He’s curious, but he’s not ready

A couple of months after I graduated to widowerhood, a friend of mine in Minneapolis sent me a link to a dating website. I have good friends who have been together for many years and who met that way. I can understand how it could work just fine. I tried a personal ad once in Chicago in the early ’80s and once in the Twin Cities, with poor results, and I know that’s not much of a sample.

I’m not looking. I was curious, though, so I signed up, and let me tell you, there are a lot of women on the hunt between Sacramento and Redding, which is where most of my candidates live. Every day I get an email with nine little profile pictures of women, usually of her though sometimes obscuring her face, which I don’t quite get. One woman’s picture was of only the top half of her face. Why would she do that? Maybe she has a beard.

Most of the images are slapdash snapshots and don’t do their subjects any favors, which is good. Give me the truth right away. With each picture is the woman’s screen name, home city and age. So far they’ve been mostly in their 50s and 60s, which makes sense, now and then a 40- or 70-something, and once a lost 38. Now and then there’s a picture of an obviously younger woman that’s apparently how she still thinks of herself.

I don’t want to fool anybody, though, and I think I’d use the ugliest photo of me I could manage, so if we picked each other maybe she’d be pleasantly surprised.

For the compatibility questions, I was to answer for myself and also say what I’d want my date to pick. So I could value appearance and want my date to value personality. Some criteria, like smoking or drinking, could be reasonable starting points for winnowing the crop. Others might easily be irrelevant. I’ve been involved with women with children and, believe me, whether a relationship would be hindered by having children at home depends entirely on the children in question.

All that’s academic, because I’m not ready to take an online plunge like that. I don’t know that I’ll ever be. So far the whole process feels too strange and removed to be engaging, but I’m not ruling it out. I love women and enjoy their company. That’s been true forever and has nothing to do with my emotional state. Maybe I’ll put that in my profile, except I’m not looking.