So there I was, 32 years old, wondering if I’d ever fall in love with a man who would love me back. My problem wasn’t just that I met (and fell for) men who couldn’t or wouldn’t love me back, it’s that I wasn’t attracted to the good men…the men who might love me for me. If I am honest, I tended to be a little cavalier with those men.
It was around that time (1994) that I got my first home computer (a Mac, of course). It came with something called America Online and although I was vaguely aware of the Internet, I had no idea what it really was. One day my BFF Lisa came over and we decided to “sign on.”
My computer made those strange noises that would soon become ubiquitous:
And then those soon-to-be-famous words: “Welcome, you’ve got mail!”
We poked around a little and discovered something called The Romance Connection. I think it was mostly chat rooms, which I quickly discovered I didn’t like, but there were also message boards that were basically like online personal ads. This waaaaaay before sites like Match.com and eHarmony came into existence and if you wanted to see what someone looked like, you had to request that a photo be sent via regular old mail.
I decided that I was going to post an ad looking for a New Year’s Eve date. Here it is, word-for-word:
Wanted: New Year’s Eve date and ???
I am a 32-yr-old woman living in Connecticut who’d like to meet a smart, sexy guy. The immediate goal is to have a great time on New Year’s Eve. The long-term goal is a relationship leading to marriage. It is hard to describe the kind of guy I’m looking for, but here are some attributes. (It should become clear that I am also describing, to some extent, myself. I am not looking for a carbon-copy of myself, but I believe there is room for difference even within this framework.):
- Professional and mature but not a stuffed shirt
- Confident and a little aggressive but not conceited and cocky
- Strong–emotionally and physically
- A little crazy but not stuck in the “college frat-house” frame of mind
- A non-smoker but a light drinker
- Marriage-minded but not “settled down” (kids are not important, but I wouldn’t rule them out)
- Active but not obsessed with sports
- An intellectual conversationalist WITH a wacky sense of humor
- Creative but not spacey or ditzy
- Happy in a tuxedo or in blue jeans
- Spiritual but not religious
- A traveler who’s heart is at home
- Conservative AND liberal
- Violent weather and the ocean in winter (and other seasons, too)
- Word games
I’m not going to give a physical description of the man of my dreams; suffice it to say that while I believe that physical attributes have something to do with what I find attractive, personality and that ever-intangible thing called “chemistry” play into the equation.
Over the course of a couple of months I got more than 250 responses. I responded via email to about 50 of them. Of those, I spoke with about 25 on the phone. And of those, I met 10 in person. Of the 10, there were some that I liked, but it was obvious they weren’t that into me, and there were some who seemed to like me a whole bunch, but for me it was “thanks, but no thanks.”
Then there was this response to my ad:
I am a 38-yr-old DWM living in Connecticut who’d love to meet a smart, sexy lady like you! I really enjoyed your ad for several reasons. First, it was a pleasure to read a well-written, well-thought-out, and correctly spelled ad. So many ads and e-mail notes are absolutely atrocious in those respects. (Now that I’ve said that, I’ll probably made a bunch of spelling mistakes!)
And second, as I read down your list of desired attributes, I realized that I’m a pretty good match for nearly all of them. And although I sometimes have trouble describing myself or what I’m looking for in great detail, the wording of several of your attributes really struck an immediate chord with me. For example, I love violent weather and the ocean all year ‘round. Since I live near the shore, I often ride down to the beach and sit on the rocks when I need to clear my head. When there is a storm or weather front moving in. It’s really impressive. High winds, crashing waves, spray going 40 feet in the air. Mother Nature putting on a show! Certainly makes all the problems in one’s life look insignificant relative to the big picture of one’s life on this earth. Anyway, I’m getting carried away with that one. I think the best way to tell you a bit about me is to respond to each of the things on your list.
- I’m a professional (electrical engineering supervisor) and certainly mature (married 14 years, divorced for two, three kids who stay with me every other weekend), but not a stuffed shirt. I love to try new things, but my main passion in motorcycling. I own a ‘94 Honda VFR750 sportbike, Ferrari red, and am president of a local motorcycle club with about 90 members.
- I’m moderately confident, sometimes aggressive, considerate of others, never conceited or cocky.
- I’m emotionally strong and stable, physically fit and strong (6’4”, 190 lb) but no muscle-man jock.
- I enjoy being spontaneously crazy, especially with the right lady, but not at the expense of others.
- I’m not marriage minded at this point, although I recognize that I want and need to be married in the long run. After my divorce, I feel I have to be very sure before I enter into a commitment like that again…
- I enjoy intellectual conversation the right setting and my sense of humor is probably better described as reserved rather than wacky.
- I’m most comfortable one-on-one or in a small group, as crowds aren’t my thing. But I don’t mind them for a worthy event. Since I wear a tie at work, it’s usually jeans and flannel when I’m home.
- A traveler who’s heart is at home. Very well said. I like day trips and weekend outings, but I do value my time and space at home.
- Word games are good. I play Scrabble with the kids a lot, as well as Pictionary.
- Dancing and wine. Okay, confession time. I don’t dance or drink wine. Hey, I said NEARLY all the things on your list! :-) I enjoy beer and occasionally a good scotch. Wine is nice with dinner once in a while, but I don’t do that often.
- Passionate, sensual and sensitive are all words I’ve used in my own personal ads. But you just have to take my word on that until we meet, I suppose.
I hope you’re not asleep after all that babbling… I guess your ad just really got me going. So, where in CT do you call home? And what would you like to do on New Year’s Eve? I’d love to hear what you’d think is a great date. For me? Let’s see, it would probably include a dinner at a nice, but casual place, followed by a few exotic, festive drinks (Snakebites come to mind…), then maybe a comedy act (doesn’t require dancing…), then something mildly outrageous at mark the occasion like a snowball fight on Main Street or a motorcycle ride across town (only if sober…I don’t drink & ride).
Well, I’d love to hear more about you. I’m sure you’ll get lots of responses to your ad (bet mine is longest!) but I hope you get a chance to write back! And I don’t have any plans so far for New Year’s Eve…. :-)
I wrote back immediately and it wasn’t long before we’d spoken on the phone and decided to meet.
To be continued…