The first time I went onto plenty of fish.com I was 46 and it was a shit show. My 25 year old girlfriend Eriny recommended it and my son was traveling so I thought: I’m ready! I’ll try it. Wtf? Yeah. Famous last acronym. I wrote my best dating profile and a kick ass header and chose some pictures. Then I posted it without having any idea what I was getting into: wide open mail settings, chat on, lingo, newbie feeding frenzy. I’d been living like a girl monk for years and suddenly Susan, I was cheerleader popular…but I was so not ready! IT. FREAKED. ME. OUT.
And so it should have. I was getting hit on for sex ( did I even know how to DO IT anymore? ) and every time I signed in, a window would pop up with a guy: “I want to chat!” Seriously? Ummm...I think not. I was always online and getting nothing but slimed by unattractive men. After 6 weeks which felt like 6 months and a couple of awkward meetings I bailed, swearing: Never. Again.
Fast forward to January. There was a big shift in my life and I thought: Fuck it. I posted the same profile and header on a Sunday morning and went out for the day, determined not to fall into the same time suck trap. When I came home, I had 13 messages and 3 possibles in my POF inbox. I thought: Wow. That was easy. And it was. For about a week. Ha!
My point? I was so not emotionally prepared the first time. I didn’t know how to date a guy! I hadn’t been asked out or even been looked at since I left my husband and I honestly had no clue how to bridge that gap between being with one man for 18 years to being single. Dating? Wtf was that? I was a born again virgin. Yay me!
I knew I wanted to have male energy in my life again but I was so timid I chose the “hang out” option to test the waters. Guess what that’s code for? Hello. Then I had no idea how to manage my settings so every guy of every age could message me about every thing…and they did. Ewww. Being actively pursued felt like an assault and I was horrified when a hot but weird guy sent me a picture of himself shirtless. I almost plotzed, I was so upset. I was not only a virgin again, it was like I was a nun. Fml.
So kids, here’s the lesson: if any of this makes you hyperventilate just putting yourself in my place, you’re not ready. If the thought of being with a new man makes you feel barfy and not in a good way, you’re not ready. If you would much rather be alone with a glass of wine and a good show you. are. not. ready. In that case, just live vicariously through my blog because believe you me – my dating life is definitely a sit com.
You seriously have to wear your big girl panties to date online. You have to be mentally prepared and it takes courage and emotional resilience; also, have a very VERY good sense of humor because sister, you’re going to need it. Note: there’s absolutely no shame in not being ready. It’s only tears and self recrimination and possibly way too much Adele in your future should you go in too early. Believe me. By the way, it’s the same when you’re ready and you’re dating but that’s a whole other post…
And if you think you are ready? Then GO FOR IT.
My second first time, I set stringent mail settings, disconnected the damn chat option and spent as little time as possible reading and replying to my inbox mail. I was open to having new experiences without expectations and I was in control of myself and how I wanted to be. I sailed through that first week!
Then I met my very first guy and he turned out to be a whole lot more than “just a guy”. Yeah. And all that self control went out the fucking window and a whole new shit show began. Yay… me.
Do you have a girlfriend who's unsure whether she's ready or not to pop her online cherry? Send her this post to help her decide OR send it to your married friends so they'll understand what it's realllly like to be dating again...
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