Thursday, March 7, 2013

"What were you thinking, man?"

One of my guilty pleasures is Castle, a TV series about a crime novelist.  In one of my favorite episodes, Castle's 70-ish mother Martha sets up a "My Face" page and posts a 30-year-old photo of herself on it.  Her high school sweetheart, Chet Palaburn, sees it and sends her a "friend" request, which totally panics her - what happens if he wants to meet and thinks she looks like (in her words) "Dorian Gray in reverse?"  She finally accepts his request and flips to his page, only to see a photo there that's even older - possibly dating back to his high school days.  Her final words are, "Chet Palaburn.  What were you thinking, man?"

Between my pre-Barry online dating experiences and the ones I've had lately, this (or its female equivalent) could well be THE question for members of the electronic lonely hearts clubs.  Don't people who post photos from 10 years and 50 pounds ago want potential partners to recognize them when they finally meet in the flesh?  One of my male friends showed up for a date with someone allegedly his own age and faded right back out the door again when he saw a woman old enough to be his mother waiting for him.

Old and Photoshopped photos are not the only way in which online daters mislead others.  I've met people who lied about their height, hobbies, hair, and religious convictions.  Perhaps the worst example of bait-and-switch I ever encountered was the man who claimed to be a non-smoking social drinker but turned out to be a chain-smoking recovering alcoholic.  OK, in most of these cases I probably would have refused to meet the guy at all had he been honest - but wouldn't that be better than a personal rejection after the truth comes out?  And no, buying me a drink or even dinner isn't going to overcome the fact that in person he strongly reminds me of one of Santa's less attractive elves. It's all I can do to keep from blurting out, "What were you thinking, man?"

I thought (silly me) that we were all looking for the best possible fit with another person.  I was initially heartened by the number of men who list honesty as one of the key traits they hope to find in a woman - but some of the very guys who insist on an honest woman see nothing wrong with fudging the facts on their own resumes.  WWYT, M?

Maybe it's time to go back to flirting with guys in the produce section of the grocery store.

"For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth." ~Bo Bennett

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