Freeze column: The hazards of online dating
By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
According to statistics, about 40 million Americans are currently involved in online dating. China has about 140 million.
The China statistic makes Americans seem a little smarter, but not by much since there are so many more Chinese.
The average age of Americans participating in online dating is 48. A useful fact is that when female online daters are around age 28, there are two males per each female. By the time the male gets to 50, there are two females chasing every male. That sounds about right to me.
Shortly after the aforementioned male age, I was exposed to online dating. After a hard end to a particular relationship, I had decided to just be very busy with getting my master’s degree and fill the time with lots of projects.
After about a year of this, my youngest daughter, Amber, came over on a Sunday afternoon and said, “Dad, we are going to put you on e-Harmony. I will get it started and you will have to finish the listing.”
I thought it would be really easy to get started, but e-Harmony requires answers to about 400 questions. Some of them are asked a couple of times, with the words just swapped around. The answers had me sweating by the time I was done, but every question was answered truthfully.
Almost immediately, the responses came rolling in. Some of these women looked and sounded great, and all were rated highly on compatibility factors. At least one of my former wives and a couple of the ex-girlfriends said they were amazed because they thought I had no compatibility factors. The higher the rating, the more likely we would be happy with each other, according to e-Harmony.
Being a runner, sports nut and very health conscious, my requests for the suitable woman asked for the same qualities. After responding several times with a compatible person, we would exchange e-mails and eventually set up a meeting if all went well. I had dozens of requests, but many were from other states and I placed the limit on 100 miles away. That is where the fun began.
I agreed to meet a “runner” who had sent me a great picture and talked about all of her outdoor activities. She lived in Davidson, taught school in Mooresville, and seemed fine by email. I asked her if it would be appropriate to meet for a run in Davidson, then go to breakfast, and see what developed. Runners will drive to anywhere for a good run, a fact that seemed totally normal to me. I drove to our arranged meeting place, waited, waited and waited some more. Finally a woman drives up, and she is wearing a brand new running outfit.
She does resemble the picture slightly, but is heavier than I expected. We introduce ourselves, and start to run. After about a quarter mile at a slow pace, she is bending over wheezing. The run became a walk, then the breakfast finished off the date.
One more date turned out to be not who she said she was. It might have started with the cigarettes on her breath. Done.
Next came Susan. Great person, loved to exercise, really interesting. We met one night, walked for a couple of hours, exchanged emails a couple more times, and then done. Maybe I should have offered something besides walking.
As you can tell, I am on a roll here. Linda from Atlanta was next. She was an absolutely gorgeous college professor who somehow got around the 100-mile-distance limit. I met her in Asheville, went on a tour of the Biltmore House, and then to downtown Asheville for dinner. We were off to a fantastic start. She was funny, smart, interesting, all good things. She visited on the farm a few times; we traveled some, and genuinely hit it off. Then came the admission of her recent bankruptcy filing, an ongoing major lawsuit from a failed business she co-owned, and much more. Her ex-husband still lived in her house when he was in Atlanta, but “only because he couldn’t afford another place.”
Linda’s former business partner was an Israeli Mossad agent, and was threatening her. Done again.
All of this is true. For online dating, men lie about age, height and income, in that order. Women lie about weight, physical build and age. Even the online dating services admit it and warn against it since 10 percent are admitted scammers.
I knew something was wrong when one of my ex-wives popped up as being a compatible match. Still statistics say that online dating is responsible for 17 percent of marriages in 2010. I’m just glad I wasn’t one of them.