Earlier, I posted news about my denied raise. Because I know how to process that. But it’s not at all the worst news of the day.
(And there have been five contenders for that title.)
My Daddy–my grandfather who raised me for several years when my mother couldn’t–has been officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
And he doesn’t know yet because my mom doesn’t want to tell him yet even though she told me I’d better tell her if it happens . . .
Anyway, I just can’t really write about this yet.
I can cry in my chiropractor’s office, but that’s different.
While I’m processing a bit, here’s a poem about him. I wrote it many years ago when he went in for heart surgery.
Atlas Has Surgery
They do tests
which we joke about.
They schedule the time
and so you move
away from the burden
taking no relief
in the respite
of a short forced sleep.
This too is a burden
if you don’t do it,
you can’t get back to work.
You leave the earth to hold itself.
I don’t know if you trust it to stay
if you’ve read the physics;
even if you have
there may be little comfort;
Newton and Einstein are at odds;
better to do it yourself
so it’s done right.
Newton says we fall because of
weight and mass;
Einstein says we fall because of
the curve of time and space.
Either way, we start to shift
The issue is not the fall
but the landing.
In a picture of our fried egg shaped universe,
we do not think of above and below
we fall off the edge of the page;
in a diorama—the bottom of the box;
in a middle school science fair project—
we simply land on the table.
This is where most end up—
on a table
our gravity sinking hard
onto a surface
that does not yield
as your shoulders
I’m fairly certain that the men who message me grew up on Looney Tunes, as I did.
I’m now fairly certain that many of those men learned the wrong lessons, especially a lesson about taking no for an answer. In the world of Pepe Le Pew, no doesn’t exist. Penelope (the cat) makes her position clear. Pepe doesn’t listen. And sometimes, he wins.
I have a vivid memory of catching one of the cartoons as my son watched, years ago. Pepe chased Penelope. She was running for her life. She ran into a cave–an ice cave. The last shot of her showed her terrified face, reflected in the ice shards, as she realized she was trapped. Pepe rolled a boulder in front of the entrance and hung a “Do Not Disturb” sign.
For a couple of days, I’ve been nicely explaining that I don’t want a long distance relationship. In fact, this is the only conversation I’ve had with the gentleman in question. He complimented me. I thanked him. He said he wanted to talk more. I said I didn’t want to pursue anything, since he was far away. We exchanged this information several more times–him saying he wanted to talk, me saying I didn’t. (I’m also inherently not interested–his profile is generic and he hasn’t really answered OKC’s questions). This is the end of the conversation:
Picture Pepe bouncing after me; a French accent may even help some of the grammar/writing problems:
Him: But I do you think I’m suppose to find that’s perfect woman, if not by getting so close with me woman that my spirit tells me much about.
Him: I don’t care about the distance, because I can’t get my eyes of you.
Him: You are a good looking woman, if you don’t really believe in long distance relationship, why don’t you give it a try.. And what about talking and texting you on phone?
[That last one confuses me, causing me to stumble. So because I’m pretty, I have to do something I don’t believe in? I pick myself up, keep running, calling this out.]
Me: I’ve done long distance before; it’s not what I want for my life. And I don’t want to spend all day talking and texting on the phone for a relationship I don’t want to pursue. […] Look–you don’t know anything about me, really. You just seem to be attracted to me based on my looks.
Him: Yea I know I don’t really know you, but I know it only takes a day to know someone and be close friends.. You are attracted to me by your looks yea.. And that makes you a woman and I’m proud saying you are attracted to me and I’m interested in you. I’m the the kind of in-person that likes meeting someone that is been attracted to me, and that who my spirit accept as a woman. My spirit tells me you are a good looking pretty woman. I follow what my spirit tells me, I just wish things will work out between us, I’m going to make you proud and you will never regret having an meeting me. I’m not ask you of that forcefully, take your and think about it.
[His spirit tells him what? And when did I say I was attracted to him?]
[I raise the mallet.] Le sigh.
So many men say on their profiles that they’re just looking for someone who loves them for them.
I know where that feeling comes from–they’ve been asked or expected to change before–finding out too late that love came with conditions.
I’ve been asked/expected to change
into a Canadian
into a blood letting dom
into someone “laid back” instead of driven and alert
into a good Christian woman
into a stepmother
into a trophy wife
into a dog person
into a woman with more than one child
into a biker babe
into a sports fan
and so many other things.
Naturally, these guys haven’t gotten what they wanted, since any hope of change has to come from a desire to change.
There are some attractive, interesting guys out there, but there’s usually something that keeps me from messaging them–it’s that I would need them to change.
