The Holy Bee is not made of stone. There are times when my solitary lifestyle is…well, kind of sad. Not often, mind you. Don’t shed any tears for me. For the most part, I have zero problem with an existence of doing whatever I want whenever I want to do it, but how many Deadliest Catch marathons and trips to Brownie’s Lounge will make a life complete? Sometimes, the need for companionship of the feminine variety rears its ugly head. Easy enough to solve, right? Hell, I’ve even managed it in the past a few times myself. But these days, I have a special set of issues that prevents the solution from being cut-and-dried:
Issue #1: I’m not really sure, deep-down, that I want companionship after all. I’m a loner by nature, so any move in this direction is hesitant and half-assed.
Issue #2: I’m waaaaay pickier than anyone who looks/acts like me has any right to be.
Issue #3: I don’t go out, and where would I go if I did? (A “nightclub”? Hahahahaha. Can you imagine me at a “nightclub”?) Brownie’s Lounge doesn’t count. You can see the STD microbes jumping off the women at Brownie’s Lounge. And I’m not yet reduced to flirting with women in the checkout line at WinCo.
Issue #4: Can’t flirt anyway. Got no game. Had it once. Lost it long ago. The idea of walking up to a stranger and striking up a conversation is as ludicrous an image as me in an Ed Hardy shirt at a “nightclub.”
Even my next door neighbor, a shuffling, tubercular sixtysomething with a porkpie hat and a permanent scowl seems to have a girlfriend, although she has twice made nocturnal visits to dump boxes of his shit on the lawn, so the relationship seemes somewhat volatile at best. But if he can do it, why not me? (Actually, he can do it because he doesn’t seem to have my Issue #2. I’ve caught glimpses of the gargoyle he “dates”, and it’s no coincidence she only moves around by dark of night.)
So that leaves us with the wonderful world of the Internet. The fine folks who brought us Anna Nicole Smith autopsy photos, “Leave Britney alone!”, and “2 Girls, 1 Cup.” Sure, you can pay good money and sign up for the nationally-advertised E-harmony.com and Match.com. But “paying” for “romantic companionship”? It’s a slippery slope, brothers and sisters, and I refuse to do it. It’s one of the few principles I have left. So the free site, OKCupid, is the only viable option.
I’ve long since gotten over any embarassment over having a profile there, but it was a rough start. I was in a depressed, drunken stupor when I signed up on the day after Thanksgiving 2007, and I immediately went into a cringing shame spiral. But I shook it off, hung tough, and explored the opportunities. I don’t expect miracles, and I’ve sometimes gone months between log-ins, but the hook is in the water, right?
Let’s talk age. One of the first things OKCupid asks you is what age range you’re interested in. I initially cast a pretty wide net (21-38), then two things (very) quickly occurred to me:
1. Any self-respecting woman in her early-to-mid twenties with all of their faculties would rather gnaw off one of their own limbs than date a fossilized fud like myself, unless he were fabulously wealthy (or at least the owner of a ski-boat.) I have to remember I’m 35, and a haggard 35 at that.
2. #1 doesn’t matter, because I would end up chewing off one of my limbs if I had to spend too much time with one of those hyperactive chatterboxes too young to remember Johnny Carson, Cheers, or the World Series earthquake.
So I reined in the age range a little. 29-38 seemed appropriate. This makes the dating pool extremely shallow, because most women my age are still trying to make their first marriage work (spoiler alert: it probably won’t).
After over two years of dipping in and out of OKCupid, it has gradually dawned on me that most (not all, you nitpickers) women, 29-38, who have profiles on that site fall into four broad categories (no pun intended):
#1. The Whirlwind
“Grab your passport, let’s travel!! Where? Any-fucking-where! It doesn’t matter, as I’m kind of an empty shell, and constant motion is preferable to sitting still and listening to the roaring void that is my personality!” Snowboarding in the winter, wakeboarding in the summer, the Whirlwind has no patience for soft, sedentary reflection, it’s go-go-go. She will run you into an early grave if you try to keep up with her, which is fine ’cause your premature death gives her more time for rock-climbing and trips to Ireland.
#2. The Girly-Girl
She matches all the stereotypes. These are the girls that the “oppressed males” in beer commercials are always trying to escape from, and with good reason. They like wine-tasting, celebrity gossip (Jon & Kate count as celebrities to them), chocolate, Oprah, Lucky magazine, and relationship discussions. Especially noteable for their absolutely appalling taste in all forms of popular culture, their DVD shelves are groaning with titles like Dirty Dancing and The Notebook, and their iPod playlists are chock full of Jack Johnson, Keith Urban, and Colbie Caillat. They may be smart, but they never display an iota of intellectual curiosity. (Warning: She will eventually turn into The Castrating Shrew, but that’s a different set of categories.)
[SIDE NOTE: I thought the “Girly-Girl” was a Madison Avenue cliche, a creature existing solely as an antagonist in the above-mentioned commercials, but they’re clearly out there. I suppose their opposite number is the “Manly-Man,” but it’s no longer the rugged, square-jawed Marlboro Man type. No, the new “Manly-Man,” according to the advertising wizards, is an unshaven, overgrown fratboy prone to bellowing incoherently and high-fiving his Token Black Friend over how shiny his truck is or how good he thinks his pisswater light beer tastes.]
#3. The Pretentious Grad Student
She may have graduated long ago, but never left the mentality behind. Very, very intelligent — much more so than you, certainly, you scruffy fuck — but hasn’t laughed out loud in a dog’s age. (A particularly pithy Jon Stewart quip or trenchant New Yorker cartoon may draw a wry smirk.) Reading list consists of hefty volumes on socio-political issues, or Gabriel Garcia Marquez novels. She listens to jazz, or Brazilian folk, or just whatever pops up on NPR’s Fresh Air that day (who has time for music when there’s causes?) She loves Thai food, or is vegetarian, or God help us, vegan. She often has a little bit of the Whirlwind in her, enjoying an occasional escape into the “real” culture of Europe, or some oppressed Latin American banana republic. Her Facebook profile picture for the next eighteen months will be her in front of some Mayan ruins in oversized boots and a hemp rucksack. In short, she’s completely insufferable.
#4. The “I’m-Just-A-Country-Girl”
Whole lotta these lurking around. She owns Tim McGraw and/or contemporary Christian CDs (hasn’t bought an iPod yet). Enjoys camping. Probably voted for Bush, twice, if it occurred to her to vote at all. Dumb as a fucking fencepost.
So no match for me. I seem to fall between the cracks (again, no pun intended) of these categories. The 21-28 year olds have their own set of categories, which are embryonic versions of all of the above (the only real difference is the 29-38 year olds have decent jobs), with the addition of Party Girl, Faux-Hippie Girl, and Aren’t-I-Nerdy/Quirky?-Girl.
In ten years, I might be writing about a whole new set of categories for 39-48 year olds. Stay tuned.
[ANOTHER SIDE NOTE. ACTUALLY, MORE OF AN END NOTE: Despite the rib-tickling satire above, I really believe these websites do work if you want them to work. I actually did meet one or two nice, normal women through that website, and even went “out” once or twice. What happened? See my Issue #1. I backed away.]
[END NOTE #2, FIVE YEARS LATER: Ok, the site works. See comments below. B-T-dubs, replace the incredibly dated Internet and Jon & Kate references above with whatever happens to be the new viral sensation and reality show celeb-du-jours in the year you’re reading this.]