“What the personal ad hath brought together let no man separate….” said a little cartoon on my mirror, years ago when out of desperation I put a personal ad in the paper. You know, the one where you get 140 characters to put all your vital information so that a host of “characters” will come to haunt you!! SWF NS Christian 20’s seeks SWM Christian NS. Likes music, dancing, and church. Northern IL 687-445-8769. Yep, that’s about all we could give out!
I don’t even remember his name or what his personal ad said, or what we had in common, but we agreed to meet, after talking on the phone for about 30 minutes, at a town half way between our homes which were 2 hours apart. There was a free Christian concert at a church in that town and he thought we could meet for dinner first and then go to see Mark Lowry, a Christian comedian, for an evening of laughs. This town had a major road that went through the town, Business 20, and then another Route 20 that went around town. He tried to give me directions so that I would take Business 20 to our meeting place, but without a cell phone or GPS I got terribly lost! I reached the restaurant about 15 minutes before the concert was to begin so there was no time for dinner, he announced, and we’d have to wait until after the concert to eat! Did I get to weigh in on the decision? No, of course not. And, he tried to figure out, not just once, but several times, where I made the wrong turn so that I caused us to miss dinner! The only laughing I did that night was at some of Lowry’s jokes along with the gurgles of my stomach, begging me to eat! The other time I laughed? When he called to ask me out again! (Well, I didn’t really laugh. I just said the drive was too long.) Well, it was! I just couldn’t bear the thought of having my inept navigating skills pointed out to me over and over again!
From personal ads I advanced to internet romance. The primitive form was just black letters on a white screen, with no fancy pictures to look at but we could at least email each other a bit. That’s how I met Robert, who was divorced but who failed to tell me how many times he had been divorced! I didn’t find out that it had been 4 times until after I told him I didn’t want to continue our relationship. I knew he was upset about our breakup when he drove 45 minutes to my house to hang a sign on the light pole on our street corner, declaring his love for me in huge, bold letters! Apparently he wasn’t that upset because not long after that, he got married for the 5th time! His last name was Wright but he was not right!
Internet dating continued to evolve into more detailed lists of what you wanted or didn’t want in someone. Stuart said he had a very sarcastic sense of humor and he wanted to get to know me. I really detest sarcasm so I refused his invitations several times. Eventually he wore me down and I agreed to talk to him on the phone. I didn’t hear any sarcasm. Maybe that was an exaggeration on his part but I didn’t hear it on the phone or in person as we started the long distance dating game. And then, it happened. He made a very sarcastic remark and then looking at me said, “There’s that biting sarcasm!” And just when I was really starting to like him! I cried on the way to the airport because I knew I couldn’t continue our relationship.
There were others, some very short – like the time I asked someone how long he had been divorced which is when he told me he wasn’t – yet. Oops, not the right answer! I stopped the process but he marked every “Reason the relationship ended” on the list so that any future suitors would be discouraged from pursuing this horrible person.
And finally, James, the Moody student who asked, in an email, what church I went to. He qualified it by saying, “Please don’t say Willowcreek.” I should have just said, “Willowcreek!” and hung up on him (can you hang up on email?) But I went on to defend the church I love to which he replied, “Me thinks she doth protest too much!” “Off with his head!” is what I say!
Now are all internet dating relationships destined to end as mine did? No. I know several people who met the love of their life online. They are happily married and not to an ax murderer! So, it is possible. Just, please be careful – be very, very careful. Enough said.