Goodbye, Online Dating; Hello, True Love

My email inbox is full of messages from, the most recent online dating membership I quit some months back. No doubt the folks must think these messages are enticing enough that eventually I’ll renew my subscription.

Wow! Your profile has been checked out by 19 Guys this week.
Who’s into you? 6 Guys Showed Interest This Week!
Whoo hoo! He saw you and checked YES!
106 views, 90 interests, 29 messages are waiting on you. Subscribe now for full access to the Match experience including seeing who likes and favorites you.

The truth is, nothing or OK Cupid or Plenty of Fish or e-Harmony or Tinder or any other online dating site might say could inspire me to join another dating site. I’m done.

I’m not saying there aren’t available men out there. There are. But they’re not my match.

Please, keep the shirt on.

I will say that for both men and women, it takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to try online dating. You have to put yourself out there, write a profile, upload photos, and then meet with strangers.

Some strangers are more strange than others.

The spring of 2017 was my second shot at online dating. My first try was after my 2010 divorce. I was an emotional train wreck. I really wasn’t ready to date, but I was in great pain and wanted a distraction.  I was also pretty bitter then, too, which may have come screaming through in my profile, which said things like, “No liars or cheaters,  please.”

I can see now that I probably wasn’t ready for a relationship then.

But last spring, I really thought I was in a different place. I’d lost more than 30 pounds. I rewrote my profile to accentuate the positive. I uploaded a variety of photos. I listened to a lot of dating podcasts, and worked on getting more in touch with my feminine side; learning to downplay my problem-solving, boss-lady masculine side by avoiding saying things like, “No thanks. I’ve got it.”

Doni at Sundial Bridge.

I posted current photos.

Doni at Halloween.

I was shocked to see that many of the guys who were on the sites years earlier were still there. I don’t know what most horrified me, some of the truly creepy photos, or the spelling and grammar. It was a toss-up.

What most creeped Doni out about this particular photo was the figure in the background, which looked to her like someone tied to a chair.

Sad to say, paragraphs like this were not uncommon:

I am a divorced white man that is in his mid 40s and is looking for a women who likes the outdoors and quiet time at home on the couch. who will not complain all the time and is looking for something long tirm and not a one night stand

And this:

im a outdoors person my hobbies are prospecting collecting artifacts and fossils im a friendly person yet ill treat others in the exact fashon they treat me no exceptions im spiritaul not religious im honest and loyal im liberal to a extent as long as morality lines are not crossed and im fond of beautiful women

He’s fond of beautiful women. Sweet Jesus help me.

I forged ahead. I went on 14 dates in four months, and eventually, I just gave up. Out of all those dates, I only had one that led to a second date. He was a nice enough guy, but our beliefs were worlds apart.

What I found most disappointing about these dating sites is how little it took for them to consider me a match with someone.

Hey! You’re both divorced and you both have adult kids! You’re a match!

Look! You both like the outdoors, and you both dig eating out! You’re a match!

You’re both non-smokers! You’re a match! 

And although I’ve decided online dating isn’t for me, I am happy to pass along what I’ve learned to other single women.

I also have some suggestions for guys, which I’ll get to in a second. First, for women, here are my tips.

