I can always count on the end of February to challenge my sense of humor.
I stop seeing the beauty in the falling snow and the way it sparkles on those rare mornings when the sun peeks through the gray clouds and worry instead about how much more snow the roof can take before the walls collapse around me.
I think anyone in upstate New York can attest to how difficult it was at times this past winter. For me, in addition to the non-stop bitter cold, it was lonely. Not the kind of lonely that a cup of tea with my Mother can fix.
The kind of lonely where I spend too much time in yoga pants and see how long I can go without washing my hair because the thought of blow drying it afterwards sounds exhausting, and what does it matter anyway, who am I trying to impress by combing my hair kind of lonely.
So, I joined match.com.
The first part of the process is to fill out a profile, add a photo of yourself and tell the dating world who you are and what you are looking for.
If you have never done this, which I had not, those were the most difficult 200 words I have ever written.
I tried to be charming and witty, not too needy or desperate and all the while I wondered if I should just admit that what I would really love is someone to like me enough to come shovel the walkway and trudge through the snow to take out the garbage on Tuesday nights.
Maybe dinner and a movie? Certainly such acts of strength and kindness would open my heart and inspire me to pick out a pretty dress for an actual date.
Finding the right photo for my profile was just as difficult as finding the right words. I flipped through 5 years of iphoto memories. It is so cliche but damn it, time really does fly.
In those 30 minutes I watched my daughter grow into a teenager. It was so bittersweet and after I wiped the melancholy tears I thought, “Wow, why can’t I leave my hair alone? It’s dark, it’s light, short, long and now piled on my head in a sloppy pony tail. Speaking of my head, is it really that big? It’s gigantic in every family photo, looming above everyone like a big balloon…”
A strategically cropped photo was obviously needed. I found one. I posted the profile.
In just a few minutes men started “winking” at me. A couple even added me to their “like” list. I got excited. People liked me!
Then, wait a minute, is that my Dad? Holy shit. Did my Dad just wink at me? It couldn’t be him. He doesn’t own a computer and can barely operate his flip phone. OK, it’s not my Dad but some old man winked at me.
I realize we don’t see ourselves as others do.
I don’t look in the mirror and see a 25 year old woman. I also don’t look in the mirror and see someone who should get an AARP magazine in the mail. I quickly exited the site and shopped online for a face mask that promises to reduce large pores associated with signs of aging and closed the box top of the thin mint girl scout cookies I was mindlessly eating.
I can’t hide behind these yoga pants any longer. I just put myself out there, for 30 days. No more cookies.
30 days. That is what I committed to. Every day for 30 days I was going to browse though the profiles of the single men within 40 miles. I swore I would “like” and “wink” and open myself up to meeting new people. Turns out I only liked and winked a few times.
I mostly just compiled a list of people not to like and wink at. The List:
1. The working out at the gym selfie.
Can’t you just ask a friend or even a stranger to take a photo of you? I am unimpressed with how much you can bench press. Those muscle shirts have never done a thing for me. But good to know that you are strong enough to shovel that walkway for me.
2. Going to the mall can not be one of your hobbies.
I try to spend as little time in the mall as humanly possible.
3. Gold Sunglasses.
4. Photos of you drunk at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
5. There, They’re, Their…
Please please please for the love of all that is holy, know the difference between “there” and “their.”
6. Listing your career as “currently attending college.”
I’m all for and encourage continuing education but you must have a job. To me, not having a job means that you are 45 and living with your Mother. Delete.
7. Don’t have 27 photos of your turquoise Harley.
Nothing against your passion, and I do admire how much time you spent making your motorcycle shiny, but I’m afraid of motorcycles—so I see that and see how much time I’ll be spending alone in my car driving behind you. Delete.
8. You can not be in a band.
I don’t need to elaborate on this one.
9. I hate nascar stuff.
So that eliminates the other 75% of eligible dates in New York.
I didn’t make it the entire 30 days. I deleted my profile, the mobile app and any chance of dating someone I have nothing in common with after 22 days.
I decided I should take some time to figure out a list of things that I would like in a partner rather than focus on the all of the things I found unappealing. Maybe it’s ok to sit and feel the loneliness for a while and not try to fill it with someone or something that isn’t a good match.
Maybe then I’ll find humor or at least feel compassion for the old men who wink at me.
Maybe then I will have more faith that there is a match out there for everyone that fits their heart like a missing puzzle piece and I’ll try it again.
Or maybe the timing just wasn’t right. I tried. Another public lesson in humility has been noted.
In the meantime, while I am figuring all of this out, I will continue to scan the produce department at the grocery store in hopes of locking eyes with a sensitive, art loving man who knows the difference between a carrot and a beet.
And I’ll pray more too. Sh*t happens when I pray a lot.
Author: Kristina Henson
Editor: Renee Jahnke