The philosophical definition of ego is “the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.” Hmmmm. I thought all these years that ego was simply a sense of worth. And yet if you are egotistical, it’s considered a bad thing, “someone extremely conceited or absorbed in one-self.” Seems like a disconnect to me. So what happens to your ego when you date? Someone smiles across the bar at you for the first time ever and there’s a flutter rolling through your body. Does a lot of good for your ego.
However, one thing you have to be prepared for when on-line dating “OLD” is that your ego will get spit on, stomped on, crushed and thrown out the window. When you sign up and have a steady diet of hunky men drifting across your screen, you just know that there will be so many of them “virtually knocking” on your door, that you’ll have to beat them away with a stick. That sounds like someone my age would say, doesn’t it? Well, I haven’t had to use The Stick yet, surprise, surprise. The first weeks I went out twice, the two guys I wrote about already. What an exciting start, huh? And yet I kept signing up with more dating sites. Stupid or lonely or hopeful or desperate? Yes…. all of them.
The articles about OLD all state that you should have no expectations at all so you won’t get disappointed. Additionally, get ready to be rejected and not take it personally? Huh? Is that possible? Especially after the last year that I barely survived? Unfortunately it is so very true.
The guys are all like voyeurs looking night after night flipping past all the women’s pictures online, botoxed, athletic, lots of makeup, crazy hair styles, smiling, sexy pouts, yes, no…whatever it takes to sell ourselves to the world of available men. Those men will look and look and look but never send a wink, a smile or a flirt. I started out reading almost every profile; trying to be an equal opportunity dater. Pretty soon I was a voyeur skimming past the guys that were too old, skiing down the mountain, holding a gigantic fish like a trophy (do you think I am going to fry it up for you?) and wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses in every picture! How do they think I can decide if I don’t see their eyes?
Since the men are hesitant to reach out, we women reach out and post a ☺️, or “like” or “yes” or my favorite “flirt” which posts a message that says “hey there :).” These are shortcuts that basically say, “call me.” I had no idea that I was sending the dippy “hey there :)” to various new cute faces. How embarrassing. How did the guys react? They ignored me. Ego spit on.
Then you get a response and they say, ” I only date women from 35-45,” and the guy is my age and looks way older than I do, with the obligatory baseball hat and sunglasses on, with their beer gut cut off in their pictures. Who do they think they are? Don’t they know how wonderful I am? I wouldn’t go out with them even if they wanted to. Ego stomped on.
My dance card started filling up and I was meeting some great guys, some a good match, others not so much. I would start getting messages from potential suitors that said my smile was cute, that they loved the same music genre and bands, they liked the same hot spots in town, all fun fluff but nothing serious. Some were much more explicit in their desires and it was eye-opening. It’s like having a sexy, fun pen pal and you don’t have to hide your diary with the heart-shaped lock anymore. Then they disappear without a trace and you never hear from them again. This is called ghosting, a mean and manipulative trick many like to play. Ego crushed.
My weeks blended together with coffee one day, dinner the next, dancing another time, talking online with multiple guys at the same time at night…. no more Longmire for me. My world was opening up to something I have never experienced…flirtation, wonderment, self confidence, feeling desired and wanted. Something was still missing. When would I find a guy that asked me questions about me, the real me, not just what my favorite football team is.
I started texting with a really cool guy. It was fun, it was flirty, it was intelligent, it was tender and funny all wrapped up in one handsome guy online. He suggested going to a regional airport nearby with a bottle of wine and watch the sunset. How original is that for the first “meet and greet?” I had made a lot of progress since Dunkin’ Donuts. It was raining so he told me to wait for him to bring an umbrella to my car. That had never happened in my whole life before that moment. A spark had been lit.
We set up our wine and cheese party on the second floor of the tiny terminal that stays open all night. We had the place to ourselves and talked forever, the conversation easily flowing from one topic to another. I had never felt that level of connectivity with anyone in my life. There were embers burning by the end of the evening. We bundle up our picnic including the kiddie cups we drank the fine Bordeaux from and we walked to our respective cars. After a warm embrace, he stares into my eyes and I could see it. No embers were burning, not even a spark. He gently and kindly says, ” I really had a great time and would like to hang with you, but you didn’t overwhelm me.” My heart stopped and I didn’t understand for a minute, then I did. Ego thrown out the window. Wow, dating isn’t always so fun unless you don’t take it personally, remember?
I am working on re-building my ego every day as I continue with online dating…it’s my journey not my destination. The best part of my journey so far is that I now have a cool male friend who I can discuss everything with and feel like he’ll always have my back. He wants to help me grow as a person who is being exposed to a new world of both bitter and sweet. His name is Todd and that’s the reason I started writing again and exploring all the possibilities that my world holds for me. I have a muse.