Partner in Crime

Online dating is as much of a dysfunctional circus as ever as I discovered last night. Not that I was on a date so arranged, but my friends regaled me with stories.

A catalogue of low-rent prospects…

Weirdos…

Out for whatever they can get…

We re-visited the predictable reactions of normal people to abnormal ways of finding possible boyfriends or girlfriends; it’s horrifying.

One subtle point was one friend’s astonishment at the speed with which people have sex and/or assume exclusivity (whatever that means.) In her mind, dating was about interacting with one or more people with the aim of better acquaintanceship. In other words, she’d be meeting and going out with as many prospects as she wanted.

Men interested in her bridled at her attitude to this, based on the assumption that once they’d met, sex was soon – and sure – to follow, and a monogamous relationship would ensue. This, mind you, between two strangers who’d met for perhaps two hours total.

Her thought was that dating should be time spent filtering and sifting possible candidates for consideration; the prevailing thought among the men she met was that all getting-to-know-you stuff would be compressed into a few dates, there’d be sex and voila! A couple!

Who would volunteer for something so asinine? How many failed interactions, how much emotional exhaustion, how much cynicism comes from this unthinking foolishness?

No wonder people run out of enthusiasm for the thrill and happiness and, yes, work, of marriage. We run a marathon before we run our marathon.

Online Danger

The victim met the guy online, and had been dating him for a few weeks.

This tragedy uncovers a few horrendous truths about that choice.

First among them is that there are homicidal people out there, and we probably won’t figure out who they are until it’s too late. Someone will know – in this case the parents – but you and I will not.

The most heartbreaking truth is that the victim’s three children will experience the pain of their mother’s death forever. Not only were their parents divorced, now this unimaginable distress. Consider that they are reportedly aged 8 to 12.

And another painful truth is that it will probably happen again.

Drawing any kind of conclusion from one extreme case is neither logical nor reasonable. We all over-ride fear and danger if the perceived reward makes that worthwhile. In this case, the calculation was wrong, and those poor children must bear the burden.

Dating is about choosing to be close to strangers in order to figure them out. Online dating is about being close to strangers whose motives are even murkier than the person you might meet in the course of your everyday life. Is assuming the best always the smartest plan?

You Only Need One

The story I tell myself is that brunettes with mildly equine features and big smiles are my thing. Small speech impediments, nice feet and emotional equanimity round out the picture. She is out there somewhere.

This article about how to stand out in a boundless world of dating possibilities is an antidote to the usual guff. Honesty works, according the author, and will end much of the posturing and masking that make so much of dating unbearable.

Don’t hide your faults quirks.

Stuck in the Passing Lane

The story is common enough. A middle-aged man accepts that he will be divorced. His wife no longer wants him around, their children likewise. Upon moving out of the family home, what’s the first thing he does? He goes online to find a woman.

Once he observes the number of women who might fulfill his sexual needs, he begins to indulge himself. Rifling through the profiles, the ones that catch his eye are selected for pursuit and, eventually, a real-life meeting. Sex, if he’s bluffed successfully.

This is how it works. If you want a book go to Amazon. Looking for a bargain? Try Overstock. If you are jonesing for a woman, check out Match or Tinder. The world is now on the screen in front of you, ready for your consumption.

Except that people are not books or watches or beds-in-a-bag. Relationships of any kind are not commodities. That printer you bought doesn’t have an opinion about your moodiness. As much as you might want it to, that Lands’ End shirt cannot be supportive on down days.  When we couple-up with someone, it’s an interactive endeavor; success depends upon how well you mesh.

And if you’re Jed Ringel, author of “Stuck in the Passing Lane: A Memoir” you are depressingly normal at meshing. I say depressing because Mr Ringel catalogs his coupling failures as if he has no control over his behavior. Just like every other dopey guy. Having already chosen one woman poorly, he compounded the mistake by creating chaos in his children’s lives. Dissolving his marriage and family appears as an annoyance, an opportunity to modify of his daily life that allows more time for self-indulgence; namely drinking, cooking, eating and searching for trim.

There are three parts to this book. We get to see the drinking divorcé who chases sex with vodka. To his credit, his vodka habit falls to the power of AA, but now he pairs sex with instant shack-ups. The last part of the book appears to be written at a later time, with a pinch more self-examination. The common thread is that this otherwise accomplished man lives a life unexamined, shallow, self-indulgent and destructive, informed by the impulses of a teenager.

Which is why everyone with an online dating profile should read it. Go and buy this book now, especially – especially – if you are a woman. This is what waits for you on the other side of the pics and profiles.

 

Stuck in the Passing Lane: A Memoir, by Jed Ringel.

Published by About Face Press LLC.

ISBN:978-0-9862550-0-7

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Cadence Group as part of their blogger book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”