just emotionally scary, in that I and my monkeys could end up hurt emotionally like last time. This is not just scary because rejection stings. This is legitimately really and truly scary. I felt crazy when I Googled the first one I'd set a date with, then learned that he had theft and domestic violence convictions. Then I felt vindicated, not crazy. So now I Google them all. I must make sure at least one friend knows the name of the person I'm meeting, and where we're going, "in case I die." Do men do this? I don't know. Even if it's not a real threat, and it's all in my head, I've been taught my whole life to be afraid, that I'll probably be raped or murdered. AND IT IS SO SCARY AND IT FEELS SO REAL. At least 3 men in this last go-round asked me if my pictures were current, and I said that they were, and at least one said "because one time this girl showed up at least 50 pounds heavier than the pictures she'd posted." And I understand that there has to be a physical attraction, but what began to really, really stand out to me is that these dudes were afraid I would be fat. And I was afraid I'd be murdered. And my children wouldn't have a mother. And my parents would be down one daughter. And my Facebook wall would go from one filled with musings on parenting and silly songs to a tribute. And my friends would have to deal with the senseless and tragic loss of my murder. And they were afraid I would be fat.