Is Adult Dating Just an Exercise in Dumpster Diving?

Why has Dating as an Adult Turned into an Exercise in Futility? Have all the Unbroken Dolls Left the Island of Broken Toys?

This quote really resonated with the women, especially the single ones, at a recent women’s only yoga retreat. Dating as dumpster diving. Do men feel the same way about dating as adults? Which might be the point. Do any of us remain adults when we enter the dating arena?

Or are we morphed back into teenagers with better cars but worse hair?

The last fellow I met online told me that so many of the women who’d contacted him had profile photos wearing camping attire and hoisting up large fish they’d caught, each bass or grouper proclaiming these ladies were low maintenance, high energy, and one of the guys. And apparently could scale their own fish. But this guy was really urban. He wondered why he was attracting pioneer women.

When we go online we are looking for reflections of ourselves; we are looking to see what we reflect back. Whoa, that hot successful orthodontist contacted me, I must look pretty good. That guy with the bad rug who looks to be 20 years older than I (and put up an unfortunate swimsuit shot) thinks I’d be interested? I said I want a relationship, is my profile so secretly needy that Mr. Zipless Fuck thinks I’d say yes? Or in my case, how come I only attract guys from Berkeley who like Bill Maher and NPR and think that makes them seem smart as opposed to cliched?

My ego is my Plenty of Fish profile. Lets see who it reels in.

But even when I’d found a promising flounder, the guy usually turned out to suck. The Alec Baldwin lookalike still wasn’t over his ex and thought I needed to bathe in his pain. (I know not why). The rich artist still wasn’t over his mother and had unresolved anger issues he thought I would’t notice were toxic. (Yup, millions of dollars and tons of resentment). Or the environmentalist’s life was so disorganized there wasn’t even room for him in it.

Or like so many men I’ve met, my prospect might be a nice fellow, but all the fruitless searching and resulting loneliness have left him with a patina of disillusionment; he has lots of crazy dating stories but a famished soul. Oh yeah, plus we have nothing in common, or his politics are problematic, or he still lives at home or he wants to date a woman who can gut her own salmon.

So, the grown up dating process is like dumpster diving but you won’t even find a free coffee table. I got no answers. That’s why I blog. I had my soulmate. I am grateful for that. I no longer have true love, but I’ve found a relationship that’s often fun and, thanks to him, I’ve discovered Aimee Mann and Wilco and beaches and….’nuff said. I’ve dipped my foot into the polluted waters, but remain essentially alone. And I think there are other solutions to loneliness beyond dating.

So, when we are looking at the metaphorical trash heap that is adult dating, are we not saying, what is wrong with me that I am attracting refuse? Why aren’t I hooking someone who reflects back my own potential? Am I sporting an invisible sign that says I lust after the irremediably damaged?

An old friend recently attracted the perfect guy on Plenty of Fish. He was smart, uber successful, thoughtful, and really into her. She crowed about him incessantly. And as she gushed, and quipped “I don’t stay on the market for long,” what I heard her saying is “Look who I can attract. I must be pretty special.”

After I realized that being alone can make us feel defective in the myopic eyes of society, I wanted to drop kick her. (Instead I wrote this). Her Prince High Tech turned out to be a professional con man. The moral: Beware of succumbing to your own reflection.

The single women I know are lovely and clever and flexible (we’re all yogis). The male dating pool can’t all be comprised of discounted, long expired cold cuts. Or do a greater percentage of damaged meat popsicles go online; whereas, us lithe, evolved yoginis have simply given up, retreating to Netflix, and, you know, retreats. Have all the sane singles left the butcher shop?

Why is grown up dating a visit to the dump complete with flesh-eating zombies when we all know cool single grown ups? Does dating bring out our inner insufferable teenagers such that we’re all reliving our insecurities through the mating process? Or is it that the undamaged dolls have left the Island of Broken Toys?

I’m truly curious. What are your conclusions?


Originally published at www.thehungoverwidow.com on October 10, 2016.