If a guy smokes, I don’t tell him to stop; I just don’t tell him anything at all.
It’s the same with guys who want kids, guys who want someone really thin, guys who want someone who’s up for a spontaneous hiking/fishing/camping trips all the time, guys who need someone to watch sports with them . . .
There are also a lot of guys I’m not tempted to message because, and let’s be brutally honest here, they would have to change into someone who can come across as interesting in a dating profile, but most guys are desperately normal, with interchangeable, instantly forgettable profiles.
I’m really tired of guys who want me to change–especially when a major change would have to occur for a first date to happen.
In addition to the changes listed above, there are lots of guys who would like me to change into someone who wants to be poly, or who wants “no strings” sex, or who will be thrilled to enter into an adulterous relationship, or who is open to long distance, or a combination of the above.
The oddest (to me) request I get, though, is the frequent request for friendship. Dating sites generally allow you to say what you’re looking for: casual, long term, new friends, etc.
I am very clear that I’m looking for a long term relationship.
Some men, when I tell them I won’t date them because of x or y, will ask to be friends. I get it: they’re lonely, but I’m so not. My friends are wonderful and plentiful. Between them and my workaholism, I am never, ever bored, never wondering what I’m going to do for any given stretch of time.
And then there are conversations like this recent one:
Him: Hello there. I love your smile. Maybe we could be friends?? hope to hear back from you..
Me: “Friends” always seems like a weird word to me on dating sites. Some guys use it to mean they want dating with no strings (and of course there shouldn’t be strings at first, but they mean ever). Some guys use the word to mean sex without even dating. Some guys are lonely and need someone to watch tv with. I’m not bored or lonely–I have a vibrant groups of friends. What’s your definition?
Him: I hadn’t really thought about it. I guess this might paint a better picture: I don’t really have time to “date”, just hoping to find someone who wants to hang and watch stupid tv shows and fool around sometimes NSA. If something more develops, fantastic. But it’s hard with 2 little guys and 50/50 custody to really get into anything serious right away. So I guess it sounds like I’m being a typical male pig but it’s more necessitated by my lack of pure free time
He’s not a pig, of course, for wanting what he wants. But I’m clear in what I want–and it’s not a bad tv companion whom you get to fuck sometimes.
There are Japanese sex dolls for that, right?
As my faithful readers know, politeness is a double-edged sword in online dating. Men hate it when their overtures are ignored, yet polite nos are met with badgering bullshit. The overwhelming advice I get from men and women is to quit with the politeness already.
Today presented a new challenge.
A man “liked” me. In other words, he didn’t send a message, but hit a button indicating interest. A quick perusal of his OKC profile led me to one conclusion: No.
He’s homophobic, thinks creationism should be taught in science classes, rates his faith as “extremely important” in his life, etc.
So I logged back off.
Unfortunately, some lonely people spend all day hoping that someone, anyone, looks at their profile.
Him: No hello
[Please note that I did not comment on the irony here. He didn’t say anything to me when he read my profile; he simply clicked on a star.]
Me: I don’t think we’re very compatible. You seem to be more old fashioned than I am. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day!
[This is me being nice. It is code for “go away, you homophobic bigot.”]
Him: Why would you say that how do you know?
Me: I read through some of your answers to questions. You said homosexuality was a sin, that creationism should be taught in science classes, etc. As I’m a passionate advocate for gay rights, for science, etc., I don’t think we’re compatible.
Him: Omg I don’t give a shit about that
Once again, I wished him well. I did not mention how he just took the lord’s acronym in vain, etc.
And then I blocked him.
I’m so sick of this.
One of my exes thinks I’m too emotional because I get stressed out when my cars die.
The man I was with after him thinks I’m emotionally repressed, that the only reason we’re broken up is because I was raised by alcoholics (because in his version of the story, we’re perfect together in every way), and that I’m high maintenance because I didn’t want to sleep in a car for three days at a Shakespeare festival (I insisted on a hostel instead).
In my version of the story, both of these men are wrong.
We all have our narrative about our relationships.
In my own narratives here, I’ve mentioned the narratives of the men who talk to me–the guy who thinks I’m “crazy” because I called him out on putting up a model’s picture instead of his own; the guy who thinks I’m a racist because I didn’t want a second date; etc.
Usually, those alternate reality narratives are just funny.
And then, sometimes, they’re not.
I went out on several dates with a guy I really liked, and he seemed to really like me too.
One Thursday, we were texting/flirting.
On that Friday, I asked him out on a date for the next night.
He told me he’d made a date with someone else since I’d ignored his text asking for a date on Thursday night.
I never got that text.
