e-humiliation at match.com

Looking for love online is not for the faint of heart.

For the past few months I’ve been wandering in the wilderness of match.com. If you’re one of those charmed souls who married their high school or college sweethearts and you can’t imagine why anyone in their right mind would subject themselves to that sort of thing, allow me to paint you a picture. Save for a two-month dalliance three years ago, I’ve been single for more than five years. Friends have sent me off on blind dates with their friends, with no real results. Most troubling of all are the conversations with my mother in which she brings up the pretty waitress at Chili’s or the cute cashier at Bath and Body Works. Since nightclubs and bars are not my “scene,” here we are.

It took several months of dithering before I was able to bring myself to pay for the privilege of propositioning complete strangers on the Internet. I’m well beyond the point where I trust my own instincts, so I solicited the input of two female friends in crafting my profile to be both attention-grabbing and true to myself. Then there was the matter of choosing potential matches. I entrusted my sister with the final call on the first few young ladies, and she rather astutely plucked out the red flags in some of their profiles. For instance, under the heading “things that make me sad,” one girl listed “when people don’t pay attention to me.” High-maintenance much?

Nevertheless, I did manage to ferret out a few eligible females who appealed to me. When someone catches your eye on match.com, you have the option of either “winking” or sending them an e-mail. To me, a “wink” seems very passive-aggressive; it’s the path of least resistance. I figured that a wink tells the potential match nothing and is pretty easy to ignore. So early on, I went the e-mail route — with next to no results.

To date, I’ve reached out to roughly two dozen other match.com users and received a response — any response — from exactly two of them. One was a polite thanks-but-no-thanks, and the other I’ve now exchanged several e-mails with but I still have a sneaking suspicion that we’re getting nowhere. As you can probably imagine, it’s pretty discouraging to be rejected and effectively ignored by practically every fish in the sea. It’s hard not to take it personally.

That’s not to say that I haven’t received any interest. Of the couple of hundred women that have viewed my profile, six have “winked” at me. In my hypocrisy, I haven’t contacted any of them to let them know that I’m not interested. Honestly, a couple of them seemed like cruel cosmic jokes: The unstable girl that I knew in high school, the Thai woman living in Delaware with a very limited grasp of the English language … it’s as if someone is trying to tell me that I’m on a fool’s errand.

So, what’s next? Well, I just noticed that I have 11 days left on my three-month subscription. I’m trying to remember the advice of Gavin, one-half of the only successful match.com couple that I know. He suggested that I “keep plugging away; 99 percent of the girls on that site are crazy.”

When you put it that way, I probably won’t be renewing that subscription. I can screw up my dating life all on my own.

Article © 2009 by Kevin Brotzman