The Match Essay
NOTE: This essay was written by a woman interviewed by The Washington Post whose mother helps her find dates on Match.com.
Jennifer Aniston. Christie Brinkley. Sheryl Crow. Teri Hatcher. Either dumped or cheated on in a most humiliating and public way.
Every woman in the dating world has thought, "If it can happen to her, it can happen to me." While he's snoring away, we think quietly at night about what we can do to make sure it doesn't happen to us.
We respond by trying to make our stomachs flatter, our boobs bigger, our faces prettier, and our clothes tighter and more revealing. We do everything possible to please our man. You prefer French cooking? Mais oui, mon cher! You want my hair long? No problem, I'll get a hair extension. Spending part of your vacation with buddies? Go have a good time. You don't want to be with my family on Christmas? I'll see you on New Year's Eve. Is that OK or would you prefer some other time? Do you like my mani-pedi'd, spray on tanned, liposuctioned, Pilates body? Can't commit? Oh, that's right. You're just not that into me. Or her. Or her. Or her.
What the hell has happened? Three words. Match dot com. Match.com and other online dating services have given men access to thousands and thousands of women in every city who look just as great in jeans and a little black dress (the requirement in every man's profile), a smorgasbord of women each one more delicious to devour than the next.
And that awful book, He's Just Not That Into You, provides a warm blankie of an excuse for every man who just cannot commit. "Hey! He's just not that into you. Move on, sister!" While I agree with the tenant of the book to just move on to find the next one, they provide no rules to we women who will likely encounter yet another man who gorges at the table we have set for them.
We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again only to find exactly the same man in different clothes but using the same M.O. until yet again we realize he's just not that into any woman. When they finally are into making a commitment, they are well into their 40s, ready to settle down with their paunch, their bald head, and their decades of treating women poorly.
Ladies, this is what we have to look forward to unless we set up and set some ground rules of our own, to stop this awful trend that Match has fostered. It is an "oh well that didn't work out -- next!" attitude that is damaging millions of people in their 20s and 30s who could be building fulfilling, long-term relationships. We are bolting sooner and sooner if there is a lull in the conversation or the slightest hint of incompatibility, knowing that the next one will appear within a few mouse clicks.
I'm a good-looking woman with a good career. I probably have a few more jokes in my quiver, a few more laughs in my belly, and a few more paper umbrellas than most people because I am rather a positive, upbeat, happy, glass overflowing kind of person. I like men. And yet in my 30s I dated someone who, unbeknownst to me, was a practicing bi-sexual. I dated someone who hid his depression and profound anxiety for nearly a year. I dated someone who didn't tell me he was still in love with his ex-girlfriend until eight months into the relationship. I even had a blind date arranged by a "famous person's" agent who told me this "famous person" in his mid 40s wanted to meet me, only to find Jackie Mason sitting at the table. I found someone in bed with another woman who now wants to date me again. Uh, no! I dated someone who dumped me after telling me I was the love of his life because he didn't know where he was going in life. All met online; because I am too effing busy in my professional life to join a cooking class or go grocery shopping - where all the eligible bachelors are supposed to be spending their time.
I am every woman. And I am taking it upon myself to step up and demand dignity and respect for dating women of all ages.
I will remain anonymous. My name doesn't matter because I am every woman. Normal, happy, well functioning. Like you.
I call on all women in all cities to start dignified dating behavior everywhere.
Winning definitely isn’t everything, and I know this from experience. After months of training in the dark in all conditions, our first match day had arrived. This was to be the first match any of us had ever played in before, in the first ever girls’ rugby team at my school, and the pressure was on. Our friends were counting on us to put in a great performance and do the school proud, and I’d never seen our coach looking so nervous. She had played at international level herself, but she was pale, sweaty, and biting her nails – clear signs of feeling the pressure.
No one spoke as we clambered onto the bus. I was worried I would be sick if I opened my mouth, so I stared uneasily out the window all the way there. It was better to avoid eye contact with my teammates at that point anyway, because I don’t think any of us knew what to say. As we pulled into the gates, a sense of dread spread throughout my body, but it was joined by a new sensation: excitement. This was going to be fun, and I was going to try and enjoy every minute.
Smiling weakly but as encouragingly as possible at my friends, we somewhat shakily stepped off the bus, grabbed our bags and headed off to change. When we were all nearly ready, one player had a panic and ran around like a (hysterical) headless chicken because she had forgotten her socks, but luckily the coach arrived to save the day, announcing that she had brought spares of everything because she knew how forgetful some of us could be at times.
Warming up with everyone watching us was an experience. My hands became all clammy from nerves, and I kept dropping the ball, which made me more nervous, and my hands sweatier. It was like this horrendous infinite cycle that could just go on forever.
Luckily it didn’t, as kick-off time was nearly upon us. We gathered for a last minute team talk with our rather ashen-faced captain, before the coin toss, which we lost. I watched the ball shoot up into the air, and realising it was coming in my direction, got under it, arms outstretched, and shaking slightly. The last thing I remember of the game was feeling a weight hit my legs, before smashing my head on the ground. I was concussed, and had to sit out of the rest of the match. I don’t remember the match but we lost, by a big margin, and I was dazed and confused and teammates had sprained ankles and bloody noses, but it was the greatest day of our lives. We didn’t win, but it didn’t matter.