In talking to some girlfriends this week I realized something kinda crazy . . . I haven’t dated a non-military-affiliated guy since HIGH SCHOOL! Wow!
I guess I took it for granted at the time, but until now I’ve always had sort of a built-in dating network. College was . . . well, college. And ROTC was perhaps even an amplified version of the college dating pool: we were all college kids of similar ages with similar backgrounds, who shared similar interests and similar values and spent A LOT of time together. And as a female, the odds didn’t hurt either. (neither did the presence of guys in uniform).
Then on to active duty and more guys in uniform. I know it sounds cliché, and I don’t intend it to sound arrogant, but seriously, as a female in a small military town I was somewhat of a hot commodity.
So now I find myself in the “real world” where the playing field is a bit more complicated. The odds have definitely changed. When people ask if I’ve met anyone yet in Boston, I tell them, half-jokingly: “Well, my grad program is approximately 5% male, approximately 2% available and approximately 1% straight . . . so, no.”
To be honest, I don’t even know what I’m looking for in a guy (although straight and available are definitely requirements). Someone asked me recently what my “type” is, and I realized I have absolutely no idea. Did I ever have a type? Is “men in uniform” a legitimate type category, or was that more a virtue of proximity? Do I need a type? I find myself suddenly attracted to men with facial hair – where did that come from?! Is it some kind of sub-conscious rebellion against the military?
But beyond that, I think the bigger issue is that I have no idea how to even go about meeting someone in the “real world.” I’m not working right now, so I don’t have access to that corporate network. I’m certainly not the type to sit in a bar, cleavage runneth over, waiting for some schmuck to buy me a drink. So I’ve just been doing my thing . . . for nearly three months now. And so far the only legitimate, actionable interest I’ve received has been from the Karaoke DJ on my birthday and a porn star on Halloween (I think it was just a costume??).
So I did what it seems people do in the real world: I joined an online dating site. I figure if nothing else it should be amusing/educational/good writing fodder.
In my profile I tried my darndest to briefly (and wittingly, charmingly) summarize my crazy Air-Force-Officer-turned-creative-writing-student personal history. I posted a nice head-and-shoulders picture, a picture of me all 1980s from Halloween (hey, it worked for the porn star!), and a picture of me in Afghanistan, surrounded by a group of local schoolchildren (I was going to post a badass shot of me with full body armor and two weapons but thought that might frighten potential cyber suitors).
The very first message I received asked, “Do you know any special karate moves that you learned in the Air Force?”
Hmmm . . .
Wish me luck!