  • Always drive to a public place and meet the guy; never have him pick you up at your house, no matter how seemingly nice and reputable he may be. I broke this rule twice, and regretted it both times. The first time the guy ended the date by grabbing me by the shoulders and forcing his tongue down my throat. The second time I let a man I’d just met (but we’d emailed each other a lot for a few weeks) drive for our dinner date in Red Bluff. The whole trip there I was thinking what an idiot I was, because I really didn’t know this guy. It turned out OK, but it could have gone badly.
  • Speaking of dinner out, stick strictly to coffee (or other non-alcoholic beverages) dates. And get your drink in a to-go cup. If you can’t stand the guy, you can leave, and you still have your chai latte to comfort you on the drive home. One of my more memorable coffee dates literally didn’t last more than about seven minutes. The guy was sarcastic, confrontational, and started talking about sex. But worst of all, he had beard dandruff (who knew that was a thing?) that piled up like a dirty snowdrift on our little black-topped bistro table. And when he walked across the room to pick up his coffee, I noticed a wad of mocha-colored toilet paper that appeared to have dropped from his pant leg and landed on the side of his shoe.
  • Pay close attention to profile photos. If they look grainy, or if the clothing and hair styles seem outdated, they’re probably old photos, which means the guy is trying to pass himself off as someone younger than he is. If you show up for a date and the guy varies wildly from his profile description in age or height, leave. He’s already proven himself a truth-breaker. If I wanted to date a guy old enough to be my father, I’d have put that in my profile. If I’d wanted to date a Leprechaun, I would have said so.
  • Don’t give out personal email addresses or phone numbers; stick to the online email platform provided with the membership.
  • If you quickly decide you truly can’t stomach the guy, don’t feel you have to “be polite” and stay. Practice these words in front of the mirror now: “It’s been so interesting to meet you (true, because no matter how bad the guy, it’s still a learning experience), but I’m not feeling the connection I’m looking for. Thanks for taking the time to meet me. I’ll be going now.” Then get the heck out of there.
  • Meet in a public place, and by public place, that doesn’t mean agreeing to a walk on the Arboretum which led to a secluded bench that nobody walked past for 25 minutes. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
  • Tell a trusted someone where you’re going, what time, and with whom. Tell them that if you aren’t back in an hour, to please call you. If you’re still on the date, and it’s awful, but you haven’t yet worked up the courage to leave, take the call, and use it as an excuse to exit. (Of course, the best thing is to be honest and just leave sooner.)
  • Don’t engage in long back-and-forth emails before the first date. People can seem one way in emails (funny, caring, interesting), and in person they’re actually offensive, boorish and off-putting. You’ll never get all that wasted email time back. Get right to the coffee date, get it over with and find out if there’s a spark in person.

Guys, I have a few suggestions for you, too.

  • Teeth. Have some. Clean them. Floss them.
  • Smell nice. Look nice. Have clean and tidy hair, clothes and shoes.
  • If it’s summer, and you insist on wearing footwear that displays your toes, you’d better have the smooth, clean pedicured feet and toenails of a professional foot model, not a cloven-hooved troll. Women look at feet. You know.
  • Clean, trim fingernails. All of them. That means even your extra-special pinkie fingernail you intentionally grew long just to remove ear wax. Please. For the love of God.
  • Don’t bring flowers to a first date. It’s a sweet thought, but it’s extreme, in a “Fatal Attraction” way. If you two don’t hit it off, you’ll regret the money you “wasted” on flowers. Besides, when the woman exits Starbucks, she’ll feel like she’s carrying a bridal bouquet, which is embarrassing.
  • Talk some, listen some. Ask questions. One of the most annoying things I noticed about the majority of my dates is the guys – probably in a well-meaning attempt to sell themselves – did about 85 percent of the talking, mainly about work, and their accomplishments. Granted, I’m a reporter, and I fight a bad habit of asking too many questions, but I really tried to lean back and listen and not pepper the guys with inquires. Even so, by the time most dates were done, I could tell you volumes about the guys, and they knew virtually nothing about me. They rarely asked.
  • Along those lines, if you want to know the woman better, don’t say, “So, tell me about yourself.” That sounds like something out of a job interview. You can ask specific things, like what does she like to do when she’s not working, or ask her to tell about a trip she’d taken recently, or ask her favorite restaurants, or ask her to name a place that’s on her bucket list to visit, or ask about a project she’s tackling, etc. One caveat: Do not ask about her exes.
  • Don’t tell jokes. I realize that it makes many guys feel good when the woman in their presence laughs and smiles. But telling jokes feels forced. You want genuine laughs and smiles. Right? Right?
  • Don’t discuss your exes. Period. It’s bad form, and your date will identify with your ex, no matter how crazy a bitch you insist she is. Along the same lines, don’t talk crap about previous dates.
  • A well-written profile is so important. Keep it positive. Enlist a trusted person who has a good grasp of spelling, grammar and punctuation to copy edit it for you. Be especially careful when using such words as your, you’re, they’re, their, and it’s, its. When it doubt, spell it out, because there are certain picky women who care about these details: You are. They are. It is.
  • Bear in mind that if you write something in your profile like, “Seeking a woman who still looks hot in a bikini, someone who can duck hunt by day and dress up in a strapless, sexy evening gown by night,” then you sure as hell better have abs and buns of steel and be a cross between George Clooney and Paul Hollywood, or just omit that whole sorry-ass sentence completely.
  • Profile photos. These are crucial.
  • Please, no poses with dead, dying or gutted creatures of any kind: fish, elk, bear, turkey, etc.
  • No shirtless photos, or photos that show any area below your navel. Women. Do. Not. Want. To. See. That. Trust me on this.
  • No selfie photos taken in any bathroom mirror, especially a gas station. Ever.
  • No photos from when you still obviously wore a wedding ring, or when you were a move-star-handsome 22-year-old, or any high school yearbook screen shots of you playing football. No old military photos; in fact, no old photos at all. That’s so yesterday.
  • No photos with your arm around any woman, or even with your teenage daughters, which give off an icky perv vibe, because we don’t know who they are. For that matter, no photos of you with your kids or grandkids, or your mother … especially not your mother.
  • No photos where you’re one of a bunch of guys, because your date may decide she likes the looks of the other guys better.
  • Also, we know a dog is man’s best friend, but easy on the dog photos, OK? And cat photos, for that matter, too.
  • Oh, and if you post a photograph that shows the interior and/or exterior your house, be aware of what’s in the photos’ backgrounds. Do the rooms look like like something out of a meth house? Does the backyard look like Dogpatch?
  • Ditch all photos of your trucks, your classic cars, your motorcycles, your RVs and/or your boats, unless you’re in them or on them.
  • No photos of beaches, sunrises and/or sunsets. We know what they look like. We just want to see you. Without sunglasses. By yourself. With a shirt on. And pants. And teeth. Did I mention teeth?
  • If you arrive to the coffee date before your date, please be a gentleman, stand up and greet her. Extra points if you’ve not already bought your coffee, and you walk to the counter with her and buy coffee for two.
  • The greeting can be awkward. A handshake feels too formal and businesslike, but a hug can feel too familiar. I haven’t quite figured this one out. Most of the time a smile and, “Hi, nice to meet you,” seemed a good place to start. And when the date’s over, stand up when she leaves, and even walk her to the door, and open it for her. Go ahead. It’s OK. Women of my generation have made peace with chivalry. We like it.

