Verbatim Text Conversation
Middle-Aged Man (“MAM”): Hi. it’s MAM. I’m taking off soon from O’Hare landing LGA like 830. Talk tonight ok?
Me: Sounds great. Safe trip.
MAM: OK I will call u at like 915/930.
MAM: Awesome. Oh do U have any pics where u r smiling? If so please send it over!!! Ttyl!
Me: Am I not smiling in the JDate pics?
MAM: U know what I am asking lol. Do you have any?
MAM: And no u r not smiling in either
Me: No, I really don’t know what you’re asking, and I am smiling. Pls explain?
MAM: Umm no u r not smiling in either. Sorry I was asking cause I can’t see your teeth (pet peeve of mine) – teeth are a big deal.
MAM: Like I just cannot date someone with bad teeth lol. Can u send me a smiling pic? Xoxo
Me: My teeth are just fine, but you sound really shallow. I was willing to overlook the fact that you didn’t finish college and I have a law degree from a first tier law school (education is really important to me), but on second thought, please lose my number. XOXO
MAM: And all that cause I like good teeth??? Wow.
MAM: I left college cause my father fell ill, I had the number one highest sat score in a graduating class of 950 in the 4th best rated school district in America.
MAM: Either your teeth are really bad or you are just an angry person. Either way your wish is granted. Deleting your number. Peace.
How much do we expose ourselves when we put up online dating profile pictures? No, I am not talking about how much skin we show in our photos. I am referring to the microscope we unavoidably place ourselves under when we register with an online dating web site. We all have a vision of how our dream date will look. I, for one, admit that I have a type, and I am very decisive about what I like and what I do not. A message to my inbox from a man sporting a mustache and/or a heavy beard is, for example, subject to automatic deletion. He must be taller than I am (although I have made exceptions to this point and…so far have lived to regret it). He must be physically fit and not sporting a comb over–a definite no no. Maybe I am shallow. But I am entitled, right?
Shopping for a man in a middle-aged market is a far different prospect from sampling the wares as we did in our teens, twenties and even thirties. Thirty or so years of living takes its toll, both mentally and physically. Middle-aged men, even those with the still handsomely chiseled faces, thick heads of hair, and muscular physiques, struggle with weight gain, graying hair and wrinkles just like their women counterparts. Job status and the accumulation of wealth likewise seem to weigh heavily on the male ego, often engendering a sense of competition with their other male contemporaries with whom they vie for female attention.
As a 41 year-old woman, I am certainly not beyond reproach. I wear the battle scars of three full term pregnancies. My beautiful strawberry blonde lochs of hair, hair that people used to stop me on the street to admire, is now in need of assistance from my colorist who I frequent every three weeks. I probably could have made it to the moon and back already power walking on my treadmill. I even drive 30 minutes to my waxer because I particularly like the way she sculpts my eyebrows. It takes a village, baby. And as for my career, I am just starting mine now.
We all, even the never-been-married-before types, come with “baggage.” And, just for the record, I loathe that word. When people say baggage, the image of kids instinctively comes to mind. I am here to tell you that no kids does not necessarily mean no baggage. So scrap the word, people. Let’s call baggage what it is – life. Setbacks, insecurities, and disappointments. No one is immune, not you and certainly not me.
As the exchange above illustrates, the dating landscape can change in the time it takes to send a text. A hopeful prospect can quickly turn to disappointment in a matter of seconds. But no matter what, it is important to remember that there are real people behind the online profiles. When we put ourselves out there, we take a risk. We expose ourselves to scrutiny from strangers, from people who are not yet privy to all of the wonder we have to offer. So when someone nitpicks at or questions our attributes, physical or otherwise, the tendency may arise to become defensive.
Perhaps my response to this particular middle-aged man was harsh. I own that. But if he was able to dish it out, then he should have been prepared to take it. So, a word to the wise – either play nicely with others or do not play at all. It is not called the dating game for nothing. But, unfortunately, as the lottery commercial tells us, you “gotta be in it to win it.”
What does truth in dating mean to you?