I admit I began my explorations with high expectations. I had lived in Coupledom for quite some time, Marriageville for a few years, and finally Divorce City for just one but intense year. So I was eager to venture into the wide, vast, and varied wilds of Dateland, a place I had not been for many years and when I had been, had never thoroughly explored.
I’m afraid it has been a journey rife with disappointment. Little did I know that even after more than a decade, the customs and behaviors of Dateland have not changed. The landscape has altered, what with the discovery of Virtuality and the technological advances to maneuver through this territory (online dating, email, IM, text messaging, etc.), but the customs and behaviors in Virtuality virtually ape the ones in Dateland, albeit more quickly.
However, the behavior I’ve observed and the data I’ve gathered is no less valuable. I’ve come to witness a variety of members of the species, Straight-Man-Singulus. (The other species in Dateland include Straight-Woman-Singulus, Gay-Man-Singulus, Gay-Woman-Singulus, and several variations thereof [Straight-Woman-In-Love-With-Gay-Friend-Singulus, Staight-Man-Married-Pretending to be Singulus, etc.]). Of course within each set of members of Straight-Man-Singulus, there are variations as well. I’ve been able to divide the species in the following groups, thus far.
The Delusional. Characterized by some but not necessarily all of the following:
- male pattern baldness
- an unattractive paunch
- an ugly handlebar moustache
- no sense of style
- the wearing of, in his online picture, bowties, suspenders, a three-piece suit, or a tuxedo
- writing to you, incorrectly, in what he thinks is your native tongue (eg, “Ni hau?”)
- looking about 50 years old
- being about 50 years old
- suffering from the delusion that someone like him has a snowball’s chance in hell with someone like you (see I’m Much Too Nice and Pretty For This Girl)
Also known as The Dirty Old Man and Are You Kidding Me?
The Amnesic. This member is characterized by multiple e-mails to your on-line ad, even after you have told him you are not interested. (Not to be confused with The Stalker.) It can be presumed that The Amnesic sends so many messages to so many women, he can’t remember to whom he has already written and who has already given him the shaft.
The Freak. Perhaps the most fascinating, as well as the most disturbing, member of this species. Somehow they are able to not only survive but to persist with such bodily disfigurements as no heads, torsos only, or a blurring of the figure so as to render all features unrecognizable. They also seem to subsist soley on sex, or more specifically, NSA, or No-Strings-Attached, Sex.
The Overpromiser. Upon initial contact this specimen has much potential (see Nice and Normal Guy). He looks into your eyes, he laughs at your jokes, he talks to you for over an hour. He enthusiastically agrees to a date, even a month in advance. He talks to you about restaurants and even plans on a visit two months in advance. He asks you how long you plan on living in your home city. Or if this is taking place in Virtuality, he e-mails you several times and tells you he bought your book.
Eventually, however, The Overpromiser disappears entirely (see The Disappeared). The reasons for this sudden and unexplained disappearance remain unknown.
The Arrogant Prick. At first this specimen’s assertiveness is appealing. He knows what he wants and is not afraid to ask for it. In his very first e-mail, he commands you to send him a picture.
You do, because you’re feeling needy or because he’s cute, and then either you never hear from him again (see The Disappeared) or he sends you a series of e-mails commanding you to answer various personal questions such as, “What happened with you and your husband? What did you learn from that experience? Are you a Velma or a Daphne?” without offering any information about himself. It is as though he thinks you will obey his every word simply because he is he. The best way to handle this specimen is to send back snippy and sarcastic emails that will ensure your nickname to his friend, That Crazy Bitch.
The Chicken Shit. Also known as The Bailer. Often disguises himself as a Nice and Normal Guy and sometimes turns out to be an Overpromiser. Contact with this member of the species continues all the way up to the arrangement of a Date, but anywhere from a week to three hours before said Date, contact from The Chicken Shit suddenly ceases. If he has Nice and Normal Guy tendencies, he will send you message with some notice canceling the Date.
There are varying degrees of these Nice and Normal Guy tendencies. He may send you a message of his own accord with 24 hours notice, or he may contact you only when you contact him. Those without Nice and Normal Guy tendencies will not contact you at all (see The Overpromiser).
The Disappeared. Not so much a separate member of this species but a state of being. Most members of Straight-Man-Singulus may transform into The Disappeared – The Overpromiser, The Arrogant Prick, The Chicken Shit, even The Freak. (It is unknown if the other members of the species, the Amnesiac and the Delusional, are capable of this transformation as well since contact with these members has not continued beyond their first attempts. However, it may be assumed that the Delusional would have tendencies to transform into the the Stalker.)
The transformation is characterized by the sudden cease of communication without explanation. Especially disturbing is when this termination occurs after sending your picture. Worse yet is when it occurs after one drink, two and a half conversations, half a dozen e-mails, and a text message (see once again The Overpromiser).
The Nice and Normal Guy. Also known as Don’t Hold Your Breath. Some say this member does indeed exist within the species of Straight-Man-Singulus but I have yet to observe an authentic case. Other members of the species often take on the guise of The Nice and Normal Guy, the way that viceory butterflies mimic monarchs, only to reveal their true, poisonous selves within (see The Overpromiser, The Chicken Shit, The Disappeared).
True Nice and Normal Guys seem few and far between. This explorer has yet to see one for herself.