It's a Sad, Sad, Sad, Sad, Sad Dating World Out There

This is so sad, that I am having to force myself to write it. I was listening to Neil Young when I started researching this, but I found him too perky and upbeat, so I put on some Wagner instead. Valkyrie!

I get all these you-too-can-find-the-one-you-are-searching-for spam emails all the time. Once one electron on the Interwebs finds out that you are currently flying solo, the word is passed, and you are entered on everyone's "Single" list. Except try finding something in the grocery store for one person (other than your Aunt Hilda, who likes pickled herring in a can). In many ways, these singles websites and matchmaking services are proof positive that the End Days are fast approaching: there is little other reason that any rational beings would engage in something like this, unless they knew that they were shortly going to be turned into a somewhat gelatinous puddle of goo. Trust me on this one. But since you have trusted virtually no one for the last eight years, proof coming up later. Keep reading.

So finally, in the interest of pure journalistic research (shut up!), I decided to look around one of these sites to get a sense of what was going on. Now I will admit upfront to a bias or two in this: I posed as a 54-year-old heterosexual male interested in dating or a serious relationship with heterosexual women of any age within 50 miles of me; so all of the other possibilities for human encounter do not figure in to this report (i.e., if you are a 25-year-old gay female interested in dating with heterosexual women over 70 years old anywhere on Planet Earth, this report is not going to help you).

I went to one of these websites, and picked three ladies' listings for our examination today:

First up is Kristina. She is 19 years old, and a female. Her sign is Libra (like I know the significance of that). She is 5 feet, 2 inches tall (diminutive) which translates in to 157 centimeters, for those of you with your centimetersticks out already. She is interested in men; Kristina is on a roll here. Then, the wheels start to come off: under "Relationship Status," our fair maiden says, and I quote, "Unknown."

Seriously, Kristina.

Can't remember his name? Okay, that happens. Mix him up with the ex? Sure, we all have our moments. But not sure if he exists? Meds time, K-girl, multiple, 25 milligram meds.

Okay, we move on, maybe there is good news ahead. Under "Children," Kristina says "No." I am not sure if this means that Kristina has none, wants none, knows none or wasn't one. This would require further research.

Under "Ethnicity," she says "other." Since I do not know what the choices were, I cannot offer any criticism here, but with the whole "Relationship Status" thing has me a little spooked, so we are going to have to do 20 Questions on Kristina's parentage, etc.

Under the category of "Education," Kristina says "high school." I am hoping that this means that Kristina attended at least, and hopefully even graduated. Of course, it is possible that Kristina meant that the local high school is just down the street from where she lives with Mr. Invisible. (See Kristina's Story, below.)

Under "Religion," she indicates "christian," although, of course, the purists in that faith would respectfully demand a capital letter "C." She might have missed that day in Sunday School.

Luckily, the computers do not fail, and she is only 32 miles away from me, as the crow flies. Because, upon reading "Kristina's Story," 32 miles may not be far enough away. The icing on the Kristina cake, quoted verbatim:

Kristina's Story
hey, my friends are amazing, i love them 2 death <3 ... they r always there 4 me when i need them and i would give anythng 4 these ppl .... btw if u mess w/ one of them ill pritty much jus kick ur ass 4 messing w/ em !!!!!im an equestrian and i have 2 horses and 2 ponies who r the loves of my life!!!!!!!!im in a relationship, my boyfriend is amazing and i love him 2 death and wouldnt be able 2 live right now w/o him ... im always there 4 him and his family !!!!!!!!!my rents r divorced ... my mom is def. always there 4 me no matter wat i trust her more than anythng ... my dad and i arent really close and we dnt really get along well !!!!!!!!!!!!so yeah u herd bout my life, heres more info on who i am"im very loud and outgoing, i love 2 have a good time, im very friendly and love 2 meet new ppl, im totally in2 trying new things !!!!!!! and if u give me a challenge ill pritty much give it a good try and do my best 2 over come it aswell as possible!!!!!!!!!!so thts it, thts me !!!!!!!!!

Uh-huh. Sure. Well, buh-bye, Kristina. I am sure that there is another Invisible Man out there for you, you just have to keep, er, looking. Just make sure that your amazing boyfriend stays with the horses and ponies while you do.

So next, we move on, with hope springing from our hearts, to Sharon. Sharon's profile does not begin auspiciously, however, as I am greeted with a photo of Sharon, who looks rather glum, seated at a banquette with a man of approximately the same age and a similar visage. They are each holding up toddlers, a boy and a girl. More on the significance of this in a moment.

Sharon says that she is a 36-year-old female, whose sign is Leo, and who stands 5 feet, 3 inches (160 centimeters) tall. She is, happily, interested in men. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the gentleman in the photograph with her, Sharon lists her "Relationship Status" as "Unknown." Okay, Sharon, honey, work with me here: who is the dude in the photograph? He certainly is not Kristina's Invisible Man. Alright, I will stop being unduly harsh; perhaps the gent in the photo is her ex. Fine. We can let that one go then.

Well, maybe I spoke a bit too soon, because under "Children," Sharon says, "No." Okay, now this is different from Kristina's response, which was, as noted, a tad on the ambiguous side. But here, we have photographic proof of the existence of two small children. What are we to make of this? Were these little ones merely props for a photo? This will certainly be a topic of discussion on the First Date, if not on the First Telephone Call.

Under "Ethnicity," she tells us "white/caucasian," which seems putatively true enough. Sharon remains cryptic, like Kristina, on the subject of "Education," responding similarly, "high school." On the subject of "Religion," she tells us simply "other," which of course opens wide the theological door, as it were. Sharon does go a bold step further, however, declaiming under "Politics," that she is "very conservative." Yes, apparently as to relationships and children both.

She is a mere seven miles away, a fact which, like Kristina, may prove to be as much a problem for me as a solution for her.

So, with that, we move on to our third, and final contestant, Karina. Sadly, like Sharon, I am greeted, not with a photograph of someone who might allege to be Karina, but of a 30-something man with a boy about four or five years old. Karina, this is not a great marketing strategy. I am really not interested in knowing more about them; oddly, I am interested in knowing more about you.

Karina tells me that she is a 28-year-old female, whose sign is Sagittarius, and whose stature is a substantial 5 feet, 6 inches (167 centimeters, for those of you who are really keeping score). She is interested in men (and has been before, according to the photographic evidence supplied).

Unfortunately, this is where the Karina train leaves the tracks, much like Kristina and Sharon before her: under "Relationship Status," Karina replies "Unknown." Is this something viral that is going around? Is everyone unsure if they are in a relationship? Or is everyone unsure of what a relationship is? Or is that man with the boy just a figment of our collective imagination?

Well, the boy, apparently, is real enough, as Karina's reply under "Children" is "Yes, at home with me." Yes, at home with you, and with the smiling man, no doubt.

Under "Ethnicity," Karina indicates that she is "latino/Hispanic." There appear to be no tricks at play here. She responds to "Education" with "bachelors degree," although there are no other parameters, such as a bachelor's degree in what, or when it was earned. But, again, this is no time to be splitting hairs.

She is located a considerable 51 miles away, which oddly is a mile further than my search terms. This may, in fact, turn out to be a bit of blessing in disguise, as "Karina's Story," reproduced verbatim below, puts her candidacy a bit on the edge:

karina's Story
no hablo ingles

So there you have three of the very best possible reasons to stay single that I could find. I did pick up one piece of valuable information from the exercise, though. From now on, I am listing my "Relationship Status," wherever possible, to "Unknown." Now, if only Facebook would give me that option.

February 10, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

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