I ran into an old coworker last weekend. I had ventured out to watch a colleague’s funk band at a local venue and she was there with her new boyfriend. She met him on A widow herself, she told me that “when you feel ready to get back out there”, she thoroughly recommended online matchmaking.

“Back out there”. Sounds innocuous enough. Though not an actual place, it is often made to seem like a real destination and somewhere you should want to strive to get back to. There is that scene in the movie “When Harry met Sally” where Marie asks her fiance to promise her that she will “never have to be back out there again” and he readily assures her she will not.

So, “back out there” is not prime emotional real estate but a place where the unattached are banished. Kind of an east of Eden thing. The man she was with seemed pleasant enough, if a bit drunk for my tastes. After my experiences with the relationship Nazis at eHarmony, I was not keen on the idea of another dating site.

To me it seems much too like the ads you see of Eastern European girls looking for husbands. And the basic premise of online profiles seems to be that you should be as much unlike yourself as you can get away with so as to attract someone who maybe will be okay with who you really are. Fine line walking.

Cupid has some plusses that e did not. You don’t have to take a personality test. You can browse profiles rather than wait for them to be selected for you. You can send generic interest messages to men you think you might want to get to know even without paying for the service though the downside of this is that if the man in question isn’t a paying member, he won’t be able to respond to you. It’s a nicer way to waste time than e. Aside from that, it is not proving to be much fun. Online dating is just not fun. Not that I remember dating before my husband as being incredibly entertaining but it had a social element that web-dating does not.

A few people have looked at my profile. A few of them have “winked” at me. One guy sent me an email that practically asked me to go “steady” with him. I deleted it. Most of the men are old. So am I now, I guess. They are divorced. They have kids. Why this bothers me I am not entirely sure. I don’t have expectations of finding men “out of the box”, not at this point in my life, but part of me still wishes I was young enough for that to still be a possibility.

I think that I am still getting over the feeling that I lost a lot of what was left of my youth to my husband’s illness. I still want that back. Seeing what I am stuck with (got to get over that) for dating and relationship prospects just reinforces my new status. Another plus is that they sponsor speed dating events though it looks like it is hard to sign up for them. The women’s slots are taken up very quickly which just reminds me that the field of competition is densely populated and competitive in my age group.

The downside of Cupid is that it nags at you about your profile. Mine is apparently not “positive” enough which I think means that I am being too honest. It also lets people block your profile which is supposedly anonymous, but I sent a “wink” at a guy and now his profile has disappeared, so it is not that anonymous. Even online, rejection sucks.

You are also expected to fork over a significant fee for the privilege of what amounts to blind dating. Not flush enough at the moment for that. Finally, it is still impossible to get a read on any of these guys from a photo and a badly written essay. That personal touch is just so important. Eye contact. Tone of voice. Tilt of head. Whiff of cologne. How can you judge anything without chemistry? But, as long as it is free, I will mess around with it. It is at the very least, something to do.

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