The Online Dating Game

It’s been three and a half years since my ex and I split. The funny thing about that?

zombie, hallowe'en, costume
Me not at my best

When it happened, she was convinced I’d meet someone right away, fall in love, and move on with my life. One of those three has come to pass: I’ve moved on. No luck with the other two so far. And the funny bit? My ex just celebrated her second anniversary with her boyfriend. I’m happy for her: he’s a great guy and she deserves to be happy after putting up with me for so long. Let’s just say she didn’t always get me at my best and leave that for another post.

PoF_Logos_Combined_500X320In the time that’s passed, I’ve certainly been looking. Over the past 3+ years, I’ve been on Plenty of Fish, Match, Tinder, Bumble, Zoosk, Ashley Madison, OK Cupid, and Badoo. (For anyone who’s interested: there is not a single actual real woman on Ashley Madison, just a bunch of desperate man getting duped into buying tokens to send messages.)

Wow…that’s quite a list. Add Christian Mingle and Grindr in there and I start looking a little desperate, don’t I? But you know what would be worse? Trying create a list of all the people with whom I’ve been on dates. Want a bigger list? Let’s talk about the number of times I’ve been ghosted…that will be another post, I promise.

Remember that first paragraph, where I mentioned my ex and her two-years-in relationship? Do you know how they met? The old-fashioned way…at a bar. Is that even still a thing?

matchlogoThe world has changed…or I’ve gotten older…or some unlikely combination of the two. Life seems so much busier now than when I was last single, about 20 years ago. Full-time-and-then-some job, kids, writing…the opportunities to meet someone are few and far between. And let’s face it, I spend a lot less time hanging out at bars now than I did in my twenties. There are a few reasons for that but okcupid-logotop of the list has to be the fact that most of the women I’d bump into there are the right age to date my son. I’m not great at math, but I believe that would make me old enough to be their father…mid-life crisis is another series of posts.

Do you know how my 24-year-old son meets people? Online…pretty much exclusively. Gen Xers like me, we’re busy, but millennials like him? Lazy. Or perhaps used to leveraging technology to accomplish just about everything…take your pick.

bumble_logoThe question is this: other than online dating, how does one go about meeting people in the times we have created? For me, I work in a predominantly male workplace, and wouldn’t consider trying to date a woman I work with, anyway. Been there, done that. If you need that recipe for disaster, send me a DM and I’ll be happy to share the ingredients. The other women I’m typically exposed to (no, I did not say the ones I expose myself to) are customers, and the prospect of asking out a customer I’ve dealt with feels waaayyyyy to sleazy.

The last non-internet related option is what I’ll refer to as public places: bars, grocery Ashley-Madison-Logostores, gas stations, malls, coffee shops, the gym, etc., etc. In my previous life, these all would have seemed like valid options, especially if alcohol was involved (not a great idea at the gas station or gym). But men have been idiots for far too long, so I will always choose another night of remaining single over causing discomfort in a woman I don’t know. Basically, in the real world, if a woman doesn’t approach me, then we are likely not going to meet. And why don’t women approach me? I mean, I’m no Brad Pitt, but I’m okay on the eyes, in pretty good shape, smart, and interesting (don’t believe me? Ask me mom or my daughter). No, the reason they don’t is the same reason I’m not comfortable approaching them: too many men are assholes. Face to face social interaction has become far too suspect and dangerous to risk.

sea ocean fish barracuda
Photo by Peter Simmons on

So we migrate like schools of fish (see what I did there?) to online dating. At least there we can be sure that everyone is single (or so they say), that they are real people (sometimes), and that they are after the same thing we are after (maybe…maybe not). Sites like POF and OK Cupid make our lives easier (read: eat up too much of our time), introduce us to nice people (amongst the creeps and douche canoes), and guarantee that each and every one of us will eventually find love (or at least a migraine caused by frustration and squinting at our phone looking at tiny pictures of people wearing sunglasses).

Online dating, it’s safe and easy…as long as you don’t leave your computer to actually meet anyone. And that’s where the wonderful world of online dating has changed…stay tuned for my next post in the adventures in dating series: Men Are From Bars, Women Don’t Want To See Your Penis.

14 thoughts on “The Online Dating Game

  1. It’s a jungle out there, my friend. I can’t even bring myself to try online dating. You brave soul, you. Like old age, a date is gonna have to run me down and tackle me to the ground to deal with it. Too picky, I guess. But my requirements are simple. Just too much to muddle through to find compatible companionship these days. C’est la Vie! – Best wishes and Happy Holidays. :o)

    1. Thanks as always for reading, Tracy.
      It is a weird world to be single and looking in, that’s for sure. Keep reading…there’s many more interesting things ahead.

  2. Fascinating to hear the perspective shift from dating now to 20 years ago!

    How about finding people or a network within your hobbies? I bet you’ll at least filter the weirdos, and plus they have the same interests!

    1. Hey Asad, thanks for dropping by.
      Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Part of the trouble is, it gets more difficult to pick out the fellow singles as you get older. In any face-to-face social situation, I tend to wait for the woman to make reference either to a partner or going on dates before I risk looking like a creep. Patience is definitely a virtue.

  3. Bruce my friend, one thing I can say, you’re not a quitter!
    I gave up on dating altogether ( online or otherwise) since april 2017. Since then, I have been happily working on convincing myself that I am way better off on my own ( except for the occasional weak moment when I witness a sentimental scene in a Netflix movie), but then, I pour myself another glass of wine and all is good with the world again lol
    I do think about my old age and being alone, but by then, who’s to say I won’t simply enjoy a platonic companionship? All hope is not lost. Being sapiosexual, I might as well accept the fact that it will be me, my cat, great books and a nice Shiraz for the next few decades…. At least until i I move back to the island lol
    I’ll keep following your story my friend, and keep my fingers crossed for you. Hang in there!

    1. Hi Doms,
      Thanks for reading. Getting to a state of acceptance is definitely another goal. Easier on us as people, but also likely a better place to attract what we’re truly looking for. As for you, it’s been my experience that some of you sapiosexuals have a lot of passion for more than just brains. 😉

  4. Bruce, I know the pain of which you write. Fortunately I found the way forward. It is very similar to your situation. I can offer 2 solutions; one quick, the other indeterminate.

    First, you’re using free dating channels. Stop that. Bin them all. They are the domain of serial daters, free-loaders, female players (yes, they exist), catfish, scammers and other denizens of dating. They will drain your confidence, wallet and faith in women. Move onto paid-for sites and be discriminate because geography plays a role. If you live in the Styx then nothing will work. Only do this once you have the next step sorted.

    Second – and the most important – is have it clear in your head what you want. If you want to have some fun with NSA then stick with Tinder et al. However, if you want a serious long-term relationship, then are you in a fit state to be part of that? Your dating channel has to be aligned with your objective. Women on paid-for sites are in a different league generally. By paying they’re taking this seriously.

    Are you in the habit Googling your date? Do you use image search to see where else they appear?

    Online dating does work, but only if you do it right. I’m proof of it.

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