and other firestarters

They say “never say never” and I have to tell you, turns out they were right. Having been thrust into the world of singlehood after 35 years of marriage, I found out just how hard it is to meet someone to date.

First, I was in the "come to dinner at our house" trap whereby well-meaning couples have dinner and bring their mother, sister, cousin, daughter, niece, ex-wife, sister-in-law, friend or any other eligible single woman. I still believe it wasn't so much that they thought I was a good fit for their pick as much as they needed to unload them on me. Those dinners were always uncomfortable and I learned to ask early on how many people will be at dinner. And that quickly opened up my social calendar.

Discouraged with that approach, I, like millions of other singles, entered the world of online dating. With a simple click of the mouse, thousands of eligible ladies across the nation and even the entire world invaded my inbox.

Before I get to the nitty and gritty details, I must say there was great excitement every day as I awaited kisses, winks, waves and a whole menagerie of other online affections from single women who had seen my profile.

The emails came in a daily barrage from women who look like bikini wearing Victoria Secrets models, all with careers, no children, plenty of money and just waiting for my call. What man could resist joining? So I did. The thing is, though, those hot dates disappeared and I was left with pictures of my fantasy date’s mothers and grandmothers.  

Since I had joined, though, I decided to give it a try. It didn’t take me long to understand that photos can lie. Well the photos don't lie but the age of the photo was always in question. My buddy Lawrence, who is 42, found the perfect match and agreed to meet her for supper. The 45 years old she claimed on her profile turned into 72 when she arrived. She didn't get a second date.

For me, one of my first “meet in person” dates looked like Shania Twain online, but, when I got there, Mark Twain showed up.

I found it fun if not silly and met some wonderful women who became friends even to this day. There is Potato (not her real name of course), a beautiful woman from Colorado whom I have never met but remain friends via social media; Victoria, a stunning woman I dated and who wanted me to raise her kids and put them through college; Blondie, a great woman no doubt who made the mistake of always out-fishing me. Being out fished isn’t bad as I have been out fished by kids, my son and a 94-year-old man with no teeth and who is blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other, but being a better fly fisherman than me was a deal breaker.

Back to the list. There was also Vanny, a great gal who could spot a deer faster than I can. I was sure she was THE ONE with that going for her but alas, it didn't work out. I still am fast friends with Montrose girl and although we had a great date, distance was just too much.

As you know if you follow this column, I do have a steady girlfriend now named Paula, but whom we will refer to as “Trixie” so she doesn't get mad about what I write. I didn't meet Trixie online but at church which is astonishing because the average age of women at my church is probably 75. I started hanging around with quite a harem of those church ladies and learned a lot. Most of what is printable, some of what is not. But alas, they were too sly to be caught by some gold digging younger man.

So along comes Paula, I mean Trixie, taking a sabbatical from her big life in Silicon Valley and for some reason ends up with me. It may be the lost puppy syndrome whereby women take on a project man whom they think has potential or some other weak minded moment for her. Whatever it is, I hope it continues and I try and look lost as much as possible which for us men is our normal state anyway.

She seems to think I am a good catch so far but she still doesn't know if I am a viable young salmon making its way to the big blue ocean or just an aging one coming home to spawn, a rotten old dying carcass. Of course I have all the things a woman wants:  a pension, can sing like a canary, George Clooney looks plus I am kind, caring, loving, faithful....well I do have the pension at least. The rest is up for interpretation and depends on your level of intoxication at the moment. I am not sure what I ever did to deserve this good of treatment but whatever it was, I hope it was on purpose and not some freak accident.

If you ever sign up for a dating site, you will never be free from it again, even when you quit paying. Your spam folder fills daily with the pictures of the gorgeous people who just can’t wait to fulfill all your dreams. I guess after I stopped my membership, all the gorgeous, rich, career minded, childless women joined again. Just my luck. Oh yeah, I forget, I already have one of those now.

I would encourage any single person to engage in at least one dating site. It’s a sure way to build your ego as you get to see the hundreds of pretty people just waiting in line for your email. Then every day you get the pleasure of turning them all down and feel so empowered. Just like high school but in reverse. But be aware, if you agree to meet someone, their father or mother may show up for the date and you will have to be nice for at least an hour.