I was averaging about two dates a day three or four days a week for several months. I was e-mailing with a tattooed polygamist, a successful author, an Israeli engineer and a professional comedian who sent me unsolicited nude selfies rear view.
I got to mess around with a hot app developer 20 years my junior even if I did have to pick him up at the BART station. I got to enjoy the popularity I missed out on in high school. Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.
His mother and my father worked together as physicists at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. George was 11 with curly dark hair, brown eyes and a serious manner as he politely showed me his model train set.
Over the years, George and I saw each other at family parties. We both smiled a lot. In , when I was a year-old nerd, I needed a date for my senior prom. So, I called George, then a senior majoring in engineering at Cal Berkeley, although he said he was majoring in pinball. I had my knees up. There was a rain storm and George put his head on my shoulder. We were together from then on.
I got through law school at U. Davis because of George. I was super stressed out by all the classes and exams, but George calmed me down. A gifted test taker, he coached me through the bar exam. After I graduated in , we moved in together.
We spent all our time together to the exclusion of others. We were both introverted, anti-social, only children. We cooked OK, George cooked , did projects around the house, and acted like boring suburbanites. George was either coding software or he was working on his outrageous home theater system. He still worked full time, did all the cooking and remained adorably chubby and upbeat. We were together for for 32 years until he died of cancer on April 13, And I was alone.
With virtually no friends and very little family. My life was George. I started going to many, many yoga classes. I gardened with a vengeance. I joined the Rotary Club, the local synagogue, a car club and a couple networking groups even though I had nothing to sell. I looked at my law degree and winced. But I still sucked at being alone. Especially at night, when everybody else was home with their families.
I started on J-Date, the self-proclaimed premier Jewish dating site. I was sleeping either four or nine hours a night. These quasi-inane questions spiral on. And the next one appeared. Do I want a relationship for one night, months, years or a lifetime?
Do I primarily want love or sex? What type s of sex? Am I a cat person or dog person? Could I deal with a drug user? Someone who carries a gun? Do I support Satan or God? Hillary or Ron Paul? I uploaded my professional photos and the messages start coming in.
The guys writing to me were also online, so they'd often answer really quickly, until I was having multiple flirty conversations. Apparently, we were all slackers. Like I was watching someone else interacting with these guys, saying clever things, nodding empathetically.
And if I did, I would probably be too sleep-deprived to recognize him. My life became a sick experiment in performance art dating. I had never talked to this many people in one day.
It was all starting to feel pretty pointless, however. I still hadn't gotten a job. Eventually I realized this was an addiction. I had fun stories to tell. I looked put together.
I was having adventures and figuring out public transit. But it felt wrong. Last November, I was dating four guys at once: When I was trying to my juggle dates for the week, I got so frustrated I threw my cell phone at the wall. And I realized I would still be spending my holidays alone.
I went offline on and off for awhile before fully abandoning my dating sites. I realized that online dating was not going to take the place of a real support network. I was addicted to having someone to talk to in the evenings, even if it was just a prelude to a meet-up that never happened. When someone was texting with me, I felt wanted, and less lonely. But I learned a lot from my online dating adventure. And to stop being high maintenance over my appearance to try to get guys.
Most importantly, I learned that it's better to put my efforts into making lasting friendships in the real world. But for the time I needed it, online dating did make me feel socially adept, adaptable and resilient. Which is far better than being the widow in the bourbon-stained bathrobe buying the giant, economy-sized bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin plus 12 Butterfingers at Bevmo.