Dear Guy Holding the Bear Head,
What were you thinking when you posted that picture? I can't even open your profile because I'm afraid of what else I might find. I'm also afraid I'll encourage you and that's the last thing I want to do. Since I'm not willing to spend the money to put my profile into troll mode I guess I'm just going to have to let you be, but really, what were you thinking? I know it's a live bear, therefore you've just GOT to know it's a live bear and chances are good every other woman looking your way knows you've got a live bear in a headlock. This is not manly behavior, this is insane. Crop the bear out or better yet, pick another photograph entirely because the look on your face speaks volumes and they aren't words we want to hear.
With best intentions,
Dear Guy with the Enormous Fish,
I know you can't see all the other guys holding fish so chances are you think you're the only one or you think you're the guy with the biggest fish or the biggest sunburned biceps or all of the above. Or maybe there's something I don't know about women because I clearly cannot see the women to the left and right of me any more than you can see the men. Maybe the women are clamoring for fish; maybe you have perfectly good reason to be showing me that big floppy thing but I don't think so. I think what you're doing is holding up the most important representation of your manhood and while I can appreciate that, you aren't selling me anything of interest. If you'd written something about trying to find a woman who liked to fish in your profile it would make perfect sense but you either didn't write anything of the sort or more likely didn't write anything at all. Therefore all I have to go on is you and that fish; or more accurately, the fish since it is bigger than your face and your chest.
I'm sorry about all this,
Woman Whining for no Really Good Reason
Dear Manly Cyclist,
I get why you made contact initially. Just because I didn't come right out and write that I wanted to bike across the lower forty-eight didn't mean it wasn't a possibility. After all, based on what I did write, I'm clearly active and I like to be outside. It's also entirely possible that I ran out of space so maybe I just didn't quite get to the bike. I can see how you might have been hopeful. I don't blame you for that. You were very clear in your initial communication that cycling was very important to you. I appreciated that. You even told me it was hard to be in a relationship with someone who didn't get on a bike because that person tended to resent the time you were away as well as training and recovery time. I appreciated that as well. Probably I should not have told you that I understood all of that and wasn't particularly bothered by it but that is the truth. I felt like it was OK to tell you that because I also told you my bike was in a heap on the floor of my garage and I had no intention of picking it up any time soon without a damn good reason and for the life of me I couldn't see why on earth I'd want to ride across the country. I explained that while bike paths were lovely and I really enjoyed them, the motorists I lived with were deadly and I lived in fear of them. I also explained that I wasn't particularly fond of hills and couldn't understand why ANYONE would do that sort of thing on purpose. I noted that every single one of your profile pictures involved you on a bike. I respected that. But you didn't stop. You wrote back that you appreciated my direct and honest response and that all you really needed was understanding and a willingness to maybe get back on the bike just a little. You said you'd be really very happy to help in a nice, safe place. I looked you up on the map. You live an hour away from me. I wondered if you'd done the math yet. Later you wrote that you didn't dance. I wrote back that I didn't care if you didn't dance. This is where I got in trouble. I said I didn't think it was necessary for partners to do the same things all the time and that as we got older and developed different interests we needed to be able to support those interests if we had any hope in maintaining long term relationships. I also mentioned that this particular form of dancing wasn't particularly difficult although I still didn't care. You came back for more. Now I don't really know what I'm going to do with you.
With No Small Amount of Trepidation,
Dear Guy Who Can Write,
I really only meant to tell you how much I appreciated that you can write. I assumed you'd see the mileage between us and understand I wasn't making an advance. Also, you wrote something about not having the focus to follow through at the end, sort of like a disclaimer and I really identified with that because that's what happens to me about seventy-five percent of the time and I was really happy to know I wasn't alone. Apparently that was meant to be humor and apparently however I responded was heard as understanding because suddenly you were hooked. I suppose I could have backed off right then and you would have gone away but I really thought you'd done the math but either you had not or it just didn't matter because no matter what I wrote you came back for more and each time we went into it deeper so now, last I checked we've got ourselves mired in the existential questions relating to the ability to reinvent ourselves once the age of discovery has been beaten out of us between the ages of six and eight. Today, you announce, I am a Viking. Today, I write in return, I am considering the merits of being a farmer if only for the sheer delight of practicing crop rotation. I am waiting for the other shoe to drop.
