Sitting at Spur this morning, soaking up the sun and appreciating the absolute beauty of the place that we live in, saturated with the holiday atmosphere – absolute bliss – when something came out of my inevitable hobby of observing, listening and learning about the human race, which sparked an idea for this post.
It was a beautiful morning – the sun beaming down on the beach, its rays doing a subtle dance on the soft ripple on the water, barely a breeze in the air. All around were people laughing and talking. Two tables away from me sat a mother and her (slightly embarrassed) son. He is trying his utmost to be the cool dude in his orange Johnny Bravo shirts, flexing whatever little muscles he has. His mom on the other hand has taken a liking in the three middle-aged guys at the table next to them (who by the looks of it where quite bored by her jabbering and much more interested in keeping a careful eye on the abundance of bikini-clad girls on the beach). She practically gave them their condensed family history – everything from where the young man’s dad left just after he was born (with so much emphasis on the fact that she has not been with anyone since then that you had no other choice but to wonder about that) up to him going doing Grade 12 this year and how he is captain of the Rugby A team and hopes to be a Springbok one day.
Just outside, at the park turned carnival grounds for the holiday, a boy of about 4 or 5 was being shot into the air by the bungee-rocket-trampoline thing, laughter bubbling from inside in that pure and innocent, untainted way that you can only get from a child. When his turn was up he shouted “again, again, please daddy” and daddy dutifully paid for another round of thrills for his son. By the third or fourth jump on the second go, however, things turned sour when he did a forward flip and proceeded to illustrate the power of projectile vomit in a child. EVERYONE had to scatter to miss the onslaught. Gross but hilarious!
My attention was grabbed by a couple who sat just behind me. Not being able to see them, I had to form my own ideas of what I thought they would look like. Their conversation had the nervous ring to it of two people just getting to know each other, a first date perhaps. She was laughing just a little too loudly at the silly (and sometimes downright lame) jokes he made. He was talking just a little more than men would normally do, painting a picture of who he is and what he likes. Some of their comments were insightful, some made me laugh and some actually made me go “yeah right, just wait six months and then we’ll see where you stand on that point”.
The conversation turned to online dating (and from what I can gather that is where they met) and went something like this:
Him: I must say some of the girls I have met are not at all the same as on their profiles
Her: Yes, you meet some pretty weird people.
Him: No, I mean the photos! Most of their photos are from a long time ago or done by professionals or goes back to a time when they were still actually something to look at. Then you meet up with the girl and she is an absolute dog (Yes, those were his exact words!)
Her: (laughing nervously) Well at least mine is not that old and I had to put a couple of other ones on there of my earlier days, just so they could see what I used to look like (I’m thinking: what you used to look like doesn’t really matter to the guy you are going to meet, now does it?)
Him: Yes well, at least I wasn’t shocked when I saw you.
Her: (laughing just a little too loud for a little too long again)
The conversation carried on for a couple more minutes then moved on to another subject and I soon lost interest until they asked the waiter for the bill. I simply had to see what they looked like!!!
She is probably in her early forties. Not unattractive by a long shot, but definitely not someone who you would give a second glance if she had to pass you in the grocery isle at your local supermarket. He is probably in his late fifties / early sixties with the tell-tale pot belly and red face of someone who enjoys his braaivleis and brandy a little too much. They walked towards the exit with that nervous uncertainty of “should I take his hand?” and “should I put my arm around her shoulder?”. Here is the shocker thought: they both were wearing wedding bands. That little sliver of gold on their ring fingers made me cold to the core and sent a thousand questions tumbling through my mind.
Maybe I missed the part of the conversation where they exchanged stories of how their respective spouses had died unexpectedly and they just can bring themselves to the point to take off the rings. In my heart of hearts I was (still am actually) fiercely hoping that it is indeed what has happened here.
My gut and most likely recent personal experiences tell me a different story however. What if they are there because they are just looking at an out for what they have at the moment? Maybe her husband beats her and his wife is cold and distant. That would give them reason to want to get out, right? But do their partners know this? Do they know that they are out there, painting a picture of who they want to be, flirting with love, with the feelings of being accepted and loved? Do they know that they will wake up someday soon and that person will no longer be there?
What if they are there just simply because they are bored with what has become of their life? Kids all grown up and nothing to look forward to except the mundane existence of going to work, paying the bills, obligatory family visits and listening to your wife nag about the gutters that need to be cleaned or your husband refusing to drop the habit of leaving his dirty socks next to the couch. What if they are just bored and are just looking for a new leash of life. Will they be telling that to each other? Will their spouses be shocked to realise that their “blissful and comfortable” marriage is nothing but a sham?
I sat and got lost in memories of what I have gone through, all the questions I still hide behind the “I couldn’t care less” attitude and the theories or where I was wrong in all of it. Tears running down my cheeks pulled me back to the present just in time to see them embrace outside while looking over the ocean to Table Mountain etched against the horizon. I had the sudden urge to run after them and ask these questions. Luckily I realized just in time that I would come across as nothing more than a crazed, nosey chick with wild hair and tears in her eyes.
Why do people do the things they do in the name of love? With so many people out there looking for that one person that they can share a life with, someone who will just love them and accept them – warts and all – why do they lie and cheat and hurt and confuse? If you are unhappy and it cannot be fixed, get out. Get out and then go on with your life! Why do they run off and have affairs just to go back after a while, leaving someone behind with a broken heart and a million questions. You fell for that someone once; you loved them with all your heart. What happened? What went wrong? Why do you abuse it? Why can’t you just appreciate and treasure what you have, working at it day after day, giving it your all to make it work no matter what?
I’m fast losing track of where I was planning to go with this post, so let me get back there.
I dabbled in online dating not too long ago, and I must tell you I don’t know where these online dating sites get their models from, but they are obviously not the candidates that are online. In a period of one week three guys made contact with me. The one went straight into asking me about my sexual preferences, history, experiences and so on. He was struck of the list in the blink of an eye. Number 2 lost interest very fast when he heard that I had a son (not interested in breeders apparently?!). Number 3 turned out to be very good at performing an Irish jig to any tune – and I mean anything – and it soon became clear that he is about 11 eggs short of a dozen, if you know what I mean.
As Sailor pointed out recently: I sure know how to pick them!
Needless to say the experience and my profile were very short-lived.
Sharon Stone once said (it goes for both men and woman though):
So my question is this: with people being able to fake it in a relationship while you are there, living with them, sharing your thoughts and dreams and hopes and space, without you knowing until it is too late, are there any real success stories that come from online dating? Online dating – is it worth it?
I’d love to hear about the good (and bad) online dating experiences you or your friends might have had.