Fifty Shades of Crazy

Red roses. The traditional symbol of true love.

What is it about me that sends all the crazies flocking to my online dating profiles?


Last Monday, I had a first meeting with a man for breakfast. We had chatted back and forth on OKCupid; the first time we spoke on the phone, we talked for an hour and a half. When we met, it felt as if we had known each other forever. Conversation was effortless; we discovered we had many things in common, large and small.

After breakfast, he professed to be so taken with me that he wanted to meet me again the next day, before he left town for a two-week business trip. I agreed, and after that second meeting he presented me with a dozen red roses and a lovely bar of chocolate. It was like a scene in a romance novel. And we all know how those couples end up, right?

Indeed, our connection seemed magical. That night, he sent me an email  – with the subject line “last love of my life” – in which he exclaimed that he saw me as his “last chance at happiness.” At age 68, he is technically old enough to be my father and has a few rather serious health issues; also, since he is a naturalized US citizen so there would be cultural issues to deal with. But this man is brilliant, articulate, well-read, and writes like a poet – the kind of person I have dreamed of spending the rest of my life with. However, since my instincts have been known to fail me when it comes to matters of the heart, I called for an emergency meeting with my two local BFF’s. Over wine, Ruffles potato chips and French onion dip, I shared my story with them. They gave me their blessing.

I was in.

The cookie started to crumble Friday night. I logged into OKCupid to check for messages from him; there were none, but when I visited his profile I saw that he had updated it extensively, making it very flirtatious and suggestive, referring to himself as a “playboy” several times. I sent him a message and asked him what was going on; had he changed his mind about me? He followed up with a phone call and reassurances that he had made the changes in a playful response to a suggestion from a female friend of his on the site. He said he meant no harm by it and would take it down if I so desired.

Well, I did.

True to his word, when I checked in Saturday morning, the profile had been updated once again to reflect his status as a “taken” man. He spoke glowingly about me, said he remained on the site only for friendship and so that he wouldn’t lose his correspondences with me, and that members should “stay tuned” to learn the details about what was sure to be our happy ending.

But by Saturday evening, he had revamped his profile one more time, loudly proclaiming his status “I’m single again!” and removing all references to a cherished other.

What the what???

This time I called him. He said he didn’t understand why I was upset, that it didn’t mean a thing, that he simply likes to change his profile up much the way I like to change my hair style or hair color. Just for fun. Because he gets bored.

So much for true love.

* * *

The “dating game” has changed a lot since I first started playing. I have been criticized for referring to it as such, but with experiences like I have had, how could I feel otherwise about it?

Still, I like to think I have learned a thing or two (or three) in the past few months. I will summarize them using the words of others.

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
~ Mother Theresa

The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.
~ Maya Angelou

Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. 
~ Rumi

You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself. The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in a life is the relationship to the self. Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never lose.
~ Jo Courdert

* * * 
In one of his beautiful letters to me, Lover Boy said the following:
You said something of crucial importance in your notes and in our first marathon conversation. It spoke volumes about your emotional connection with me, something in your voice, the expression of your haunting loneliness, perhaps, even though you laughed nervously to hide it, but my sixth sense picked it up within five seconds of our conversation…What I picked up…was a fear on your part that you don’t deserve to be happy in love…You said you had several relationships but things would not work out at the end. Why? 

I guess that is the question.

And I am the only one who can find the answer.