Dating for Dummies (By Which I mean Me): Outsmarting the Algorithm

Meanwhile, back in the land of my waning fertility…

Recently, I was sitting home alone (again) one Saturday night, and I decided that I had been feeling sorry for myself for too long.  Perhaps, more accurately, the feeling would be placed somewhere between self-pity and self-loathing.

I was in both A State and A Fix.  I was in A State because wahhhh nobody ever invites me to do anything!  I was also in A Fix, because I often had to decline the few invitations I received as a result of work, travel, training, or because I was sometimes so exhausted.

I try to make this look easy.  I think people forget that I burn the candle at both ends and also live with a degenerative disease that I manage with fifteen pills a day.  Bi-weekly injections.  My hair has just stopped falling out after a course of toxic medication and an allergic reaction to another.

Both my career and my health are No Joke.

So there I was: No Joke, in A State and A Fix, on a Saturday night, home alone AGAIN, and talking to the dog.  With a glass of wine in my hand.

In other words, armed and dangerous.

I called a friend in a far-flung timezone, and she graciously absorbed my bitching for a half-hour or so before she demanded I take matters into my own hands.  At her not-so-gentle urging, when we got off the phone, I created an internet dating profile.

This clip is completely unfunny if you don’t know the film, but that was all I could think about: Harold’s mother.

There were likely only a handful of other people who had that same thought when they filled out their online dating questionnaires, and they were all about 60 years old.  (Which, by the way, was fine with me.)  However, my father would keel over if I showed up for Thanksgiving with a silver fox old enough to be his contemporary, not his kid — or at least, a nephew.

Having now completed a profile, uploaded photo(s), answered questions, and fielded inquiries from potential suitors, I feel confident in addressing the topic of internet dating, generally.

If you have never forayed into the world of online dating, that’s okay.  Neither had I.  The last time I was single for any appreciable period of time was in 1995.  I’ve been in serious, long term relationships since then, up until last year.  The last time I was single, there was no such thing as Google, or Facebook.  We did not leave the walled garden of AOL.  Our internet made hissing noises.

Life has changed.  I can no longer just ring up my friends Jessie or Janae and say: This boy likes me, what do you think, is he OK?  I mean, I suppose I could, but it would probably be met with a good chuckle and a hefty dose of: What the heck..?

Dating websites, I have discovered, are like a futuristic human sushi bar — one of those establishments where the sushi comes out on a little conveyor belt, and you take the plates off the belt like you’re collecting your luggage at Heathrow.  Except the plates are all labelled in Japanese, so you have no idea what you’re having for dinner.  To continue mixing my conveyor belt metaphors, it’s like you’ve got no idea which suitcase is which, so you’re just picking luggage that looks nice, and hoping that the contents of the case suit you.

That’s a bit unfair of me to say.  These websites do have proprietary algorithms that try to narrow the field.  They supposedly return matches that line up with answers you’ve put in your profile.  This is obviously why the system keeps matching me with every juicehead between here and Piscataway, and a bunch of bald dudes.

(I have just committed dating suicide.)

You must understand: I have two major quirks.  (That’s a lie.  I have a lot of quirks, but I have two extreme quirks when it comes to physical attraction.)  First, I love left-handed men.  I’m willing to overlook a lot for lefties.  No idea why this is.  It’s one of the first things I notice about people, and I will freely admit that it is part of the reason I stayed with Bill for such a long time.

(That was the dumbest, truest thing I have ever said.)

As to the second-dumbest, truest thing I will ever say, and as to my second quirk of physical attraction: I’m not attracted to hairless men.  Bald men.  Men who shave their chests.  I can see how a man with a shaved head can be objectively handsome, but that look doesn’t do it for me. Those Stanley Tucci types with the bald head and the goatee?  Not my thing.  To me, it would be sort-of like dating a Chinese Crested.

Hair in some spots, bald in others…*shudder*

So back to this alleged algorithm.  How does one convince the system that it can narrow the field to “fit” and “athletic” without providing me with Ronnie and The Situation?  What keywords does one use to return matches that are “left-handed” without me seeming like a total and complete freak?

I’m still working on that.

To be continued…


Leave a Comment

  1. the movie clip was most disturbing…having never seen any of that particular movie before…but the thought that you are now bravely navigating the on-line dating stuff is a positive direction and sure beats shooting yourself in the head…you cannot move forward without getting into the thick of it… reprioritize a bit…perhaps with the realization that you give 150% at work leaving no time or energy for yourself ..when others give less and still have their job and a life…? … Maybe you should consider giving 150% to you and your pursuit of someone to share your space on this earth and give work only what it deserves…you have proven yourself valuable to your job people…now you need to prove to yourself you are worthy of another human again ! … Learn how it feels to laugh and live life outside the walls of work and home…it should not be written ” she worked so hard at her job” on your tombstone…..Now is the time to be brave and put YOU back into the mix of life – on a Saturday night…or lunchtime…isn’t there a site…justforlunch? …can’t wait to watch the babysteps of re-entry into the world of left-handed-great-hair-guys….like shoes…try them on…one at a time…if it doesn’t feel right …don’t expect it to get any better over time…try on another…until it feels just right…

    • Thanks, barb! And if you and my mother, or you and chuck happen to be out and meet any of these lovely, left-handed, grey haired guys while you’re out, don’t hesitate to hand out my contact. In the meantime, I’ll keep trying this all on for size, I suppose. 😉 xoxox

  2. “We did not leave the walled garden of AOL. Our internet made hissing noises.”

    Our Eden has most definitely been shattered.

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