The Angry Onion Goes Personal

“Attractive, fit, petite, professional woman seeking a person to cook with. I teach journalism at University, write for my local newspaper and also edit manuscripts as well as other professional work of this nature. I am a Zen practitioner, plant based diet environmentalist who comes from a place of compassion. I basically live my life in a thoughtful way because I want to mitigate the damage I do on this planet. I value kindness, honesty and decency. I adore the arts, however they come to me, music, hiking, museums and probably many things I haven’t learned yet. I love learning, growing and stretching myself. But, because I live in a tiny town I have struggled to find a like minded man. I’m not judging this but recognizing it. If you’re also a person who is environmentally aware, are vegan/vegetarian or willing to consider giving up meat, kind, educated and fit–I would love to hear from you. “

This is the ad I took out on Craigslist. I included a head shot with no Photoshop wearing a suit jacket. It’s the same picture I use for work bios and LinkedIn, available on line already.

The ad seems a little snooty and not humble enough. I don’t go around describing myself that way–but it’s sort of like advertising. I wouldn’t sell a couch by saying, “It’s okay. I think my dog lifted his leg once and it’s ripped underneath, but you can get by.” Still, as I read it again it kind of drips with privilege. That wasn’t my goal, but it never is for any of us when we come off that way.

The intention of the ad was to cast a line into a pond of hopefulness and see if, I don’t know, a unicorn would pop out.

This was against the advice of my matchmaker/daughter who later said, “You need to learn yourself. What is important to you? What are your own pros and cons and what does a relationship need to look like for you? You’re jumping ahead and getting attached to some image before you’ve done the right foundation work for yourself.”

Of course, she’s right.

I knew it rather quickly when I got 300 responses in 24 hours. Something is not right about that. Now, many respondents were holding dead fish and a fishing pole, some discussed some things that even made me blush which is a big statement because I was raised by an actual sailor and have been in the back room with the boys smoking cigars and drinking single malt Scotch and heard them talk, but I suspect the intention was to be shocking.

I even had one from Dubai. Dubai? How? He was actually quite nice and I learned about his culture and beliefs, so that’s a win. But becoming a couple is not going to happen.

Here is what did happen: I had a shocking number of nice men who wrote to say they liked what I wrote, thought I had a pretty smile and wanted to wish me well. Actually that was the majority. It doesn’t matter right now if any of them would become a relationship. I may never find out because of three factors:

  1. The matchmaker has informed me I am outside of our agreement and it stops now.
  2. Who can possibly read through that many e-mails, sort them and be coherent in a response?
  3. While finding love after 50 can be some work, it cannot be a full time job. I have a job and I need to do it, like every day. I can’t go so far down the looking for love tunnel that I don’t show up in my existing life. Here. Now.

But, I have to say the experience has shown me a few things. I realize there are plenty of nice guys out there, who like me, kind of wish to wash someone else’s socks in the load they are already doing and they wouldn’t mind investing in a day to day relationship. It also shows that human beings seek partnership. I am not alone in being alone.

If nothing more ever came of this experiment of posting an ad, that would be plenty. It’s also nice to hear that my values are not so weird no one can relate and that I look okay, maybe even good enough. As an aging woman, do you know how hard it is to even get there? Good enough-has a nice ring to it.

This process has been enlightening in every bump, every hope and every failure. I’ve learned that I value honesty and humility a whole lot, probably more than any other qualities, and that there is plenty of love, respect and caring to go around.

It makes me wonder why we haven’t come together and ended hunger and homelessness by now. It makes me think one day we will.

I’m delighted that there is no chance now that I will die alone and bitter. I may be alone but I will not be bitter. How could I be bitter in the face of so many people all wishing on stars, all looking on Craigslist for that off chance that maybe… and all, just like me, supposing that love of all kinds is great but a person who’s socks you can launder, who’s sneeze is cute and who may not like your spinach but will enjoy your potatoes, would be a great thing?

I know I could have been loved even if I choose to take a particular sort of pass. Wow.

I titled my ad, “Cooking for Two”. I think that I’m serious about that. Maybe one day I’ll spring for a dining table so we can enjoy that meal together and we can invite our children and grand children. Because family is love stitched together by good intention–not perfection nor even history. Whoever shows up at that table is family. I’m looking forward to see how it all turns out.

Family is a decision. So I’ll do the assignment for my matchmaker which is over due and know this life is pretty good and this world is filled with wonder and simplicity all so powerful even a simple ad on Craigslist can become a novel experience.


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