“Smart, sexy, sweet,” is what he said he was looking for. I was chatting online with a man from Match.com. My carefully curated profile and his carefully curated profile had liked each other so we had taken it to the next step – the online chat. “What are you looking for in a man?” Suddenly I am at a car dealership having to negotiate with an aggressive salesman. “Well something reliable, and without too many miles. It’d be great for it to have some zoom. I really want a BMW but I’ll probably settle for a used Honda.” Instead, squirming, I wrote, “smart, fit, funny.”
Writing a profile for a dating site takes a gymnastic ability with words and the truth. You have to sound clever (but not trying too hard), fun (but not shallow), deep (but not too deep), and like you smell good. You lie about not having any baggage and being open to love but not too desperate.
I skip profiles of men that are looking for someone “sweet” or who care too much about what kind of shoes I wear.
I don’t like to buy clothes from a catalog. Being the item on the page is even more uncomfortable.
I tell myself that there is nothing wrong with “shopping for love.” Lot’s of people have found mates online. It’s really about creating the opportunity to meet someone. But it’s hard to get past the blatant assessment. Where’s the subtlety? The shared glance. Laughing at the same thing that no one else notices. The spark of surprise at instant connection.
I’ve been in love three times. Two of those times I fell for someone who was “not recommended.” Wrong age, wrong faith, too much baggage. And the one who checked all the right boxes ended up being totally wrong. Each time love took me by surprise, sneaking up next to me and not looking me in the eyes. It didn’t want to spook me.
Online dating is taking love by the shoulders, looking it square in the eyes, and saying firmly, “I want you.” It would be easier to jump out of an airplane.