Hope in the Time of Online Dating

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I ventured back into the world of online dating approximately twenty-four hours ago. So far, I’ve received messages from forty-seven men. Of those forty-seven, I’ve already had to block two from being able to ever message me again. One of those men is fifty-two years old and sent me two messages bright and early this morning that read as follows:


“Nasty time! Yah!”

I’m going to say that again: a fifty-two-year-old man sent me those messages. I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

I’ve been doing online dating off and on since the end of 2014. About seven months after my divorce, a friend encouraged me to try it out. I was resistant at first. I mean, online dating? Really? Back then there was more of a stigma attached to it. But eventually, she convinced me to take the leap. Over a glass or two (or very possibly three glasses) of wine one night, I wrote my first profile. I was so naïve to the ways of the modern dating world back then. I miss those days.

My first date was actually with a really nice guy and we had a lot of fun. His messages were all very respectful. He didn’t suggest we go back to my place.

Why is it always my place?

He was twenty-seven. I was forty. Twenty-seven! I’ll let that sink in for a moment. Not because he was younger than me. Not because that was a helluva cougar sitch goin’ on. But because this morning a man almost twice his age sent me a message that said “Nasty time!”

I didn’t know I was in for that all these years later. That first guy did not foreshadow the dating shit show that would ensue. In many ways, I feel grateful I had no idea. Most of the time, however, I wonder if this is the last sign of the apocalypse and the world is actually ending.

I’d like to say Nasty Time guy is an anomaly, but he isn’t. I have received so many ridiculous messages through the years I started an “Online Dating Message of the Day” post on my personal Facebook page much to the delight of my friends. I was delighted for a while, too. The ridiculousness of it all was quite funny until it happened over and over for years. Humor morphed into anger morphed into downright bitterness morphed into wanting to completely give up.

I’d dream of finding someone outside of the Internet. But where would I find one? I like going to bars with friends, but I never get approached. Men online feel much more comfortable saying things that sparked the #MeToo movement than men out in the real world feel comfortable saying something respectful. I work from home so unless there’s a guy in my living room, I’m not going to meet anyone at work. And if I meet a guy in my living room, I’m pretty sure he’s not the kind of guy I actually want to meet. Though I wonder if he could really be any worse than most of what I’ve run into online.

“Why, hello, stranger in my living room. I should probably call the police.”

“But, Lisa, my dear, we’re already at your place.”

I’d join a site and quit and join and quit and join. Every single time I’d rejoin the online dating world, I’d be more and more skeptical there were any good men left out there. I was hopeful all those years ago, but it wasn’t a crossing-my-fingers kind of hope. It was a sure thing. I was convinced I’d find love because that’s what is supposed to happen. Then I crossed my fingers and held my breath. I turned a little blue, so I stopped that nonsense. Then I flipped off the whole idea with both fingers. With any measurable hope lost, I declared love was dead.

But I received one really great message about fifteen minutes into my newest online dating tenure and it made the bitterness ebb and the tingling of maybes erupt. And that hope, that spark of maybes, is pretty dang delightful. Especially for someone like me who only cares about getting a message like “Nasty time!” not because I wonder anymore what it says about the future of the human race and my chances of finding love, but because I haven’t even had my coffee and I don’t have the energy for reading things like that before caffeine.

My friends have told me over and over I’ll meet that guy-the elusive one. Sometimes, okay most of the time, their declarations annoy the ever-living shit out of me because somewhere in the transformation from the naïve hopeful girl of forty years old to bitter old hag of forty-four, I realized it’s okay if love isn’t a given. It’s even okay that most of my hope is lost. If I do find love, it won’t be out of some misguided need to be coupled. It won’t be because I was so determined to find it that I found something not perfect for me just to find something, anything at all.

Nice message guy and I have a date tomorrow night. If you think nice guys finish last, you haven’t met a woman in her forties with zero fucks left to give about guys who aren’t nice.

Originally published at on April 2, 2019.

Memoir and poetry. Read more at .

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