That just about covers it. I hope this helps those of you who are curious about online dating.

Just writing about this brings back so many memories. It’s enough to make me want to go online again, too, because after all, that’s where I found my guy.

Paul Hollywood, UK celebrity chef. Photo from Paul

Paul Hollywood awaits. Hey, we both love to bake! We’re the perfect match!

He just doesn’t know it. Yet.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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83 Responses

  1. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    I remember your telling about one date back when who professed to be six feel tall and instead was about five-four. What’s with that? One friend who was widowed after his wife’s lengthy illness tried online dating to no avail and found his new wife the old-fashioned way: at a friend’s party. Paul Hollywood will love the kitchen in your new/old house.

  2. Avatar cheyenne says:

    My son is a CDL truck driver where he was often on the road and it was difficult to meet women. Truck stops are not the ideal place to meet the future spouse. Over the years he met some on-line who would become a partner, a lot of teachers on-line, for awhile but didn’t work out for different reasons. After his move to Phoenix where he secured the Golden Fleece of trucking, a home daily position, he met a lady on-line and it worked out. So much so that he brought her to Wyoming to meet his parents. She was a keeper and they will be married in April. She is a big help with my wife moving into the house we rented in Phoenix. We are very happy for him though as both are in their forties, with no children, we do not expect grand kids from them. Sometimes on-line works.

  3. Avatar Kaye says:

    I met my current (and only) husband on, but it took a YEAR of exhaustive dating. Many, many experiences similar to those you describe, Doni. Your tips are spot-on, I would only consider adding the following: since for me, I would never consider someone with a criminal history, I ran background checks or at a minimum, googled the person’s name prior to meeting with them in person. Saved me from several opportunities to meet already-married men and some very creepy characters. Men won’t like the fact that you do this, but I never told them. I later told my husband I had done this, and he was (temporarily) mad. Too bad, better safe than sorry!

    • Thanks for mentioning this suggestion. I should have included that I always got a real name before I met in person, and I Google that person first. (I may even add this to the column. That’s the beauty of an online publication.)

      I never volunteered this information to the guys, but some who found out seemed offended, and a few took it personally. Oh well. Their problem.

  4. Avatar Erin says:

    A friend of mine–really a friend not me–met online and dated a man who was looking for a kidney donor! I believe he waited until the third date to bring it up. What does that sound like??? “Donated any organs lately?”

