October 06, 2011

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop - 10/06/11 Online Dating Should Come with an Instruction Manual

The prompt I chose this week:

I have no idea where the following message originated from, but it's been floating around Facebook for the past week...who does it make you think about?:

I met The Mister on an online dating site (True.com) that had video chat (but no sound). Sociologists and psychologists could use this environment to study aberrant dating behavior.

Imagine, if you will, middle aged human life forms (I hesitate to call most of them adults) doing their mate "shopping" like it was a Sears catalog sale. On the screen, a dozen small video windows for your viewing pleasure. You want cleavage? You got it. I referred to the women whose faces were perfectly made up, and were wearing the cleavage-revealing shirts as the "bright and shiny girls". Want men who sit around shirtless (and some, pantsless), displaying their "assets" to all the women? Got that, too. It was not unusual for men who were actively practicing "self love" while on camera to be booted from the site. Pervs.

But the most fascinating thing, at least to me, was to watch the women I referred to as "serial daters". They'd immediately fall head over heels for any guy who paid them the least bit of attention. Within days, they'd purchase their airline ticket and travel to the guy's location for a weekend 'lovefest' (meanwhile, the guy is playing the flirting game with numerous other women in the chat room). 

Come Monday morning, the woman returns home, heartbroken, and tells all of her chat friends, as well as anyone who is watching the chat window, how she was used and cast aside.

Desperate to find love, these women would repeat the adventures with one of the new guys in the room. Over and over, they'd return, saying all I ever wanted was someone to love me, and why oh why do I keep picking the wrong man?

Oh wait, that guy's cute! Let me bat my eyelashes and flash him some cleavage and flirt via private message...and the entire pattern is repeated anew.

The one quote that I'd type after I'd hear of another failed romance?

"Don't make someone a priority in your life if they're only willing to make you an option in theirs."

I learned a lot from watching these women.

The Mister and I started talking, and found we had some things in common. I had compiled a list of the qualities I wanted to find in a man - and he seemed to have them.

After about a month of chat and telephone calls, we agreed to meet. There was no way I was going to assume all of the expense of travel, while The Mister wasn't inconvenienced at all...and I wouldn't expect him to foot the bill for all the travel, either.

I only told one chat room member who I was meeting - I figured if it didn't work out, then no harm, no foul. There would be no public reputation bashing, no tears.

I suggested that we meet halfway between our homes...he agreed. So we both flew and met in Columbus, OH. I got a rental car and picked him up from the airport later (our airport meeting was fodder for another post). He had agreed to pay for half the cost of the car - and he handed me cash. 

Be still my heart! A man who follows through on a promise, and one that involves money!

We had a nice time visiting the sites of the area. He was polite and kind, and he thanked me for being kind to him.

When I returned home, I still didn't tell the chatters who I met. It wasn't their business... though I did tell the story of how The Mister almost caused me to kill us on the interstate. The Mister cancelled his membership to the site - he found who he wanted.

I hung around for a while to continue my sociological research. After all, I'm a scientist, dammit.

Some of our chat friends attended our wedding.

I'm positive that the same bad behavior is happening there now, because human beings have a need to be loved - even if they go about it in the most personally destructive way possible.


  1. Love can be born anywhere. If you were a celebrity you would have your PR find you The Mister. Instead you had True.com

  2. Great story of you and The Mister...and sadly, yes, that same behavior still goes on!!

  3. What a fabulous story! Except for the pathetic men/women part. That's just sad.

  4. I met Mr. Jenners via an online dating service (Match.com) but it doesn't sound as "exciting" as yours with all the little videos.

    I do agree with the quote you shared. You shouldn't have to try so hard to get someone to be in a relationship with you. It took me a long time to learn that.

  5. What an interesting story on how you met. And I love your analogy on putting into your relationships.

  6. What a great story!

    I will be single again here in the next year or two; I hope I don't become desperate enough to be one of the 'serial daters' you mentioned. I really do not want that kind of pathetic life for myself - especially not at my age!

    Just clicked over from Mama Kat's :)

  7. You handled this very well.

    And yes, it's always been that way and will always be that way for many people.


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