I''m convinced that online dating sites are a long way away from providing the services they need to provide. They need to come up with better representations of the true experience. No more of these stupid hearts, arrows and cupids everywhere. How about an entrails laden broken arrow, dangling from the cavity that once held my heart?

I browse and browse until I lay eyes on the man of my dreams. All the blinking lights tell me he''s online and I can chat with him NOW. I''ll pass on that option. I''ll click on the envelope and write him a note. After all, he''s online. He''ll see it right away. I painstakingly word my message so that it sounds off the cuff. Five minutes later and I STILL haven''t heard from him. Maybe he hasn''t seen my note....

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So quick, I go to the outbox... Crap. There it is. The proof that he''s read my mail: Bulging eyes peering over an open envelope, ridiculing me once again.


But what comfort do these sites offer when your letter has been read AND ignored?? What icons could possibly symbolize another momentary dashed dream? Ahh, yes. All the momentary dreams. The dream that this tall, dog-hugging, 50 year old Masters in Art History, lover of life, books and cuddling, might recognize that I am the "intelligent, down to earth woman who loves the beach at sunset" that he has been waiting for his entire life.

It''s high time these sites add post trauma support to their services...

I propose that for every letter read and unanswered, the dating sites should replace gaping sorrowful eyes, with pieces of armor. And not just pictures of armor. Actual armor.
Their offices should be filled with people following our mails and scurrying around:

"Oh, quick, get that gauntlet in the mail... another one didn''t respond to Rosa..."
"But we sent Rosa a gauntlet yesterday."
"OK send her a breastplate..."

And so on and so forth, until we are equipped with a complete set of medieval armor. For what else can possibly protect us against the onslaught of cyber silence? What, other than armor, can protect our hearts, our egos and our overall well being from the daggers of silent rejections that are part and parcel of online dating?

The dating sites just bring us to the front lines and leave us to fend for ourselves. They show us the way to the battle field, but don''t tell us what color the enemy is wearing. They leave us exposed, vulnerable and alone to lick our wounds. How many rejections, how many false starts, how many dashed hopes, until the players abandon the game, until the soldiers go AWOL?

So in lieu of armor, we grow thicker skin, bigger egos, more effective justifications and more elaborate excuses why we still feel OK.

And we still wake up every morning with a renewed strength to face the enemy again, ready to lose another battle with an eye on winning the war.



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