09/26/2014 09:34 am ET Updated Nov 26, 2014

I Hope We Recognize Each Other

"I don't see it," I mutter, looking through the no longer orderly sewing tin for the third time.

"Da-a-a-ad, it's not here." Frustration begins to surface as he insists that the measuring tape is exactly where he said it was.

A whine from childhood involuntarily slips past my lips: "Where? Show me."

He hoists himself, with some effort, from his chair. Putting his Kindle aside, he comes to my aid. It took but a moment for him to separate from the spools of thread, pins and needles a tiny, red, coiled object.

"That," I say incredulously, "Was not what I expected it to look like." I had imagined the wider, folded white version, the type I was familiar with.

There it was right in front of me and I hadn't recognized it!

As words from the Velvet Underground's I'll be Your Mirror echo through my mind, I wonder if this is a reflection of my online dating experience? What or rather who else hadn't I recognized, expecting them to look similar to the men I'd been attracted to in the past?

In the cyber world, with only a photo and what little is disclosed in the profile, how do we select who we will contact or respond to? Attempting to go beyond the familiar, we may expand our preferences. While phone calls or emails may precede the meetings, we don't have a sense of their presence. Their signature energy is not felt until we actually meet up. As often as not, we don't get that far.

What happens when we do meet someone who doesn't fit into our type? Often, we decide instantaneously that this really nice and healthy man fits into the 'friends only' category. We may think, even hope, that as we come to know the person, that romantic attraction may grow.

If we have the opportunity to be in each other's presence for longer periods of time, such as at work, in classes or with a platonic friendship, there is that chance that the relationship can transform into a romantic one. I've heard from a good friend that she's married many couples, both straight and same sex, who began with a friendship.

Trying to use the mind to override the heart's instant judgment is something most of my single women and men friends have yet to accomplish. With an abundance of possibilities online, we don't take the time to get to know someone from the inside out.

My wise father insists that as we age, everyone begins to look alike. Therefore, why not choose a mate based on their values, character, emotional intelligence and compatibility. In theory, who can deny his wisdom. While most of us want connections on all four levels: mental, emotional, spiritual and physical, it is that elusive chemistry that often causes a snap judgment.

I begin to wonder if my east coast energy is out of sync with those of us who inhabit the west coast. Forty years of living here has not smoothed my jagged edges, although my east coast friends see me as changed. They think I've become calm, centered and almost laidback. They notice that I smile a lot. I've become a hybrid. Will I still find the men on what a childhood friend refers to as the 'right coast' more attractive? I'm going to do some research.

As I make frequent trips to visit my dad, meet ups with online daters are arranged for my next visit east. I may not recognize my potential partner by sight, but I do know New York energy when I feel it. When I'm there, I'm happy to just walk for hours and feel its electricity until I am pulsing, magnetic and feeling totally alive.

Arriving, again, at my dad's, we engage in a lively discussion about the online dating world. He wonders aloud why people on different coasts would want to begin a relationship.

"Well, there are potential friendships and people to hang out with when you visit," I said hesitantly. "And..."

As I paused, he finished my thoughts with, "And who knows."

"Yes, and who knows."

"I do know what I'm going to put online," he says, chuckling. I wait, amused. In between small bursts of laughter, he tells me what he would write for his profile:

Svelte 90-year-old looking for long-term relationship.