  5. Avatar Patricia Bay says:

    I am laying in bed screaming with laughter!!!! OMG!!!!! Screaming!!!! Brilliant piece!!!!

  6. Avatar Common Sense says:

    Haha…Love It! Great Article!…. Match dot com makes tons of money….I am always thinking to myself ,”I bet half the people on there are made up”. I have tried it over the years twice also….both times ended up not working out, so back to working on myself and realizing…..I am OK! . They say like attracts like….so more work for me then….more gym time then……and the rest will fall into place.

    ” Log in now….you won’t Believe who has contacted you!”…… yep…..they are good at what they do-playing ones vulnerabilities and search for “Love” to make a TON of money!

    The Online Dating Experience did teach me one thing……It’s only when we truly Love Ourselves…Respect ourselves, do we have something to offer to another….you can not share that which you have not……You can only see in another that which you have found within your self……

    Back to working on myself……the rest will fall into place!

  7. Avatar conservative says:

    Just let a woman in your life
    and you’ll invite eternal strife.

    Let the others of my sex
    tie the knots around their necks.

    I’d be equally as willing
    for a dentist to be drilling

    than to ever let a woman in my life.

    (I don’t have the words exactly right, but you get the idea).

    It is good to have women as friends as long as you don’t get financially involved.

    Romantic involvement has a way of leading to financial involvement.

    Good to have a companion to take to a concert, hike, bike ride, try a new restaurant.

    Men feel awkward going to Cascade Theater by themselves.

    A woman’s children are high risk. You may be happy having a woman live in your house. Then her daughter moves in, bringing with her a teenage daughter. She makes up a story and child protective services has you moved out of your house facing legal bills and having to pay the bunch to leave.

    Or her drug using son needs bail money. You end up supporting the son and paying for his rehab.

    If there is a pipe leaking or a bat in her house, you don’t want to be the one she calls.

    Many women will make it clear to you that their girlfriends are the most important thing in their life.

  8. Avatar Teresa says:

    Omg!! I love this!! I must add…Do not ask me how much money I make. If I have credit card debt. And if I have a retirement account on the first date!!! Had a guy do that one time lol.

  9. Avatar Judy K says:

    Doni…. besides laughing like Patty, wanted to mention I certainly hope you signed up for the GBBO 2018…. you could win in more ways than one! Eating right & loving life in AZ, but we do miss you!
    Side note: Katy & Kevin met through Match!

    • You and Dan are SO missed, Judy. I’m glad you’re loving life where you are, but when you left Redding lost one of its best families.

      I didn’t know Katy and Kevin met through That’s awesome!

      And I LOVE the Great British Bake Off!

  10. Avatar AJ says:

    And, OMG . . . Those BLUE EYES!!! Yep, I’d take Paul Hollywood (is that his REAL name?) instead of George Clooney any time . . . Oh, wait . . . Maybe not!!!

  11. Avatar conservative says:

    There are several hiking groups in the area. You can make friends chatting while you hike. The worst that can happen is you get to see a nice trail for the first time.

    Don’t ask direct questions about someone’s finances, drug history, politics. Talk about the books you have read, the podcasts you like, the places you have traveled and those may come out. Gossip about your friends or her friends is a red flag. Talk about the wonderful time you had at Food Truck Friday in Reno and you may learn how attached she is to California. Talk about snow shoeing, bike rides, camping trips, farmers market, etc.

    • Avatar Margy says:

      I love to get to know someone while hiking. I have joined a few groups, and gone on several hikes. The hikes are great and I have met a few fantastic women – The men are lacking on these excursions — Men: The hiking groups are full of single active women.

      • Margy, your comment made me laugh, because you bring up a good point. Often, when women participate in these outings (to meet men, and have fun), we often end up just meeting more awesome women who are single, too. Making connections with women is easy. Making connections with single, functional men … not so easy.

  12. Avatar Gerrine says:

    Great ideas. Thanks for sharing. Kind of cures me of trying online dating. Maybe someday………….

    • Well, who knows. It may depend on what the single-men pool is like where you live. And as you’ve seen in the comments here, there are those who find true love online. It can’t hurt to try.

