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COAST 2 COAST: The joys (not) of online dating

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I was married for 18 years and I enjoyed being single when I first left my husband, but I'm over that now. Being single blows. Dawn CutuaiaI recently moved here from Pennsylvania and I work from home so I am struggling to meet people.  Recently I went to the coast with my dog Foxy. Just the two of us. 'Cause that's my life now — a single old lady (I'll be 49 this year) on vacation by herself, having full-blown conversations with her dog such as, "Why is it still raining? Does it ever stop raining here? Should we go to the beach in rain? Why does the Pacific Ocean look so angry all the time?  Can we climb on those rocks?  What are the chances we will die if we do?" My Instagram feed is just photos of me with Foxy. Exciting stuff.

I recently created an online dating profile but I am not having much long-term success. Online dating is like a job you keep doing, hoping you will get paid, but your paychecks keep bouncing. And yet, you keep going back into work the next day.

"Chemistry" is elusive and complicated.  I don't know why you have it with some people and not others.  I do know that you can't know if you have it until you meet a person "in real life."  This is actually helpful since most of the people who are on online dating sites don't ever actually want to meet — they just want to text you forever and ask you to send them photos of yourself.  So that reduces the number of coffee dates significantly and saves time.

I never get hit on in real life — but online I get tons of messages that are overflowing with compliments and I don't have any experience dealing with that kind of attention.  Men send out a lot more messages than women do, and I think to them it is a numbers game — and unfortunately the most striking feature many of these messages have is the absence of almost any actual words.

I get many messages that have only one word, like "Hey", or "Hi", or my personal favorite, "Heyyyyy", the number of extra "y"s can be just one, in which case it might be a typo, or it can be five, in which case I hear it in my head like a Ryan Gosling meme.  It's hard to respond to a message that says only "Heyyyy" and when you go to his profile all it says is, "I'll have to fill this in later — if you want to know anything just ask."  Ummm, OK — is this like that game show 20 questions?  Do I need to send you a list of all the things that should be in your profile, but which you were too lazy to write?  I'm pushing half a century here, so I don't really have that kind of time.  It would  be kind of cool if you just wrote a profile like the rest of us.  And while you are at it, how about putting up some photos that show your face without sunglasses on?

I recently got a message from a guy whose only photo was of him shoving a hot dog in his face, while wearing sunglasses and a hat. I told him if we did actually meet I wouldn't know what he looked like well enough to actually find him.  Seriously, if I have to plaster the Internet with ridiculous selfies, you don't get a pass; we can be humiliated together.

Some men have very specific requirements on their profile, wanting a woman who is beautiful,  strong but feminine, confident, smart, funny, with a great job, who doesn't want to spend every minute with him, and isn't "needy" and isn't into "drama."  Does that woman even exist? Guys seem to be obsessed with living a drama-free life — and yet many say they are looking for their "partner in crime."  I'm thinking Bonnie and Clyde had quite a bit of drama in their lives. . .

I don't have too many requirements because I am well-aware of the fact that I am not perfect and I'm not looking for perfection in a relationship. I just want a guy who isn't a serial killer living in his mom's basement, who is halfway decent looking, will be nice to my dog, didn't vote for Trump, knows Batman is way cooler than Superman, and will come cycling with me — and most important, he has to be into me just as much as I am into him.

I don't want to give up hope yet.  I've been doing this for only a couple of months, and while I have met a few weird guys — and one who was certifiably insane (and of course I liked him the most because that's how it always is, right?) —  most of the guys I have met are pretty cool and I actually became friends with one. So I will keep checking my messages, trying to come up with creative responses to "Heyyyyy", and keep hoping my next paycheck doesn't bounce.  Wish me luck!

Dawn Cutaia is an East Coast liberal and attorney who moved to Wilsonville to learn how they do it on the Left Coast. You can reach her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.