The success stories are numerous, and the failures resemble horror stories. I made my first attempt at online dating almost twenty years ago. Let’s just say that the Hindenburg had a better fighting chance #wasntlove.

After a breakup earlier this year, I thought what better time to try to meet someone new? It’s fairly safe, there’s no immediate in-person contact, gradual get-to-know-you process, and everyone has to show up real, right? Can’t fake a Zoom or FaceTime interaction in the midst of a pandemic. We’re all scared, all have #homehair, and no one (except maybe the sex addicted) is willing to go “all in” on the first date right now.

Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. As I said to my bestie, “Well honey, even in a pandemic, online dating still sucks.”

Now, before you roll your eyes at my judgey-pants position, let me explain. I attempted three different sites, all with their own approach to matching and membership.  Let’s dissect (their cold dead algorithms) one at a time.

Facebook Dating: Um….best part — FREE, but you know what they say about getting something for nothing. Quantity outweighed quality and within two days I had a full-fledge stalker (aka I love you, want you, you know you want me, I’m God’s gift to women) type. My words, “Really just looking for someone to talk to right now; friends first” were quickly twisted into a dissertation about how my intellect would be overruled by my, um, body parts, and I would immediately be attracted to him because he was 1) smart, 2) handsome (yes, he was that), and 3) a good judge of whether or not he was going to score with a woman. Um…I think I might have COMPLETELY busted his average because I dropped the big goose egg on his desires in record time. Ms. Cleo called; she said you didn’t see that coming. Playa can’t win if ya got no game.. Just sayin’. BTW….sorry “Q-Tip,” but you didn’t make my boo list either. Swipe left.

Next up, Safe bet, right? Guys over 50 — relaxed, chill, somewhat secure in themselves and their datability. I had to shut it down in less than seven minutes. I had nearly thirty requests after the first pic post, and I hadn’t even posted my written profile. What if I was a crazy lunatic, guys? What if I was a convict? Apparently, at some point, none of that matters <sigh> Why me, Lord? Seriously, your sense of humor sucks, man…

Last up: Elite Singles. They really need to revisit the name of this site because I’m not convinced that a guy who posts a picture of himself outside of his mother’s trailer, claiming to be a doctor with only an Associate’s degree screams ELITE. My educational, lifestyle, location, and professional criteria were all ignored. Angel from South Florida who was pinging me “for a friend” got shut down by the site and I got a long email apology about how Angel was a fake account (Really? No kidding!)

But the last straw was the creeper I already knew. Cowardly pinged me (no profile pic I might add) “Long time – P”  Hm, that could be one of three options and none are palatable. Swipe left of left.

Two hours later, I got a message on Linkedin “Just in case you don’t respond to my other message. Are you mortified?” Um, yeah, I am. Block. Delete! Come on! I thought you were creepy ten years ago. That didn’t suddenly change.

What’s a woman to do? Shut it all down. Stand still and just be. I’ve thought long and hard about what I want (and don’t want) in my next relationship. I’ve finally given up on the idea of reforming bad boys, Prince Charming, or any other fantasy that an all-male revue (sorry Magic Mike) can concoct. I would really like real. A real man with realistic ideals and a sense of adventure and humor. Not perfect, but human. A guy who says, “Look, I’m not perfect, and I’ve made more mistakes than I’d like to admit, but I’m older now and a faster learner. I like you a lot. Let’s go have some fun together. I’ll even hold your hair back if you get too drunk. By the way, what’s your favorite flower?” Until then, I’m spending time with my friends (guys and gals) and copious time alone, in public (safely social distancing) where I can naturally run into my twin flame, doing what I love with the people who know and love me best. So if we happen to meet on the patio of the local brewery and you ask me why I’m still single, don’t be surprised when I ask if you’ve got a dating profile online. You might want to go ahead and deactivate that right then and there. Otherwise, I might have to look you up to see if I should swipe left.

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