Jim Goldsworthy

When I was in my younger courting days (I am now 72, but have by no means sworn off ... although I am more picky than I once was), there was no such thing as an online dating service.

For that matter, there was no online.

These ... services ... are advertised on TV all the time. People of various ages (some even past the age of 50) talk about how they have found the loves of their lives because of these online Cupid’s arrows or are still hopefully looking for them.

One really cute girl says, “If you’re out there, come find me!”

Another is longing for a man who loves dogs as much as she does.

A woman who loves dogs is one of my numerous Former Romantic Interests. Apparently, her dogs loved me more than she did. I’m still fond of her, but miss them more.

The idea behind online dating is that you can log on and get hooked up with someone who is just right for you. Someone with whom you will be “compatible.”

I look at the people in these commercials, and they’re not chopped liver. The women are attractive, and I suppose the men are too — if you are in the market for a man, which I am not.

Why is somebody who looks like they do unable to get hooked up?

A possible explanation was offered by a character in one of Dan Jenkins’ hilarious novels (I don’t remember which character or which novel): “For every beautiful woman, somewhere there is a man who’s tired of her.”

Presumably it could be added that for every handsome man, somewhere there’s a woman who’s tired of him.

Another is that “If he (or she) was all that great, somebody else would already have him (or her).”

A third is covered in Goldy’s Rule 290: When people say a certain couple are “compatible,” that often translates to “Nobody else could put up with either one of them.”

I have been unattached for some time now, so any of the above could apply to me. Just as I have grown tired of numerous women, at least that many women have grown tired of me.

Some of my buddies have been married several times. I tell them that “I haven’t made a career out of marrying my mistakes like you have. I did that only once.” (She and I are still fond of each other, too.)

They usually just shrug and admit that I have a point.

It recently was revealed that Maryland is the fifth most-dangerous state when it comes to online dating. That was based on statistics related to violent crime and cybercrime, money scammed by digital fraud, sexually transmitted disease and sex education.

West Virginia was ranked as the second-safest state.

Skeptics — particularly those from Maryland and Virginia who are snobs, where West Virginians are concerned — are apt to explain this by saying that fewer people have computers in West Virginia, while most people in Maryland and Virginia do have them.

I would tell them that us WeeVees are just not as prone to get sucked in by con men and women as they are.

Predators use online dating services to locate prey. Last month, a Maryland man allegedly raped and assaulted a woman he met via an online dating service after inviting her to his home for dinner.

Experts recommend that if you do hook up with someone online, arrange a meeting place that’s in public, go there in your own car and don’t give your date information you wouldn’t give to other strangers, such as credit card or bank account numbers.

The FBI has said that internet dating sites are good places for con artists to find someone they can exploit for financial gain by feigning romantic interest.

They used to call such people “golddiggers.”

The closest thing I’ve ever come to meeting a “Goldydigger” was a woman my family and I decided was primarily interested in me for using our connections to get her a job that was better than the one she had.

This lasted for eight months until she found out that she wasn’t going to get the job. When she terminated the relationship (part of which I very much did enjoy), I was not at all surprised but actually had been expecting it.

What I understand of online dating is that it’s similar to what we used to call going out on a blind date, in which people who supposedly are your friends fix you up with another of their friends, and it’s someone you’ve never laid eyes or anything else on.

When you hook up for the first time, it’s either (1) Oh, Boy! (2) Oh, ****! or (3) Let’s Give It A Shot.

The closest I’ve ever come to being on a blind date happened twice, thanks to a married couple who were then, still are and always will be my friends. The four of us met at a bar, the lady and I were introduced, and we got acquainted.

Both times, at least as far as I was concerned, it was (3) Let’s Give It A Shot.

And both times it went well for a while, but both times it ended in ways that even today my buddies find hard to believe.

Forgive me if I don’t enlighten you because even though these are great stories, God help me if these two women are still around, read this or hear about it and recognize themselves.

A few years passed, and one night I ran into my married friends after not seeing them for a while. The wife began to tell me that Let’s Give It A Shot No. 2 had gotten her life straightened out and was interested in seeing me again.

This went on for a while, and I tried to look at her and not pay obvious attention to the fact that her husband was standing behind her, vigorously shaking his head and silently mouthing the words “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!”

I figured that was good advice and heeded it.

Another year or so went by before I saw No. 2 sitting with a couple of her friends in front of one of the downtown cafes. 

I walked past as unobtrusively as I could, no more than 10 feet away from her. If she recognized me, she didn’t let on. Her face was hard and set and looked 20 years older than I remembered. I recall being grateful that I didn’t have to look at it every morning.

Goldy’s Rule No. 2: What appears to be a source of disappointment may actually be a narrow escape, particularly where romance is concerned. (And it can work both ways.)

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