Tuesday, October 02, 2012
It's a ritual I perform like clockwork every summer I remain a bachelor. Inevitably, I'll get invited to a wedding. I'll go to that wedding. Then I'll come home, fall into a deep funk, and mutter nonsense about being "hopelessly alone forever" to the cats. This will culminate in the ultimate act of desperation:
I will post a profile on an online dating site.
Over the years, I've sampled the finest in cyber-dating technology, and each site promises good odds that I'll snare myself a soulmate. This time around, I picked a new site (no, I'm not telling you which one,) and went about the sad, pathetic business of trying to make myself look far more interesting than I actually am. All I had to do was fill out a few silly profile questions, then spend an hour or two searching for a photo that didn't make me look like a three-chinned marshmallow from Planet Obesity, and then spend some time on their high-tech personality-matching questionnaire, which asks probing psychological compatibility questions like (I swear these are real:)
"How freqently do you bathe?"
"Should burning your country's flag be illegal?"
"Do you like to cuddle?"
"Which is bigger: The Earth or the Sun?"
Because, like I've always said, I'll date anyone... provided, of course, that they have a basic working knowledge of the Solar System. "Hey, baby, you're the hottest thing ever created -- except for the Sun, which happens to have a circumference of 4,366,813 kilometers." Works every time.
I hit the magic button and waited as the site used the power of cutting edge technology to match me with scientific precision to my soulmate: a "happily married, polyamorous mother of two" looking for a "man or woman plaything for my husband and I to enjoy together." Or, as I like to call it, Fifty Shades of Skeevy... but at least my cooties would apparantly come freshly bathed with lots of cuddles, a rudimentary understanding of planetary physics, and no unnecessary flag-burning.
In other words, it's thus far been another fruitless quest. But I'm starting to understand why.
As I perused the site's eligible bachelorettes, I started to take notes of people's listed interests. And I realized an important thing: No one shares my interests. Or, more specifically, no one over the age of 25 shares my interests. I've started to take stock of the things in life that truly make me happy, and I'm starting to realize that -- as the (gulp) 41-year-old that I've now managed to become -- I shouldn't be enjoying any of them.
Let's take a good, honest look at my favorite pastimes: I like modern music, usually of the uptempo dance or obscure indie rock variety. By most 41-year-old standards, the most avant-garde music I should be enjoying is Bon Jovi. I like to take that music to nightclubs and do my best to fill dancefloors with people nearly half my age. The other day, a guy placed an ad in this very paper for some nice DJ gear and told me, quote, "I'm 32 now, that's a little too old to be DJing," (and yes, I had to employ ALL my people skills to NOT reach through the phone lines and strangle him.) I enjoy watching "The Vampire Diaries" and "Pretty Little Liars." So do 16-year-old girls. I like playing video games. So do 12-year-olds. Seeing a trend here?
So based on what OTHER 40-somethings list on this dating site, what SHOULD my interests be? Well, for most of them, their chief interest is their kids. And I get that -- when you produce offspring, everything changes. But thus far, I've got no pointy-eared music nerd babies to carry on the Shane line and redefine my world. What else? Well, it turns out the most common non-kid-related interest listed by other 40-somethings on this dating site is... "dining."
Do you know when the exact moment is that you become lame and old? When you start describing eating food as a HOBBY. If that's the case, then my favorite hobby henceforth is SLEEPING. I also enjoy breathing, talking, and occasionally scratching myself. And let's not forget that daily bathing hobby of mine.
Is this my future? Will I one day soon wake up and hate video games, yearn to hear some Phil Collins, and get giddy thinking about my lunch hour? Based on the other night, it could happen.
Last weekend, I got to review the new play at Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Circa '21. It's an gorgeous venue with a shining reputation and the Quad Cities is SO lucky to have one of the few thriving dinner theatres in the country. But if you're EVER having a mid-life crisis and need to feel young, Circa's a great place to go. I was definitely one of the younger folks there. In fact, a couple of season ticket-holders were there celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Even if I got married TOMORROW, I wouldn't be able to see that accolade until 2072, and I think we can all agree that I've had one too many thickburgers to make it that long.
But as the time ticks away, I could see myself becoming a dinner theatre junkie. I've always loved theatre, and apparantly we're all destined to enjoy dining, so what's to not like? But what WILL dinner theatre look like when my generation hits their demographic? Among Circa's upcoming attractions are musical tributes to Hank Williams and Dean Martin. When I hit the era of grey hairs and age spots, what will dinner theatre be? "Gold Digger: A Musical Salute to Kanye West"? "Bangarang: The Story of Dubstep"? The mind reels.
In the meantime, I'll keep plodding along. Maybe it's a good thing that I clearly have yet to grow up. As long as my interests keep on being interesting, consider me interested. And maybe one day I'll find a cuddly, freshly showered soulmate who likes the same juvenile hobbies. We could even have a kid that would make this whole column irrelevant.
After all, I'm gonna need SOMEONE to explain the plot of "Vampire Diaries" to me. It's confusing at my age.