Don't get out much, but last night I went to a dinner gathering of older single folk and had a good time in spite of the fact that large groups of strangers intimidate me. It is not just shyness; it's everything. It is exactly the opposite of my peaceful hermitic life here at the lake. For one thing it is noisy, and I find that the ambiant noise created by conversations coming in all around me in stereo makes it difficult to concentrate on the conversation in which I am engaged.
I went with someone I already knew which made it easier. He was comfortable with everyone there and introduced me as the hermit from way back and beyond. That was sufficient information to scare off most of the men, and the women were too busy entertaining men to be concerned with another women. Because of the unusual gender balance there were about 3 or 4 men for every woman.
I met a few different men but stuck pretty close to my buddy, and then, when the food arrived, we became a threesome. The man who joined us was a stand-up comic, better when just interacting in everyday conversation than when he actually gave a staged performance, partly because, in the conversation over dinner, he was dealing with his own strange life.
His main occupation these days was finding himself a mate through every means available to him. To this end he was meeting or dating 5 days a week. A full time job. I laughed out loud as he detailed the search.
He told us about the profile he had created. It was outstanding enough that I had seen it on the dating site and remembered it. He said, when I told him, that many people read it but not too many contacted him.
This meant that he was forced to become the instigator. (I had trouble deciding on the right noun. Somehow, any of the words that mean he became the seeker rather than the sought had strong connotations of stalking.) And this man seemed not to have a single grain of aggression in him. He was simply desperate to find love.
So on to the hunt.
First of all there was the winnowing process which he thought he had finally perfected. It was a numbers game, he said. He spent many hours researching the site and sending off smiles to every single possibility. He said at first he had agonized over whether this woman or that was THE woman for him. He stopped being so picky after sending off several carefully worded personal missives that were ignored completely. His strategy now rested on the premise that if they were breathing and female they were worth a flirt. .He sent out hundreds of these greetings.
Then came the actual correspondence with the 10% or so who seemed interested in learning more about him. In the first real communication he sent out his CV. He reasoned that by doing so, when they actually met, she would already know everything there is to know about him and they could concentrate on what made her interesting. I questioned the efficacy of this approach. Seems to me that I'd be wondering whether this was someone interested in me or just another cold call ... another business transaction. Certainly lacked the human touch.
Emails escalated to phone calls with some, but apparently safe dating practices make phone communication problematic. Women will not leave call back numbers. He said it creates an uneven playing field. I just wondered how he could manage to keep that many strange women straight in his head.. How does one remember their names let alone their interests or the number of children they have?
He discovered that some women are happier sitting in front of a computer screen than actually meeting in the real world. He quickly dismissed that type.
About half did agree to meet.
During those initial meetings he said there were three possible outcomes:
One party will be enchanted by the other and meet with utter disdain, disgust or boredom.
Both will be desperately waiting for the mandatory fifteen minutes to elapse.
Both will be so caught up in the experience that time will fly.
He didn't mention the fourth possibility: that one would wait outside the arranged meeting place, see him coming, and vanish.
Most of his experiences had been somewhat negative, but a few women had been downright cruel in their rejection.
Last week he met #91 and fell in love. No, I am not kidding. #91. I swear.
Well ... maybe not love yet ... but they had a first meeting that was the best possible kind. They found themselves so interested in each other that three hours sped by and they decided to have dinner the following evening.
#91 was the third or fourth such happy find. She was supposed to meet him at this restaurant last night but had begged off because of an incipient cold.
I do hope that he doesn't have to continue on this treadmill; that there is a happy ending. I hope that #91 works out and that they will get married and live happily ever after. If anyone deserves it, this man does.