Waiting for opportunity to knock
It is nearly the end of February, the "Monday of months," I read somewhere. It's the month of my birthday and Groundhog Day - both fall on the same day, actually.
But let's face it, February's main event is Valentine's Day. That day those of us without a "sweetheart" deliberately ignore. Bah, humbug, we say. Who cares about flowers and candy in heart-shaped boxes, we say. And even if we did care, we wouldn't admit it.
I gave up romance decades ago. That wasn't the plan, of course, but as my daughter is fond of saying, it is what it is. This is the same child who points out that "Mr. Right" isn't going to magically appear on my doorstep. Well, why the heck not? It would make life so much simpler.
I suppose I could go looking for a man online. There are dating sites for everyone - even for fossils like me - which accounts for it being a $1 billion industry.
I don't know if it's a generational thing, but I am wary of electronic matchmaking. It's just slightly better than arranged marriages and mail-order brides.
I know people who have gone the online-dating route, and some have had favorable results. But I think many end up disappointed. I am convinced a lot of people on those sites misrepresent themselves in a variety of ways, sometimes deliberately, sometimes because they really don't know their own personality.
And, my daughter informs me, there are "trolls" online who, for their own amusement, deliberately set up dates they have no intention of honoring.
How horribly cruel. That's just another type of online bullying, if you ask me.
And then there are the extreme cases, investigated on MTV's "Catfish," where people carry on online relationships for months, even years, without actually meeting the other person. What's wrong with this picture? (Often, there literally is something wrong with the posted picture.) Misrepresentation doesn't even begin to describe these situations.
And then there are the smaller lies. Someone I know had a couple of dates with a man who described himself in his profile as "a fun guy." But actually he had no sense of humor whatsoever - a deal breaker for her.
Another woman carried on a rather intense "relationship" via text and telephone for several weeks. The guy, who lived out of state, sounded like he would have re-hung the moon, if she'd asked. Yet when they finally met face to face, there was zero chemistry. Part of it was that he looked nothing like his photos. I know that sounds shallow, but let's face it, folks, physical attraction matters.
So, word to the wise: Don't post old photos, especially if your looks have changed substantially.
Honesty is the best policy, but then there are those who may be too honest: the men who just want to be "friends with benefits." Eww. Don't people have to be friends first?
If you want to meet several people at once, speed dating sounds more fun than online chatting, particularly if you have good "radar."
I hope my grandsons wait to meet girls until they reach college or maybe the workplace. Either way, relationships deserve face-to-face interaction. The subtleties of romance are lost in e-mails and texts. I don't care how many emoticons you add.
Meanwhile, I'll just be keeping an eye on my doorstep. Hope springs eternal.
Kathy Tofflemire is a copy editor at The Forum. Readers can reach her at 701-241-5514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.