Treading water in the dating pool

I swore I would never do this.

Just try to pin me down to a type – can’t be done. I’m a political liberal with a conservative lifestyle. I’m a computer geek with social skills. I’m a Cub fan, but otherwise I’m considered reasonably intelligent…

Online dating is for losers, I always insisted. The last refuge of desperate, damaged people.

…besides the computer stuff, my hobbies are writing and music (listening, composing, and performing)…my friends and family tell me I have a good sarcastic sense of humor, and nothing makes me laugh more than absurdity…

“I know at least three couples who met on,” my sister said. And our stepbrother Stephen met his wife on eHarmony.

…the things I value most in a partner are intelligence and curiosity – that observant sparkle in your eyes. I’m fairly introverted and laid back…

Jesus. How does anyone over the age of forty summarize their entire being in a few paragraphs?

…if you love to dance or are “outdoorsy,” I’m not for you, but if you love to talk and laugh…

It has come to this. I am putting the finishing touches on my Yahoo! Personals profile. The site suggests I take a Personality and Love Style test. The results indicate that my personality type is “Explorer,” whatever the fuck that means, and my “love style” is “Romantic.”

I look at the other possible categories. Conspicuously absent are “Asshole,” “Potential Abuser,” and “Selfish in Bed.” I’m concerned about the thoroughness of the test.

Now I have to describe my ideal mate. Let’s see, age range 35-50, any body type, sense of humor a must. Easy so far.

“Her Personality.” Interests, political views…am I ordering a woman out of a catalog? Astrological sign? Really? Has anyone actually cared about that since 1972?

“Personality Type.” Well, I’ll say “any.” I notice there’s no check box for “Psycho,” so I can’t unselect it.

Okay, done. Now it says I should add a photo, to “illuminate the many dimensions of your life and what an intriguing person you are.”

All the photos I currently have of myself are from 35 pounds ago. Those are dimensions I’d just as soon not illuminate. I need to take some new shots. I visit my friend Jon who, amongst his many talents, is a very good photographer.

“I’m not taking any nude photos of you,” he warns.

“That’s fine. I’m trying to attract women, not drive them away.”

The other photos on Yahoo! Personals are typically shots of the person standing posed against a wall or with a group of friends, showing off her best smile. I realize instantly that this will not work for me. I don’t know if it’s childhood trauma or nerve damage, but I am incapable of posing for a photo with a natural-looking smile. My ex-wife called it my “fake smile.” So we need to try something different.

“Hi! Aren’t I adorable? I like teddy bears and walking on the beach at sunset. My hands are permanently bonded to my chin due to an industrial accident, so I’m seeking a woman to cut my meat for me…”

“Do you like big noses? Check out this schnozzola! That and the earlobes are the only things my grandfather left me! Seeking a woman with poor depth perception…”

“Okay, I’ll be totally honest. Desperate man with major personality defects seeks similarly-afflicted woman. Object: to make each other’s lives miserable…”

force break

Finally, I said to Jon, “Let’s just try this.” I extended my arms and Jon snapped the photo.

And that was it. That was me, an intriguing person in all my dimensions. Cynical and demonstrative, but open and honest.

force break

So I’m in the pool. And the biggest consolation is that everyone else is doing exactly what I’m doing. Taking a risk. Trying their best to emphasize their good qualities, while recognizing that we all have flaws and accepting each other for what we are.

That’s the idea, anyway. And worst case, I’ll gather some great material for the Circular File. Stay tuned.

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