Sarah Thebarge wonders if it’s really necessary for her online dating site to ask her whether she uses ketchup on her grilled cheese and who her favorite Kardashian is.
“So I’m doing online dating again,” I told a friend last week as we sat at a cafe sipping steaming lattes.
The sentence echoed in my head. It made me feel like I was making a confession, admitting out loud that out of the thousands of people I know, there is not one single man who’s interested in asking me out. Not one. It also felt like I was admitting defeat. I’m lonely and I’m ready to share life with a partner. No one’s held my hand or even tried to kiss me for more than a year, and some days the lack of touch makes me feel like I’m literally going to go insane.
So I’m doing online dating again….
Not only did it sound like a confession; it also sounded like the start of a stand-up comedian’s joke. Which, honestly, is not all that far from the truth.
I tried online dating a few years ago. I met one gentleman on Match.com who looked handsome from his photos. We talked on the phone, and I liked the sound of his voice. We decided to meet on a park bench to chat in person. When he started walking towards me, I barely recognized him. His posture was awful, he was about twelve years older than he’d appeared in his photos.
I walked home and cancelled my account.
Then I tried eHarmony. I was interested in one guy who lived somewhere in the midwest. After we exchanged e-mails, we decided to talk on the phone. I was glad that he was a Christian who took his faith seriously — until he began unpacking his own personal theology. The U.S. should supply Israel with nuclear weapons, he said. Vegetarianism was a failure to obey the command that God gave Adam to “have dominion over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And epidurals were an abomination. Because if God had intended for women to feel no pain during childbirth, He would have made it that way.
I hung up on him and sat in stunned silence for a while. And then I made myself a cup of tea. And then I cancelled my account.
Years went by. I went on some really good dates and some really awful dates. (No, seriously, they were awful.) For instance, after telling a handsome Iranian doctor that I’d had breast cancer and reconstruction, he looked at my chest and said, “I do not believe you.” We were walking down a crowded sidewalk when he took his index finger and poked my boob a few times before I could slap his hand away.
“You are right,” he said in his thick accent. “They are not real.”
I broke up with some guys, and some guys broke up with me. I was relieved by some relationships ending, and devastated by others.
And now, here I am again. Mostly I’ve enjoyed my singleness, but sometimes, like the current season I’m in, the loneliness can be distracting. I get tired of checking into hotels and only needing one room key. Of walking into restaurants and when the hostess asks me how many are in my party, answering “Just one.”
Okay, now I’m depressing myself. Anyway. Like I said, I’ve decided to try online dating again. I created my profile a few weeks ago, but before I could post it, I had to answer a few hundred “compatibility questions.” That’s right. A few hundred questions.
Some of them were reasonable, and would definitely be helpful in determining what kind of person would be a good fit for me.
How do you view money?
What do you think of divorce?
How often do you go to church.
I answered each one thoughtfully.
Then there were questions that covered topics that were interesting, but probably not deal-breakers.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
When you go on vacation do you prefer the ocean or the mountains?
What do you do with your free time?
Would you date someone with an STD?
Hmmm, that last one was a weird question, I thought.
And then the wheels.came.off.the.train.
Do you believe in angels? Yes or no.
Do cell phones cause cancer?
Does a grilled cheese sandwich need ketchup on the side?
Do you wait an hour after eating to swim?
Have you ever made an official noise complaint?
The questions kept coming.
Is nicotine a gateway drug?
Which Kardashian is your favorite?
How long do you spend in the shower?
Have you ever been pepper sprayed?
I say Ted Danson, you say ________?
I say I’m never online dating again.
How many continents are there?
When you die, do you want to be buried or cremated?
Can you curl your tongue?
Was Barack Obama born in the United States?
What do you think about a woman who wears Spanx?
Have you ever milked a cow?
Seriously, what the hell?
I began yelling at my computer screen. “First of all, there are couples who have been married for decades who wouldn’t know their partner’s answers to any of these questions. And second of all, if a guy showed up on a date and asked me these to my face, I would run for the hills. So I refuse to answer any more of your ridiculous questions. Do you understand? I refuse.”
I overrode the error message that said, “Your Profile Is Not Complete,” and published my profile anyway. Because here’s the thing. I just want an intelligent, good-looking, ambitious, thoughtful, single man who loves God. And if he happens to believe, as I do, that nicotine is a gateway drug that leads to all kinds of depravity, that Khloe Kardashian surpasses all of her sisters (duh), that ketchup only goes on french fries and scrambled eggs, that waiting an hour after eating to swim is the sensible thing to do, and that being pepper sprayed is nothing to be ashamed of — well, that would just be icing on the (wedding) cake.
Photo: Flickr/Katie Tegtmeyer