Of course, I searched my phone. I searched my mind. How many times had I dropped it that day?* Could something have happened if I was erasing a text from another friend and that one came in at the same time? (My phone, a really old flip phone, has trouble when I’m in text when someone sends me another one.)
I called and left a message apologizing.
I also apologized by text, explaining that I would have definitely gone out with him–and answered him as a matter of course–if I’d gotten the message.
He didn’t answer.
And I was thrown–I’d been the one who instigated our dates. I’d been the opposite of stand-offish. Why would he think I suddenly became a bitch who would just ignore him?
On that Sunday, I sent him another message, explaining that while I didn’t know what happened to the message, I did know I liked him a lot.
He told me he didn’t know why I was lying–that his phone told him I got the message. He said he wasn’t interested in my games.
Of course, I have my own narrative about all this–he must have been really hurt by someone before.
In the words of my therapist, his response is “diagnosable.”
Usually, diagnosable responses to me/my words are easily tossed aside. Hell, I’m going to be using the story of the guy who thinks I’m a racist in my stand-up routine this Thursday.**
It’s different, though, because I liked this guy. I care about what he thinks of me.
I care that there’s a narrative out there about me that so different from my own.
*Yes, he knows I have an old flip phone. When I showed it to him on our first date, I told him that I have it because I drop it all the time.
**My students have their stand-up final this Thursday, from 1-3 in 6 Wellman. As usual, I’m opening for them. As usual, you’re all invited.
I hate my body.
That makes me a walking cliche. A woman, who, like most women in this country, has bought into what society says I should look like.
I hate my body.
That makes me vain and obsessive, focusing on my looks–thinking that they equal my value. I say negative things to myself throughout the day. I avoid mirrors. Each night, when I go to turn out the light by my bed, I catch sight of myself in the full-length mirror that came with my apartment, attached to the wall, and I try to go to sleep anyway. Sometimes I’ll be feeling good, feeling sexy, and I’ll see myself in a bathroom mirror and lose some of my mojo.
I hate my body.
That makes me self-conscious whenever it’s time to go on a date. A couple of guys have made it clear through facial expression and body language that they’re not feeling it when we first meet (and, of course, I’ve also had that first moment feeling, sometimes based on looks). I always assume they’re making the judgment based on my problem areas, and I don’t entirely blame them.
I hate my body.
That makes it difficult to show it to someone new. It should be exciting to meet a new body for the first time, but I think too much about my own; it’s difficult to relax, difficult to be who I want to be–confident and sexy.
I hate my body.
That makes me a person who’s had a bad body image for thirty or so years. When I was a teenager, I was underweight (due to genetics, not starvation). I hated that I had no breasts (this was exacerbated by the teasing about them, of course). I hated the Waltonen dark circles under my eyes. I then hated the stretch marks that came with having a child in that small body. And then I continued to hate it.
I hate my body.
That makes it difficult to think about what my body is good at–healing, being alive. I love that my friend Tiffany marveled at her body after she had her child–marveled at what it could endure, what it could produce.
I hate my body.
That makes it difficult to accept all the things it’s bad at–how dare it pile on? It’s bad at being healthy. It has a lot of problems, which require an average of four appointments a week to control. Lots of PT. Lots of money. Lots of procedures. Lots of drugs. I know that to have a body closer to what I want, I would have to torture it a bit–tell it it can’t eat when it’s hungry, take it to the gym. But it’s already doing a lot of work and spending a lot of time just to keep walking around.
I hate my body.
That makes it difficult to keep one of my favorite quotes in mind. “Too late, you realize that your body was perfect–every healthy body is”–Melissa Banks (in “You Could Be Anyone”). I want to go back to that small breasted girl (who only had bad headaches and severe asthma) to tell her to love her body now. The guys tease her about her tits, yes, but they love those legs. That hair. Those eyes. Appreciate the body before the broken back at 25, the arthritis, the hernias. The tits she’ll eventually have will come with many pounds in other places. I bet an older me wants to come to me now, at 40, and tell me to love that those tits, as they’re relatively new, don’t sag. To love that I’m cancer free. That I can still eat whatever will likely be taken away from me as I get older. I try to tell myself how disappointed future me will be that I’m not appreciating this now.
I hate my body.
That makes it difficult when guy’s bodies don’t work around me. In these past few years, dating older guys now that I’m older, I’ve been with quite a few who had, shall we say, circulation problems. Understanding how minds and bodies work, I am patient and comforting. The fear of judgment can make the problem worse, after all. I don’t want a guy who walk around hating his body, to be self conscious when it’s time to show it to someone new. One man recently talked about how he wished more women were like me–he was frustrated when women assumed the problem was about them. I told him a story about a man in his late twenties whom I dated when I was about thirty. About how he was on a medication that caused this problem. About how, in a moment of frustration, he turned on me, saying it might be easier for him if I “weren’t so heavy.” I hear that voice, those words, whenever the problem recurs.
