Same As It Ever Was
Posted by midiguru on March 26, 2009
This post will probably end up embarrassing me somewhere down the road, but right now I feel a need to get it off my chest.
When I was in my 30s and craving a close relationship, I did some poking around among the Singles ads. In those days they were print ads. In the South Bay you could join a big club called Trellis, put ads in their newsletter, and respond to others’ ads. You responded by mail, including an actual snapshot in the envelope. Last year when I moved, I found a few stacks of snapshots that never got sent out.
I did actually get in a relationship once through a singles ad — it didn’t last very long – but eventually I gave up the whole idea. The cross-section of humanity that I was encountering in the ads (and occasionally over coffee) was just too darn discouraging. Hundreds and hundreds of ads, almost none of them placed by women with whom I could sense even a slim thread of common interests. This may have been when I first realized I was living on the wrong planet. The cliches (“warm-hearted,” “sense of humor,” “tired of playing games,” “long walks on the beach,” “cuddling by the fireplace,” “weekend getaways,” “wine tasting,” “my cats”) flew thick and fast, but I don’t remember ever seeing an ad from a woman who said, “I write and sing songs and play the piano, and I’m looking for a boyfriend to form a duo with. Knowledge of music theory a plus.” Dang!
After many years of being happily single, this spring I thought, hey, maybe I’ll give it another spin. Signed up on three different dating sites, posted my own profile and smilin’ photos, and started skimming the personals ads in craigslist.
Nothing has changed. Well, except that I’m a lot older now, so the women in my age group are not as attractive as they would have been 20 years ago. (I’m not as attractive either. I’m just saying, the chemistry has gotten diluted.) The cliches are exactly the same as before. The inability to spell and punctuate, which is more apparent than before because the profiles are longer than the old print ads were, is actually kind of nice, because clicking past those profiles is easy. But even the ones who can spell … I think my favorite was the gal whose digital snapshot shows her holding a rifle. What planet is this again?
I did spot a couple of women I seem to have something in common with. Except, they’re both too young for me. Dang!
I know I wouldn’t be a good match for most of the women in Northern California. I hate travel, I have no interest in sports, I’m allergic to cats … oh, and I’m an atheist.
I’m not even sure I understand why anybody would want to travel. If you travel, how can you practice the piano every morning? Can I pack the piano, and hire a crew to get it on and off the plane? Can I have a full-time technician in my entourage to tune the piano after it’s taken up to the hotel room? No? Then I ain’t goin’. Sorry.
This is a convoluted way of saying, why travel when it’s so much more pleasant and rewarding to stay home? My theory is that people travel to distract themselves from the fact that their lives are so awfully dull. My life isn’t dull, so I don’t need to go anywhere.
But there’s more to it than travel. There are all those desperately flaccid cliches about relationships — and to compound it, so many of the profiles contain nothing but the cliches. These people don’t really exist. They’re zombies.
Beam me up, Scotty. This is still the wrong planet.