“Sorry to be so mundane,” writes one potential LTR correspondent, who is describing how he crock-pots a stew to last for several days, is filing his taxes, thinking about rebuilding the Mustang engine that has been in the garage for seven years.
I’m not sure how the magic algorithms matched me with a Mustang engine. But this man has a point.
The fact is most of our lives are mundane. The majority of the time we’re brushing our teeth, sleeping, in the bathroom (where we’re meditating, of course), at work, schlepping around kids and/or grandkids, picking up the dry cleaning, going to Costco. Not to mention paying bills, flossing teeth, washing dishes, taking out the garbage—I’m getting tired just thinking about it.
Mundane is very much on my mind today.
I know I’m supposed to be liberated, powerful, I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar—and in certain respects, I am. I am also a woman of a certain age, temperament and generation. I am inept and clueless when it comes to mechanical objects. I didn’t even use a vibrator that I bought during one of the worst periods in my former marriage because I couldn’t figure out how to get the batteries to go in the right way. (There are numerous double entendres that come to mind at this point, but I’ll spare both of us). And I wasn’t about to ask my Ex how to operate it. If we’d had that kind of marriage, we would probably still be together.
This was brought home to me on Sunday evening, when I was looking forward to relaxing with either Downton Abbey or the Nuestra Belleza Latina beauty contest—both programs that involve cultural myths and lots of dressing up. The television and cable refused to cooperate, and I could get nothing but the Shopping Channel, where a hyperthyroid brunette was enthusing at the top of her lungs about jeans jackets with genuine rhinestones.
After a lengthy and inconclusive chat with my cable company that didn’t solve the problem, it was too late for television. I went to take a bath, and discovered that the water wasn’t turning off. After cursing and cranking handles to avoid a deluge, I admitted defeat, and went to the other bathroom to take a shower. Only to watch the primeval scum ooze up the drain and cover my feet in the shower I had just scrubbed two days ago.
This is when you want a friend. I mean, a boyfriend. An LTR—the elusive LTR. Friends are wonderful, but there are times in life when you want someone special to empathize with your (admittedly minor) woes, hold you, perhaps volunteer their own bathtub if you’re not living companions, and try to put things to right, even if they’re also a mechanical dodo.
I’m sure there is a male version—wanting to share, commiserate and perhaps receive some practical assistance–not from a paid professional who advertises herself attired only in her underwear, or a service that has Rooter in its name. (More double entendres come to mind that I will suppress).
Because most of our lives are made up of what we will term “mundanities,” and sharing them, not to mention problem-solving about them, is inevitably a big part of that infamous acronym and longed-for condition–the long-term relationship–“the LTR.”
Which is when I realized that the Web is a mundane-free zone—at least the online dating portion of it. On one site, most of the men have just gotten back from snow boarding down Mount Everest or a backpacking trip to Fiji, when they’re not attending operas, working in a startup, playing in tennis tournaments. And they’re looking for a woman who is “equally comfortable in jeans or an evening gown.”
As intimidating as I find these Renaissance Men—and I don’t own an evening gown—I do admit that I immediately bypass the profiles of guys whose major activities are T.V., pottering around the house, or going to the Flea Market on special occasions.
It’s taken for granted that you’re supposed to be putting your best foot forward in a dating profile, even if said foot is older, larger, or less well-shod than advertised. If the best a guy can do is display a photo of a scowling man with potbelly in a stained t-shirt next to his paper clip collection, how bad is the reality?
Online dating is advertising. We’ve all been programmed to go for excitement– the sizzle, the packaging, the hard sell in twenty seconds. It doesn’t gibe with the truth of real LTR’s–lasting relationships--where you’ll probably spend more time with someone snoring in bed, doing the grocery shopping, and farting, than dancing in the dark in tux and ball gown or skipping hand-in-hand down the beach. And a genuine LTR eventually ends with hanging out by a hospital bed—his/hers or yours.
Maybe there should be some questions on those lengthy online dating questionnaires that we fill out so that the magic algorithms can locate our virtual soul mate. Questions such as: “Do you sweat the small stuff?” “What is your first thought when the toilet is blocked?” “How do you feel about changing light bulbs?”
I’m going to go find out if that attractive fifty-something plumber is single.