While looking through some of my early writing, trying to find something for Memoir Monday, I found this short piece that I thought you might like. I have many more about this topic I could share, if there is enough interest.
Smart, Smarting, Smarter
A few years ago, with a need to fill a void left by the passing of my life partner, I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined the game of online dating. It’s an addictive pastime that brings with it the desperate urge to turn on the computer to check e-mail messages the minute you walk through the door, no matter how tired you are or how stressful a day it’s been.
On one such day, a month or so after my initiation, I received a message from “Wayne”, in Sarnia. I lived in Kingston at the time, a four or five-hour drive away. The geographical distance between us gave me a moment’s hesitation, but being a curious sort who’d rather not close a door without first investigating what’s behind it, I responded. He asked me to add him to my messaging contact list, and I obliged. From then on, every time I logged onto my computer, there was Wayne, looking for me! If I wasn’t online, he sent me e-mail. For a full week, fingers flew across the keyboards several times a day in an exchange of lengthy chats and e-mails. Excitement began to build. We compared all of our likes and dislikes, our visions and desires for a future relationship, our personal values. I wasn’t ready to throw caution to the wind just yet, but if he was being truthful, there seemed to be emerging a strong foundation for further development. He revealed that he’d been married twice before and shared his story of how both wives had taken advantage of his generous nature. I sympathized with him, but also recognized a possible red flag. He was quick to dismiss my concerns about the geographical distance between us. Distance could be overcome and worth the effort if it meant finding your soul mate; we could meet in Toronto since he was there twice a month on business; he could meet me at the bus station if I didn’t want to drive. By the end of the week Wayne was certain that he was ready to meet me, and the sooner the better it seemed. I was convinced to give it a try. We talked about possible dates.
Then the penny dropped.
Wayne’s profile included a picture; mine did not. Although I’ve been told that I’m an attractive woman, I’m not very photogenic. I had already discovered that sharing my not-very-flattering images too early could bring the “dating” to an abrupt end. However, Wayne kept urging me to send him a picture, since I knew what he looked like while he had only my written description. I finally gave in. Not happy with any photos in my file, I chose one randomly, attached it to an e-mail, and hit SEND. Almost immediately I had a stinging response.
“Thanks for the picture. Unfortunately it didn’t give me that I want to meet her kind of feeling. Good luck in your search”.
This ouch would have sent me spiraling into depression and self-doubt a few months ago, but now, after shaking off the shock, I chuckled to myself and added him to my growing list of “jerks”. If I’d judged him solely on his photo, I never would have responded to his first message.
I was finally beginning to see how fickle some men could be. Obviously I was better off without this one and I was thankful that I hadn’t wasted a trip to Toronto.