Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Dating online
I have a few girlfriends who are wading in the murky waters of online dating with varying degrees of success.
One recently said, “Online dating sites make me sad. It’s weird and creepy.”
I encouraged her to stay the course. I know several couples whose paths would never have crossed if not for the world that is a wide web.
Several years ago, I assisted in navigating one girlfriend out of what some describe as a minefield straight into holy matrimony and it all began with a profile.
My friend was a successful, financially stable, divorced woman with no children looking for a companion. I fancy myself a bit of a matchmaker and offered to help. Living in a relatively small community, it became obvious we would need to expand our frame of reference if we were to find her a suitable partner, so I suggested the internet.
Mining for men
First, we had to decide on the basic criteria. What qualities were important? What were the deal breakers? What was negotiable?
For my friend, she required any potential candidate to be of similar financial means, in her age range (pushing 50) and at least six feet tall. I lamented the possibilities went from wide open to pigeon hole, but she would not compromise. She said she liked big, tall men and since this was my idea anyway, she was not going to settle for 5 foot 11 inches. To each their own.
Next, we looked at the inventory. In our case, this part of the process proved more entertaining than either of us had imagined. I know there is someone for everyone. I truly believe that. And, while my friend would not negotiate her height requirement, we found a pattern among men over 45.
What is it with these older middle-aged men and their fantasy of living life to the fullest with some young, trim (always), athletic, vixen. What will they possibly have in common? And, why is it that most men describe themselves as fun loving, care free specimens who love walks on the beach, quiet dinners in front of the fireplace, good wine and long conversations. Who are these guys? And, more importantly, where do they go once you marry them?
The visual walk through a couple of hundred candidates was good for gut splitting, get your inhaler, tears running down our cheeks laughter. It was great fun. Finally, we narrowed it down (easy to do with the “you must be this tall to ride” criteria).
By the end of the evening, she had agreed to contact two of the men listed, while I found a third worth a closer look.
From digital to physical
The next step was to make contact. My friend began with candidate number one. Because she used my computer, I was able to monitor the exchanges and, after she went home, I decided to take it upon myself to contact my pick — on her behalf.
Yes, I know some might consider this a violation of trust, but I came from a place of good intentions and thusly justified my interference. Before I knew it, my pick and my friend had developed quite a rapport, she just didn’t know it.
I was trying to figure out how to tell her when out of the blue she called me and said her choice “lives with his mother!” (a deal breaker).
She was a bit disheartened until I proclaimed, “Not to worry, because you are in the beginning stages of a really nice relationship with someone else!”
She took it fairly well and then we revisited his profile. My friend said, “Oh, I remember him. I think he drinks too much.”
Which brings me to this point: The problem with dating online is it is too easy to dismiss potential mates based on one wrong answer or one bad photo. In my friend’s case, she interpreted “social drinker” for “bar hopping, out every night, meat market trolling womanizer.”
While the response was intended to indicate he enjoys good wine with dinner. I don’t believe this is a unique occurrence. Some people just don’t test well, while others look good on paper but can’t complete a full sentence.
So maybe, you need to take these online profiles with a grain of salt, and while you have the salt, maybe a shot of tequila and a squeeze of lime … but I digress.
The last step was to set up an in-person meeting. As any good friend would, I felt it extremely important that such a meeting be monitored and since I couldn’t get her to wear a wire, several of her well-intentioned friends went behind her back and made reservations to be at the same restaurant, at the same time … just in case.
Now this could have gone either way, but once again, when she discovered us observing (spying is a bit overstating it, don’t you think?) her first date, she took it for what it was — a pure act of love, concern and unabashed curiosity.
She introduced us. He took it well. They had a lovely time. In fact, they fell in love.
Six months later they married and are blissfully happy to this day. It’s a wonderful love story
And I know they are not the only ones, so I will say this: If you are going to date online, have some fun with it. Have some patience and include someone you trust in the process — they may see something you missed which could lead you straight down the road to happily ever after.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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