I’ve participated in some embarrassing activities as of late: I’ve surfed the dating websites. Oh the horror. I tell myself I do it to generate material for my stand-up, which I do, but there is more to it than that. I look at the dating websites for the same reason screwed up teenagers cut themselves: sometimes feeling pain is better than feeling nothing at all. As a soon-to-be-single mom in her late 30’s, looking at single men online is definitely painful.
For each decent, educated, reasonably attractive man I find there are 15-30 shirtless, toothless, semi-illiterate, wackos “looking for hot girls ages 18-65, who don’t lie or have a lot of drama.” 18 to 65?! I’m trying to conjure up a mental image of a hot, sexy granny who is honest, stable, and looking for love. Do hot flashes and menopausal mood swings count as drama? I’m nauseous just thinking about the guy who cast that wide net.
The overall quality of the women’s profiles are a bit higher, and none mention head games, drama or lying in their activities and interests. But when they’re bad, they’re really bad. One woman posted 5 photos of herself lounging in bed and 1 of kittens frolicking in a grassy meadow. I don’t think this woman is a prostitute (despite the boudoir photos) because a prostitute would know better than to use kittens to attract a man, right?
This is dating in the virtual world.
I scan the photos and testimonials, clicking between the few promising ones and the ones that make me shudder. The pain comes from convincing myself that these ads represent the sum total of my future romantic prospects. The fun is in the freakiness of what people will advertise about themselves to attract a mate.
My surfing is educational as well; personal ads provide information about emerging social trends. One such trend is the triad relationship. Triad, as in 3 people. Three people in one committed relationship. So far, two women and one man is the most popular combination. Couples are now posting ads in search of a third partner for…wait for it….more than just sex.
Couples seeking triads want an ongoing relationship with the same person. The language around triads has a lot of “the more the merrier” and “we want more than one partner to meet our emotional and physical needs.” Some triad seekers are long-time couples; others are new loves who have agreed upon this idea from the beginning. Either way, the distinction between a threesome and a triad is that the first is about sex and the second is about love, commitment and sex. Just ask Charlie Sheen.
In fact, it seems threesomes have become so passé that triad folks are vocally uninterested in their flaky participants. Wow. I missed a lot during my seven years of marriage. Wait, that came out wrong. What I mean is that the single-scene has changed. What I really mean is that I feel old.
I’m still grappling with that fact that no one wants “normal” sex anymore and we’re all supposed to experiment with our partners. Raise your hand if you’ve ever pretended to like a certain kind of kink just to indulge your partner’s fantasy or seem cooler than you actually are. And now we’re bringing new players to the field as well?? I don’t think I have energy for such shenanigans at this point in my life.
I don’t know if this triad thing is going to take off or not. It could be a passing phase, like spouse-swapping and fondue parties. Or perhaps its our evolutionary response to a planet populated by 1 great straight dude for every 2-3 great straight chicks. I don’t know. What I do know is that next I’ll look into mail-order-husbands and radical treatments designed to turn straight people gay. I’ve heard you can pray the straight away. There must be hope somewhere….
© Jennifer Eliot Kimball, 2011 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.