As time goes on, I spend my days working and my evenings searching the dating site. Nothing makes my heart speed up like hearing the little “ding” notification on my phone that lets me know that someone has “messaged” me or smiled at me or likes my picture. I can only see so much on the mobile app on my phone, but on my lunch break, I hurry to see who has contacted me. I am learning, however, that all profiles are not what they seem. Sometimes I get messages from a good looking guy, ruggedly smiling at me. Then, when he messages me- the English is broken and strange. I have learned this is a sign of a profile hacked by a scammer, who will soon ask me for money.
There are other kinds of fake profiles, as well. I learned this the hard way after talking to a man for a week online and texting. The time came for us to meet in person. I was understandably nervous because I hadn’t been out on a first date since I was a teenager. I agonized over what to wear, and I practiced my opening line in front of the mirror. I even wrote down conversation starters in case there were awkward silences.
The man I was to meet was just a bit younger than me –tall with blonde hair and a great smile. He worked in travel and did caregiving as a volunteer. He had been a little vague about what he did exactly except to say that he had seen many exotic places. I left it at that, sensing he didn’t want to boast. He was quite the charmer online and in texts. We hadn’t spoken on the phone because he had a long-running cold that kept him from talking too well. This just made him seem mysterious to me, as I looked forward to our first meeting.
We were to connect at a local coffee shop and even though he offered to pick me up, I decided to take the bus there because I felt it would be safer until I knew him better. I got there first and ordered my usual tall caramel coffee. As I sat there, I dreamed of the magical date we would have…the moment when we looked into each other’s eyes the first time. Suddenly, I felt hands go over my eyes. “Guess who?” a squeaky voice asked from behind me. “Uh, David?” I squirmed to get out from under the hands. As I turned, I saw a gangly teenager standing there. I tried to peer around him to find my date.
“It’s me,” said the boy. “David.” I was in such shock that I couldn’t respond. He fell into the other side of the booth and laughed.
“You….you are supposed to be 23“ I exclaimed. “I will be,” he smirked, “in 6 years!” He thought this was hilarious, but I did not see the humor.
The date went downhill from there. He was short, young and very arrogant.
“Do you want to see a movie?” he asked after we had finished our coffee.
“Uh, I can’t…”
“Well, at least let me give you a ride home.” I hesitated, but I was ready to get home.
“Okay,” I reluctantly agreed.
“Where are you parked?”
“I have my bike outside.”
“Bike?” Well, I had always wanted to ride on the back of a motorcycle. After I had paid for the coffee (he must not have gotten his allowance yet) we walked outside. I looked up and down the street, but there was no motorcycle.
“Where is it?”
“Oh, over here …”
He walked to the side of the building where he pointed to ten-speed BICYCLE!! I did not say a word; I spun on my heels and started walking toward my apartment. He rode beside me for the first few blocks but left when I threatened to knock him off the bike and make it a permanent part of his body.
That walk home was long and enlightening. I had time to think and make resolutions about no more online dating…ever. Since then, after my blisters healed…I realized that it wasn’t the online part but my naiveté that caused the problem. I have developed a list of red flags and questions to use in any further match ups on a dating site!
This year was my first year going home for Thanksgiving as a single girl. I must admit that I did not put much thought into it being a different experience. After all, I was going to my parents’ house, so what could go wrong? I took the requested side dish of dressing and showed up a little early on Thanksgiving morning. After quick hugs all around, I offered to help my mother in the kitchen. We were busy with basting the turkey and setting the table. I noticed that my mother had included name place settings this year.
“Kind of fancy, don’t you think?” I teased her.
“Well, the family is getting so large with all of the dates and …” She put her hand up to her mouth in horror.
“It’s okay, Mom- I am not upset about being alone this year!” She just shook her head and went back to the kitchen.
Soon, relatives and friends began arriving to celebrate with us. My two brothers came with their girlfriends, and my uncle brought his new wife. Our crowd was growing, I thought. Soon, it was time for the big feast and I fixed my plate and headed into the dining room. I went from chair to chair, looking for my name. I could not find my place anywhere. Suddenly, my brother piped up,
“Sami-here you go!”
He was standing in the kitchen at the “kid’s table.” I walked over and soon spied my name.
“Well, honey, there just wasn’t a single chair left at the big table. Do you mind?”
Did I mind? Of course, I minded, I did not want to eat Thanksgiving dinner with all of the sticky toddlers and smirking teenagers!
“No, I don’t mind,” I grumbled.
I tried to sit, but the table was too short for me to get my legs under it. So, I balanced my plate and ate a sullen meal.
After the meal was finally over, everyone went into the den to watch football and talk. I looked around and soon discovered that there was again nowhere for me to sit. All the couples were wrapped around each other and taking up space. I started to try and scrunch in between, but then I saw my younger cousins outside playing football. What the heck, I thought and I went outside and played until dark. We chose teams, and I got to be the quarterback since I was the oldest. It was supposed to be flag football, but I saw some of my young relatives get hammered more than once. All in all, it was a memorable Thanksgiving.
So, in conclusion, you could say that holidays are different when you are single, but on the bright side, I caught up on all the new teenage slang and made two remarkable touchdowns! How many of you can say that about YOUR holidays??
