If the head shots are good I take a screenshot and send it to the group chat I renamed Princess Sparkle Pony after a political blogger from the Bush (as in Shrub) era. The group chat is for me, Lucia, and Mike and I have no idea how far it goes back. With the screenshot I include the age, location, and any other pertinent information. The most recent debate is the actual age range of this demographic and like any demographic it's a moving target. We agree that anything under 21 is a felony and needs to be sent back to its mother (I opted for 25; that was vetoed) and anything over 35 landed in the full grown adult camp by default whether it was a fully formed human or not based on the premise that we all know some much older non-fully functioning humans of multiple genders who are MUCH older than 35 but you have to draw the line somewhere. Most of the time they self-select and we don't have to debate whether or not they fall into the box of collectibles, not unlike Disney characters which sit up on the metaphorical shelf each with a large cartoon question mark like a shadow behind his head. Why are you here?
I don't know because I don't interact. I take the screenshot if it's worth taking, delete, and move on.
In between we debate the root cause of these anomalies. Mike suggests we debate the root cause of the Man with the Bear in the Head Lock (actually, it's a choke hold but head lock sounds better) because that's stranger than all the boys put together, or the God Fearing Man looking for a God Fearing Wife who came after ME?! Twice? Stacked up against that, the cranky guy doesn't seem all that unusual; just conservative, cranky, and lonely. Lucia says, why the hell don't you just ask?
Because, Love, the last thing you want to do is interact with something you really want nothing to do with. It ends badly. It always ends badly. It's like giving a mouse a cookie except the mouse might be psychotic, you just don't know. She wants me to ask one of the boys who writes particularly well. Those might be safest she thinks. I think not. I think those might be the next Hannibal Lecter, well educated, well spoken, and of clear intent. Best to avoid all of them although the boys who type 'Yo!' and press send come closest to forcing my hands to the keyboard because what could it possibly hurt to type back 'Adrienne!' and run like hell. It's not like he'd have a clue what I was going on about. What Millennial has seen much less heard of Rocky? I didn't think so. But I don't do this.
Yesterday I was multi-tasking and when I came up for air I realized I needed to clear out my inbox or I might miss one I actually wanted to interact with. There he was. This week's Disney character for the shelf at the far end of the spectrum, almost out of the box but not quite. The message pops up outside the profile so you can read it without being seen but a photo thumbnail is attached. He was wearing something suspiciously orange, like a jumpsuit maybe but it was hard to tell. Since there was a bird sitting on his shoulder I decided he wasn't incarcerated. After reading the initial message and thinking about it for exactly zero seconds I responded and below is the outcome.
Relaxed: Hi Alecto my name is Dustin, I looked at your profile and you look great. I just turned 32 in March, I'm 6 feet tall, Irish, and am looking for a long term relationship. I enjoy the beach - love sunsets, picnics, orchards and most out door activities. I also like hanging around the house watchinjg NETFLIX with a home cooked meal and a glass of wine. I'm More of a go to the bar type, than a go to the club type and drinking is not a big part of my life. I also like to travel, try new things, and have a positive outlook on life. What do you do for work?
Alecto: Hi sweetie, I get about one or two of you a week and almost never respond but today for some reason, I've just got to. So here goes. You are 32 years old. I am 53 years old. Where do you see this going? I have three children; they are 16, 25, and 30. My son, who is 30, would probably have heart failure if I brought you home. I can't quite figure out why I have contact from the 21 - 35 crowd, maybe you can tell me? And for work, I'm in the financial IT world. I've been working with SEC compliance software since 1997 :)
Relaxed: The younger dating crowd sucks in my experience, no values and I thought you were attractive
Relaxed: I'm not trying to kill your son though, so thank you for being honest about your opinions on dating younger.
Relaxed: You change your mind you let me know
Alecto: Well, OK, thanks shedding some light on that. With regard to dating in my own pool, I do better in my own age bracket, no offense intended to yours at all. We are older, we have lived more, we develop richer, broader lives, there's more to us. Some people call it baggage, I call it life. I guess it all depends on what you do with it. Right now I'm looking at a 15 year plan. Where will I be when I'm 68? Who will I be with? Who will come to a small farm in Vermont and want to hike into the mountains with me? Who will take care of their body well enough to be able to do that? Then I'll be looking at the next 15 years... That's where my head's at. You'll be 47 and hopefully have a couple of medium size kids :)
Relaxed: I have baggage 2 kids already they don't live with me but I'm very close to them and spend lots of time with them. I plan retirement in 8 years and living low key relaxing long life.
And there the conversation ended. I almost typed back: We are not speaking the same language, you and I, but you can't tell. I can tell. Then I realized if he couldn't tell we weren't speaking the same language there was no point in telling him that so I just stopped talking which is the universal signal for 'go away now, please'. On that subject, the words, 'go away now, please' are not the universal signal for 'go away now, please' because you are still talking. Silence is the only thing that means 'go away now, please'. Took me a while to work that one out.
Anyway, Dustin said the same thing to me that the cranky guy said. The word he used was attractive. I can excuse it in Dustin because he doesn't know what the hell he'd be getting himself into but I have a harder time excusing it in my own generation because they DO know what the hell they'd be getting themselves into because they've been to the rodeo a time or two. So if your profile says you want a God Fearing woman, then go find one. If your profile states very clearly that you need a conservative woman, for the love of god don't call a woman a 'feminist progressive' (I'm not entirely sure what that means either), tell her liberalism is a mental illness and then try to pick her up. Or.........
Turn inward with a giant eraser and start letting go of some of that stuff that might not be working for you because you're not paying attention to it anyway.
I'm starting to think I might be the only profile out there without a big list of negatives which doesn't mean I don't have them, I just haven't seen fit to publish the damn list and I have to tell you, I notice these days it's quite a list. I'm not saying I should or should not change any of it because some of it is there for a very good reason but I probably need to be actively conscious about it.
All that said, I can't really put Dustin on the Disney shelf. He was too honest and too willing to put himself out there. It's entirely possible some of the other boys would come off the shelf if I gave them the same chance but then I'd run screaming into the marsh so that's not happening. I have my answer or at least enough of an answer. The boy or boys who type 'Yo!' are the same boys who have always said or typed 'Yo!'. Nothing new there. The boys who write beautiful prose may or may not be serpents wrapped around branches bearing fruit I'm not particularly fond of in the first place. But the 21 year olds with too much product in their hair? Short on rent. All the way :)
On a lighter note, this was in my feed. The little blue heart means he's paid some sort of fee to have that photograph remain on my screen for at least three seconds longer than it might have otherwise. I sort of wish I'd hovered or at least stopped because I suspect a reasonable sense of humor behind that first shot.
Yes, world, I assume everything I've posted has been plastered all over the inside of the 42nd St subway station.