Online Dating broadens one’s horizons
I’ve had a fling with a pilot
One of my favorite aspects of online dating has been the opportunity to broaden my horizons and open up the doors to a more diverse pool of potential mates. Through online dating, I have had love affairs with two Canadians and dated British and Polish expats. I’ve had a fling with a pilot, dated two sexy cops and a few men involved with the military in some form. I’ve been involved with a Christian rocker, a chef, a world-class track athlete, a videographer, a psychotherapist, a neuroscientist, a pathologist—and a pathological liar.
I’ve also found myself in relationships with men I’d previously considered to be swimming outside of my dating pool due to their “status”—while not taboo, they were not exactly most desirable to me either. These have included young divorcees, significantly older men with a lot of emotional cargo and fathers of young children or grown kids.
This mixed bag of men doesn’t even include the long cast of colorful characters I’ve simply had multiple conversations with through phone, text and emails. It’s definitely been a wild trip, and for the most part an adventure from which I’ve learned a lot. Yet one of the most surprising things I’ve learned about online dating is how small a world it really is.
The latest case in point was when I logged into check email from my latest online dating contestants last night and found a man I had seen in person just a few days ago. In fact, I’d seen him every Wednesday for several weeks now. He’s one of the crew of West Coast swing dancers who wows the crowd every week at the open mic for popular blues bar in the city. He’d caught my eye in particular because he and his most consistent dancing partner are the smoothest and sexiest dancers by far, lighting up the floor and begging everyone to watch as they swing, shimmy, spin and dip.
The majority of the other dancers in the group seem to be of college age, though he exudes more maturity and is always better dressed than the others. When I looked at his profile, it turns out he’s only two years younger than I. It’s been a few weeks since he last visited the site, and I have had a strong suspicion that he and his dancing partner are a couple, but his profile exhibited as gregarious and positive a personality as he does in person, so I couldn’t help but write a note saying hello and explaining where I’d seen him before.
Previously, I’ve also come across the six degrees of separation of online dating. You know that theory that average number of acquaintances between any two people in the world is at most six? That IT director who flies planes for fun goes to church with a former colleague who edits what was my sister publication in the next town over—they got to know each other a bit while traveling to a ski trip together. Another colleague grew up with the butcher/independent filmmaker, whom I’d read about several years back when he was making a film about this landmark grocery store going out of business a few towns over. While I didn’t hold it against him that he was still good friends with my former colleague and her husband, we did never wind up dating, ha.
I’ve also dated people who, when added as Facebook friends, had at least one or two mutual “friends” in common. Whether they were networking contacts or childhood friends, it is always reassuring to know that a complete stranger is at least the acquaintance of someone you also know. Then when something goes wrong, you feel you at least have someone else to blame: “But the only reason I gave this freak a try was because you’re friends with them!”
The Small World of Online Dating
And finally there is the small world within the world of online dating, where people tend to continually pop up from site to site. I first was introduced to the Karaoke Reviewer on PlentyOfFish, where we developed an email friendship about music and writing. At least a year later, he resurfaced on OkCupid, took this as a sign and finally asked me out. Another guy and I went through a lengthy e-courtship on eHarmony, but I trusted my gut after a marathon phone conversation and cut it off just when we were set to finally meet in person. He later popped up as a specially selected match on OkCupid. An ex of my good friend also turned up as romantic match once—that was a tad awkward, but he was a good sport.
And I of course simple had to write to one of my good friends when he turned up as a match. We originally met through the same dating site years earlier, finding out we were practically neighbors. After three dates he informed me he would never marry me for reasons still unknown, but we became good friends and later FWB. After recovering from that, we eventually settled into a distanced though still cordial friendship through our various relationships, including his misguided engagement. After they finally broke off their tumultuous seven-month engagement, he popped back up on the dating site, and we were matched. I naturally had to be a wise ass about how that turned out the last time. For some reason, he didn’t find it so funny. Lesson learned: don’t joke about mutually getting off lucky when someone has just ended an engagement.
Of course, I really didn’t think it was funny when the man I was in a relationship on-and-off for several years popped up as one of my matches a few months after our painfully confusing final break up and four-and-a-half years after we were originally paired and met on Match. BUT if you’re dying of curiosity, you can read all about it here.
As I said, sometimes online dating can be a small—sometimes too small—world.