I hear those words whenever I get a message like this (after a guy initiated a conversation by saying I seem smarter than the average bears out there): “So you’re 5’7″, you look to be about 155 or so pounds? Yes body is important. it’s not all about the mind.”
I’m coming to the end of a three month experiment with Match.com.
I’m very ready for it to be over.
Are there some good guys on there? A few. I’ve been out on dates with two of them. But that’s only two guys who got to meet me in over two months.
1. The layout is ugly.
2. The layout doesn’t encourage men to give any useful information. There are fewer prompts than we have on OKC; only the most basic questions for compatibility (do you smoke? do you want children?).
3. The site doesn’t seem interested in actually matching me with anyone at all. Even with only the basic information, it keeps showing me men that I would not be compatible with–men who “definitely” want children, etc. It also keeps showing me people I’ve seen already–sometimes whom I’ve talked with before–just so it can keep claiming it has all these matches for me.
4. There seem to be fewer men on this site who are willing to narrow the net, especially politically. 98% of the guys I see say they’re “middle of the road” politically. In this political season, I’m not even sure what that means. When I do check in with guys, they aren’t actually in the middle. Just yesterday I asked a “middle of the road” guy if he was socially conservative–he expressed interest in dating me although his profile states that his ideal match is Christian. He admitted to being a conservative and became quickly convinced that we wouldn’t be a fit once I told him I’m committed to equality, to universal healthcare access, and to being pro-choice.
It may be that women on this site also say they’re in the middle–one man who contacted me expressed surprise that I admitted to being a liberal on Match.
5. There’s an option in their questions to say, “I’ll tell you later.” I would just prefer that the guy not answer it at all. When you say, “I’ll tell you later,” it seems like your answer is going to be awful.
I want to know now if you’re married.
I want to know now if you want more children.
I want to know now if you already have children. (C’mon–if you say “I’ll tell you later,” then YOU HAVE CHILDREN.)
Many men also say they’ll tell me what their religion is later. I always assume they belong to the Muslim faith or that they’re atheists like me. I know that there’s a cultural bias against these two groups, but why would you want to date someone who holds that bias?
6. Match guys love cliches in their profiles. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, match gives guys lines they can use–and they do. So their writing tends to look the same, which makes them all boring. The guys are all carefree and want no drama. They all seem to have this idea about us, since I keep seeing it: “Looking good in a little black dress is a plus, but so is looking good in a comfortable pair of jeans.” They mostly want us to go camping and hiking.
7. More guys on Match than on other sites I’ve used have a problem with older women. (Though it’s common on all sites). By older women, they mean women who are their age or older. In other words, it’s extremely common for a 40 year old man to be looking for women between 22 and 38.
8. I’m really tired of guys calling themselves “single dads,” and guys on Match love that term. I’m a single mother, which means I provide the financial and emotional support for my child. I do the housework and the work work. I do not get to hand off these responsibilities for even a few days a week.
Thus, when guys say, “I’m a single dad. I have my kids every other weekend,” I want to punch them.
Guys, if you are a divorced father and/or a co-parent, then say that. Save “single parent” for those of us who have to (had to, in my case) hire a babysitter every time we want to go to a dinner date.
9. Finally, I’m ready to be done with Match because it’s sexist.
When Match shows you a profile, they say three things on the right side of the page–they try to make this about three things you have in common. You both do yoga, etc.
However, check these actual statements out:
• You both fancy felines.
• Like you, he’s not a smoker.
• He has a graduate degree.
Oh, he does? That’s funny. SO DO I!
Match, since your whole point is that you “match” us, then why not tell me we have this in common?
And don’t say it this way:
• Like you, he’s not a smoker.
• Pretty impressive – he has a Ph.D.
• You’re both fine wine connoisseurs.
Wow–that is impressive. I can’t even begin to imagine how smart, talented, and hardworking he is.
Oh, wait. I can imagine that.
I’ve asked several men what they see when they look at my profile. Not surprisingly, Match doesn’t highlight my academic accomplishments.
I know that my PhD is off-putting for a lot of people. I can even understand why Match doesn’t want to highlight it–more guys will respond to me–I’ll have more hope that the site is working.
However, they should tweak the algorithm so the double standard isn’t so clear.
Match, I hate to break it to you, but we’re not a good one.