A lady wrote to me on a dating site, saying that part of what she liked about my profile was: “…you seem interesting, independent, not emotionally or financially needy, confident etc…”
Believe it or not, that upset me. Strange thing to be upset about, right?
Well, if I may explain. (If I may. like I need your permission. Like I’m not going to write this if someone is saying “No, you can’t explain! I don’t wanna hear your explanations!”) Anyway…
I went to meet a lady, Carolyn, I met through an internet dating site one time. When I said I would be in her town, she gave me her address, and said to come by, as she was having a garage sale that day. Short version is that after I arrived, we’d talked a bit, and a gentleman rode up on a miniature motorcycle. And I mean exactly that. It was a full-fledged motorcycle, but downsized. I’m not a biker. I don’t know much about them. Can’t tell you what make or model this was, or anything else. He was dressed in sandals, maroon gym shorts, and a sleeveless sweatshirt with a university logo on it. He looked stuff over at the garage sale, and they got to talking. He told her that the bike was actually for sale and would be good for her teenage son. Turned out he went to school on his shirt, where he’d played football, and she had gone to the same university and was a huge football fan. If she was interested in the bike, he lived “just over here..” and mentioned a street apparently very nearby.
And Carolyn was just eating this up. While I stood there, ignored.
Sticking to the short version, after we parted (she and her mother were going to go eat, and I was free to “wait around or whatever,” but was pointedly not invited to join them for dinner). I elected to drive the 125 miles back home. After arriving home, I wrote her an e-mail and said, basically: “Thanks for meeting with me. But, frankly, I felt you had more chemistry with the guy on the bike than with me. Let’s just say it was nice meeting, but not meant to be. Hope you find what you’re looking for.”
I got a reply from her late the next day. It started out “I wasn’t going to reply,.. ” (Wish she’d stuck to that!) She went on about how dare I criticize her for talking to the guy, we weren’t even dating yet, did I have any idea how people who went to that college felt about football, if she’d known how ‘country’ I was she’d never have bothered because she was obviously more compatible with someone who was more metrosexual (she actually used that term; metrosexual), etc., etc.
I guess, in her mind, I was this disastrous internet dating story. Someone who wasn’t what she thought, who showed up and… I don’t know what. I really don’t.
So, back to the reply from this most recent lady. About being “interesting, independent, not emotionally or financially needy, confident etc…” Most of those words are not words I use to describe myself. That’s not what I see in the mirror.
Interesting? Okay, I can live with interesting. In some respects. Haven’t lived a life of adventure and accomplishment, but I suppose some people are interested in what I think.
Independent? This one is harder. What is independent? Am I a mountain man, killing deer and elk and cougars with pointed wooden spears and bows and arrows I made myself? Of course not. I’m living in an urban setting, and rely heavily on medical science to keep me functioning on a day-to-day basis. I rent a room in a house, rather than living in a house I own. (Though that’s complicated. I actually do own a house. But it is in a different state and is uninhabitable due to it’s poor condition. A story for another time?) I have a job. I work for an employer, who sends electronically transfers money to me in trade for my time and effort. That means I rely on someone else to pay me. I didn’t get the job through a friend or a referral, though. I applied for and passed a test to get it. But I’m not sure how “independent” all that makes me.
But the part that really bothered me was “not emotionally or financially needy confident, etc…”
I suppose that emotionally, I’m pretty self-contained. The vast majority of the time, I’m okay with being alone and by myself. Too much of the time, I prefer that, actually.
But I am definitely financially needy. Between some health problems and just generally low pay anymore for what I do, I don’t bring home much money. In fact, I got behind on my rent a couple of months back, after being off work for a month because of a health problem, and I’m not sure what I can do to get caught up. Not to mention unpaid medical bills. No frills. I haven’t bought any new clothes except for socks and underwear in too many years. Most of my shirts are worn through at the elbows and frayed at the cuffs. All my pants are raggedy. I bought the boots I’m wearing used on eBay. Suffice it to say I’m only a half-step up from the people you see holding out cups at intersections.
Between the financial problems and the health problems, the only thing I’m confident about is that I’m certain I bring nothing to the table in a relationship except me.
So, that was what I got upset about. I figured if I exchanged a few more e-mails with this lady and we got to the point of deciding to meet, she would feel she’d been misled or lied to. I didn’t want that to happen. Been there. Done that. Turned down the t-shirt. But, I knew if I told her plainly what the situation was, the chances were pretty good she would decide not to talk with me any longer. Still, there was certainly no point to talking with someone who was thinking I was something I wasn’t. At best, all it was doing was forestalling the inevitable. We’d meet, she’d discover how truly broke and broken I am, that I’m in pain and in poverty, and she would feel lied to and would just walk away with another internet dating horror story to add to the plethora already out there. There was no way I wanted to be the main character in that story. Not again.
I finally sent her an e-mail, apologising (that’s not a misspelling; that’s an alternative spelling that I prefer!) for taking so long to reply, and offering a condensed version of just that last part. (I did not tell her the story about Carolyn.)
I guess we’ll see if she writes back.
BTW… How do you politely say “Thank you for your interest in my profile, but I’m not that desperate”?