Thursday, December 6, 2007

Status: SINGLE (deconstructing Match.com)

There is something about "the single mom" that either strikes fear or longing in the hearts of men. To some she may be "the hot, fun MILF" and to others she is merely "laden with baggage and unsightly stretch marks." But what does the term "single mom" strike in me? The notion of being older, having marriage and childbearing out of the way; the freedom and strength that come with being a consummate provider and nose-wiper. Those qualities can dangerously bleed over into the lives of men who may not wish to be spoon-fed or have their noses expertly wiped….and how do we balance those imperatives? It's our nature to nurture and to love sometimes with too much selflessness because that is, after all, what we do best.

I am waxing poetic on what it means to truly be a single mom, in all her unbridled glory. I choose to take the road that is about steel-willed determination; the path that allows us to fight the cyborgs while we do chin-ups on the pipes of our prison cells [that's a "Terminator 2" reference for those who asked me]. It's a force that propels us into the reserves of power and confidence that got us over all those obstacle course walls to begin with. Being on your own, with kids, is an exhilarating and exhausting place. Being "single by choice" is a step that women from prior generations would only have considered under the most extreme circumstances. Ultimately, we are all about our kids and should we choose to have a man in our life he might be the cherry pie on the side or may be a loving partner; but never should he broach the territory of becoming our ultimate source of joy.

Shifting focus from what single means, to what the alternative means says much about the woman in question's needs and desires. It's my wish that all single women would unite against looking for their validation and answers in that xy chromosome-holder. Currently, I am approaching my well-earned title not with trepidation but with a fierceness that refuses to back down or wallow in self-recriminations. "Why not embrace my singleness?" I thought. "Let's put it to the test and see where it takes me…"

And so, one part social experiment, one part required ego-stroking, I put myself up on the infamous Match.com. Dr. Phil endorsed, (and that ought to give one pause from the get-go) Match.com is the largest online dating site in the world. Apparently, more than 42 million singles globally have registered with Match.com since its launch in 1995. Not long ago, Match.com entered into a strategic partnership with Dr. Phil, who provides tips and advice to subscribers willing to pay a premium.

My first task was to write a profile description so subversive and snarky that I'd immediately weed out any prospect too stupid or humorless to be of even passing interest. I began by presenting myself as a falconer and asserted that for fun "I enjoy digging in my children's ears with a q-tip". I put up a rather fetching photo of myself (perhaps too fetching) and left the prey to enter my lair at their own risk.

Though my profile received over 1,800 perusals to date, only a few dozen guys were willing to venture a tentative email query:

I don't know if I'm really scared or terribly excited but the fact that you make snarky remarks - I am in.

Uh, that's right, send your prey's head into a spin and then devour at your leisure.

You write like the poster-child for natural amphetamines.

WOW! Funny and cute too!!!!!!

Great ad - most creative I've read - will you marry me?

DO you have any imaginary friends? Do things taste salty to you?

You may be crazier than me, I thought that was impossible!

-----------
Just who are these guys, I wondered, glancing over my burgeoning inbox. Many were divorced; some had children; some were successful or just struggling. Most liked to travel and do things that we ALL like to do, yet itemizing those activities can't help but sound completely banal. Entering this world was a bit like frequenting the largest, most generic bar you'd never want to visit. I'm all about the sparks between two people and the online format does not allow for such nuances. Another single mom said it so well: "I could never find a guy online! I have to be able to smell him first."

I heartily agree; though I dutifully answered every email with a kind, but clever turn of phrase, the chemistry was never there. Shopping for a mate on the internet goes against our primal need to read a person's physical cues. We are blind to the physical in this arena, yet fixated on mini digital replications of a prospect's visage. How many men in my life have I been smitten with not based upon their physicality, but on their chemical cocktail of personality, humor, and yes, their smell. You can mask it with cologne or Axe or Irish Spring soap, but I will smell beneath the layers to your essence, to the musky pheromone that speaks to an ancient part of my female viscera and will tell me whether or not I might want to pro-create with you.

Try doing that in an email.

In any case, I am not totally giving up this experiment and still do enjoy the occasional witty repartee that is part and parcel of the dating ritual. After all, if you follow the Cyrano model you could certainly fall in love with the poetry and literary prowess of a potential match. But even with a love for his words and turn of phrase you could get face to face and find he's just another guy in Gap chinos and a weak chin. All the brilliant emails in the world might not overcome the simple fact that attraction is an intricate alignment of qualities.

I prefer to get out and meet people in person; where I can smell them at close range.

And so, I leave you, dear reader, with the sound knowledge that online dating might be for the birds, but not the falconers. I'm happy doing my thing the old-fashioned way and am surprisingly in-demand all of a sudden.

Incidentally, I may have some inevitable baggage, but you won't find a single stretch mark on this bod.

Signing off for now, RaptorBabe....

4 comments:

laugh said...

Nice Terminator 2 reference....did you really have to call it out? That is THE quintessential Sarah Connor moment. ;)

Falcon, AWAY!!!!

mamaramaTV said...

Most chicks don't know anything about the T2 world.

Deb said...

This was the truest thing I've ever read about dating and attraction. This is exactly the way it works for me and why online can't cut it because it's devoid of the sensual and the visceral, which is all attraction is made of (it's certainly not about the intellectual).

mamaramaTV said...

Hey deb - I had no idea you had left a comment; sorry. I didn't get an alert.