Deb Abraham Spalding

Like everything, dating is a process. Once you leave school, college, or a large work environment, your exposure to people you would date shrinks substantially. So, if you’re out of those environments, sorry about your luck! But, have no fear, internet dating is here.

For those who have experienced a break-up or divorce, it’s time to get social. Being a divorcee myself, I’ve wanted to retreat and give up on dating. Humans are social creatures, though, so I always get back in the dating game in hopes of finding my “hunky man.” That’s what I call my perfect partner. You know, my very own happy, healthy, loving, honest, monogamous, smart, adventurous man who is capable of the perfect relationship I have yet to have. I’m manifesting, but you know what they say, “You’ve gotta go through hell before you get to heaven.” Yep, that’s accurate.

A few years ago when I was newly single, I remember sitting at the far end of the Ott House bar when some students from FEMA came in and one sat next to me. My friend sitting to my left urged me to hold a conversation with the guy who sat to my right. Let’s just say I tried. It was like I was in preschool learning to speak. Words came out in a pre-K code that even I didn’t recognize. My friend, having been a divorcee for much longer than me, brought on the humor (at my expense) and explained my deficiencies between snorts of laughter.

Once I had more social practice communicating with men, I signed up for internet dating. Which one? ALL of them! I had a profile everywhere. Matches came and went, but there’s always more than meets the eye with online dating. In my lack of wisdom, I started a three-month chat conversation with a catfish named Robert, who needed money for a flight to Germany where his poor mother lay dying. For those that don’t know, a catfish on a dating site is someone who is claiming to be someone else. Many times, a catfish asks for money. Kids, do not give money to someone over email or the internet! Fortunately, I didn’t. I called him out on his game, and he came clean of sorts. He contacted me about a year later and said he missed me. His “mother” had “died” and he had become terribly sick himself. Again, he tried to enlist my pity and financial support. I did not fall for it.

Some may ask why I conversed with Robert for three months. The answer is that I didn’t know if Robert was a looney toon lurking somewhere in my real life. Therefore, I chose to be respectful and supportive. Being supportive to scamming individuals like Robert is interpreted as vulnerability and weakness. That’s when they think they will score a payoff.

Because of the catfish, I now use an investigator app that verifies some details of photos and phone numbers. While communicating with Robert, I had an email package that showed where an email was being opened. It showed Robert in Virginia, Nicaragua, Michigan, and Florida. I now know there was a network of Roberts ready to chat with me at any time of the day or night.

If you’re diving into dating sites, I have a bit of unsolicited advice. When you connect with a potential match, get a phone number quickly to vet them. Make sure they are who they say they are, and if you can meet shortly thereafter, it helps cut to the chase whether or not the chemistry is there. Don’t waste time messaging within the dating app or texting on your phone before you know if it will work out. It really is a waste of time. Also, use the block feature often.

Take a look at some rocky dates from local daters.

Barnyard Ride

A guy who attended Catoctin High School had just received his driver’s license as a 16-year-old. He scored a date with a college freshman. He usually drove a Ford Fairmont, but he had done something wrong on his family’s farm and his dad said he had to take the farm cattle truck on the date as a punishment. As he and his date were bumping along in the cattle truck, it started to rain. There was a hole in the floor of the truck and water started coming into the cab, along with the amplified soggy smells of cattle. The whole situation made a memorable impression. Our dater shared that the whole date was not ruined. The hole created an excuse for her to move closer to him and that’s how he was able to put his hand on her leg.

Anonymous Dater

A local 20-something shared that he met a girl online who had the typical goofy personality he really jived with. He had talked with her on the phone and by text for about a week and had made plans to go skating at the ice rink on a hot summer Sunday, with the option for ice cream afterward.

He had been at the beach with friends over the weekend and had mentioned to his friends that he had to head home early Sunday morning for the date he was looking forward to. Everyone understood and was rooting for him.

That Saturday night at the beach, he had run into a famous rapper he was a big fan of at a small sub shop along the shore. It was definitely a high point of his weekend. He and his date talked about how crazy that situation was and that they were both really excited to hang out the following day.

Fast forward to Sunday, they planned to meet at the rink at 3:00 p.m. He texted her when he left (it was a 45-minute drive) and then he texted when he arrived at the rink. Both texts were met with a response, and she said she was just a few minutes out. He arrived 10 minutes early, so he relaxed in his car to wait for her to show up. Twenty minutes went by, so he asked how far out she was. “Traffic is rough, I’ll be there in a couple of minutes,” she said. He is patient and understanding, so it was no big deal to wait.

At 3:40 p.m. he called her thinking he’d been stood up and there was no chance she was going to answer. She answered. He asked where she was (still in a polite tone), and she laughed and said she was just about to pull in. Looking back, he said, “That laugh wasn’t a nervous one, or one making light of a weird situation. It was more of an ‘I can’t believe this idiot is still waiting for me’ laugh.”

He waited 10 more minutes, went to get a smoothie, and then went home. He left the beach with his friends early to go on a date with a girl who not only no-showed but intentionally told him she was coming to keep him waiting there longer. He’s still a little bit salty about that one.

Hit a Nerve

While traveling, a woman met a man at a small venue and drove her rental car the next day for a dinner date (while his Mercedes stayed parked). After the meal (that he paid for), she took a wrong turn on the way to a brewery. Jokingly she said, “We’re headed towards the stupa. Would you like to pray?” The guy turned to her and said, “Can you take me back to my hotel now?” Nothing more was said as she dropped him off. A stupa is a place of prayer and meditation. She assumed he had a bad experience with his faith and a mention of prayer hit a nerve, but she didn’t take the time to ask.

The Blind Date

A friend set up a blind date for a single man. The blind date picked up the man to go to dinner. At the dinner table, the date wouldn’t stop talking…about herself. The man couldn’t get a word in. After dinner was done, the man paid his part of the check. The date asked what he was doing. He said, “I’m going to walk home,” and he did. He claims the long walk was worth it.

There’s no way around it. When dating, the cheaters, liars, catfish, and fakes are as abundant as those who are authentically seeking a solid relationship. Guaranteed, there’s a combination of crazy dating profiles for whatever your sexual preference.

I’ve found that being specific about who you’re looking for, and who YOU are, produces the best results on a dating site. At this time, I have a list of attributes on my dating profile that I DON’T WANT in a man. However, I’m still single, so my advice may be unreliable. Happy dating and good luck!

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