The Icy Waters of Online Dating


I’m exhausted.

And I’ve only been dating online for about three months after taking a three and a half year hiatus from the opposite sex.

The rules have changed, ladies.

About six months ago I created a profile on one of those online dating sites drizzled with pink hearts and percentages of a match to your soul. To me it was the equivalent of placing my toe gingerly back in the icy water – a toe that had been dry, cracked and peeling for quite some time. Within a day I had a number of messages and pulled said toe out of said water so quickly I pulled a muscle in my groin. I wasn’t ready for this. I had no idea how to respond. Hell, I didn’t know if I wanted to respond.

I flitted in and around the site for a few months. Receiving messages, not responding, feeling lost, unsure, scared shitless.

Many of the messages contained little gems like these:

“When I saw your photo, I thought you must be from Pearl Harbor, because you are the bomb!”

Or this one that blew up my ego like a puff fish, “Hey, beautiful. There is no way your are 42, you look like 29” but, alas, deflated, as I couldn’t get over the grievous spelling error.

Or this golden nugget, “You look really cute in your pics. You have a beautiful smile. Tell me… Would you be open for a friend with passionate benefits?”

My favorite might have been this one, “Hi there! Sooooo would u be interested in a good lookin, married 53 yr old for friendship and maybe more???”

Don’t get me wrong there were some nice messages sparsed out among the shite.

Puppy Ebola

I took the leap and went on my first date after conversing back and forth for a month with a witty gentlemen who could spell. We met at a busy dog park and while I held a nugget o’ hope for our meeting there was just no spark. So-Kr8z wasn’t impressed either and ended up contracting a nasty dog virus equivalent to puppy ebola. I broke it off and ran from the icy water clutching So-Kr8z to my heaving bosom. Or not so heaving, as the case may be.

A few months later I peeked back in to see if the water had calmed and found I must have processed a bunch of shit in my dreams because I felt much more prepared. I went out with a sweet 28 year old who appeared to be cultured and just looking for sex over our Thai Basil Chicken.

Next I asked out a guy for the first time in my life. He said yes. My ego and I chuckled at my batting average and we preened, whispering to each other over our cleverness. The conversation, with the guy, not my ego, went something like this:

Me: “Was wondering if you might be interested in grabbing grub or a coffee or some such sometime?”

Cute Tattoo Dude: “Actually, I would really like that. I’m out of pocket but we should figure out a time soon.”

Me: “Sweet. Reach out when you’re able and we’ll figure out some deets.”

*Utter internet silence for six days.* His computer must be broken. Surely.

Cute Tattoo Dude: “Just thought I’d say hello and tell you that I’m really looking forward to finally meeting you next week.”

Me: *shakes head* Am I losing my mind? We didn’t say we were meeting next week did we? After triple checking the email string I wrote, “I’m fairly free next Saturday if that might work with your schedule…”

Cute Tattoo Dude deleted his entire profile.

Batting average not looking so hot after all. I have caused a guy to wholly delete his profile from a major dating site. Props, Melanie.

“Engage!” (uttered in my best Captain Picard imitation)

So… I’ve been trying to engage more in the messages I receive. For example, one bloke wrote me a very nice message that didn’t include the words “Hey gorgeous, how r u?”  After reading his profile and discovering that he’s racist and doesn’t believe in gay marriage I wrote him back, “I feel our values and political differences are too vast, but best of luck to you on here.”

He wrote back, “Oh, I’m so open minded you would be surprised.”

Hmm… yeah, about as open minded as Hitler.

I’m not giving up though, I’m tech savvy and confident I’ll figure it out. I’m not engaging with the asshats or the guys who want to hook up while they’re in town for the weekend.

I even gave one guy my phone number after we’d emailed back and forth and he didn’t appear to be a serial killer looking to shave my head and attach it to his sparse beard before killing me violently. I’ve developed carpal tunnel from the texting. Apparently voice to voice contact is out nowadays, just FYI. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of texting. With anyone.  The first few texts are okay if you’re asking quick questions or making plans, but once you reach about text #5 I think you should just pick up the fucking phone and call me. Plus, how do you really gauge a person’s tone or the subtlety of conversation. I know it might seem safer, but man up and dial the number, for the love of God. Texting about your life’s passion and big dreams is like learning to surf on YouTube on the bamboo floor in your living room.

I have a coffee date scheduled with another non-serial-killer type next week. I have one fervent hope for our time together – that he’s able to place his cell phone out of reach while we converse and not play Pop Song the whole time while intermittently texting his mom.

A girl can dream.

How ‘bout you? Are you dipping your toes into the icy waters of internet dating? How’s that working out for ya? Any tips?

