by Julie Mendoza
It is NOT a “match made in heaven”…not by any way, shape or form.
I was divorced after 35 years of marriage, which pretty much is more than half of my life.
I picked up after selling my home in New Mexico and moved to California. If you need to start over, why not start completely over and go to the end of the country? I was the American cliché, left for the younger woman.
In actuality, he’d left several years before that.
Emotionally, mentally and probably even physically. But I digress.
So, after driving umpteen miles by myself across deserted deserts and monumental mountains, I settled in to my new place and one night, probably after I’d had too many martinis and used too many tissues crying because I missed fighting over the remote, I found myself on one of those internet dating services, writing a profile. There was a “guarantee” involved with the service. I had to fulfill their requirements of a certain number of emails, a certain number of contacts, etc.
Since I was on a fixed income with alimony and was just settling in to my new surroundings without a job prospect, I thought “Hey. I can get my money back.”
Now, I consider myself to be a writer (with apologies to F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and all the other 20th century writers whom I have loved over the years) but this was a tough challenge.
How do I sound “cute” and “funny” and “independent” and “without baggage” and not “bitter” and get someone to be interested in me?
Firstly, I went blonde. After 58 years as a dark brunette, I did it. Every single person I know who has had success on this particular internet matching service is blonde. With the exception of one couple, who were divorced within months, probably because neither of them was blonde?
I was on the site for about six weeks and this is what I’d had in the way of “connections…”
A gay woman who stated that her subscription was expiring and probably contacted every single person within her age group, with no regard to their sexual preference or locale.
Someone from England.
Someone from Minnesota.
Someone from Brooklyn, NY.
Someone from Japan.
An 80 year old retired doctor who lives in Florida.
A 75 year old man who claims he “does not look his age”…well, if he doesn’t look his age, he’s used someone else’s, someone MUCH older’s photo in his profile.
Someone from the Czech Republic.
Someone who took pride in the fact that they are Aboriginal in origin.
(My profile reads “within 50 miles” of where I live in California.)
A man I swear I saw in one of those grainy surveillance films of a crime that they showed on News4NY shortly before I left the east coast.
Two men who were a year older and a year younger than my oldest child.
Someone who felt compelled to use my name as every other word in the one email I got.
“Hey, Julie, how are you, Julie, how is it going, Julie?”
(Although they are convenient to reach when typing, were his fingers only able to hit the J-U-L-I-E keys?)
However, not one to be daunted by geographic and chronological stumbling blocks, I carefully scrutinized the profiles sent to me and when one appealed to me, I sent, what I thought, was a very sane, non-desperate, “Hey, how are you? I’m new to this…” kind of email. I tried to be funny, intelligent, non-desperate and even used spell check.
My responses to my outreach?
This is how it has gone.
(I like the idea about the double-blind email address, but am I invisible?)
“Hey! You look like a nice person but I’m sure not your match!”
“I prefer someone shorter.” (I’m 5’3” tall.)
“Hey! Thanks for the email but I prefer brunettes.”
“Hey! Thanks for the email but I don’t think we’re compatible.” (This particular reply from someone who made it very plain in his profile that he had just re-upped after being rejected who knows how many times. Hello? Are you waiting for Sharon Stone? She’s as old as I am, buddy! And I don’t think she’s really a natural blonde…did you not see Basic Instinct?)
Then there are the photos….
I don’t take great pictures. I’m behind the camera most of the time for a reason. I found the best I could, cropped out any family members in them and put a couple of them up there. The camera adds ten pounds? In my case it’s 20 and an extra chin or two for good measure. I weigh what I should weigh for my age and height…I am actually back to the size I wore, as a very cute hippie in college…but not according to Kodak.
A potential suitor decided to send me a picture of himself standing in front of his fireplace, over which hung the stuffed, glassy-eyed head of what I would estimate was a 12 point buck. This same person, used as his second photo, no doubt to REALLY entice me to correspond with him, a picture of himself, with yet another poor dead deer, strapped to the front of his car, blood oozing out of its mouth.
Do I look like a Bambi hater?
My favorites so far have been the ones who, in their profiles, make sure to mention that they want only current photos of potential matches.
Am I supposed to get a Polaroid shot of myself every few days to appease a possible date?
I haven’t given up yet, although I have to admit that the elderly “bag boy” at the Ralph’s is starting to look like he’s a partier.
I’m too old to go to bars. I guess I’m destined to be alone unless there’s someone on one of these sites who doesn’t mind that I’m 5’3”, newly blonde, don’t have any decent pictures of myself and am just a nice person who’d like to have some companionship in her middle age.
However, if you think I might be your next perfect partner, you can respond to Iamabouttogiveup@imstillsingle.org
About the Author:
“Julie Mendoza” is the pen name for an Orange County mother and grandmother who is also working on a book, Sleeping in the Middle of the Bed, a humorous look at getting divorced in middle age.