The Dating Game—Revisited
By Tom Eck
Online dating has become quite a social phenomenon. I know several people who have found their “soul mates” through such dating services as Match.com, eHarmony.com, and POF (Plenty of Fish). I know many more who have been woefully disappointed. I must admit that my curiosity more than once has prompted me to read such syrupy lines as “love long walks on the beach.” That was from a lady who lived in Iowa.
“Looking for a man with a good heart” always piqued my interest. Does she want someone to respond with his latest CAT scan and stress test? I could understand if she did. Who wants a guy with a ticker that’s about to give out, especially if you’re not yet the beneficiary of his life insurance policy?
Years ago, the precursor to online dating was the ”personals” column in the newspaper. I found those ads back then were definitely more honest and more amusing. These are from the London Review of Books which began publishing personal ads in October of 1998:
—I’ve divorced men better than you. And worn more expensive shoes than these. So don’t think placing this ad is the biggest comedown I’ve ever had to make. Signed, Sensitive
—Or this from an obvious insomniac: “ Tired of partners who talk in their sleep? Meet insomniac woman (31) who’s heard it all before. If you sleep like a dog, or currently take lots of medication after 10 p.m., write me and we can both get some rest.
—Here’s the affection all men are looking for: Blah, blah, blah. Indifferent woman. Go ahead and write. Like I care.
—Or perhaps this one could have been placed by a Lakeside resident: So many men to choose from. So few vitamin supplements. Arthritic f., 73
—I’m not sure where this lady was coming from: To male readers. Drawing little faces on your thumbs, getting them to order meals, and then shouting at them for not being able to pay is no way to win a woman. You know who you are. Men to 40 with working credit cards, reply to once-bitten, twice bitten, three-strikes-and-you’re-all-out.
—Men, also, are not without their foibles and shortcoming in emblazoned bold print. This is a real “babe magnet”: Grave disappointment all around would like to meet serious mistake in a nightie.
—And the honesty: Mid-fifties man. Recently discovered guilt. Can’t wait to try it out.
—Or perhaps this model of sensitivity: Unashamed triumphalist male for the past 46 years. Will I bore you? Probably. Do I care? Probably not.
—This is a sure fire winner: Not everyone appearing in this column is a deranged, cross-dressing sociopath. Let me know if you find one and I’ll strangle him with my bra. Man, 47.
—Here is a rare combination of honesty, pragmatism and realism: Practical, forward-thinking man. 35. List your ten favorite albums. I don’t want to compare notes. I just want to know if there’s anything worth keeping when we finally break up.
—And of course, the obvious wannabe writer: Don’t reply to this ad. It’s a fake. Just like the man who placed it. Deny nothing, regret all, but live to fight another day with phenomenologically ashamed, melanin-deprived, testosterone-poisoned scion of the patriarchal ruling class system.
And they say women are hard to understand…