About this time last year, I was able to have dinner with an old friend. She is happily married with two children, and at one point during the evening, she looked at me and said, “So when are you going to find someone?”
“I mean it’s been a year and a half.”
It had been a year and half since my divorce was final.
“I don’t know. I can’t really think about that right now.”
“Well,” she said. “When you’re ready, I’ll take care of it. I put (name of a mutual friend) on Match.com. I did everything for her. I set up the photo. I weeded through all the lame candidates, and I set her up. She couldn’t be happier.”
I quit listening after “Match.com.”
Those two words are second only to “emergency colonoscopy” in terms of forcing me into the fetal position in the corner of my bedroom.
I don’t know what it is about online dating that seems so nauseating, but I can’t stomach the possibility of scrolling through dozens of photos of women — many of which seem to be taken from a friend’s two-story ladder in a sharply downward angle — while at the same time being subjected to posting a picture of myself (do you see what I’m working with?) along with a witty encapsulation of my life’s goals (get out of debt, finally watch “The Wire”). It’s just too much trouble.
What my friend doesn’t realize is that I am not a first impression kind of guy. I tend to make my presence known slowly over time, like a receding hairline or a sinkhole. The females in my office — all of whom are in relationships — informed me a few months into my tenure that I was “a catch.”
“Yeah, but what did you think of me when you first met me?” I asked.
“You were real quiet,” said one. “I didn’t know what to think.”
Good to know. Real quiet, possibly bordering on creepy. Seems to me to be a perfect candidate for an online dating profile.
You would think that this story would veer off into some wacky adventure involving bad blind dates and awkward phone conversations, but it doesn’t. I’m not that brave. But I have found out that there is an entire world of online relationships that exist far beyond Match.com, eHarmony.com and even Zoosk.com. And no, I’m not talking about a Manti T’eo situation.
Another friend sent me a list of dating sites that have been whittled down to the nub, so much so that you would most likely be jumping into a relationship with yourself or a carbon copy of you.
There’s SeaCaptainDate.com, which hooks up women who love the ocean with their own personal Jack Sparrow ... or at least Captain Stubing.
DarwinDating.com strictly forbids “ugly, unattractive, desperate fatsos.” Also not allowed is “hair in the wrong places on women” and “too many freckles.” Sounds like a bunch of sweet, deep thinkers in there.
CrazyBlindDate.com provides everything but the photo, so that’s one less thing you have to lie about.
PositiveSingles.com is for people with STDs. Get it? Positive? Get it?
TheUglyBugBall.com boasts thousands of real people. They also don’t mind calling those people ugly bugs.
CanDoBetter.com lets other people decide if one half of a couple should go fishing in the site’s dating pool. Nothing like the judgement of skanky strangers to inspire self-confidence.
Then there are the most specific sites that need no explanations: Purrsonals.com, EquestrianCupid.com, DateAGolfer.com, TallFriends.com, SinglesWithFoodAllergies.com.
There’s a site for nudists, for clowns, for hippies, for vegans, for liberals and conservatives, for cougars and for the male equivalent of cougars.
There’s a site for everyone, except me.
Even with all the new ways to find love and companionship, I just don’t feel that a deceptive photo and letting someone know that I like Kraft Mac & Cheese and Wes Anderson movies is enough to foster a relationship.
So this Valentine’s Day — the absolute worst holiday on the calendar — I subscribe to the notion that while some may find love on the web, I prefer to leave it up to the fates. And if that means another V-Day by myself, I prefer it to anyone on TheUglyBugBall.com.
Richard Duke is the editor of the Log Cabin Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a Gemini who enjoys going to the beach and watching reruns of “Cheers.”