Dating scene nothing like the sitcoms

By Jeff Linville -

Ever been watching a sitcom and think to yourself, “This could never happen in real life”?

I don’t mean the absurd circumstances like Fonzie jumping a shark on water skis or Joey Tribbiani playing a soap character who has Susan Sarandon’s brain.

I mean things that happen in other places that just never happen here in Surry County.

Jerry Seinfeld, only a semi-successful comedian on his show, dated dozens of women. Even a short, bald loser like George Costanza got dates. Ross Geller got three different women to marry him, including a hot Jennifer Aniston twice.

Based off sitcoms, it would appear that if one lives in New York City, finding attractive, single women is easier than catching a cab.

My old boss, Ray, grew up in the Big Apple. He says there’s some truth to it simply because of the 8 million residents there.

“You could stand on a street corner and fall in love every five minutes.”

Well that certainly doesn’t appear to be the case around here.

A cousin of mine had broken up with his girlfriend and was surveying the local dating scene.

“It’s hard to ‘casually date’ someone when they’re single moms,” he complained. “Does every woman over the age of 20 have a kid already? They aren’t looking to go out and have some fun. They are looking for some guy to settle down with.”

Couldn’t be that bad, I reasoned. I remembered dating a few different women while in college. How hard could it be as an adult? You have experience now, so it should be easier, right?

Then my wife and I separated shortly before 9/11.

I decided to wait before getting back into dating so that I wouldn’t be on the rebound. A year went by without becoming interested in a single woman. I convinced myself that it was simply because I wasn’t really looking. I was grieving the death of my marriage, I surmised.

Six months after THAT, I had to admit that dating prospects seemed scant in these parts.

A friend suggested an online dating service, so I signed up for one. I searched for women within three years younger or older than I was at the time. I think I found something like two or three women in the greater Mount Airy area.

I broadened my search parameters and came up with eight women in the whole county. Eight women total of various ages, races, religious beliefs, smokers/nonsmokers, etc.

Well, okay, it was 2003. Maybe there weren’t enough people online.

My friends and cousins, however, weren’t finding much luck the old-fashioned way, either.

My cousin Willie is a serial dater. You know the type — has no idea how to single, constantly moving from one relationship to another.

When his third wife booted him out, Willie had nowhere to stay and asked if he could stay with me until he found somewhere else. That ended up lasting four months. As Ben Franklin said, fish and guests smell after three days.

After a couple of months of mourning, Willie just had to find himself a new gal. I recommended he try to straighten out his own life first. Get a new job, get a car or bike.

He tried to make do for a little while by getting on some website late at night and chatting with Russian women hoping to become mail-order brides. He began reading a book on the history of Russia. He wondered how long it might take to save up to bring a bride halfway around the world.

Soon he gave up and was searching online dating sites in this area.

It seemed a lot more people were online in 2010 than in 2003 because he found lots more women and began sending out messages. Soon he was texting different women at all hours of the day and night, sleeping with his phone lest he miss a text.

Finally he made plans to meet someone. I happened to walk in the room as he was talking on the phone.

I heard him say that she could recognize him because he had brown, wavy hair and a short-trimmed beard. He stood about 6 feet tall.

At this point my eyes bugged out and I had to stifle a laugh. Six feet tall?

He hung up the phone, and I burst out laughing.

“What’s so funny?”

You told that girl you were 6 feet tall, I said.


Willie, I’m taller than you are, and I’m not 6 feet tall, I explained.

“Sure you are, when you’re wearing tennis shoes. And when you meet people, you’re wearing shoes, right?”

Okay, there was some logic to that part.

Then he followed that up with, “I’ll be wearing my cowboy boots. I’m 6 feet tall in my boots.”

To which I replied, “You got cowboy boots with a 4-inch stiletto heel?”

He stormed out of the room.

I guess men aren’t the only ones having trouble finding a decent date.

By Jeff Linville

Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.

Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.

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