As some of you recall I made two New Year’s resolutions this year, reasoning that posting them in the blog sphere I’d somehow be held accountable. While I think I’ve been better at resolution A) talking to people on the phone instead of relying on purely electronic communication, I’ll admit I’ve put little effort toward resolution B) meeting a mancat of the 2-legged variety.
So in honor of Valentine’s Day I decided to begin strategizing.
How to begin? The few couples I know in NYC moved here together as husband and wife, knew each other from college, or met in their early Twenties at places with names like “Turtle Bay” and “Sutton Place” – essentially glorified keg parties. I was never a kegger girl in college, favoring instead wine-laden evenings with my musician or acting friends, discussing the meaning of life, arguing about Marxist theory (of which I had not a clue) or something equally “deep.” So I was never drawn to those types of bars when I moved to the city.
I’ve tried Match.com and eHarmoney but my friends and I have noticed that after hitting the thirty-five year old mark, suitors fell into one of two camps. Twenty year olds looking for a Mrs. Robinson (Stifler’s mom if you were born in the ‘80s) or men over fifty in the hinterlands of New Jersey or New York State.
Now mind you I’m not expecting perfection and I’d actually prefer a guy who’s been married (understanding they may come with a kid or two). But as a young-looking thirty-nine year old I’d prefer someone closer to my age than that of my parents.
For a brief period I was taken with the idea of using a matchmaker and with the advice of an Italian friend’s mother fresh in my head – “It’s as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is a poor one”- filled out the application for “Millionaire Matchmaker” complete with professional head-shots. My plans were waylaid however, when I ended up meeting and dating Brooklyn-boy-who-lives-near-G-train-and-owns-nine-bikes (which stay in the master bedroom while he sleeps on a pull-out).Advice columns, friends and even therapists suggested taking classes or volunteering as ways to meet men with common interests. So I had to ask myself, what do I enjoy doing? I enjoy:
- my cats
- eating out
- drinking wine
- writing my blog
- staying in watching news magazines and Discovery Health
I took a wine tasting class – all single women. NYC creative writing course – all single women. I even volunteered through an Armenian organization and found myself painting walls in the basement of an old age home in Queens with a gaggle of very sweet 20yr old girls and a few token men of the same age.
As someone whose job is to market products, I wasn’t very strategic in selling myself. I forgot the first rule – be targeted. Be where your target will be. Okay, what other things do I like that men like? Since my cats have opened me to the wonders of animals at large (see “Cats, the Gateway Drug”) and as a recent pit-bull puppy rescuer (more on that another time) meeting fellow-pet lovers made sense. I googled “online dating for pet lovers” and was surprised to see how many results it turned up.
The first site “Animal People Personals: Pets Bring People Closer” did not instill confidence. The site itself has what I can only describe as a 70s aesthetic complete with olive and rust accents, parrots on the sidebar, and a woman sporting a middle part on the home page (to say nothing of the floating kitten).
Cautioning myself not to be superficial, I persevered and hit the “about us” page. When dating one should never judge a book by its cover right? (Then again, this was a dating site? Shouldn’t they be putting their best foot forward?) The page loaded. I had no words. Their “Board of Directors” consisted of 2 dogs and 2 cats. Blue, a cat, was “President and MEOW Director of All Things She Wants to be Director Of.” Hmm, dangling participle aside, who would elect a cat as the “Director of Love”? Even I would have gone dog on that.
This is all well-and-good for a pet store or a blog, but for a dating site? Not so much. Since my first visit to the site, a notice has been posted announcing a new partnership with Match.com. I predict several cats and dogs will soon be finding themselves jobless.
Next up “Date my Pet: Date Me Date My Pet.” Though the unfortunate name suggests an online dating site for those into bestiality, do not fear. This website employs “pet-as-foil.” You can choose to look for dates for yourself or find a “date for your pet”. Thinking this could be tricky for the cat owner or for those with animals of different species and adds an unnecessary layer of complexity.
Say a guy tells you his pet wants to go on a date with your pet. Does he like you or does he really just want someone to walk his dog with? And what if said dog is on a rebound? How easily both you and your dog’s hopes could be dashed. If you own a cat can you really have a pet date with a dog owner? The system seems flawed. They even ask you what your pet is looking for in a mate…hmm…
Some guys only had pictures of their pets and neglected to include one of themselves. A certain gentleman –I kid you not – had pet squirrels. I think it’s lovely that he rescued them and nursed them to health, but are you sure that’s the first thing you want women to know about you? My favorite I must say was a guy who posted a photo of a roach he’d named “Shelly”. Clearly he didn’t have a real pet, but I appreciated his sense of humor. Though not sure I want to go to someone’s home knowing it’s roach-infested. Would you?
So far the animal lover niche dating wasn’t going as well as I’d hoped. Perhaps some pets were more match-making friendly. I mean did dog-lovers really need a site? Just take your dog out for walk or to the dog run and viola! While other animals – squirrels and roaches included – are best not advertised. Maybe I was casting the pet-net too wide. After all I’ve long said the man who loves cats is a unique breed – confident in himself and his sexuality without the need to prove it to the world. Join me next time when I check out “Purrsonals: Where Cat Lovers Greet and Meet.”
In the meantime, looks like this Valentine’s Day will be spent with friends, family and cats. Hey, it could be worse.