Memories by Richard Bleil
Before online dating, dating services (which still exist today) were excessively expensive (they still are) and still are not very successful for men (like the one that has recently failed me). Yes, I am still enough of a hopeful romantic to try dumb stuff like that. One of my dates was kind enough to explain it to me. See, the dating sites are very overpopulated with men (not all of whom are as single as they claim to be). For every name that I got from the service I belonged to in the mid 1980’s (by the way, that’s when I had my bachelor’s degree and was working as an analytical chemist, still young and professionally successful, just not so much personally), the woman would get three. In other words, they had the option of three dates a week for everyone that I could ask out (she didn’t always say yes).
Wow, so far there are a lot of parentheses (annoying, isn’t it?) in this post (which will post in a few days).
So what would happen in these services is that the women who truly wanted a relationship would find one very quickly since she could date so many men very quickly. The rest of the women, as the one who explained this to me admitted that she was one, basically are enjoying free dinners and meeting new people that they never want to see again. Like me.
Sometime around this time (mid ‘80’s), a study was released that indicated that the best way for single people to meet each other (outside of bars) was in grocery stores. The study indicated the best times and days to meet somebody, and although I cannot remember the exact details, basically it boiled down to an hour or so after work on weekdays when married people were having dinner with their family and intelligent single people realize that the store is less crowded. One of the local big grocery store chains elected to make an event out of it, offering things like free samples to increase the number of people shopping at that time. Around this time, the stores became overcrowded with men, not all of whom were as single as they would claim to be.
Meeting somebody is not easy, but have you ever had that “click”? I was talking with a friend of min about this not too terribly long ago (and I’m going to throw a parenthesis comment in here because I haven’t done so in a while). That has happened to me a few times. In a grocery store, I was near a young woman (about my age back then) who was honestly just lovely, and we started chatting. It was a wonderful conversation, and we ended up shopping together. It should have made for a wonderful romantic story to tell our children if it were not for the fact that she was already married and not interested in dating me at all.
The other detail that the article pointed out is that the contents of the shopping cart can also be very revealing. If she’s buying a lot of children’s food, then she has a husband. If she’s buying healthy food, she has children. If she’s buying feminine hygiene products, then she’s actually a woman.
Yeah, that was a little disappointing. Yes, little.
Sorry, terrible joke. Today, it’s not much easier to find a date. Dating sites are still overwhelmed by men but are actually even worse. Today there are trolls and con artists who pose as women in the hopes of getting money from idiots willing to pay a little bit of money for their mother’s surgery (or whatever the con might be) before they will go out with me. Honestly, these people are easy to spot. When an insanely gorgeous woman is falling so very quickly for me, yeah, it’s a guy trying to steal money. In my mind’s eye, these people are the lowest form of humanity. Successful or not, they are attempting to take advantage of somebody who is lonely and romantically struggling, preying on their vulnerabilities and loneliness. I guess it’s akin to those televangelists who pray on the fear of the elderly, to rob them of their money. There is a special place in Hell for people who does this.
At least I hope so.
So here I am, a member of yet another dating service, having given up on the online services thanks to the con artists, but…I still go grocery shopping.