  13. Deb Deb says:

    Oh, Doni, what a laugh you’ve given me! Your tips are excellent, I love the practical ones but the one that gave me the biggest grin was, “And get your drink in a to-go cup. If you can’t stand the guy, you can leave, and you still have your chai latte to comfort you on the drive home. ” TRUTH.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences as only you can! Here’s to a beautiful future for you and Paul Hollywood… 😉

  14. Avatar Denise O says:

    One guy hopped (barely) out of his truck wearing a huge Hawaiian shirt and promptly showed me his gun he was wearing on his hip! This was a Sunday hike on a trail I knew very well.

    Within nanoseconds I did the following girl math: He was waaay more physically impaired than his emails had indicated. If I walk on his clearly weak side (opposite of gun hip), I can shove him and run. He didn’t have to tell me he had it in the first place so I guess he gets some credit for honesty. My mouth says, No problem I don’t mind.

    I led him the shortest route possible and that was that. But a gun???? Yikes. In retrospect I should have been back in my car ASAP.

    • Oh, geez, Denise! Your comment made me break out in a cold sweat. I can totally picture it!

      Your “girl math” plan is exactly what many women do when they’re in situations where their guts are screaming at them to flee, yet we stay because of a variety of good-girl-conditioning reasons: We don’t want to hurt his feelings. We don’t want to make a scene. We don’t want to come across as a bitch. So we accept the circumstances and plan a safety-escape plan.

      I think you’re right that you should have just gotten in your car and left. I’m glad you are here to tell about it.

  15. Avatar Ann Webber says:

    Hilarious, charming and informative! Thanks for the great read. Signing this, single and happy!

  16. OMG…so funny… sorry, I know it’s at your expense but I can’t help it…lol. Don’t give up!

  17. I am NEVER going to hear the word MOCHA in the same way EVER AGAIN! ?

    I really hope a lot of men read this. And make notes.

    Thanks for sharing.

  18. Avatar Shelly Shively says:

    Omg, Doni, great article! The cloven hoof and extra long pinkie fingernail had me LOL…
    We were in twin tandem on those 6 months, and I found, like you, that it wasn’t for me. One memorable date was a guy that showed up with a stuffed animal monkey that I had to carry on our walk around Sundial Bridge. Of course, the monkey had great significance as a segue for his lengthy story about his childhood. The only pointed question he asked of me was, “I like the color of your skin. Do you tan?”
    I returned home covered in mosquito bites from the sunset walk, but at least I had a monkey to add to my Airbnb guest toy basket.
    Great pointers for women and men considering online dating, or those wanting to upgrade their experience.

  19. Avatar Dan says:

    I was on the phone last night consoling an old high school buddy going through a divorce with a gal from a small North Carolina town he met on an online dating service. She had great photos, a great profile, (he asked me to see it ), a voice on the phone like honey. He asked me to check her out online. I did. Her LACK of a professional online presence, “adult assets” and some Facebook comments was concerning, but he was happy she had no criminal record and was BEAUTIFUL. Fast forward he married one of the vilest racists I have met. A functioning drug addict/alcoholic with a mouth that would make a sailor blush after two drinks. After her having a few affairs he is attempting a divorce that will leave him some assets for a future retirement….that he will now need to put off for at least five more years. Everyone, PLEASE… Google, Facebook, linkedIn, and run a basic criminal check on strangers BEFORE engaging with them romantically.

  20. Avatar Nicholas Webb says:

    All funny (tragically), but I’ll admit to laughing the hardest at “When it doubt, spell it out” due to the context of the line.

  21. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says: brought me more dick pix than I care to think about (honestly, guys, in close-up photos it looks like a hamster stuck in a garden hose, so just DON’T), some go-nowhere dates, men interested in huntin’ and fishin’ who looked like ZZ Top, and a lot of offers for Friends With Benefits. But I also met my husband (together 14 years).

  22. I’ve never had to use a dating service. My secret is girls feel sorry for me. I don’t even have to try.

  23. Avatar sharon chesnut says:

    I hope you are saving this to “humorous columns” for the book you will surely publish some day. I realize this was at your expense, but seriously, very very funny. maybe sell it as a screenplay (you have acting experience, right?) – with you and “Paul” the featured stars – but add a great ending, which of course you so deserve.

