Plenty of Fish


It’s been a rough week. Very rough week. There was more than the usual amount of work agita but that agita paled in comparison to the impact of the daily death and dying reports. From celebrities like Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall to the parents of friends, not one single day went by without some sort of morbid notice driving me to tears. Well, the week is over and I have had about enough. I woke up this morning, went to the Farmers’ Market, had a great breakfast at a Cuban café, had a meet and greet with two adorable kitties that will (shortly) be my new roommates, and then off to my favorite salon for a mani-pedi. And now I am lounging in the lovely quiet of my living room, typing and listening to some tunes. I am good.

So it seems like the right time for a lighter story, maybe with a sillier tone, than any I have employed all week. So, kids, tonight’s story is called “Plenty of Fish.”

One of my very dearest friends was diagnosed with cancer shortly after my husband passed away. She was very, very, very sick. She needed a bone marrow transplant. Thank God, her sister was a match. It was a harrowing, horrifying, experience, but she survived it and has been slowly recovering. It’s been over a year now so she was finally given the green light to do some traveling. She and her husband have been visiting various parts of the States including a house rental this spring in Pinehurst, NC. Unfortunately, during their planned time in Pinehurst, her husband was needed for a business commitment back in NY. Fortunately, I was ready, willing and more than able to make the trip so he was able to make his trip north while I flew south.

I was only going to be there for a few days so dear friend and I had to make the most out of the available time. Some shopping, some touring, and, of course, dining. And what’s a great meal without some great wine? Well, we had some great wine arighty. While we are knuckleheads neither of us was interested in meeting up with North Carolina’s finest, so after the perfunctory two glasses of Californian cabernet, we made our way back to the house, settled in, and cracked open another bottle. It was during this time that our conversation turned to my marital status and, more specifically, when it might be appropriate to consider dating.

Dating. Oh Jesus. Even the sound of it makes me take a really, long, deep breath. Well, usually it made me take a really, long, deep breath. Apparently after a few more sips of vino, my breathing was normal and I was totally open to the idea. But what to do? We were in a rental house in a small town in North Carolina, and we certainly were not going to step foot outside of that beautiful house. Too bad there wasn’t some manner to reach out to single men somewhere else in the world who might be interested in meeting a merry middle-aged widow.

WAIT A MINUTE …. I’m not sure which one of us had the brainstorm to break out the laptop, but break it out we did. Back in my misguided youth we used to have something call “drunk dialing.” I’m here to tell you there is something worse — at least with drunk dialing you might only be in contact with one person. With the availability of technology that can connect you to the world wide web, discretion is out the window.  But it gets worse. We were not just sending out email or posting to Facebook …. oh no… that wasn’t enough. We needed to get to a dating site.

Yup. My brother, a single fellow, told me about a dating site called Plenty of Fish (as in, “plenty of fish in the sea” – clever group of Canadians, eh?).  Of all the times for anything my brother told me to pop into my wine-addled brain, why now? (I wondered this later. At the moment, it seemed quite brilliant.). Why did it seem so brilliant? Well, Plate of Fish is a free dating site. So there was no fiscal commitment. Then there was the added benefit of anonymity. And finally, did I mention we were drunk? Oh yeah, nothing like a couple of drunk middle-aged broads with a laptop, a bottle of good wine, and a need to prove there was someone out there who might find one of the drunks interesting enough to consider dating.

So, dear old friend powered up the laptop. We poured another taste of wine and she typed my answers to the Plenty of Fish questionnaire into the site. The questions were pretty simple – general sense of age, physical description, geographic location, likes/dislikes, and deal-breakers. We laughed and laughed as we built my dream date and transmitted it to the Plenty of Fish universe. Dear Friend is convinced that I am a hot ticket item so she insisted we use an age range fifteen years younger, and older, than my current age. She went on to insist Dream Date should be about six feet tall, athletically built, and something akin to a rocket scientist. We went on and on for quite some time until the bottle was empty and we both really needed to pack it in. She dotted the i’s, crossed the t’s, and shut down the machine.

The next morning I awoke to quite a headache, and a phone buzzing off the table. What the heck? Well, it seemed our little foray into cyber dating was a massive success. I couldn’t believe how many responses I had to our post. “Wow, I guess dear friend is right” – I thought as I headed for the bottle of Tylenol. I started reading the replies and was wincing as I read some of the replies. “Hey Beautiful” sort of openings were not what I expected. Reply after reply … what the heck? Why were these men all so focus’ld on physicality?

And then it occurred to me to look at our creative writing from the previous evening. Oh my. I saw it. Dear Friend had typed our incredible list of requirements for Dream Date into the information about ME. It looked to the men of Plenty of Fish world that I was a six foot tall, athletically built woman who … well, I’ll spare you the rest. Let’s just say, much to my dismay, I now understood why I had an electronic mailbox filled with notes from interested parties. They thought a Brigitte Nielsen was on the hook (rather than a Melissa McCarthy).

I wrote a note on the site, to all those poor souls thinking they had hit the jackpot, saying I wasn’t ready to start dating after all and wishing them all the best … and I then promptly deleted the account. Egads.

It’s been quite a few months since that episode. I still snicker when I think of it. Still dateless – and that’s ok – as I have heard there are Plenty of Fish ….

coral reef


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