I began working at a new position in 1995. A woman, 30 years old and finishing her Masters at UC Berkley, was a co-worker. She also represented a first for me, a person using an online dating service.
I never quite understood why. She was - is - vivacious, talented, good-looking, and intelligent. We were living in the bay area. She lived in San Mateo and worked in Palo Alto. I didn't understand why she couldn't meet 'the' guy.
Well, she had, actually. She met him and become engaged, and then found him with her best friend in bed. End of engagement.
She went through years trying different dating strategems to meet the right guy, telling me her tales. She moved from the SF Bay area to Boston to Maryland. No boyfriend ever emerged until, after ten years, she found the right man - a former boyfriend who was getting a divorce. She finally married him fifteen years after I first met her.
I thought her story was unique, and I was wrong.
My Mom, a beautiful and intelligent, talented woman, went through life seeking the right man. She married many times hoping she'd found him, and divorced an equal number of times. Then she gave up for a while. That was painful for her; crying, she confessed her loneliness to me.
Meanwhile, my wife's friends were asking me, isn't there someone I could set them up with? Yes, there were but the men were leery of being set up. They felt something must be wrong with the women.
All of this surprised me. None of these women had been married but all had been in long term relationships that ended when their boyfriends or fiancees were caught cheating. All of them were entering their forties to fifties and all worried about growing old alone. They were desperate and frustrated. All of them remain desperate and frustrated.
All of them have now tried dating services.
I thought them unique, and I was wrong.
I was dining with a friend the other night. She told me that her daughter was searching for a man. She was worried that she wouldn't find one. She wanted to have children and was worried that her time was running out. Her mother told me that she wasn't alone, that several of her friends were going through the same thing. They were trying matchmakers and online dating services.
I was completely surprised. I know her daughter. I know she's had a couple boyfriends in the last few years. She is, as the others, intelligent, talented, accomplished, and good looking.
And she's thirty-one years old.
She was seriously anxious that she couldn't find a man? She seriously worried about it and was trying all of these strategies. Yes; she'd tried three online dating services already. She was about to try her fourth.
The revelations of all these women floored me. What's going on that there's a man shortage? Is it a man shortage or a good man shortage, or something else?
I will relate other matters. My wife and I went clubbing with one of the women a couple times. Women have approached my wife to talk about me - asking if I was her brother. She delighted in telling me they were investigating my availability.
It's a topsy turvy world to me. As a teenager, I remember how hard I worked to meet girls and ask them out. I'm a shy fellow. Somewhat withdrawn, a person who prefers solitude. Um, bookish. A number of girls approached me but I as at a loss of what to do. Thank god my wife took a liking to me and made some more assertive moves, or I'd probably still be alone.
To the women seeking me, I don't know what to say. Turning it on its head, how would I go about meeting women to date? I remember that grocery stores were once the hot place to go meet others but I sense that's no longer the case. I read once that laundromats are another likely hang out spot to meet the opposite sex. Been a long time since I've been to one of them.
Being ignorant of the whole scene, I imagine I'd end up on the online dating scene. And I see, it wouldn't be a matter of being desperate.
It would be because I wouldn't know what else do do.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com