Recently, Catherine and I were talking about the idea of using dating apps.
For those who are new, Catherine was my girlfriend of 20 years, from 1999 to 2019. In late 2019, we went through a break-up. An old girlfriend of mine [Annie] from 1982 then moved in, and the three of us ventured into the pandemic together, until October 8, 2020, when Annie walked out and never came back. I’ve already written about this.
Due to COVID, we are still living together, as we were relatively new to Oregon and were just getting established when the pandemic hit. The idea of interviewing strangers to be roommates is highly unappealing to us.
Today, we’re dear friends. We get along in every way and trust each other. We just don’t have that romantic connection. To be fair, we never did, and we were just too busy to really acknowledge or even recognize it.
Catherine wasn’t really interested in romantic encounters until after we broke up. Conversely, I was interested in romantic encounters until about a year ago. So now the script has flipped, and we are on the opposite sides of the issue.
Oh, how the turntables, as the kids say.
Everything else is cool, it’s just that one issue of not having romantic attraction. No doubt, we’ll be dear friends until the bitter end.
Since the roles are reverse, we both have a way better understanding of the other, as well as a great deal of compassion. It’s like nature’s cruel joke or something.
We realize that, while we are dear friends and care about each other dearly, we may not be living together forever, and could eventually end up going our separate ways.
And the discussion of dating apps started.
So far, neither of us has a profile on any dating apps. But if I had a profile on a dating app, what would I put on it? What photo would I use? What would my approach be? How much information should I share?
MY ONLINE DATING EXPERIENCE AND THE PAST 20 YEARS
For the sake of some added brevity, I will only be talking about dating efforts, and not gatherings, accidental dates, or hook-ups.
I only had one online dating ad. There wasn’t even a profile. This was in 1999 in The Los Angeles Times personals section.
When I placed that ad, I had left my ex-wife in December 1998, and had attempted to live with a woman I had met on Yahoo Chat in Galveston Texas. That did not go well. She had two children [that she had hidden from me] and an ex who was brain damaged after a drug deal gone bad. She needed a guy on the hook for financial responsibility for her children, and dumped me when I ended up not finding work fast enough.
I dodged that bullet.
So when I got out of there, I placed my ad in the LA Times personals. I wanted to word it in such a way that I would be highly unattractive to gold diggers.
My experience with my ex-wife drove me to this. She is of Mexican heritage, and she also had a very bad case of what I call “positive racism” toward white people. The best way to describe it is that she sincerely believed that all white people just have lots of money, for no other reason than the fact that they are white.
That racism had a major impact on our relationship, among other things.
So what did I write in this ad? Again, I wanted to be unattractive to gold diggers.
- I’m a musician, but not the starving artist type.
- I have a 4-year-old son, and we are a package.
Those were the main things.
When Catherine saw the ad, she almost passed over it because she doesn’t like children. This is still the case, but she loved my son and I consider her to be his mother. She had more influence on him than his biological mother, and he lives with her.
When we got together, it didn’t take long for me to notice that we were not a romantic couple. I even mentioned it about 5 weeks into everything. We took it as a sign that things were truly solid between us.
Then we spent the next 20 years working, raising our son, and playing gigs. I’d sometimes be drumming in 3 bands at once, and she always did drum tech work, as well as taking photographs of me with women who came to my shows.
She had a great job for just over 18 years, which is rare these days. I had some interesting jobs, such as working at MySpace. There were some good times.
The good times came to an end, for reasons that I don’t want to re-hash. Suddenly, I had no gigging bands. Work dried up. I suppose that everything dries up when you’re an old man that nobody wants.
Also, my son had graduated and started working, so he stopped coming over.
This left us with nothing but our relationship. At the time, I was interested in the romantic elements of a relationship, and she was not.
WHAT WOULD MY DATING APP SAY?
I thought about this for a while yesterday, and I still have no idea where this is going to go, what will be mentioned, and what will be omitted. I know that people typically save difficult things for after the other person is on the hook, so they are less likely to leave.
This is called “putting your best foot forward,” but I prefer to call it “lying via omission.”
For example, my Level 1 Autism has a really big impact on my life. It’s not something I can exactly hide. When I met Catherine, it would be another 18 years before I would get the diagnosis.
