Not My Type

Kaylon working outside on her backyard patio

I love the word game Scrabble. Growing up my dad was kind of a jerk, but he was something of a wordsmith and we played a lot. When my sons were little, we played the many little kid variations of Scrabble, but as they got older they lost interest in game night, and I had no one to play with anymore. Then one of my sons told me about the phone version of Scrabble—Words with Friends—probably because he thought I could use some friends. And maybe he was right.

I married late in life, and it didn’t work out. For a long time after the divorce, I had no interest in dating. Life was just too busy. Demanding job, two kids, two cats. I didn’t have time for anything else. Then my oldest went to college and life was a tiny bit less busy. About that time a friend asked me to foster a cat that had special needs. Okay, I thought. It’s only temporary. Or so I thought. Squeaky turned out to be such a sweet and funny cat, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with her. Anyway, let’s just say “foster fail” is a real thing. So now I have three cats. How many cats does it take before you’re the crazy cat lady? I really didn’t want to find out and decided that maybe it was finally time to start dating again.

Several of my friends had been successful with online dating, and so one of my girlfriends and I decided to give it a try. We looked at the various sites, including the ones for “mature” singles.

And before you ask—no, I didn’t mention that I had three cats. I’m not a complete moron.

My friend and I decided to sign up for three months, and, depending on how it went, maybe we’d sign up for another three months. She went with one site, and I tried another. It did not go well. We both canceled after one month.

Apparently when you list your preferences, the algorithm completely ignores them. College degree a must, you say? The algorithm responded with a high school dropout who still lived with his mother. Must be a non-smoker? This guy only smokes cigars, so he’ll be perfect for you. I’m 5’2 and said that I would prefer a guy who was taller than me. I guess that was a really high bar, because whatever algorithm they were using managed to find me not one but two guys who were shorter than me. In retrospect, I probably should have given them a chance.

In the one month that I was active on the site, there were three men who I thought might be worth communicating with. I was wrong on both counts. There were only two actual men and neither were worth my time.

The first guy was good-looking, very tall, lived close by, and owned a successful business. He sounded perfect. We began communicating via the dating website. We exchanged three messages within 30 minutes. It wasn’t the most erudite banter, but it was fine. Then he told me he was well-off financially and, well, the PG-13 version of what he said next was, “When can we have sex?” Uh, never. I mean, call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to get to know someone first. Maybe, you know, actually meet in real life.

I blocked Mr. Oversexed and looked around to see if anyone else had shown interest in my profile. There was and he seemed promising. Attractive and although not as tall as the first guy, he was still taller than me. He was recently divorced but not so recent as to be a concern. He lived a little less than an hour away. The first message he sent was several paragraphs long and incredibly well written. It was thoughtful, funny, and interesting. I responded with a message that I hoped was equally interesting and funny. It took him two days to respond, and I wondered if I had somehow offended him. Or maybe I wasn’t as funny as I thought? Finally I got the notification that Mr. Recently Divorced had responded. I’m sure I was smiling with anticipation as I clicked open the message. It was only two short sentences, and they were so poorly constructed I had to read them twice to understand what he had said. Disappointed, I tried to think of a reason for the change. Perhaps he was just in a hurry and sent the message without rereading it? I responded with a short note hoping that Mr. Recently Divorced would get his act back together.

Instead, the next message I received was from the dating website itself. It turns out Mr. Recently Divorced wasn’t a real person but a group of scammers preying on lonely old ladies. I’m not sure what hurt my feelings more—being duped or being called an old lady. Either way, it was time to move on.

The third guy I communicated with was not what I would call my type physically, but he wasn’t bad looking and he was funny. Really funny. I like funny, so I gave Mr. Not My Type a chance. We sent multiple emails via the dating website back and forth over a couple of weeks. It was fun and I was enjoying it. Fortunately, before either of us suggested we meet in person, he asked me who I followed on social media. Hmm, I thought. I don’t really follow anyone other than my friends. Certainly no one who I would call famous. He was surprised that I didn’t and suggested several people that I should follow. I had never heard of any of them, so I looked at their websites.

It turned out that Mr. Not My Type was an atheist. Not a “you do your thing and I’ll do my thing” kind of atheist but a radical, activist atheist. A “no one should have religion” atheist. I’ll be honest, it scared me. I blocked him.

Then I closed my account. I was done. I went back to playing Scrabble on my phone and started wondering if I should get another cat. Crazy cat lady didn’t sound so bad after all.