7 replies
  1. Karin
    Karin says:

    I’ve tried the online dating scene and honestly, it was exciting. Maybe because it was overwhelming and changing every day. I met my husband because of an online date that went wrong, so maybe I could say, “I’m a believer”! As far as texting vs talking, I think that’s the age we are in. It takes a lot of courage to pick up the phone, not so much to type a text. Especially if you’ve had a few to drink and are looking for a good time. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve said more than my share through texting than I ever would have if I had been talking. Good luck Mel. It’s a new social world out there and I don’t envy your current situation. But, have fun and enjoy. Take charge and be your lovely self!

    • Melanie Bates
      Melanie Bates says:

      Dear Karin,

      Yeah, for me it’s about as exciting as shaving my legs with a rusty cheese grater 🙂 No, it’s not so bad. I’ve definitely met some fun people. And… I will definitely be my “lovely self”. There’s no other way to be, eh?

      Big, big love,

  2. QikSilver
    QikSilver says:

    I did internet dating for a while. I kissed a few frogs and met a prince or two. It’s important to meet for the first time during the daytime..not at night… not a movie or dinner. Always meet in a public place and let your friends know where you are going…Barnes and Noble became a 2nd home for a while…It’s not a bad idea to have a buddy check. If you need to bail out… have a friend call you to check on you… say it’s your Mom, if she is still with us… and step away to speak .. if you like him… stay… if not.. say you have to go… Going dutch takes the sting out of the meeting… you can tell a great deal about a person in the way he eats, orders… keep your eyes open… if he pulls your chair out or opens doors… he’s a gentleman… And hugging a total stranger is a no no… hand shake is OK… but you don’t want to create a situation that is unfavorable for you down the road.
    I like to arrive early so that I can see him walk up… I also use Barnes and Noble because I can browse the bookstore or walk to another store if I don’t want to have him see me leave the store.
    Be prepared to be disappointed… people post pictures that don’t match their current condition… notice his hands… are his nail neat and clean… condition of his shoes… are they clean and polished? Play attention. Prepare for your conversation… have a few questions about things that interest you.. music… world affairs…
    Some want to talk to you right away and want your phone number…. wait… let them chat for a while… look at their spelling …composition of sentences… once you feel comfortable, give them your number… talking on the phone is good and bad… don’t spend hours on the phone with them… always end the call… Men like to chase you… don’t be available every time they call…. Date like a man…control the situation…go slow and you can have great fun… and a win-win situation.

    • Melanie Bates
      Melanie Bates says:

      Dear Qik Silver,

      I love all of these tips! Thank you, so many are very, very valuable. Date like a man? You mean try to get in their pants over coffee 😉 Just kidding. I totally hear you and thank YOU.


  3. Katie
    Katie says:

    I totally feel for you. Online dating is difficult, and from my experience men don’t really know how to talk to women. Definitely sounds like your experience too!

    What worked for me was setting my sights high and making my list of non-negotiables, as well as my list of the man I wanted in my life. I was kind to people who emailed me but didn’t really match this, unless their pitch was awful (most of them were). But the moment I stumbled across his profile, I JUST KNEW. He emailed me a few days later, we joked about 80s Adidas tracksuits and what song we would sing at karaoke night, and the rest is history.

    Good luck out there! I’m sure you’ll find a diamond in the rough.

    • Melanie Bates
      Melanie Bates says:

      You know, Katie, you’ve hit the nail on the head for me. While I’ve made a few lists I’m not wholly certain I’ve ever really gotten clear on what I want in a relationship. I know it’s not “traditional” for sure (marriage, 2.5 kids, 2 cars and a white picket fence.) Shudders. But… how that relationship would look for me. Hmm…

      Thank you for the fodder for some deep thought, love.


  4. Colleen
    Colleen says:

    Hi Melanie,
    I feel for you. I have never internet dated. I was married long before that particular torture device was invented. However, I definitely agree with Katie that a list of exactly what you want (concentrate on what you want not what you don’t want) is very helpful. This is how I found my husband. I wrote a list of exactly the kind of person that I wanted and swore to myself that I would not continue a relationship with anyone who didn’t meet the criteria. Sounds like the opposite of spontaneous I know but I made sure every single thing on the list was crucial, like ‘must be open-minded’. Within a month of making that list, my husband happened along and it was an easy decision. He was the guy on the list. The only thing I regret is forgetting to include ‘loves to dance’ on the list. I had no idea how important it was to me until I met a guy who didn’t dance. Don’t forget to put things like that on the list! 🙂
    Good luck to you,
    Colleen xo


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