  24. Avatar Roy says:

    Doni, have you considered naming your house? that old/new tag is too boring lol

  25. Avatar Margy Wenham says:

    I could have written this article – I have been on and off the dating sites for a few years. Photos get deleted really fast if they are as you described (99% of them. ) I still haven’t figured out why a man thinks it is attractive to post a photo of a fish. I have had less than a handful of dates in the last 6 years and wonder if there are any Suitable men out there. The men our age are typically ‘too old’ and the younger ones want a younger women. Where are the decent single guys ?

    • I have come to the conclusion that in the Redding area, all the good guys are married or gay.

      And honestly, many of the single guys our age want super models, even though they don’t look like a model themselves. It’s frustrating.

      One of my dearly departed friends, Karen Stephens, used to say that when women reach a
      certain age, the only men interested in them want a nurse or a purse.

      To your question about why guys think it’s attractive to post photos of fish, or them with fish (or other wildlife), I have a theory. I think men don’t have as many photos of themselves as women do, and the photos they do have are related to fishing or hunting or camping. So they use those. And on FB one person (Denise O) pointed out that most of the time, the guys were better looking in person than in their profile photos, because we women are much better at culling our photos and just using the ones where we look awesome, while guys say, “Here’s a photo of me … it’ll do,” without much thought about if it’s flattering. Consequently, we women are often pleasantly surprised when we meet the guy in person, while the guys are disappointed because the women who show up don’t resemble her glam photos.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        It isn’t just the men with unrealistic expectations. According to a study a few years ago, ~1/3 of women’s profiles specified they wanted a man who was at least 6 feet tall. I hope those women are willing to share because only about 1 in 6 men in the US reach that elevation!

        When you break down, statistically, what online daters say they want you find that they are quite literally looking for a needle in a haystack. For instance:

        Shasta County Population: 180,000
        Men in Shasta County: 88,200
        Men between 45-54: 11,700
        Unmarried: 5,850
        Not in a relationship: 2,925
        No Felonies: 2,600
        College Degree: 650
        Employed: 400
        Over 6′ tall: 70
        living in Redding: 35
        With average or better hygiene: 17
        With average or better personality: 8
        Didn’t vote for Trump: 3
        Never been unfaithful: 2
        With no kids or adult kids: 1

        • Gosh. Thanks, Tim.

          Regarding height, I am not THAT picky. I’d rather not look down at my guy, but I’d be happy with the same height (I’m 5’5″).
          For the record, Paul Hollywood is 5’7″. 🙂

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Shasta County Population: 180,000
            Men in Shasta County: 88,200 (49%)
            Men between 45-54: 11,700 (6.5%)
            Unmarried: 5,850 (50%)
            Not in a relationship: 2,925 (50%)
            No Felonies: 2,600 (89%)
            College Degree: 650 (25%)
            Employed: 400 (60%)
            Over 5’5″ tall: 372 (93%)
            living in Redding: 186 (50%)
            With average or better hygiene: 93 (50%)
            With average or better personality: 46 (50%)
            Didn’t vote for Trump: 18 (40%)
            Never been unfaithful: 11 (60%)
            With no kids or adult kids: 6 (50%)

            Odds that he is heterosexual: 96%
            Odds that he doesn’t smoke: 85%
            Odds that he doesn’t have “bad” credit: 70%
            Odds that he is not obese: 62%
            Odds that he is not balding: 50%
            Odds that he has no chronic conditions: 25%

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Tim — I appreciate your node-tree analyses narrowing the pool of eligible men, but I have questions.

            Example: In the 45-54 yr old cohort of Shasta County men, 40% are unemployed? If that’s true, the single-and-looking women of Shasta County in that age cohort would be well-advised to emigrate en masse.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            The underlying assumption is that those are all independent traits spread randomly across society. This is an imperfect assumption (e.g. we know that Trump voters are less likely to have a college degree), but it gets us the ballpark probability.

            Shasta County has a labor force participation rate of 50-60%, depending on how you measure (and I used the more optimistic figure). You could probably make the case that men are more likely to work than women or that college graduates are less likely to be unemployed, but again I treated everything as independent variables.

        • Avatar Common Sense says:

          You mean there is only 1 more like me! Wow…..

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Last time I went in for a check-up, I was told that I’d shrunk to 5′ 11.5″ after spending my whole adult life as at exactly 6′.

            A little time on the rack, and I’m back to 6′.

