It’s funny how quickly life changes. For the last two years, I’ve paid virtually no attention to anything in the media about dating. Now, once again, I read and listen to everything with rapt attention.
Last week, my friend Helen handed me a newspaper clipping about mid-life dating. The most important tip? Dye your hair. This is significant as Helen has opted to grow older gracefully and has let her hair turn naturally grey. It looks beautiful on her. Recently, a second friend also opted to go grey. On her, the grey is handsome. But all along, I have been vehemently resistant to the idea.
Turns out, it was the right thing. Because, seriously, how could I be back out on the dating scene without dark, glossy locks. My hair stylist’s livelihood is safe with women like me. Not only am I vain, but also, at some point I’d like to have sex again. With someone who is not 87.
Just before Valentine’s Day, I listen to a CBC Radio special on online dating. A month ago, I wouldn’t have paid any attention. Now that I’m single, however, I listen to every word, even taking a few notes throughout the program.
Here’s the most interesting thing I learn: apparently the online dating market is now so enormous that it can support all kinds of niche sites. There are dating sites for seniors, for lesbians, and my particular favourite, a dating site for Jewish mothers who are looking for matches for their sons and daughters.
I am not making this up. There really is a site called The J Moms, a place where Jewish parents post profiles of themselves and make connections with other like-minded Jewish families. Once the Jewish mothers establish a relationship, they trade profiles of their offspring. Presumably the offspring are aware that this is all happening.
I’m trying to imagine a prospect more terrifying than having my mother involved in my dating life. I can’t really think of anything.
So, since I’m not prepared to have my mother act as a matchmaker, I’ll have to trust in my own abilities to find a suitable man. I’ve done it before. I’m pretty sure I can do it again. And I can take heart in knowing that the dating sites are devising ever more complicated algorithms to match me with the man of my dreams.
I can attest to the fact that these algorithms work. The first time Griff and I broke up, I signed up for Plenty of Fish and put together a new profile. It took the site exactly two days to find me my perfect match. I recognized the photo of Griff right away.
It was one I’d taken of him.
Of course, I was quite indignant to discover that he was already dating again. How dare he! He should have been at home drinking scotch and listening to “Ain’t No Sunshine when She’s Gone.” And he definitely shouldn’t have been using a picture I took of him!
Eventually I remembered that I was on the same site, probably using photos he took of me. After having refused to speak to him for more than a month, I contacted him and we ended up back together.
But that’s not going to happen this time. I am not getting back together with Griff and I am not getting back on a dating website anytime soon. I’m hopeful, though, that when I’m ready, those algorithms will match me up with a man who I can love, a man who shares my interests and values; hopefully he’ll also be taller than me and not a homicidal maniac.
An excerpt from An Alphabet of Men