I couldn't help it; his email was password was just too easy to crack. His cat's name? He must've wanted me to take a peek.
I'd like to say I didn't sit home feeling sorry for myself, but, of course, that would be lying. Weeks passed; I started to flirt a little. But at 36, it seemed every cute or kind man near my age was married with children. I'd heard it said that the older you are, the harder it is to start over, and the fewer the decent, eligible men there are. Was it really true? I was starting to feel like an overripe piece of fruit on a tree, about to rot. Had I held out too long for the perfect man? Is This Personal Ad Real?
Eventually I got sick of throwing myself pity parties; I had to try something. Ahh, I thought. Craigslist is free—and anonymous. And my ex was trying it, why shouldn't I? I wondered what would happen if I posted a wish list online.
Sure, Craigslist has had its share of troubles (the recent Craigslist Killer comes to mind) but I'd be using the online personals section—which is for legitimate dating—and not the "casual encounters" or section—which is just what it sounds like. Would it be possible to find just what I wanted?
To summon my courage, I got in touch with my inner Angelina Jolie, imagining myself sweeping across the globe on humanitarian missions with a tall, handsome, loving, financially-secure humanitarian at my side. We'd save the world and love each other, maybe even start a family. What an amazing life we'd live!
I invented an email address for myself and posted my ad: LOOKING FOR A HUMANITARIAN. I poured my heart into it. It read:
Do you exist? I'm tired of people telling me that I care too much. I'm looking for some one who "gets it"—you know, someone who loves to do all he can to make the world a better place, wherever he is. One day it could be talking with a troubled teenager, the next it could be helping to bring clean water to an impoverished community. Perhaps "kind" says it all.
Why? It's hard to explain. I've never married and have been holding out for you, perhaps. I see myself as empowering and helping such an individual on their path to heal the world with positive energy and possible romance. I want to be by your side. We can keep each other going—keep each other idealistic and focused on what matters most.
I can dream, can't I? I hope you exist. I hope you're a true gentleman with a tender, open heart. Under 50 please and unmarried. Thank you for reading.
I pushed the "Post" button and held my breath. In the days that followed, emails began dripping into my inbox. I chatted online with a few, but quickly learned to ask for their photo upfront. If they didn't send one, it was time to be suspicious that they were married or hiding for some other reason.
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