I laugh when I hear people say how revolutionary all this computer malarkey is, like e-mail, e Harmony and e everything. As far as Internet matchmaking goes, let me tell you, people were just as desperate for affection back in my day. Or at least I was.
Picking a mate without meeting he or she is nothing new, what do you think the lonely old miners, ranchers, mountain men and sheepherders in the early west did when they married whatever got off the stagecoach, or the train? It’s just one more example of how, if you wait long enough, everything that is old will come around again.
I’m just waiting for it to be my turn.
Many of the women who wanted to come west were “picture brides” because the men, who outnumbered the women sometimes by as much as 60 to one, picked their lifelong mate as if they were ordering from a Sears Roebuck catalog. They were also called “mail-order brides,” only in many cases they were “mail-order lies” as the product that arrived by boat after sailing around the horn was often not as advertised. But what were the lonesome men supposed to do, send the women back? This wasn’t catch and release fishing we’re talking about here.
It was also common for foreigners who came to this country to marry women who were picked out for them back in the old country. And there were probably just as many lies told in the Gold Rush days as there are now on the Internet. There had to be, why else would a nice woman leave the cozy confines of the east to live in a dugout with a dirty old man, cook, clean, propagate and fight off Indians and wild animals in her spare time?
This subject arose because a friend of ours is “back on the market” after being married for 25 long years. Slick said that his wife was “monogamously challenged” but I can’t say as I blame her because Slick is as exciting as gray wallpaper. He’s also very lonely and he’s going broke paying $3.95 per minute to talk on the phone to some gal in Thailand who speaks terrible English.
Slick is one of those men who just can’t seem to live without a woman in his life. He is also like those miners and ranchers of yesteryear in that he takes a bath once a week, has no social skills, lives in poverty and is desperate for a mate because he is tired of doing his own dishes. The problem is the odds have evened up and there is one woman for every man in the West now.
Except for Slick, that is.
Slick got so tired of cleaning his own bathroom and was so desperate for love that he went on a matchmaking web site to prospect for a wife. After paying up, Slick was asked to complete an in-depth confidential personal survey. But just like the liars of old, he “aggressively stretched the truth,” you might say. Instead of saying he’s 5-foot-8, he said he was 6-foot-2 and instead of saying he was bald, fat and ugly, he said he loved to cook, was a 185 pound bundle of muscle and had all of his own hair. He also said that he was sensitive, caring, liked jewelry, made in excess of $150,000 a year and had several homes, despite the fact that he’s a day-working cowboy who lives in a 1965 model trailer house. And it’s not even a double wide!
When I asked him why he lied Slick said, “What woman in her right mind would go out with me if I told the truth?”
I had to admit, he had a very valid point.
So the Internet dating service matched him up with a “voluptuous 25-year-old who loved to cook and clean” who turned out to be a 65-year-old whose face would stop a freight train. “She’d keep the crows out of your crops,” said Slick dejectedly.
“So you’re not going to see her again?” I asked.
“Oh no, we’re thinking of moving in together in the trailer house,” said Slick optimistically. “Sure, we were both a little disappointed at first but fortunately neither one of us is in a position to get too fanatical about a few minor details.” ❖