My preliminary dating experience on Who-The-Fuck-Cares-You-Need-A-Man mainstream dating site was as pleasant as having a yeast infection while menstruating, topped off by a sneeze-n-wheeze allergy attack (with no tissues or inhalers to be found) while changing a blown tire on a freeway shoulder during rush hour traffic and getting a ticket for having an expired registration.
When I joined, I hoped to meet someone I could engage in a friend-fuck-ship with. I didn’t want a man to make me feel complete, just an accompaniment to my already full-life. I quickly learned that every personal ad offers up a tall glass of zero personality flaws with a twist of utopian companionship.
My first dateable was a twelve-stepper who said, “If you want to date me, you need to be in Al-Anon.” That was before asking me my name.
What if I had a fat, guttural name, like Sally? Or a four legged, barn-dwelling name, like Henrietta? Or worse, what if I was named after a street? La Cienega, which means swamp or marsh in Spanish, for example. What then? There are certain names I won’t date. Craigs, Gregs, Earls, Berles, Lesters or Chesters. They have a molesteree ring to them. Didn’t he have un-dateable names?
All Mr. Work Your Program cared about was my willingness to schlep up steps for him. I’m sorry, to demand I learn how not to be co-dependent to a recovering addict just wasn’t gift enough. I was looking for something far more substantial then behavior modification.
Hot on his heels was a disturbed OB/GYN whose idea of foreplay was to refer to his job as, “Ewww, disgusting, right?” As if that wasn’t creepy enough, Ol’ Gynolicious spent the next few minutes on instant messenger regaling me with his intentions, “Oh, sweetness and honey, when are we having a baby? Sweetness and honey, you are my new lady. Do you love me yet, sweetness and honey? I love you.”
I blocked his ass faster than Bush started wars.
I was desperate to delete my dating profile and be done with it, but decided to give it one more go, assuming it couldn’t get worse. I got an introductory email paraphrasing one of Superman’s many mottos and a photo of him in a scarlet, homespun sateen superhero costume with a giant, poorly stitched silver emblem of the letters “C” and “T” (all he was missing was the intro, “I’m A and a “U” and an “N”).
“It’s a bird, it’s a plan, no, it is hetero Captain Thunder, able to leap tall buildings in my supersonic stilettos (purchased on sale at Payless– mockuman’s frugality was supposed to be a selling point?), seeking a woman who will strap-on a cock and ass fuck me faster than a speeding bullet and more powerfully than a locomotive. I didn’t list myself on Fetish-Fucking-A-Hero.com, nor did I mention my proclivities. I kept thinking whatever happened to “Hi” and wasn’t his first email more of a third or fourth email?
The pièce de résistance was Vinnie. He introduced himself by listing his hobbies in bullet points: smelling his own feet at the end of a hard day gutting fish, chewing on his dirty, seafood stained fingernails, eating cherries jubilee on Sundays, not killing the mother of his child, or as he referred to her, “the pariah”, playing X-Box on his day off and seeing how many hours he could log consecutively on AIM with his T-Mobile Side Kick. He was up to 18 by the time our paths crossed. Impressive … right?! A few months later I decided to place an ad on Craigslist. My inbox was quickly filled with all sorts of promising e-mail. “The Yellow Lion,” an Asian chap whose snappy prose promised to take me to the candy shop with his pimp, thug-life tongue. Blake, the ex-con, now gainfully employed at Quizno’s, put his cards right on the table, “Been ten-years since I got me some. Need a lady friend. Stop by Quizno’s and say hi. There’s a free meal in it for you. I’ll even throw in our soup’o-the-day in a bread bowl if we click.”
The most intriguing of this brood I affectionately nicknamed “The Little Stem Cell That Could.” He bore a striking resemblance to that generic sci-fi image of a clone gone awry. He promised weekends filled with shopping sprees to “IKEA and romantic dinners at the Olive Garden, all in his hometown of West Covina conveniently located at the Fashion Exit off the 10.” Wow. He pulled out all the stops for his lady friends.
Could this get any more futile? I started to think this dating site was incapable of manifesting someone teetering even slightly in the stratosphere of normal. Granted, when it comes to relationships, I’m hardly a theme park. Most of my ex’s were only too happy to return their annual passes. Maybe that was why I kept attracting such fringe cock.
Because my self-esteem was merely wallowing, I logged back onto Like-It-Really-Fucking-Matters.com, so the remnants of my self-esteem could plummet and burn. And it super did.
Let me just preface all of this by saying, I am well aware of my shortcomings and freely discuss them. The twin triple D’s , the silicon free lips, the flat Jew ass, the chubby body and the painfully obsessive-neurotic-aloof-push-pull mentality whose favorite exercise is jumping to conclusions. That’s only when I’m not second guessing or berating myself. I know. Please.
There are three types of men online.
SuperfluousStudMuffin opens with, “Not your typical LA-guy.” He fancies himself to be a thinking artisan, massage therapist, painter, sculptor, computer parts salesman, screenwriter, director and, finally, holistic healer. But, his real passion is music. He’s got a ditty to spin for his new sugar bear and a black and white photo of his pensive self strumming his acoustic guitar to prove he’s just waiting tables until his big self-titled album-demo-CD-compilation-whatever debuts.