      • Avatar Margy says:

        If anyone could find a man, I always thought it would be you. I am only a couple of months younger and admire you immensely. Now I am more discouraged than ever. Sometimes I think I should lower my standards -Not!
        Anyone have ideas on where to meet eligible men?

        • Do NOT lower your standards! I won’t either!

          I know it’s exasperating, but try not to be discouraged. When I feel like that, I make a list in my head of all the benefits of my single life (and there are many; maybe that’s a column). Then I look at all the couples I know, and ask myself how many of those couples seem truly happy together. Many couples appear trapped and unhappy, and I wouldn’t trade places with them for anything in the world.

          I took a line dance class a few years ago, because it doesn’t require couples, and I’d say 90 percent were women.

          I have noticed that places like outdoor stores are crawling with men (most of whom have wedding rings … I’m the master at checking out left hands). So maybe we should just hang out there.

  26. Avatar Karen C says:

    OMG, so happy I have my only love still with me for 55 years. Makes my complaints about him seem so trivial.

    Not sure what to say about this online dating trend but it sounds like a royal pain in the behind!

  27. Wonderful article Doni. I hated everything about dating. What I really preferred was getting to know people through a common interest or activity. By the way, RV is attractive because he’s a truth-telling intelligent writer. With a black hat!

  28. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    After my sister-in-law had been widowed for several years, we were chatting about second marriages. Her comment has stuck with me: I don’t want to train a new one.

  29. Avatar conservative says:

    Type II herpes is a risk in the older population. Worth a discussion with your gyn or primary care doc if you have been in a committed relationship for a long time and start dating again.

  30. Avatar Karen C says:

    You don’t need to work so hard at this Doni, you are out and about, always around lots of people, you travel….if it it meant to be it will happen when you last expect it. Not something you want to feel pushed about because a right choice must be made and must be someone who will match your needs, wants, and hopefully it will be a permanent and strong relationship.

    • I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. I don’t NEED a guy.

      If I found a wonderful guy with whom I’m compatible to travel and go out and do fun stuff, that would be a bonus. But if I don’t, I already have a rich life.

      At this point, I can’t really see myself remarrying. But who knows. Maybe the third time would be a charm. I’m keeping an open mind and open heart.

  31. Avatar Jedediah says:

    Kind of a bummer to read R.V.’s story about living in a mean county, then reading the first part of this story.
    I don’t think you’re trying to cut down people intentionally, it’s more of a “Can you believe this?!?!” show and tell, but it’s still pretty rough to use people’s photos and profiles to call them idiots, even when they are.
    I absolutely get the scene setting of using the blurred profile pictures and descriptions as negative examples, but it is still someone putting themselves out there in a public platform, and getting shredded in a public way, when you could have described them and sounded just as clever.
    If you stick around for the whole story it’s obviously an advice piece: “Doni’s DOs and DON’Ts in Dating!” but when I gave up halfway through reading it the first time due to its uncharacteristic tone of superiority rather than your usually compassionate voice, it was because it seemed mean-spirited. I love your work, but the first half of this one was tough for me.

    • Avatar Jedediah says:

      PS: None of the photos are mine 🙂

    • I can see how it would be tough for a guy to read this piece, especially if a guy’s done online dating himself.

      I have no doubt a guy could write a similar column with his own observations and complaints, and I invite men to submit a piece of writing that shares their perspective.

      Thanks, Jedediah, for being here, for reading, and taking the time to weigh in.

  32. Avatar Richard Christoph says:


    Your exceptional piece of writing elicited tears of laughter as well as offering vicariously the experience of online dating. The comments have been equally entertaining. The love of my life (blind date set up by mutual friends >31 years ago) is out of town but I’ve sent her a link knowing that she will enjoy this as much as I have.

    Given the post-Weinstein tsunami, it has been quite an education for many of my gender to have been “woke” to the reality of how some males have behaved and what many women have long endured. Thanks for adding your online dating experiences to the mix as well as your “goes without saying” suggestions for guys. Who knew?

  33. Avatar Tim says:

    I have one, perhaps ethically dubious, suggestion for online daters: create a fictitious account comprising the qualities of your ideal mate. Use an obscured photo of a B-list celebrity (or a friend with their permission). Do nothing for 1 week but read incoming messages & the profiles of your fake profile’s “matches” (if your real profile is not a top match for your fictitious dream mate, you might start there).