- Being single saves money- You discover all kinds of savings when it is just you; you don’t use as many razors because you aren’t shaving your legs anymore; frozen dinners are excellent when there is no one to impress; shop at the Thrift Store for the faded jeans and sweatshirts that make up your wardrobe now.
- People do stare at you when you sit alone in a restaurant, but if you carry a book, you don’t have to make eye contact. To avoid snickers at the movies, bring a man’s coat and drape it on the seat beside you. This also keeps creepy people from sitting next to you.
- A cat is a better companion than a man. Your feline is faithful, sleeps on his side of the bed and is always happy to see you…even when you are an hour late.
- Never let married friends fix you up. They don’t care if you are lonely, they are just envious you are free.
- Never let your parents set you up they aren’t worried about the standard of the man they just want to make sure you don’t move back in with them.
To be perfectly candid, I have gone through some ups and downs since becoming suddenly single. There have been the crazy times and the lonely times. I do miss having a significant other in my life, but despite my diligent efforts, I just haven’t found that ultimate Mr. Right (there have been some Mr. Right Nows, but that’s a story for another day!) For some reason, people want other people to be coupled up. It just doesn’t seem “natural” for anyone to be alone and content. I have found that happy place, though. The best advice I can give is to make sure you like yourself…because wherever you go…there YOU are.
I have been out of the dating world for quite a while pretty much my entire adult life. I wasn’t clueless, though, about the changes brought about by technology. I have had friends who were single and tried to find companions. There are parts, however, that I wasn’t prepared to handle. I have never had to worry about being alone on a Friday night or not having a date for a new movie I wanted to see. In fact, I have not had to be alone much at all. Now, I find myself in my brand new apartment, unpacked and staring blankly at the new pictures I had just hung on the walls. I had been caught up in moving and setting up my new place, and I haven’t had time to feel the solitude.
What now? How do I go about meeting some new men? Do people still go to bars to find dates? Should I ask my friends to “fix me up?” Somehow, these ideas seem outdated. I spy my computer and think about all the commercials I have seen touting impressive profiles and soul mates just waiting to be discovered. I will just take a look… I think to myself.
Online dating is a new world to me and it takes a few tries before I find the right one. There are sites for Lonely Farmers, Single Parents and even one for self-proclaimed Nerds. I decide to try a more commercial one, and I am soon involved in answering questions about my hobbies, exercise level, body size and favorite things. I am amazed at the degree of detail this questionnaire demands. Then, I am challenged to write an interesting, brief, witty synopsis of my life that will impress and draw in the men I want. It must be funny and original; welcoming without being needy and it has to stand out amongst a thousand other reads.
After many nail-biting hours of writes and re-writes- I finally have a profile that I think will charm any man. Now comes the real challenge-I must post profile pictures! These photos can make or break your dating life. As I look through some of the pictures of other profiles, I see everything from the duck face photos to the obligatory photo with your pet. I search my photos to find just the right ones. I want to look active and happy; fun but not trashy; successful but not too independent. These are crucial decisions that could impact my entire future.
I finally decided on two pictures and completed my profile. As I wait for it to be approved, I start glancing through the profiles of the men in my age range. There are many handsome guys show potential and my spirits lifted. This isn’t so hard, I think. I can do this. I can find Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now-depending on my mood; I decide with a big smile. Little did I know that the fun was just beginning.
One of the things I looked forward to the most, after becoming single, was a girl’s night out! I had heard tales of dancing on tables and groups going to male review shows. I envisioned a night of drinking, laughing and adventure. I planned such a night with some of my single friends. They were more experienced ones because I was the newest single there. We very responsibly picked a designated driver and rode together to a favorite club.
I must say that the excitement started on the ride over, but it wasn’t what I had expected. The drama came from two girls fussing and screaming because they both wore the same dress. I didn’t see the problem because the club would be dark but the fight was on. It got so crazy that the two girls got out at a stoplight and began wrestling around in the street. One of my best friends was driving and after telling them to get in…she just drove away…leaving the girls, in their identical dresses standing in the street.
Before I could react to that, we pulled up to the club. One of the other girls admonished us to keep her in the middle of the group when we went in because she had a fake id.
“What?” I asked.
“Yeah, she is only 18…don’t worry…we do this all the time.”
We walked as a mob to the front of the club, and several girls flashed their id and were allowed in. The underage girl was in front of me, and when she tried to flash her id, she dropped it. We both bent down to get it and bumped heads. I saw stars when the bouncer rejected the fake id.
“Not happening,” he growled.
“And you, you look like you are already drunk. Get lost!”
He was pointing at ME! Now, wait a minute…I started calmly… Get out of the way, he suggested loudly. So, now “underage” and I were left alone under a lamplight. I tried texting my friends inside the club but either the music was too loud, or they just ignored me.
We finally flagged down a taxi and when we got in…whom did we see but the twin friends left in the street? They were still arguing and pulling each other’s hair. I screamed my address to the driver and after 45 minutes of listening to the catfight… I got out at my apartment. Wow! What a great girls night out, I thought. I looked at my watch, and it was all of 10:00. I got into my pajamas, with warm milk and watched Netflix until I fell asleep. I couldn’t handle many crazy nights like that one!