Match.com isn’t a bad site. Members find themselves needing to take breaks from the insanity, but once you get used to it and insert a few breaks, it serves its purpose (entertainment, a diversion, whatever, a topic for a later post). POF isn’t bad either. It gets a bad rap because its free, and a lot of blue collar, uneducated people are members. I haven’t found that to be the case with POF. It is a fair assessment, however, of another site called Zoosk.
None of this is a problem for me on Zoosk. What is a problem is the second difference – the members. My first day on the site, I met someone from my home town, and went out on a date the next day. It was OK. We didn’t go out again, but I wasn’t really interested anyway, and so I just kind of let it die on the grapevine.
My first date on Zoosk must have been beginner’s luck because, OMG, it has been absolutely brutal since. Ninety percent of the woman who have expressed interest in me look like they could be my grandmother and the other ten percent look like they once swam for the East Germans in the Olympics during the Cold War. None of them has more than a high school education. I’ve had online conversations with a couple members, and they have just been awful, with one exception.
Rita. I call her this because she looks just like Rita Wilson.
Like Tom Hanks’ wife, Rita was a cutie. Although she, too, only had a high school education, she had risen above her educational limitations. She ran a department of about 200 people, and was a speaker who gave talks at conferences all over the world. She was also 12 years younger than me.
Nearing 50, I’ve never let age difference, going either direction, get in the way of dating, assuming there are other things connecting the two of us. After dating for 9 months, I’ve learned that the age difference can make a difference, especially if a 38-44 year-old woman is trying to relive her 20s and party it up. This wasn’t the case for Rita, thankfully, which I learned rather quickly after I sent her an email.
We eventually met, had a beer over pizza at lunch, and then spent the afternoon going for a long walk. During the course of our multi-venue date, I learned quite a bit about Rita. Both her children had anxiety issues. Rita was wound a little tight herself. So I made a mental note. By the end of the date, a clearer picture had emerged. Rita had overcome her educational limitations by an overwhelming amount of drive, willpower, and self-control.
Although we had exchanged more than 100 messages, she never gave me her last name, told me where she worked, or gave me her phone number. This isn't unusual for a woman due to safety concerns. But the women who withhold this kind of information are usually a bit stiffer than average. That's OK. Stiffness can melt. But definitely something to keep an eye on.
The date ended rather well, and she decided to give me her phone number. So I texted her immediately, saying I enjoyed our date, and hoped we could do it again, perhaps as soon as the following Friday.
I later discovered that Rita was looking to have a willpower battle, and the problem for her was she picked the wrong person to test. I always reach out after a date, and thank the other person, telling them what a nice time I had, even if I didn’t. It’s up to the other person to return the courtesy, and then we’ll see if the conversation continues. Since I’m usually the one buying lunch or dinner, common deceny would suggest that my date at least owes me a thank you. But not in Rita’s case.
Two weeks passed, then three.
At the one-month marker I get an email from Rita on Zoosk. She’s all pissy that I didn’t follow up more vigorously. Come to find out, she likes her men with a healthy dose of alpha, and expects those alpha males to be the pursuers. Well, darlin’, that’s not always gonna be the case, especially when you are dating someone who is much more educated than you and more professionally accomplished. Yes, Rita was attractive, and she held her own conversationally. But being attractive and witty doesn’t mean I’m gonna fall down at your feet and start panting like a dog. She has to understand that alpha males are likely to have enjoyed some success in their dating lives as well, and unless you are an alpha male looking to jump in the sack with everyone you meet, you will expect the female to reciprocate any interest you’ve shown, whether it’s by message or otherwise.
I don't think I'm an alpha male, but when it comes to willpower, I have a lot. And if you don't respond to my email, text, or other form of communication, it's over. I'm done. Ditto when you fail to thank me for paying for your meal.
My Ex quit on the marriage without even trying marital counseling. I'm not getting into another situation where my partner either plays games or lacks the fortitude to communicate. I've talked to therapists, and every one says you have to be careful not to repeat the past by enabling your partner to act abusively.
I didn’t even bother to respond to Rita’s pissy message.
She had spent a decent part of the date “selling” our potential relationship to me. Twelve-years wasn’t a big age difference, she said. Look how I climbed the corporate ladder just like you, she bragged. I love to run like you, and u2 and Coldplay are my favorite bands. Oh well, honey. You want a second date? Then don’t play games, and if you do play games, don’t play games of will power with this hombre.
Cuz you ain’t gonna win.