I've been spending a bit of time on some of the dating sites and apps out there, and a couple of things have struck me about this experience. After years of spectacular failure on two of the popular paid sites, I was shocked at how many people I've made contact with on the free sites. And of all of those, there have been about 10 or so with potential. I find it interesting that single 40-somethings are not willing to shell out any of their hard-earned cash to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right. At our age, everyone has had some sort of heartbreak or major relationship failure. I don't blame people for not wanting to pay for it to happen again. There are a few guys I've dated that I would pay to forget, if the service were available. I've always heard you never love your second true love the way you loved your first. This obviously includes finances as well as emotions. The moral of this story - save your cash. You don't necessarily get what you pay for. That being said, I was also struck by the amount of truly desperate guys out there. And how open people are about what they are actually looking for. I never knew my little town was such a swinging place - and I'm not talking trapeze, people.
I had no idea that each dating site has their niche. It becomes fairly obvious after you get a few fish on the line what the general kind of connection they are looking for. There are sites where people are very serious-relationship minded. It's more of an interview process and you have to be in serious contention of donning a poofy white dress to merit a first date. There are others where guys don't even want to know your real name and you can feel them breathing down your neck from the first message. For better or worse, sites get reputations as having more of one of the other of these polar-opposite people. And those reputations are fairly accurate. So it's out there - whatever you are looking for. I didn't realize how important it was to really know what I was looking for. I had no shopping list, and was simply browsing. And I've had some pretty awful products land in my cart. Thankfully, most of them got shoved back on the shelf next to the M&M's in the checkout lane. My friends have been seriously entertained with some of the racier stories that don't merit publication. It's rough out there, folks. And I've got pretty thick skin.
These experiences have only reinforced my belief in the clearance-aisle mentality of dating at my age. I've been trolling a lot of aisles, checking the specs on a lot of products, and yes, even squeezing the Charmin. Not a ton, but it happens - I have a feeling my mother just closed her browser. And it's been an interesting process. I'm most amazed how people are genuinely craving a connection with someone else. There are the romantic types who want to make you happy so they can be happy. And the hedonistic types who just want to feel something to reinforce that they are human. There are even the hopelessly wounded types who need somebody to understand that they are broken. The current squeeze is a decent combination of all of these things. I'll keep you posted...
I've always known that good things don't have to be expensive. My favorite potato chips were the Rodeo Bill brand my grandma bought from Aldi.