Last night, on the eve of my 45th birthday, I went on a date arranged by the magic algorithm robots at the online dating site, OKCupid. Now I know some of you may think that leaving matchmaking up to a computer takes all the fun out of it and you should really be leaving such things up to your Grandmother, or who sits behind you in church, or fate.
I disagree. I made my choice of life partner at the age of 23 all by myself. It was a colossally bad decision. My Granny is gone. I don’t go to church. And I am quite sure that fate would prefer I stay home with Mr. Fluffernutter watching NETFLIX.
Different dating sites have different philosophies about how much information you really need to know about someone before meeting them for coffee. If you want to know absolutely everything, OKC may just be the site for you. I am a busy person. Having a computer weed out incompatible God-fearing, pro-life, racist, homophobic, my favorite two books are Fifty Shade of Gray and the Bible (really) men is an efficient use of my time.
And whether you are looking for a life partner or a dinner date, should you not throw as wide a net as possible? I am delighted to meet people I would never run into in real life. In fact, I’m sort of sad I have not found a way to increase my circle of girlfriends this way. Straight woman seeking other women for platonic drinking games, knitting circles, and book club. Race, sexual orientation not important. Must like cats.
Dating is hard, no matter how you do it. Surprisingly though, it isn’t really any harder in my 40’s than it was in my 20’s. In fact, I’m dating more now than at any other time in my life. Probably because I have learned the secret is to not take it too seriously. I’m no longer looking for someone to sweep me off my feet and into the sunset, but I still want a man who is a good listener, who can talk for hours, who makes me feel beautiful, and who does not play more than 4 hours of video games per day. If you think finding someone with that last quality gets easier after 40, think again.
Online dating may not be for everybody, but I’ve been looking over the last years’ worth of interactions, and I’m going to call it a success. At this point in my life, I define success by having met some really great people who bought me dinner. Why I let men buy me dinner is a separate blog, but feel free to comment on this life choice below. I know some of y’all are hesitant to try this online dating thing, so let me tell you what to expect. Here is what happened in 2015. By the numbers.
# of men I messaged first: 31
% of these who are out of state: 72 (sigh)
% who replied: 42
# of men who messaged me first: 145
% who included at least one grammatical sentence other than “how are you”:26
% who claimed to have read my profile:22
% I responded to: 27 (including a few I chewed out for obviously sending the same message to every woman on the site)
# of icky sexually explicit offers: 4
# of scam artists: 1
# of men under 25: 30
# of dwarves: 2
# of first dates: 6
# of second dates: 4
# of men I really liked but still have never met but emailed my life story to: 2
# of times my heart was broken: 1
As for my date last night, I don’t think he is the man I will spend the rest of my life with. I already have Mr. Fluffernutter for that. But he met all the above mentioned criteria quite nicely. And I kissed him in the parking lot. I’ve got another first date tonight. I think 45 is going to be great.