Not all matches are what they seem, or are they?
I was post–Douche bag Tinder Dude (my 12th), and I didn’t have time or energy to waste on any more losers, cruisers, lurkers, and liars. My kids needed stability. I needed a vacation. No more games; no more heartbreaks.
It was time to focus, get busy, and find “the one.”
I believe most women in my “demographic” could relate to my frame of mind: we are past the age of carefree flings (aka, we are over 40); we are a tad jaded (aka, we are over 40 and postdivorce); we are past “superficiality” (aka, we are over 40, postdivorce, and want to date someone with a job and not living in his car); and we are selective in how we spend our time (aka, we are paying a babysitter).
Therefore, it behooves us to engage in a little online repartee before relinquishing an entire three hours (plus mileage, parking, and babysitting fees) to an actual date.
This new Tinder dude apparently shared my sensibilities—or perhaps was extremely organized and time-efficient. Maybe a little compulsive? OK, he was full-on anal.
He was also a dick.
I confess. This guy was a gift from Match. I’d seen his profile on Tinder but swiped left because, while semi-handsome with a steady job and love for cats, sans the drama of an ex-wife or kids, and with a deep love for his mom, he had serial killer eyes. These are all strikes, but I’d yet to learn the lessons I now know. And hey, after Douche bag, a serial killer would have been a leap in the right direction.
So when he reached out to me with a direct, well-worded, and grammatically correct message (“Hello, Charlotte. Your profile pictures are lovely. I’m intrigued . . . ”), I responded in turn: “Thank you!”
He was within my age and height requirements; he was also athletic, practiced law in an area I didn’t understand, and was a homeowner. He loved to cycle and compete in Ironman events. Health and fitness were important to him! So were current affairs, intellectual endeavors, and politics. And although he’d never married because he was “building his career” and hadn’t met “the one,” he really, really loved his mom.
We had a brief yet consistent and respectful online relationship, ultimately resulting in daily text and e-mail exchanges, which, for busy midlifers, equals “going steady.”
It was time to have the phone call.
Note: In the super-efficient-busy-with-work form of the Tinder–time continuum, the “phone call” is equivalent to the “sex date” in real-time dating.
We made an appointment based on his scheduling availability. I, being the Solo Mom who worked full time, could be more flexible. How about we do it after my kids go to bed? You know, when I get most of my writing done? When I am exhausted and just want to be brain dead?
After all, he will have just completed his six-hour-long bike ride, followed by a massage and healthy meal. He’d be relaxed and ready for our conversation—or should I say job interview.
It lasted for about an hour. Sadly, this hour was the longest relationship I’d had in six months. He’d prepared a list of questions, which I answered proficiently and to the best of my knowledge.
But the cross-examination brought to the fore all my jury-duty fears (answer incorrectly and you are But the cross-examination brought to the fore all my jury-duty fears (answer incorrectly and you are doomed to six weeks of $15 a day, child care be damned!); my confirmation oral-exam anxieties (Jesus won’t love me if I don’t remember the eighth commandment!); and my college piano sight-reading audition angst (so many notes—they all look alike! I’ll be put back in high school. I’ll have to repeat algebra!).
One wrong answer and my life was surely over.
I panicked. I regressed. And while I should have hung up on Ted Bundy’s ass, I hung in there and took the grilling like a movie-star stud under a bright lamp and dental drill.
Where did I grow up? Check.
Did I have any siblings and were my parents still married and alive? Check.
Where did I go to school? Check.
When was I married? Check.
Why did we get divorced? Check.
How many kids? Check.
Wait. You had your daughter with your ex-husband. But where did your son come from?
Wait. Let me get this: You had a child without being married?!
It was an easy A . . . a slide . . . a cheat . . . a giveaway. A teacher trying to push me toward a 4.0.
Why wouldn’t I have my son without being married? I was 38, had the money, and wanted another child. I was diagnosed infertile, had a one-night stand while on birth control and my period; my pregnancy was a miracle! My daughter could have the much-wanted brother. We would be our own, a nonconventional yet perfect little family.
Why wouldn’t I have him? He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me—to all of us. This kid will solve global warming, world hunger, and world peace.
Not having him was never a consideration.
From that point on, our interview continued in a vacuum. He was distracted, faraway, reading his questions as if by rote—issues from my first sewing project (a calico skirt in sixth-grade home economics) to my exercise regime (five times—yes, five times—a week, even if it meant a middle-of-the-night Tracy Anderson video. After all, didn’t men want to see a perfect body?)
Did I cook? Proficiently.
Did I bake? I’m certified . . . really!
But wait. I just can’t get over the fact that you would have a baby without being married. What are you? Some kind of right-to-lifer? Some sort of religious fanatic?
Although the answer to both questions would be no, and I don’t agree with the “right to life” position, it was the venom, judgment, and malicious spirit in which he spewed the question. It was his disgust that I found offensive. He spit the words on me like the pea-green Linda Blair vomit in the The Exorcist that we’d all talked about and still can’t get over—as if having been unmarried and having a child—by choice—was the worst possible thing.
I had my son because I could, because I wanted to. That was it!
After I wiped the green vomit from my eyes, shook it off my face, and flipped it out of my hair, I still did not have the wherewithal to stand up for myself and the rest of my sisters in solo motherhood. I still didn’t tell him to fuck off. I didn’t tell him to take his serial killer eyes and shove them up his Mama-lovin’, Norman Bates ass. I didn’t tell him that I knew he dyed his hair and did Ironman competitions most likely because he has a small penis.
I just said, “No. I am not a right-to-lifer. I am not a religious fanatic. I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I don’t judge anyone. It was an easy decision. I wanted to raise him, to love him, to have him . . . so I did.”
His reply, “I’m sorry. I cannot go out with you. You are just too independent—too bohemian for me.”
Our conversation wrapped up pretty quickly.
Him: “Good luck to you with all that.”
I assumed “all that” being my magnificent son.
It was midnight. I still hadn’t faced Tracy Anderson’s video.
I looked up the definition of bohemian in the dictionary.
I didn’t block Serial Killer or delete him. I didn’t need to. He’d already deleted me.
I fell asleep and dreamt of Richard Ramirez, David Berkowitz, and Jeffrey Dahmer. Were they on Tinder, too?
I thought this would be the last I’d hear from Dr. Jekyll, but as sure as my monthly BM, six months later, I received a “like” and a well-worded, grammatically correct e-mail: “Hello, Charlotte. Your profile pictures are lovely. I’m intrigued . . . ”
I compliantly reminded him that I was the gal who was “too independent and bohemian” for him.
“Thank you for reminding me. Good luck!” He deleted me again.
My head spun like Linda Blair, and I spewed my own green peas.
I kid you not . . . six months after that: “Hello, Charlotte. Your profile pictures are lovely. I’m intrigued . . . ”
“Hey, Charlie Manson! We’ve been down this road. Get some donepezil (look it up, you wonky-eyed fuck tool), go screw your dead mom in the attic, and be done with it!”
Ladies—stay away from the serial killers! You have no future with these creeps.
P. Charlotte Lindsay is a middle-aged Solo Mom. She shares her newfound expertise as a user of a dating app that can help you meet guys, get laid, and maybe even find love. She is a real person, though her name has been changed to protect the innocent, namely her children and parents. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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