Like Catnip for Cowboys! A GenX Techy Wrangles Online Dating

Friday Sep. 2nd, 2016

What gave you the courage,” he asked.

“My great-grandmother was a mail-order bride from Italy,” I replied.
“What? I didn’t think people in the 20th Century had arranged marriages,” said he.
“Well, remember that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution wasn’t ratified until August 18, 1920; so, imagine how things were before the ‘chattle’ got the vote,!” sassed back me.
Westerner’s have NO IDEA how close we are to the wild days of reckless abandon Jack London wrote about, or the hopeless days of the “lottery of limited options” that Barbara Kingsolver cautioned women against. Nevertheless, this here divorcée took courage and created an online dating presence. The early results for your reading pleasure are in this Pony Express dispatch. Open carefully, the letter has ridden long and hard in a soft leather mochilla being thrown from saddle to saddle at way-stations every 20 miles from East to West, to be hand-delivered to you by an orphaned teen on horseback!

The Silver Bullet was prayer. I placed my hands under the water in that timeless pose and uttered these pure words, “Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the sin of not being able to make good on the wedding vow, ‘til death do us part.’ If it is your will, and given only you can see what is written on my heart, if there is one out there that aligns with the gelatin silver print etched in my emotional muscle, shine a light on his path and guide me.” I meant it then, and still do.

Went on Match, created a profile, then applied the speedreading skills of the former editing supervisor once was . . . and bulldozed my way through no fewer than 538 profiles (4 hours). Shut off the computer, prayed again, message in my heart said turn it on and try again. Did. First pop up: Nordic One’s profile. He winked first. Heart aflutter. After a few email exchanges of literary reckless abandon, this: “I really like the allusions and have appreciated reading all you’ve said. I have to move again, and have much business to attend to at work. I will reply properly at a later time.” Proper was never the Italian term for amorous, right? While I’m new to the swordfighting aspect of the swashbuckler’s hunt for treasure, a lady knows a brush off when she reads one.

Next up the 26 year old who wrote to say, “Hello, Trouble!” Replied yours truly, “While I may be flattered, if you turn your attention  to the family photo in your profile, I look more like the people on the right (his parents). So, no, I can’t meet with someone so much younger.” Him: “Hey, wait, it’s me Jerry.” (Delete.)

My parry? Create an Our Time profile. Nothing like guns and butter to defend a nation, and so I upped the former to find more of the latter. Ahh, Our Time. While more than 1500 views have occurred on Match (and who knows how many of those are data-set-trolls looking for a check in the mail); Our Time has more real people (and real thieves, I busted a scam artist and knew I’d gained his/her respect in the “reveal” process when two quick, surreptitious emails from said cyberscammer included more examples of fakery for my perusal—Go Gen X Techy!).

Remember Joe Bob Briggs, the erstwhile movie reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle? Well, here’s where I’m at in the communication: two cowboys (M/OT), one conservative farmer (OT), one long-distance, French horn player (OT), and one Big Sky liberal (M). I know that Gloria Steinem said to a select audience, “men were put on this earth for your pleasure!” But, I thought that only applied to bra burners, not recovering Catholics. I remain that prayerful and sincere girl at heart, no matter what a pirate I am in prose. And, the newly converted protestant must not protest too much, eh? Sooooo, now what?  

I met the orchestral man in Seattle for French charcuterie and vin blanc. Nice two hour conversation with a unique and elite intellect. Kind follow up communication on both sides. Still, for Italian blood, no handholding means no risk, and no risk, no fire, and no fire, no courage . . .  well, you get the idea.  

Cowboy 1, I really, really, really, really like, so handsome and well-spoken in prose, he. We met by chance at a street dance in White Sulphur a year ago, and then again online (and again at same dance this summer). But, I, nervous like a leaf in the presence of greatness, failed to impress, so now friendship is the only option. Best man a girl could ever meet, and he wears chaps when doctoring  the cows! Hahahaha.  Take away? -- when I like someone, I never say the right thing.

Cowboy 2, all talk online, no meet up. Oh, there was “the sexter” with an online handle named for a nearby mountain ridge. His words to my daring prose, “What you just said made me feel like having @*x with your words, I never want to meet for coffee or meet in person.” I wrote back, “I don’t sext.” End of that! I digress. Back to The Farmer. Ladies, if ever Zha Zha said, “darling I love  you, but give me Park Avenue,” I feel destined to utter same. He said of Cowboy 1, “Girl shouldn’t have to wonder about it, she should just know.”

Will meet well-educated and well-spoken farmer in Helena this weekend, as the news goes to press. The farmer is the first person who  ever got me to send a chaste photo of my right shoulder over a text message. His reply, “Groceries. Yikes.” And, my “Yikes or Yum.” And, his, “Both.” Well, even a chaste girl had to take a biology class in college. This vive-la-difference attitude has been VERY well received. Apparently, if you more-than-like someone, you can say the right thing. ;-) I will keep you posted about how the blue and red of our politics melt into a pool of royal purple. Of course, an Italian restaurant in the State Capitol will be the locus of our discussion of his hay swathing and my art making. Good news. Editorial held the press for this surprise: the date was like a smoldering haybale on Saturday night. A farmer with an engineering degree (and REAL life experience) and an artist with a political science degree (and IMAGINED life experience) shared scallops, pasta, and adult beverages on Last Chance Gulch (the Montana equivalent of the Barbary Coast). Ladies, the way Great Falls kisses a girl under the moonlight has this formerly long-married and prudish schoolmarm hot under the sunbonnet and hoping for another chance. Gentlemen, good thing you are so hard to get and worth the wait.

While it is important to be careful and safe on internet dating sites and in life, nothing good occurs without assuming a calculated risk. If music be the soul of love, play on . . . you have to learn an instrument and join the band (the online band) to name the tune. Go for it Westerners! You too can, in the immortal words of Rob Quist, be “a page out of Louis L’Amour.”

And what of the one that got away? The Nordic One. The First Wink. My soul mate, based on prayer? He’s still up there on the lago di como of Northern Montana, The Flathead, reading bilingual streetsigns in Salish Kootenai with deaf ears to blushing bravegirls waiting to find out if the words of poet Victoria Erickson are true about women who are “not crazy, just batshit passionate!”    
Catherine Di Milano is the flagrantly false nom de plume of one who would rather read a libretto than walk in the libertine’s shoes.