After divorce, I dipped my toe into online dating. More precisely, I cannonballed into a boiling lake of boys by joining OkCupid, EHarmony and Match.com simultaneously. I don't recommend this strategy. Before feathers get ruffled, let me say that online dating works for some people. I'm going to a wedding for one such couple that found love online, and I'm helping another couple move in together who met via the World Wide Web. It just wasn't for me, or I wasn't for it.
About two weeks into the adventure, I checked my various account inboxes, feeling overwhelmed by the volume of hellos, winks, pokes and painfully awkward introductory messages. "I'm a practicing Wiccan" may be true, but it's not a good introductory statement. I started instant messaging with a guy from OkCupid who invited me for a drink. I mulled it over -- worst case scenario: a free drink, mediocre date, something to do on a Friday night. Best case scenario: Love at first sight! Hallmark soul mates! Since my other option involved watching the Food Network with a cat-hair covered afghan, I agreed.
I dolled up; I was nervous because it was my first in-person meeting with anyone from online dating. The bar was a nondescript sports pub in a strip mall, near my place. (Note to worried readers: The parking lot was well lit, I texted two people to say where I was going and my expected return, and I Googled the bar to check for any weird stuff.) Peeking through the front door, he looked normal enough. We exchanged introductions and ordered beers. He gave me the twice over, nodded his head, and thus it began -- the worst first date.
Within five minutes, he said he liked my profile pictures because I "didn't do the fancy camera angle that makes women's arms look slimmer and their tits look bigger." My eyebrows shot up. It was an odd comment to make, but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was nervous, I thought, or maybe he drank several beers already and felt loose-lipped.
He proceeded to whip out what I can only assume was the prepared set of questions for all dates. For the next twenty minutes, I was peppered with questions like: "You are walking alone in the desert and you come across a cube. How big is the cube? What color is the cube? How does that color make you feel? Can you see inside the cube? How big is the cube compared to the desert? You see a ladder. Is the ladder leaning on the cube? What color is the ladder? What is the distance between the cube and the ladder? You see a horse. What is the distance between the cube and the horse? What color is the horse?"
And on... and on. Apparently "The Cube" is a personality quiz meant to illuminate the true self and make the quizzer look insightful. Total fail. I haven't the foggiest idea what he gleaned by revealing that my ego is a shiny red box about the size of a throw pillow. I'd already passed on ordering food, knowing this would not be a long evening. He wasn't finished yet, though:
Him: "When I say flowers, what's the first kind that comes to mind?"
Me: "Um, roses?"
Him: "Oh, then you're a hopeless romantic who wants to be whisked off on a horse by a prince and taken care of. You're high maintenance."
Me: "Or, there's a bouquet of fake roses on the faux fireplace mantle behind you."
Him: "Try again."
Me: "Okay, I'm thinking of a multi-stemmed cluster of bright flowers. Peonies perhaps."
Him: "You're going to have lots of kids."
Seriously? Nervous or not, his pop psych questions rolled up into a resounding strike one. I steered the conversation towards him -- why meet at this bar, how does he spend his free time, what did he think about online dating. I told him that my marriage dissolved in large part due to cheating and that I was branching out to meet people. He nodded and replied that that hanging out at bars was "like a hobby." I rolled with the comment and asked what about bars did it for him. "I like bars because you can smack women's asses and get away with it. Hahaha." I blinked. What exactly is an appropriate response? Strike two. The nosedive continued.
He mentioned a child and I asked about his former significant other. He chuckled, took a sip of beer and replied, "I love my kid, but my wife was a real bitch. We were married for 10 years, then I got bored and cheated on her." Strike three.
I darted to the ladies room, shaking my head at the audacity of this asshole. I returned, looked him in the eye and said, "Let me give you some advice. I don't appreciate the use of 'tits' referencing women, especially when I first meet a guy, or smacking asses as an activity. I don't date cheaters, especially those that are fairly unreformed. Good luck." I went to shake his hand and he refused, saying "I don't shake women's hands." Apparently hands aren't for holding, but asses are for grabbing.
The next day I received a message on OkCupid from him. I thought perhaps it was an apology and softened a bit. Not that I'd see him again, but it would indicate that at least he recognized what a buffoon he'd been. The email read, "You are such a prude - there's nothing wrong with saying 'tits.' I got the impression you are sexually repressed."
Please. Have some respect. I blocked him and deleted my OkCupid profile -- along with those on EHarmony and Match.com. Thus began and ended my very brief post-divorce online dating stint. At least I got a free drink and a story out of it.
Follow Penney Berryman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/penneysage