By Patty LaTaille
Online dating has been described to me as “challenging, exhausting, entertaining, educational, frustrating and fulfilling.” I’ve heard many stories with a variety of different experiences from those putting themselves out there in the internet dating arena. Yes, I did hear the horror stories from those who have been through the emotional wringer or dealt with scam artists, and then the positive uplifting stories of those who have met their life partner and/or spouse or made some good friends through the use of technology.
Online dating appears to be no longer a question of keeping it on the DL (down low), “You have to resort to that?”; it’s now rather, “Why are you not online?” Increasing the pool of prospective partners seems to make sense, yet my hesitation involved around “Is it safe?” and “How much drama do you want to invite into your life?” I’ve had enough drama and associated trauma in relationships to last me for a lifetime, thank you very much.
Yet, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast” – with a nod to Alexander Pope – who also added, “Man never is, but always to be blest.” So encouraged to expand my dating horizons and hoping to be blessed, I took the initiative and bravely plunged in, taking an online dating survey to match me up with the best online dating app. ZOOSK was supposedly the best one for my profile, and I’ve heard that it is a good one for the over 50 set for professional people seeking partners. (At 4.5 stars, Zoosk has the most highly rated dating app on iTunes.) I wound up “lurking on” (checking out) the app for a while, because if you do not pay to subscribe, you will have very limited accessibility and response options. So I found one, a gentleman’s profile that clicked with me – made me laugh – and then sent in a payment. The current rates from the Zoosk website are: One-month membership $29.95, three months at $19.98 a month or six months for $12.49 a month. (Zoosk’s six-month membership is its more popular package.)
Wow. Just wow. I had expected to formulate a humorous article, based on “getting to know you” trials and tribulations, while maneuvering “meet & greet” pitfalls and and managing those potential “weirdos.” So imagine my surprise when in reviewing profiles, I felt humbled. And touched. Yes, humbled to recognize that this dating app is viewed as a valid tool or resource to find someone to love … touched to see the hope in finding a to-love-and-cherish-until-death-do-us-part potential mate. That’s big. HUGE actually.
The Carousel starts with individual photos that you can check yes, no or maybe – seemingly pretty shallow in my estimation, yet that’s the “initial physical attraction” filter. No other details, just a hopefully clever “stage name” and a pic. I based my responses off of the background details; is there alcohol or cigarettes prominently displayed, is it at a sporting event/stadium, are they presenting a dead animal (fish or deer) with pride – all turn offs in my book. Is there a dog, cat, bike, boat or beautiful scenic areas in the pic with him? Hmmm, possibilities …
Writing your own profile and selecting photos to post is best done with a friend – preferably a close one who has experience in this. My dear friend J., helped me narrow down my specifics. She professed to be a pro at this, and shared that she had set up “meet and greets” at nearby coffee shops in Denver to meet a new guy each hour for days at a time. Her suggestion for me to add: “If you support the current administration in the White House, I respectfully request that you refrain from contacting me, as we will not be a good match.”
Your photo selections should be current (within two years) and ideally depicting a clear pic of yourself doing activities you enjoy, not some visually challenging and somewhat creepy selfies in the bathroom mirror. Including your pets seems a good way to connect. My friend suggested adding in a pic of my COEXIST tattoo, as this may discourage the men who send messages with profile pics of them blasting away with automatic weapons and wearing an “Obama Sux T-shirt.” Ugh.
To date, I’ve corresponded with a number of different gentlemen that seem to be decent human beings. I went on a hiking date with a nice guy from Colorado Springs, who had a great sense of humor about me potentially bringing a Taser on the first date. (Hey, you never can be too safe if you’ve just met someone and are on a day hike outside of town.) We also made dark humor references to serial killers, and I made sure that the yard at his town home was too small to bury the bodies. Well, for a high body count, at least. I also made sure to check his freezer – all clear.