Radar & I stand out in our neighborhood like Jihadists at a church social. We both tend to look like SOA extras - him, with a Goth's love of black, and me, with a leather man's love of inappropriately long goatees. We tend to resemble two 46-year-old ghouls, perched in a Norman Rockwell painting, surrounded by red geraniums and cigarette smoke. I've often written about the past seven years of revolving roommates, but Radar seems to be a keeper so far - a New Orleans native, as batshit-crazy as myself. It's hard not to feel just a little sorry for my conservative neighbors, but hey - we don't sell drugs, host wild parties, or throw whiskey bottles at passerby. In deeply-Catholic Aurora, Illinois, in the land of big families and even bigger church-hats on Sundays, it's admittedly twisted fun to be the gay guys in the house at the end of the street. "No Señor, we no like your lifestyle...but Jesus give you pass because he like how pretty the jotos keep their yard." Chuckling...I've learned to pick my battles.
On the subject of Grindr, after my own self-esteem-crushing exploration with the app a few years back, I suggested to Radar that he try his luck on a dating website. I was surprised to learn that he shies away from social sites (a typical tech-geek quirk I've leaned, a reluctance to share too much personal information online), but between my blog, site, and other social-networking profiles, I'm just the opposite. "What can it hurt?" I asked. "It's the 21st century, for Christ's sake." After a few nights of prodding, I convinced him to begrudgingly set up his own OKCupid profile. I followed myself a few nights later, and over the past four weeks or so, we've been exploring the tragedy of mainstream online dating - with little to show for it but laughter.
And let's be blunt: it's hard not to laugh when watching all the commercials, late-night, side-by-side with Kevin Tudeau, especially Our Time and EHarmony.com. Those white-haired spokesmen - all of them male, and rejected by reverse-mortgage companies - promise that after answering just a few hours worth of questions, our soulmates will be waiting in our inbox, baldness & girdles be damned. "If you're ready to settle ... err, I mean settle down ... then, join our site where thousands of singles are waiting." The current crop of over-40 singles sites remind me of MAD-TV's Lowered Expectations Dating Service, only without the laughs. They're like those Israeli services that sell Purim baskets to terrorism victims - internet trolls making money off other's misfortune. And though OKC is technically free, I'll admit to paying for a month's trial subscription to get the best experience from the site. But so far it's been a bust. Not a soulmate in sight. Not even a smoking buddy for days like today when Radar's at work.
Again, in the world of over-40 online dating, we pick our battles...