My Intentions Are Usually Good,
Single White Female
Dear 2% Dude,
Oh holy crap. What am I supposed to do with you? Every time I think I've managed to chase you off, there you are again. I recognize I am blatantly guilty of some of the worse reverse snobbery possible and having been on the receiving end I am truly sorry but I just can't help it. I feel like Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and I have to tell you, I wanted to slap the shit out of that girl. Not that I had any particular affection for Mr. Darcy, it's just that she might have continued to dislike him on his own merit. I've been as honest as I can think to be in the small boxes allocated for written communication. I haven't hit any character limit yet but the windows are so small you really have to do quite a bit of scrolling if anyone writes anything of actual substance. I think they want us on the phone as quickly as possible. I am grateful that no one seems to be in any hurry at the moment. In any event, I am telling you things but you don't seem to be all that put off by them. You've gone out of your way to make sure I know you'll spend the rest of your life in the city despite how much time you spend in the field but I've not so much as hinted that I'm leaving the country. The most I've done is noted that I come into the city to dance periodically which only tells you that I have a certain comfort level. Every time I write to you I think, OK, this is the last time. Surely you will not recover from this one. But a day or two go by and there you are again. I even make sure to leave at least a thirty-six hour gap before I come back to you and still, there you are.
Somewhat Regretfully But Still Here,
The Other 98%
Dear Run-on Sentence,
OK. You. I have some things to say to you and I know I need to ease up on this a bit because I've recently been informed that we, the female gender started part of this. So I'm sorry about the long walks on the beach and the moonlit whatever and the ability to go from jeans to little black dresses (you have your own version) but if I read 'love to laugh' one more time I'm going to gag. Except I already did. Surely you have already had just such a response to that line? Several of you have already named yourselves LoveToLaugh or some other such variation. Don't do that. It will end badly. Seriously. Who doesn't love to laugh? I'm thinking the guy with the bear in the headlock might be the one guy who doesn't love to laugh but maybe he could make note of that. All of these things that you put in your one long run-on sentence interspersed with lol and u and a series of capital letters that just don't make sense leave me with no idea of who you are. You did a copy paste of the guy to your left and the guy to the right of you did the same. The advanced degree you awarded yourself doesn't fly because I am almost one hundred percent certain that you have GOT to understand proper sentence structure and punctuation before you can have that MBA. The bottom line is you are insulting my intelligence. You are telling me I'm not worth the time to sit down and think this through. I'm not worth the time to even look at the squiggly red lines indicating a misspelled word or maybe you did this on your phone. Or maybe, even worse, you're telling me that you're not worth the time to take thirty minutes to put it together cleanly even if it's just five sentences. I used to find this really irritating. Now I'm sad. I wish you thought more of yourself. Also, please put on a shirt. I don't know you.
The Bag of Potato Chips Still Sitting on the Table
Dear Old School Gentleman,
Got three words for you: I'm no lady. Move along now. (OK, that's really six)
Yours in Peace,
Ah. You. I don't even know what to say. If there weren't so many of you I'd let this roll off my back and not give it a second thought but you just keep coming, one or two a week every single god damn week. And you know what? You push my buttons. You push buttons I didn't even know I had. The first button you pushed was the one called Cougar; that totally, horribly, god awfully sexist term for women who chase or sleep with men young enough to be their sons. And here I didn't even do anything, you just got in front of me. The word Cougar is like slut on steroids. We used to just have the term Mrs. Robinson for shaming older women but now we have this. Men can run off with younger women and we just shake our heads at worst and at best people pump their fists and say YEAH, BABY! HE TAPPED THAT! If the age difference is really extreme they still don't say anything about him, they just ask, what was she thinking? So I hear this word in my head every time one of you shows up at my proverbial doorstep and I haven't done anything to deserve this. Even if I had, would that still make me a super slut? My shame is epic. I play with my kids in an attempt to lighten up. I send your profile photos and we have contests to see who is prettiest and who is youngest. I never, ever open your profiles, a just take a screen shot of the outside, because I don't want you to think you have any of my attention. It would give you the wrong idea. You send the most heartfelt missives. Most of you write very well. I expect your profiles would also be well written but I can't look. I've come so close to asking why you do this. People tell me it's because you expect me to have money. That makes me feel even worse. There's really no good answer here. I remember my last boyfriend telling me another man didn't really want me, he just wanted to get at my boyfriend and I think about the power men have to destroy women. There's no good answer here. I wish you would all go away. Maybe another woman would be flattered. I am aching and heartbroken for something I can't even name.
With deep regret,