“If you like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain
If you're not into yoga, if you have half a brain
If you'd like making love at midnight in the dunes on the Cape
Then I'm the love that you've looked for write to me and escape" – Rupert Holmes
Up here at the end of the road in the mountains, relationships and affairs of the heart can get as sticky as a box of half bitten Valentine chocolates. The incestuous nature of small town romances can liken local dating to sinking your teeth into every piece of confection in the box just to find out what's inside the yummy coating. Historically, ski town populations are generally male dominated – despite that it's an over used cliche the fact remains – although the odds are good for the women, the goods are odd. Nevertheless, men find themselves in the love shuffle and as one friend recited the mountain man mantra perched from his hunting site atop a bar stool while nursing his recent breakup, “You don't lose your girl, you just lose your turn.”
In these high speed days of connectivity, there's now an alternative to help mountain folk through the dark, frigid, high altitude nights – online dating, the Ebay of imported love, the modern equivalent of mail order brides and express order boyfriends. On the net, no one knows your real name or whether or not that photo of you is a decade or so outdated until the moment you meet.
Once a dirty little secret, dating sites have steadily gained popularity. Finding love, or at least a slumber buddy, would seem relatively easy and certainly entertaining with over ninety million people to choose from on the glut of dating sites available in the U.S. alone. Apparently, the lonely have gotten past the stigma that it's a sign of desperation to indulge in the internet catalog of courtship. In 2008, over 100,000 marriages were credited to dating sites. Recent statistics show that one in five of single Americans have used an internet dating site and online dating nationwide increased fifteen percent from May 2009 to May 2010. And the projected bottom line is that the overall mobile dating sector will grow to $1.4 billion worldwide by 2013 (according to Jupiter Research).
Encouraged by friends who would never be caught dead signing up for such a service themselves, I logged into the etheric region of amorous hopefuls. After finding the perfect pseudonym, answering all the pop psychology questions engineered by a fashion magazine guru and posting a current photo, my mailbox was immediately swamped – which I attributed to both being the new girl on the block and having low expectations defined by the parameters I had chosen. My criteria were simple and broad – unmarried non-smoking male, not fanatically religious, over forty-eight years old, anywhere in the world.
A few weeks passed with nary a prime candidate of compatibility – just pen pals, guys on motorcycles with trailing mustaches, old men in swimming pools, or the disgruntled with lengthy lists of what they didn't want in a date. Until one day, delivered into my dating prospects with great exclamation, fanfare and a whopping, rare five stars out of the maximum five for compatibility was... my recently ex-boyfriend. The odds were staggering that out of the millions of men across the globe, the online matchmaker hooked me up as the perfect match for a man I had already spent fifteen years with. Cupid was up to his mischievous tricks again. There was my five-star mega-match – the man who for a decade and a half consistently balked at the idea of introducing me as his girlfriend for fear of being defined – filling in the questionnaire blanks that identify boundaries of personality and cruising the broadband hunting grounds.
I removed my profile the next day, after my ex and I laughed heartily about the entire matchmaking faux pas and went our separate ways. He, to a compatible intellectual in upstate NY, and I, back to my close knit family of real thing mountain men whom I adore. Besides, when half the town is doing that early morning walk of shame, it looks more like a parade. And who doesn't love a parade?