It is Friday night, and I just received an IM from a man on Match.com. We had chatted once before, and he had seemed like a decent, normal guy. That was until this second conversation, where he opened our chat by asking what my name was. Perhaps I could overlook the temporary memory lapse, if that had been the only problem we had encountered. After asking me how I was doing and how my week went, he jumped right to, “Want to come over tonight, and watch movies and play?”
There had not been a bunch of emails exchanged. No texts or phone calls. We have never even met. My response was to ask him if he had even read my profile. If he had, then it would have been crystal clear that we were not looking for the same thing. Apparently I am seeking a relationship, while he is seeking…a good time. He didn’t even know my name! Does dating online mean that you have given up the right to an old fashioned romantic date?
Maybe I have been spoiled in the past, as my previous boyfriends have treated me very well. There have been serenades, scavenger hunts, poetry, love letters, surprise picnics, and homemade cards and birthday cakes. Thoughtfulness has always trumped expense in the romantic efforts enthusiastically thrust my way.
Lately, I have noticed that chivalry has taken a back seat to convenience in the cyber world. An eternity ago when I would offer to pay for dinner or a movie, I was firmly told that it was “taken care of.” Please do not mistake me for a gold digger. I have a steady teaching gig and simple tastes, yet when a man asked me out for coffee last Saturday, and politely stepped away to let me order and pay….I was a bit dumbfounded. My unsweetened passion tea may have put him out a whole $2.15. Should I have been grateful that he didn’t just add his order to mine? Turns out that he was interested in me! After a three hour date, he followed up quickly asking if we could hang out again. Did I also mention he didn’t hold the door open for me?
When relaying this story to one of my friends, she immediately asked how old this man was. She knew younger men had been asking me out, and was chalking up his lack of good conduct to his age. This is where I stick up for younger men, as one man that I went out with a few times in January was very polite, complimentary, and had impeccable manners. He was also brand new to the online dating world.
One man in his late 30’s, who had been texting me sporadically, asked me out 5 hours before he wanted to meet up. Something I have discovered about myself is that I have become a straight shooter, and sometimes just tell it how it is. I let him know that it might not be a good idea to ask me out on a date the same day that he wanted to get together, as I would probably have made plans. The response I received was that he wasn’t asking me out on a date, but just out. Are you lost? Me too. I informed him my time was valuable, and that dates would receive priority over…..out. He still shoots me a text every once in a while. Maybe he is working up a game plan to concoct an honest to goodness date?
It doesn’t help that I recently saw the romantic comedy “PS I Love You”, where a deceased husband preplans the most romantic and thoughtful events for his widow. While this type of chick flick raises the bar to impossible levels for mere mortal men, it fans the hope in me that passion and gallantry still exist.
I am not a high maintenance woman. A coffee date is fine with me, and preferable for a first meeting. Eventually I wouldn’t mind some flowers, the door opened for me, being asked on the date a few days in advance, or the gesture of paying for my $2.15 cent drink. I want some proof that romance is still alive, and not on its deathbed.
So let’s recap. My name is Karen (since you forgot). No I am not free to go out tonight (It is only 3 hours notice from the time you suggested) No, I do not want to come over and watch movies and play with you (a complete stranger), and sure I will pay for my inexpensive drink (even though you asked ME out).
My verdict this week is that in the online dating world- Romance is on life support.