Youth is wasted on the young

Posted: December 1, 2011 in Online Dating, Personal
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If you’ve been reading my personal emoting on this blog1 then you might recall that I’m recently divorced and back on the dating scene.  Actually, it’s the first time I’ve been on the” dating scene”.  I wonder why it is called a scene?  It’s not like it’s some kind of fairy tale Hollywood set for crying out loud.  It’s actually a bunch of dark and seedy bars smelling of spilled beer (and if said bars are in college towns, there is always that low note of vomit wafting about).  Or it’s clubs with pounding music, strobe lights and writhing, sweaty bodies wall to wall.  Or it might even be the staff break room at work where flirting within good taste is so narrowly defined and failed relationships end up feeling like you soiled your own bed.

I never liked those “scenes”, personally.  I was an attractive (yes, I’ll dare to say it), thin (sigh), somewhat nerdy yet athletic girl who cynically wondered why I never got asked out…I mean hardly ever asked.

Me, young in silly formal dress

Me, young in silly formal dress

And I, being raised in the traditional, southern conservative way, could not permit myself to ask someone out…heaven forfend anyone think I am too forward, assertive, and/or wanton!

If I did get asked out it was always by short, neatly groomed, conservative and sadly unattractive men.  At one point I assumed that I was only going to meet uptight men with metaphorical  rods shove up their back sides.  That thought put me in a depressive catatonic state that lasted two solid days and was only relieved by a good round of college drinking and observing other people’s debauchery (I rarely debauched in college, or any other stage of my life).  I entered quite a dry spell after that and it was all to the good.

At the time I couldn’t understand  their attraction to me, to be honest.  I’m not tall by any means, but a reasonable 5 ft 7 in.  To this day I find shorter men more attracted to me than taller men.  In my youth I thought it might be due to my shy nature since (and I am ONLY speculating here) that shorter men might lack in confidence and perhaps a shy woman was less intimidating.   I am no longer shy and since this strange one-sided attraction continues, I have finally concluded they just liked the idea of being able to stare at my not inconsiderable rack without having to make excuses for not looking me in the eye.

I never found any success with blind dates, which always ended with considerable consternation on my part as to what on earth my friends were thinking when they arranged this monstrously bad pairing in the first place.  Indeed these debacles led me to think that my friends must have mistaken me for someone else or that I had been strangely transported into a mirror world of opposites where my friends had no idea who I truly was.  Otherwise, I would have to conclude that my supposed friends didn’t understand who I was in THIS world…and then I wouldn’t have any bloody friends, would I?

If I had the luck of meeting someone who was taller than a garden gnome (with the added bonus of being less uptight than one as well) and to whom I actually felt a smidgen of attraction, it usually came through work (see what I said about soiling and such above)  and there was never any guarantee that they felt the same way.  In fact, it is worth noting here that is the leitmotif of my dating life–that attraction, chemistry, je ne sais quoi–has been that attraction was always one way–they wanted me and I did not want them to the same degree.   Indeed, sadly in all of my major relationships I have felt only a smidgen, just a scosche, of what they felt for me.   I accept that the blame falls squarely on my strong yet shapely shoulders.  I should never have continued in relationships where I knew that I did not and could not return with equal fervor.  You see, I was young and terrified of being alone, because that meant having to love myself.  Ick!  Wondrously, I’ve grown out of that nonsense and now fully embrace the weird dork that resides within.

On a couple of occasions I was privileged enough to experience a “wow” kind of “I can’t wait to get that man alone so I can pounce on him” kind of attraction.   When I say “couple” I literally mean two times and such was my luck, it was returned somewhat in kind only once.   That one time in which is was partially returned, it turned out that in most other areas besides chemistry we didn’t work all that well together.  So it became painfully obvious, as it is now probably painful for you to still be reading this drivel, that I was batting 02.

So to summarize here, in case I haven’t been dreadfully obvious, I was never really on the “scene”, I never attracted the kind of men that I am attracted to, and I made mistakes (luckily I am not alone in that arena, misery loving company).  On the plus side,  I have a much nicer rack for which I am immensely grateful to my children, but can never tell them thank you directly because that would just be creepy to say such a thing.  Seriously though, I am wiser (having recognized and owned up to my own cowardice in the past), more comfy in my own skin (accepting the inner me with love and all that pukey psychobabble stuff), finally know what I want (equal parts love and passion, given and returned in kind), andwon’t settle for less any more (I’m okay with growing old and dying alone…bleakness not intended here).

While I didn’t have the things I just mentioned in my youth that make dating more purposeful and ultimately satisfying, there are things that I had in youth that I really could use now (as in pronto).  For instance, I am no longer a lean, mean fighting machine who runs 4 miles every day and has killer abs.  Child birth, particularly emergency C-sections, have a way of obliterating abs and make attaining them again extremely difficult.

Another loss…my hair.  It does not have that lustrous shine that it once did…light brown in winter and perky dark blond in summer has become dishwater blond sprinkled with gray.  I cheat though and masquerade as a red-head–something I am complimented on all the time so I can’t complain too much on this issue.  Thank goodness for those potentially cancer causing chemicals in little boxes that come in all shades of the rainbow via my local pharmacy!