    Men will likely be surprised by the sheer volume of messages their female profile receives even before they finish answering the questionaires. Almost all of the messages will be a single line and lacking punctuation. Most of the longer messages will be from people who obviously haven’t bothered to read your profile but who are quite enthralled with themselves. And most of the remainder will seem suspiciously like a cut-and-paste job.

    Women will probably be surprised by the relative dearth of messages their fictitious male profile receives. And 90% of the messages received (out of the blue) will be from scammers. The majority of that remainder will probably seem ready to set a wedding date now — they just need a man (any man).

    If you’re willing to stretch ethics a bit further, try corresponding online during the 2nd week. Women will likely be surprised how few of their male profile’s messages get returned, even when they spend a great deal of time tailoring messages to individual recipients. And men will likely be surprised by how the most benign reply from their female profile can suddenly result in sexual or aggressive responses.

    Anyway, I don’t think this exercise will substantially increase your odds of finding a mate, but it will certainly help build empathy…

  34. Avatar Dawn Marie Jens says:

    excellent piece – I have always like playing “matchmaker” for my Friends – in Jewish Culture and several Other Cultures there is an actual person as matchmaker-it is the old style going back thousands of years original Match.Com – You are a beautiful eloquent Woman -any Man would be lucky to be your “love love” in the late nineties I lived and worked in Las Vegas – one would imagine -working with the public-meeting/dating-easy-piece of cake-NOT-one night sitting on the couch with my cocktail waitress friend -also disgruntled-newly divorced-complained she did not want to be anyone’s “Professional Girlfriend” anyway she says “here we are two old maids” -I thought to myself “speak for yourself” -I met a Cuban while working on a Cruise Ship-moved to Vegas with him-he became violent/abusive-bi-polar nightmare-and went back to Miami where all good Cubans go-then a friend from work whom I played poker with introduced me to Michael in the poker room-he is still a dear friend-and I met Richard at work-sadly now deceased-Both were confirmed Bachelors and neither ever married-now I refer to both as my “Priests” as the years I actually dated -true confessions-both-they were kind-loving-patient -good men-helping me overcome serious “baggage” “damage” mostly stemming from abusive mother-after going out to a fancy dinner with a older man and ditching him after he asked me to follow him back to his “Place” -I would not admit I was lonely-I was-I would not admit I felt like I did not “belong” to anyone or anywhere-standing behind a blackjack table w/no players I prayed to God-“if it is Your Will that I never Marry or have a Child-I accept it 1000%” “I wish I could meet someone-my soulmate-Let “Your Will be Done”-the very next week I met my husband (1998) in the Yahoo Poker Room online on a Friend’s computer-I did not even own one then-I thought he was a girl -it did not curse and seemed “Too good to be true”-just my luck-he is probably she I thought-turned out to be not the case-chatted online-progressed to phone calls-exchanged photos-got on a flight to San Jose-We have been happily together ever since-our Son was born in 2000 when I was 44- Life is Full of Surprises

  35. Avatar Dawn Marie Jens says:

    btw your dream guy Paul Hollywood looks like my brother – you do not want him – he is high maintenance-however; do you mind if I Pray to Saint Anne (Blessed Virgin Mary’s Mother) for You – I am a lifelong aka “cradle Catholic” and prayer the Rosary -you never know – it is worth a shot – Your culinary skills alone should hook an awesome man – my husband cooks – I am hopeless – lol

  36. Avatar SB says:

    Ive done the online dating thing, and it’s not just the women who set the bar extremely high when it comes to their expectations. I’ve seen some pretty worn looking men who’s standards were a bit unrealistic. Things like… must be between 25-45 (preferably closer to late twenties), between 5,5-5-9 tall, between 110-130 pounds, annual income of over 75,000, own your home, have at least a masters degree, no kids, no one with over 1 divorce, be Martha Stewart in the kitchen and Jenna Jameson in the bedroom, faithfully attend church, and must be exceptionally skilled at outdoor activities like fishing and hunting. It was kind of hard to live up to those lofty standards indeed…lol.
    I remember being told as a 44 year old, that I was too old…by men either my own age or older. I was immediately asked for my phone number after the first message (usually signals someone looking for free “fun phone time”), asked to send “other pics”, etc..
    I eventually met my boyfriend after A LOT of searching. There are good people on these sites, but unfortunately you have to really separate the wheat from the chaff.