Testing A Dating Theory

It read; "Ugly, four-hundred-pound witch with green eyes, red hair, and warts on nose looking for some poor sucker to bewitch." I tested my theory. I figured that there are several reasons why people are not quite honest about themselves when they write an online "dating" ad. First, many people really have no idea how other people see them. Because, in their eyes, they are describing who they "think" they are. Second, there are some people who are afraid to describe themselves as they think others see them. Like, some people believe themselves to be ugly or plain when they're really not. Third, the concept of "truth in advertising" does not apply to dating ads. Bearing this in mind, and not really wanting to meet anybody because I did it on a dare, I decided to write the worst possible ad where nothing was the truth. Also, I weighed two hundred pounds, and I figured that if I did meet someone who was expecting a four-hundred-pound ugly witch, he would be pleasantly surprised to see someone a lot better than the ad said. The clerk taking the ad was shocked at what I wanted to list as my description. She tried to talk me out of it. I asked her how many responses per week an ad could generate. She said that the average number of responses to an ad was three per week. Then she added, "You won't get any responses, honey! Change the ad!" I told her no. I wanted to keep the wording just the way had I put it. I got fifty-six responses to my ad the first day! I dated ten of the fifty-six men. Joseph described himself as a "tall, portly gentleman with red hair and lots of freckles". He was, in fact, a gentleman and very likable. He was interesting, funny, intelligent, and might have weighed four or five hundred pounds. He was not "portly". He was grossly obese. He was a black man, and his freckles were white. I can't think of anyone who would describe his hair as being red. I brought a friend with me for safety in numbers. I figured that if he didn't like me, they might hit it off. We thoroughly enjoyed our date out together. When we arrived back at his house (which was beautiful and very well-tended), we told him that he was a really great guy and either one of us (or both) was willing to be his friend. He stated that he wanted a lover as soon as possible and hoped to eventually get married. When he asked for a kiss goodnight, both of us agreed to give him a small kiss. As I reached up to hug him, this really big boil on his neck burst and squirted lots of puss all over my fingers. That was it for me. John was good looking and sort of pleasant, but he kept acting jittery. I ended that coffee meeting quickly. My gut instincts were right! The next day, he was arrested. Yikes! I got out of that one. I met one wonderful man through the personals. He didn't tell me where he was taking me. When I asked what type of clothes would be appropriate for our date, he said, "Casual if you want. Just wear whatever you feel most comfortable in." That, of course, at my age then, was upscale jeans and a snazzy blouse. I was horrified to find out he'd planned our date at a five-star French restaurant where the Matre de, the wine steward, the chefs, and all the rest of their staff came to be introduced to me. I was only a little less embarrassed because I was dining with someone who weighed about six hundred pounds and wore a tent because nothing else would fit. That's what I got for saying that I weighed four hundred pounds. He was a lovely man, though. His description of himself said that he was "a little overweight". He was very pleasant company, but my teenagers and their friends would be mercilessly cruel to him. I couldn't subject him to their behavior. They might have made efforts to be nice to him, but they would not have accepted him as a boyfriend or husband for me. He had scads of money, but that would not have earned him the respect that he deserved. I was sorry to say goodbye. If I had met him now that the kids are living on their own, I'd probably date him if he was well enough. I met an Asian motorcycle cop. Our coffee date lasted three hours. He was very good looking and very nice. He was fun to talk to and interesting. He was also pining over his estranged wife. We ended up talking about his wife and how he could try to heal some of the wounds between them. I gave him the woman's eye view and explained to him what certain things meant. Like, when your wife is fuming, you ask what is wrong, she says, "Nothing," and then snarls it at you, you had damned well better figure out what you have done wrong or you are toast. If you can't figure it out, you better buy flowers and candy, and do it quickly. You can say, "I'm not sure what I did, but I love you and don't want you to be upset. Please tell me how I can fix what is wrong." I've tried this approach when I've dated men. It works to open the gates of communication a lot of the time. Then you have to really listen to your partner's answer. You have to decide if you are willing to compromise on each issue. When a wife and mother say, "You're not spending enough time with the kids," don't argue. What she is really saying could be that because you don't spend enough time with the kids, she has to be on-call twenty-four hours a day. She needs some alone time. Your correct answer might be, "How about a set day of the week be 'Ladies' Night Out?'" And then tell her that you will hold the fort while she gets some much-needed relaxation. One additional night a week you hire a babysitter and take her out on a date. Sometimes, you don't have to actually do anything but just listen and give her an adult to talk to. If you say you'll do something, you had better resign yourself that, come hell or high water, YOU WILL do it. Don't promise you'll do something unless you will carry through. The guy was really into the conversation. At the end, he apologized because he was just looking for cheap thrills, but said that he was really glad to have met me. He said he now saw how just maybe he could fix things up with his wife. We parted friends. Another guy was a motorcycle rider with one glass eye. He was great! But by the time the dinner date was over, I had a headache from trying to look him in the eye. When I was sure I was looking in the good eye, it would roll around and go every which way. The guy always wanted to be wearing sunglasses. But as a part of how I deal with people, I prefer to look somebody right in the eye. That way I can tell when they are serious about something and when they are just joking. Each guy had a different and varied story. Although I didn't go out for coffee or dinner with very many, I did have many telephone conversations with most of the fifty-six guys. I told them plain and simple that I wasn't going to date very many of them because I was looking for friends first and maybe a boyfriend later. One of the guys was a super guy. He was tall, dark, and meltingly good looking. He was a rich doctor. He was sexy as all-get-out. He had a perfect body shape, gorgeous eyes (neither one of them was a glass eye), and was really smart, humorous, and romantic. He was everything I thought I had been looking for in a man. If he had taken it slower, I might have actually gone out with him. We had long phone conversations every night. I didn't even tell him what city I lived in. Somehow, after my kids and I had all gone to bed, he showed up at our apartment with long-stemmed red roses and candy. I got the shock of my life. There I was in my pajamas, and he shows up all dressed up and gorgeous. It was after 10 p.m., the night before a work day (and he knew that), with no advance warning. He knew my teenaged kids were home. I had no clue he even knew where I lived. I felt like I had been stalked. I had not even met him yet. I guess it was because I wasn't given a choice in the matter. I wasn't allowed to go to a safe place to meet him. Personals ads frequently tell you not to invite somebody you met through the ads home until you have met in a public place where it is safe for you to see whether your gut instincts tell you the guy's okay. Later, I questioned my sanity, but I made him leave. I had several interesting experiences with the guys I met through dating sites. For some reason, even without the dating sites, there are too many men interested in me. I'm shy. I picked just one, and we've been going out for two years now. I don't think I am that pretty, but my guy thinks all men are attracted to me. Who knows? Maybe they are because a lot of guys try to flirt with me. The general consensus is that my ad was the funniest thing they ever read, and they all say I'm not ugly, I'm not a witch, and I certainly don't have warts on my nose or weigh four hundred pounds. Many of the fifty-six guys that answered the original ad said that they did so because they figured I just had to be joking, and they sure wanted to meet somebody with a sense of humor like mine. It's funny. I told so many lies in that ad, yet many people saw right through it and were attracted anyway.

— Roberta, 44

Love Library: Featured Articles