In my youth I had tons of free time.  School was always easy for me and I had far too much time to brood over my lack of dates and self-esteem. I must not have been as smart as I thought or I would have figured out that one certainly had to do with the other.  Now I have very little free time because of two rug rats (I jest here, I actually adore my kids), working full-time, and needing a lot more sleep.  Given the choice of a nice date and a few extra hours of sleep…I’d choose sleep—the age-old want versus need tension that really isn’t that much of a conundrum because your body will force you to take care of the need at the most inopportune times such as in the middle of a tedious meeting, at a long stop light, etc.

I have less energy now too.  That goes along with the lean, mean part.  After working 8 hours, commuting for an hour and a half, chasing my toddler around, answering a string of 10,000 why questions from my 8-year-old, haranguing her to do her homework, cooking dinner for them, feeding the cats, washing the dishes, folding the laundry, etc…..I don’t exactly feel like a sexy hot mamma and I no longer have the energy to even pretend like I am.

All that has made me very trepidatious in my dating pursuits as of late.  Because I limited the pool of eligible bachelors so much in the past, I decided that I simply had to expand my range by joining a couple of online dating sites. So far, it has expanded my choices certainly but it has also increased the odds of being rejected and even ignored.   Strangely I prefer being rejected rather than ignored, the former being polite and honest and the latter seeming so dismissive as to be downright rude3 (see my mini diatribe on this point in the notes below–I love a good diatribe don’t you?).

One of the things that is similar in real world dating to online dating is the importance of appearance. Good photos are crucial and being attractive really, really helps. Just once I would like to see two deliriously happy butt ugly people who were matched by eHarmony on one of their ads (I am being sincere now). Ugly people need and deserve love too. How they find it in the real world must be difficult but online it must be absolutely impossible what with all the glance at a pic and then ignore that goes on! (Now I am being a smart ass, again see diatribe at bottom in #3).

In any case, the point I am trying to make (it has been a long and winding road, hasn’t it) is that having the same appearance I had in my youth would garner me more responses but the quality of the men I now attract and my responses to them are much better. That’s why, for me, youth is wasted on the shy, nerdy and awkward young.

Notes:

1. Recognizing that probably amounts to approximately 3.5 people (and those that make up the fractions KNOW who you are)

2. For readers across the pond, I don’t know if cricket has the concept of batting 0 or not….but baseball and cricket are similar, right? If you don’t have a clue, best advice is to google it.

3. In my profile I have a little blurb that says, ‘if I contact you indicating interest please do me the courtesy of sending a “no thanks” if you’re not interested’. The only reason I included it was so that I could remove someone from my searches so I wouldn’t bug them again future. Instead it prompted one fellow to attempt to school me on online dating etiquette. Evidently it is far too “aggressive” for someone to ask for a “yes or no” answer. Which begs the question, what’s the point of reading profiles and indicating interest if you don’t get an answer one way or the other?! I mean, I’m not on here to get maybes….or you’re okay and I won’t reject you now because I might want to accept later if no one better comes along. I don’t KNOW what a non-answer means for Christ’s sake!!!! It could be a million different things. I’ve read experts that say it probably means rejection and it “feels cleaner” to the person who receives the interest. However, I feel badly if I don’t respond to anyone who is kind enough to express interest in me. Ultimately not responding is cowardly IMHO and all the experts can go get stuffed. This is one instance where the Internet has made us ruder and less caring.

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Comments
  1. alopecia says:

    Forgive the cliché, but hang in there. I haven’t cracked the code, either, so I have even less to say that’s helpful or interesting than usual (I know, hard to imagine, but true). Instead, I’ll just comment on a couple of peripheral things, starting with the photo:

    KAYLEE: (pointing to a frilly dress) Say, look at the fluffy one!
    ZOE: Too much foofaraw. If I’m going to wear a dress, I’d want something with some slink.
    WASH: You want a slinky dress? I can buy you a slinky dress. Captain, can I have money for a slinky dress?
    JAYNE: I’ll chip in.
    ZOE: (to Jayne) I can hurt you.
    Firefly, “Shindig”
    written by Jane Espenson

    Your son is definitely a rug rat, but at eight years old, I’d say your daughter has outgrown that status. House ape seems much more age-appropriate. :^)

    Finally, on your notes:
    1. There’s a (possibly very) dirty joke to be made about your having 3½ readers, but I’m not going to make it. You’re welcome.
    2. The closest cricket expression I can think of is “out for a duck,” but it’s not really the same concept. Baseball and cricket are similar in that they’re both played with a ball and a piece of wood, but beyond that, not so much. Which pretty much exhausts my knowledge of cricket.
    3. Not responding—not instantly, but in a reasonably timely fashion— to a contact seems rude to me, too. And yes, diatribes can be wonderful things.

    • drangedinaz says:

      Alo, that quote (“I can hurt you”) is one of my very favorites from Firefly! When I grow up I want to be Zoe. Or possibly Aeryn Sun from Farscape…..both of them knew how to wear leather without looking tacky AND kick ass without breaking a sweat…..but I digress.

      1) I love dirty jokes so long as I don’t get in trouble for them 😉
      2) Finally! Something we both don’t know
      3) I saw a video on Youtube of a very young and attractive woman who regularly gives online dating advice to people. She actually said that it is okay not to respond because people get too many requests and it takes too much time to respond to them all. I thought to myself….well if I looked like you and was 20 years younger, yeah I might be inundated….right now, not so much.

      • alopecia says:

        Zoe and Aeryn Sun were badass characters. Smart, funny, tough as nails, looked good in tight leather … um …

        I’ll be in my bunk.

  2. drangedinaz says:

    LOL….speaking of dirty jokes…..

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