Then there’s the angry man-child, who pledges to his princess through his bullshit emo lyrics, and only through his bullshit emo lyrics and never an actual conversation, that she will be loved for who she is at heart, pampered by masseurs and spa handlers, and spoiled rotten. In his ad, just as in his songs, he’ll italicize his thirst for soul-connecting walks along the beach at sunset in their coordinated off-white, slightly wrinkled linen ensembles, carrying their shoes, holding hands and blah blah blah. He takes his time to spell out his long list of attributes: pragmatic, entrepreneurial, financially secure, businessman and homeowner, honest to a fault, generous, passionate about his passion, ready to share his life, caring lover, caring in general, not religious but spiritual, adventurous, kind and soul-searching, 55, VGL, 5’8”, 250 lbs. Nice. Yet, written in bold, he’ll add “You: super tall or super petite, Pamela Anderson busty, Asiany shaped piercing light eyes, great ass, hourglass figure, slim, underweight preferred (“slightly” overweight need not respond), classy, sexy attire only, stilettos and fine lingerie, 19-24, over 25s don’t bother. Must be available on-call, or LTR, live-in preferred.” God forbid his woman’s pussy grow one follicle of hair or worse, lose it’s pretty in pink elasticity.
The third type of man is a wolf in sheep’s clothing because I’m interested enough to respond to his fucking ad. This type of guy uses his blinding charisma to camouflage his fear of intimacy and extreme dysfunction. Allowing these things to leap out in short, measured gasps, juicy enough for me to latch onto. His intelligence and arrogance vie for supremacy over his cockiness; an aphrodisiac that begs the question, “Where do you want my ankles?” His compulsion for independence and his inability to commit, fused with a strong sense of self-importance, packaged in a chubbyish body, hemorrhages eccentricities and quirks, coupled with his excessive enthusiasm for flossing, well it’s usually enough to make me fall harder than a pious republican.
Things trucked along with Wolf #1, a casual guy, easy to chat with, funny and clever. He traveled extensively in search of the perfect flan, which he found in Caracas. He was 36, with trim, sable locks, engrossing brown eyes, a long, tapered nose and a manly beard with a sexy paunch. I was fascinated by the fact that he worked at the same job for seventeen-years with plans to retire there. Who says that? Someone who thought that far ahead commits without reservation and without an exit strategy. To think that far ahead was a bit unnerving, like planning a continental breakfast for two on a Sunday morning at an Express Holiday Inn.
I was obsessed with his big corporate pride. Not cock—actual pride. We agreed to meet in a well-lit restaurant. I looked forward to it. Our conversations were effortless and entertaining. The pictures he sent was adorable, one of him playing volleyball on the beach (great legs) and another at a party laughing with friends. A face-to-face seemed like the next logical step.
As I approached the restaurant, this tall, nine months pregnant-looking man bounded over to me, sporting a layered tooth grin and wearing an inappropriately massive gold and onyx mall ring on his right finger. Surprise! That was him. He was actually fifty-something with a Tourette’s eye twitch and a corn-fed face. He thought sending me those fabulous photos of himself when he was thirty-five would be funny.
Wolf #2 was an authority on and devout fan of Bukowski and born and raised in Savannah. My wonderful friend, Joy, found him for me. His moody charcoal clothing, big nose, scraggly black hair and soft round lips, with his pensive sensibility, overall disenchantment and irritation with the world and sardonic humor were a cry for help. Interpretation: I was smitten. He talked about how he loved to dine at the Y and fuck like an Olympian on a box of Total Cereal. Within a week, the chemistry was so hot; my vulva lips were twitching like two sticks being mightily rubbed together to ignite a fire.
As week two fast approached, with hundreds of emails and phone calls exchanged, he asked me to meet him for coffee. I was convinced this wolf could ravage the flames of my body and leave me limp as a willow on a humid summer day. I couldn’t wait to meet him and saw no reason to delay this get-together. He said he’d be the one pacing with a limp. Not wanting my new potential cocktail to think I was being insensitive to his needs, I said, “If you’re injured, we can always hook up another time. No problem.”
He says to me, “Oh, no, I’m not injured. I’m missing a leg and my prosthesis makes me limp.”
Funny, he told me without issue that he, too, was in recovery for some rehab-centric addiction (PS, when did I become the poster child for twelve-step dating?).He didn’t even flinch when he told me about being molested by his father’s brother’s dentists, cousin’s step-father’s gym teacher when he was ten, or about his dysfunctional relationship with his down-syndrome sister-turned-brother. Yet somehow he forgot to tell me that he was without an entire limb? Not a digit. Not half a member, but a full and complete leg from groin to toe.
Of course I overreacted. Please, who wouldn’t? I thought my overreaction was justified considering he failed to mention he was limbless. Limbboy could’ve worked it into one of our many conversations, “I read my first Bukowski book Women, when I was sixteen. My sister/brother only eats marmite and pineapple sandwiches. I haven’t been hiking in years, I used to love it. The last time we went, it was pouring rain and, man, it was so windy—I thought it was gonna throw me over the mountain. Oh, wait, it did. I slid down some pretty hairy terrain and lost my leg.”
Sure, that route might lead to some questions, “You mean lost your footing? Or, lost feeling in your leg because you broke it?” Those would be fair and valid questions. He was well humored. He might have responded sarcastically and said, “No, as in, I could see my leg dangling from a tree a few feet from my body. The damn thing never grew back, ha ha!” I would’ve gone out with him.
Anyway. Done and done.
If I was going to become a “we” on my terms, it wasn’t going to happen on You-Complete-Me.com and every other Don’t-Die-Alone-Act-Now dating website. To do that, I had to get off my ass and out of the house. Open myself up enough to get to know a man in the flesh, not behind my screen or over the phone. It meant I had to put myself out there for real and remind myself of the rush of excitement I felt when I fortuitously met someone. The best relationships I had were with men I met while I was out in the world living my life, not window cock shopping at Who-The-Fuck-Cares.com.
Performed at Sit-n-Spin, Winner of the Farmhouse Magazine 2009 Best Essay Award