Thursday, August 10, 2006

At What Price The Reward? ...

Match.com owes me a free month of service.

On July 6th, I sent the requisite information in order to activate my account again.

The activation e-mail eventually came - response to the letter, the e-mail explained, was much greater than anticipated, and so it took nearly a month to receive my "clearance."

And the minute I did, my immediate thought was "Ugh."

I recognize that there is only one way to find Mr. Right: You've gotta kiss a lot of frogs. You have to go on a lot of dates. Some of them will be good. Some of them will suck. But that's part of the bargain, the price we must pay for this commodity called love.

So lately I've been wondering just how much I want it. If I'm so reluctant to wade into the waters, do I really care about getting to the prize on the other side? Or has a lifetime of sporadic dating and ensuing unsuccessful relationshps simply conditioned me to avoid the pain? Is the dating world one giant Pavlovian maze?

Do I not really hunger for the food pellet of love?

As Charlotte says on "Sex and the City": "I've been dating since I was 15. I'm exhausted. Where is he?!"

I have a theory about men and dating: I believe that men have a ridiculously long laundry list of "qualities" they say they're looking for in a mate, but the list is the escape hatch. Men think they're safe because they never expect to find a woman who matches the list, and so they can always point to it and say, "Well, she didn't have X," and justify walking away.

But one day, along comes a woman who has every quality on the list. The man, though, isn't prepared for this. He never thought he'd actually find her. She's not supposed to exist. So faced with exactly what he's always said he's ever wanted, he finds he has no idea what to do about it, and runs the other way.

Of course, women have lists, too. And our lists can be lengthy as well. The difference is, women don't expect to find a man with every quality on the list. They're guidelines, not rigid requirements. Sure, many women would love to find a tall, ripped, rich, funny, well-adjusted, macho-yet-sensitive cover model who can cook like a chef and fuck like a rock star, but we're rational enough to know we're going to have to compromise because we really want to share our lives with someone.

It's like Chandler on "Friends" who realizes that he's being too critical about all the women he dates, and, armed with this revelation, asks out a woman in his office despite her unusually large head. And on the date, he makes himself list five things he likes about her, and his list is "Smart, nice smile, BIG HEAD, BIG HEAD, BIG HEAD!"

Reading profiles on Match, I wonder: Are men looking for mates or are they looking for trophies?

1 Comments:

Anonymous Steve from Philadelphia said...

Interesting... You may be right. I always had the same attitude about women and their laundry lists, especially with respect to online dating. Its funny, I found your blog while Googling the Sex and the City quote from someone's ad. I always swore that I would never go back to online dating, but after dating a co-worker for more than a year, there I was!

I will admit that I have been overly critical when I am comparing my date to The List, but at least I am honest. I am afraid to commit to the wrong person, and probably a little hesitant to commit at all. Most of the people that I know just can't admit to this.

Well, back to the search.

10:41 AM  

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