That means that this is the first time I’ve had to figure out how to deal with this neurological anomaly.
So, do I add it? Or not? I’m leaning toward not listing it, although anyone reading that profile could look me up online and find this post. I am okay with that.
Maybe it’s something to be mentioned during the first date?
So let’s list some attributes:
- Level 1 Autism [and taking responsibility].
- Type 2 Diabetes [and taking responsibility/meds].
- Major Depressive Disorder [and taking responsibility/meds].
- 57 years old.
- VERY laid-back and casual.
- No formal job for almost 6 years.
- No Republicans.
- No Christians.
- NO interest in becoming a father again.
- Must love old music and be willing to explore new music.
- DO NOT talk over the song, ever, especially while I’m singing. For me, there is no such thing as background music. It’s ALL in the foreground. I’m an active listener.
- 420 friendly. No cigarettes. No drunks. No pills or other drug addiction.
- No mind games or drama.
- No broken people who aren’t taking responsibility and working to fix themselves.
- No children under 18.
- No family drama preferred.
- No stalkers.
- No STDs.
- Take COVID seriously.
- Please be 35 or older.
- Race doesn’t matter to me. Also, no racists.
- Turn-offs include sweat, poor dental hygiene, poor personal hygiene, dirty fingernails, insecurity, emotional manipulation, mindgames,
Now, the true test is to read that back to myself, as if I am the one who will be considering whether or not to respond to this ad.
Would I do me?
TWO ONLINE DATING TIPS
When I started meeting women online in the early 90s, I had a very interesting experience. This one woman would always message me on CompuSERVE. We’d chat on occasion. This went on for about 7 months.
Eventually, we decided to get together. But when we got together, it wasn’t all that great. In fact, it was a disaster.
Why was it a disaster?
I evaluated the situation, and realized that I had over-idealized her, and she had done the same with me.
When two people chat online exclusively, the problem is that lots of information is missing. This information is contained in things like body language, eye contact, voice inflection, and other information that you do not receive via messaging.
Never mind the ability to backspace in order to correct things and try to craft the perfect response.
So I came up with TWO rules for online dating. And now, I give them to you, completely free of charge.
- Never chat online for more than one week without talking on the phone.
- Never talk on the phone for more than one week without meeting in-person.
When we use a text-based chat and nothing else, and that information is missing, our minds actually fill the gaps with our own fantasies about what this person may be. This gets bad quickly, to the point that there is NO WAY the other person can ever possibly live up to the idealized standard that was automatically generated in your head.
I used this approach with Catherine. We sent emails back and forth for about one week before we talked on the phone. Roughly one week after we started talking on the phone, we met in-person.
I told my mother about these online dating rules, and she used them. She and her guy have been together for 19 years.
If you are in a position where something like this would help you, then give it a try and let me know how it worked out.
I have considered the idea of going to a bar or club and just hanging out. The problem is that can get expensive. Plus, as a Type 2 Diabetic, I don’t really drink all that much. I could get just one beer, and have a self-imposed rule where I leave after the beer is done.
But I could only do that once per week.
Maybe a coffee house during the daytime is more my speed. Just typing that out sounded better to me.
I’ve also considered spending time at the library. I truly appreciate intelligent women.
Maybe I can find a club to join. These are all “organic,” or “in-person” options.
I think my biggest concern above all else is the idea that this is going to end up being more work than it’s worth.
Of course, I have concerns about STDS and COVID, as well as exploitation from the shady and slimy types.
Really, a major part of me wants to skip this completely and just keep to myself for the rest of my life.
That IS an option, after all.
IN THE END
When I write in this way, I usually go full stream-of-consciousness, with the hopes of an answer to my issue magically appearing at the end. It’s working something out, almost like saying it out loud.
But this time, there is no clear answer. Part of me wants to meet someone, and part of me says that diving into the dating pool is a thing that younger people do, much like drumming in 3 bands at once while working and raising a child. I did it fine then, but don’t really want a repeat performance.
Knowing MY luck, I’d dive into the shallow end and break my neck.
I won’t sweat it. This isn’t a major priority.
I should probably just NOT care about this issue at all. That is typically when something interesting ends up happening.
If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild