Friday, February 8, 2019

Epic Fail: Online Dating from My Dark-Humored Perspective #OurAuthorGang

Joe Bonadonna
 All Images courtesy of Google Images

I was the kid who accepted every challenge, every dare, no matter how stupid, reckless and dangerous it was. I have the scars to prove it, the broken bones and the lingering disabilities of those actions. To say I cheated death more times than I can count would be an huge understatement. All rites of passage and growing up in the inner city.

So a while back, when I was at the loneliest and lowest point in my life than I’d been in decades, a friend suggested and then dared me to try online dating. A cousin of mine is the only person I know to have found a good match out of the many people I know who’ve fallen under the dark spell of online dating and never connected with anyone. It was a fellow writer who dared me: “What a great article it would make, to chronicle your experiences.”

What the heck, I thought. Why not spend the money and join some sites? Might make for a couple of great blogs, if nothing else.

The following may come off as harsh criticism of the whole money-making, depressing, humiliating racket called online dating. And in a way, it is. I have a dark view of the world and the human race that would make Dick Cheney run home crying to his mommy. And I’m sure some of that has come out in my profile essay and in my messages and replies to the few messages I’ve received. Whatever. Online dating is not for me. Depressing. Discouraging. Frustrating. Disappointing. Even humiliating, at times. 

Nope. Not for introverts like me. 
Now, I’ve “interviewed” some of my friends — both men and women — as well as the three women I talked to on the phone, and two I actually met in person. They all had pretty much the same thing to say and their experiences were very much the same as mine. Conclusion: online dating isn’t for us.

Yes, both sexes were approached with the old money scam involving sending gift cards to potential, out-of-town and out-of-state mates so they could visit — only to never show up. One guy even told me that he sent gift cards as well as personal checks to women, not once, not twice, but on numerous occasions. Lucky for him he can afford to throw away good, hard-earned cash.

These are not just my experiences alone, but those of the men and women I spoke with, as well. We’re all subject to the same thing. There is no gender discrimination here: both men and women are perpetrators as well as victims. First, you pay either a lump sum or monthly installments to join a dating site, and it ain’t cheap. Then, to enjoy other features like purchasing tokens for a match-phone number you can use instead of your own, private chat rooms, member spotlights, and events, to name a few you pay extra. Online dating is a business, and a thriving one, at that. I, personally, think it’s the greatest legal con game since Mafia racketeers sold insurance to small businesses, which in Chicago we call “extortion.”

Of all the women I found attractive and with mutual interests and goals, very few responded. I can only think that it’s me, not them. Hey — I don’t golf, play tennis, own a boat, a horse, scuba gear or have the money to travel all over the world. I’m not into sports anymore (although I loved and played baseball, football and hockey when I was a kid . . . until I picked up my first guitar.) Plus, I have a back, hip and knee disability — from old injuries — that prevent me from running, jumping and playing sports with the other kids on the block. I can’t water ski, cross-country or downhill ski, climb a mountain, run marathons or do any of the physically active hobbies I used to do. To make matters worse, I don't like to dance, unless it's a slow dance. I do my stretching and therapeutic exercises at home; I don't belong to a gym or the NRA, either. Music and writing are and were the only two things I was ever even nominally good at.

I am 67, not 27, and just not able to do all these high adventure things most women I’ve “encountered” want to do. But that’s how the dice fall: the women whose profiles attracted me want to do all those things, and bless their little hearts that they're in good enough shape to do that. But far too many have unrealistic expectations, I feel. They want it all. They want the world and they want it now. I’m a “been there, done that” sort of guy. I spent about 35 or 40 years living on the edge, having adventures, going places and doing all sorts of things. So what did all these women (and men) do in their 20s, 30s, 40, and 50s? Were they all in prison — either behind bars or trapped in loveless marriages? This may all sound like I’m bitter and angry, but I’m not. (Then again, maybe I am.)  This is just my observation: you can take it or leave it. Your choice. But I did what my Dad always told me to do: go out and live and do things while you’re young, in good shape and in good health. So I did and I never had time to marry and raise a family, which was the normal thing to do after high school or college, back in the Stone Age of my tender years. Instead, I got involved in sex, drugs and rock & roll. Ah, good, good times. 

I learned long ago that not all your hopes and dreams come true, that you can’t have it all, no matter how hard you try, and unrealistic expectations lead to false hope, which leads to disappointment and frustration, if not depression. Again, this is just my cynical and pessimistic point of view, based on 67 years of living. I can tell you this, though: boy oh boy — do I have a wealth of stories and adventures to tell, good and bad memories. And when you spend 20-plus years playing in rock and roll bands let me tell you . . . you don’t have to be a famous rock star to trash motel rooms, drive cars into swimming pools, and have every would-be groupie throwing drugs and themselves at you.

Some Tips for the Male and Female of the Species:

Let me give all you potential online daters some advice: Use a recent photo for a profile picture, even one that’s a year old — don’t use your high school photos and don’t use one taken 20 years ago. Don’t pose in a Halloween costume, and don’t pose with another man or woman, no matter who they are . . . crop the frigging photo! Don’t wear a big hat, sunglasses or some object that hides half your face or casts it in shadow. Don't wear your prison garb, straitjacket or space suit. Don’t wear a ski mask, don’t use plants or pets or martini glasses as your profile pic; make sure you have at least 5 other photos in your profile — and add the date they were taken so you don’t misrepresent yourself. Don’t use a photo of you in a room full of other people, don’t post a photo of you with your late wife or husband, don’t post the photo sideways, don’t use your driver’s license photo or police mug shot, don’t pose in a hospital bed hooked up to IV and other equipment, don’t pose all bundled up in winter clothes so you look like the Michelin man, and don’t use selfies, for cripes’ sake! Don’t use long-distance photos, or blurry, fuzzy and darkly-lit photos. Don’t use a celebrity’s photo; one woman used a photo of Lucille Ball? (“Ricky! I’m doing the online dating thing!”  “Lucy, when I get home you got some ‘splaining to do!”) Do not dress like an old widow or a guy who just stepped out of the soup-line during the Depression. 

And for heaven’s sake . . . comb your hair and smile!

Do NOT use the dating sites' stockpile of greetings. Get advice from their Help line. Above all, do not, I repeat, DO NOT copy and paste from someone else’s profile essay: I’ve seen the same essay used by at least 3 people. And if you see that, chances are, they’re scammers: fake profiles used to sucker lonely men and women into some new kind of shell game. Be totally honest about your age and yourself. Don’t misrepresent yourself.  If you have a disability or are in any way handicapped — be up-front and honest about that. The good, honest ones will stay; the players will run.


99% of my flirts and like and messages have come from women who are in distant cities and even from out of state. They all say the same thing: where love is concerned, distance does not matter. They’re all willing to relocate. “Relocate first and then we’ll talk,” I told one woman. As for age, well . . . I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that old adage, “Age doesn’t matter. It’s just a number.” Bull hockey! 
All my experiences with women  younger than me, whether online or in the “real world,” have come to the same end: they all gave me breadcrumbs and then ghosted me, left me for someone their own age and, in some cases, even younger.
I guess I just have rotten luck. Maybe it's my attitude. Maybe it's bad karma. Maybe I'm just a shallow human being. Maybe my standards are too high. But then, everyone playing the online dating game has high standards, from what I’ve seen. Or maybe there’s something fundamentally wrong with me that I don’t see, but it's something others see in me. Maybe my profile essay sucks. Maybe I’m not attractive enough. Maybe I'm not interesting enough. Maybe I have the eyes of a serial killer. Who the freak knows? All I can tell you is: the whole online dating crap shoot has left me feeling old and boring. Maybe I am. But you know what? I really don't give a rat's arse. To quote a famous character character, "I am what I am and that's all that I am."

One thing I can tell you, I see the same women on these sites who have been online since at least November 2018, and maybe even before then. I wonder what kind of luck they're having. Some of them I can't believe: their profile pictures all look like they're super models. There are SO many beautiful, supposedly wealthy and successful women living in the heart of downtown Chicago, where it costs big $$$$ to live. I know why I have problems finding a "date for the prom," so to speak, but what are the problems these women have? And because of their college degrees, financial success and whatever else, they certainly aren't interested in me. I would think they'd have more opportunities to meet someone than I do. I've also heard the same about handsome, physically fit, active and financially successful men, too. Why are people like that using online dating? I don't get it. Surely they get out and about town, the country and maybe even the world far more than I do? 

I don't think the dating "computers" are working properly because they don't pay attention to my age and religious preferences, nor the fact that I am not interested in women from other states: no long-distance romances for me! But I still get matched up with women beyond my age, far younger than me, and from cultures I never even heard of!  I think the whole thing is a very flawed system.

Anyway, this old fart better cut this short before he bores you all to death. So this has been an Epic Fail of an experiment and experience for me. As I said, online dating is not for me. But don’t let me discourage you. Dig out your credit card and sign up now. Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate, for he who hesitates is lost. Try it for yourself. Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did. 

As for me, well . . . I wanted to end with a joke but couldn't think of one. I guess this whole online dating thing is joke enough. I will say this, however: a lot of people have their "deal breakers." For me . . . if you prefer Elvis over The Beatles, or like rap, hip-hop and disco - those are my deal breakers.

Thank you!

If you enjoyed this crazy blog but haven’t read The Perils of Online Dating, you can read that HERE

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