Loretta shares her stud-finding secrets

Dating—near as I can tell, the after-market experience is punishment before the crime, kind of like law school. Don’t get me wrong. I love men. Well, most men, anyway. At their worst, men make interesting toys and at their best, men make excellent pets even if they haven’t been properly trained. But the depth of the dating pool north of Stanwood is, how shall I say, shallow. Where is the deep end? What if I want to get more than my toes wet? A male praying mantis has better odds!

For the past six months, I tried every dating website on God’s green earth, all without success. Am I missing something? I come with a stable job with benefits, mad Martha Stewart-like skills, an extended bumper-to-bumper factory warranty, and a highly inappropriate sense of humor. Oh, and my future partner will have a lifetime supply of benefits to be negotiated, the non-medical kind. I am not without sympathy, guys. I know—a husband with benefits? Yes, pigs do fly on occasion. Men just need to learn to barter better. The best male barterers start with “please” and end with “please”. Despite the similarities, begging is different. “Bartering” has three vowels, “begging” has only two.

Did I say that out loud? Note to self: I really shouldn’t be writing this humor piece while drinking my second glass of Pinot Gris.

Now granted, I am not a “local.” I transplanted to Lynden from upstate New York about seven years ago, and I am almost 40 with two young kids. But these are assets, not liabilities. To paraphrase the Farmers Insurance commercials, I know a thing or two because I have seen a thing or two. Bottom line—I am not desperate in the least. In fact, I am in the power position and I come with expectations. If you men don’t believe me, you’ll need to buy a vowel. I suggest that you save up—vowels are very expensive, and rare. Unicorn sightings are more frequent.

I must say that the after-market dating experience has been highly entertaining overall. I am chock full of dairy analogies. My personal favorite: “You crank my tractor, girl.” I gave him bonus points for originality. If I hear the “why buy the cow” phrase ever again, however, it will be too soon. I am neither a cow nor a heifer and you are not bulls, guys. In fact, if your ex-partners were worth their salt, you are steers at best. So get over it or I won’t renew my membership with farmersonly.com. I may be listening for the sound of something solid during our first date, but let’s be clear: Studs are in the wall. Check your testosterone at the door.

There, I feel better. See, my therapy sessions are working. Money well spent.

I do have some constructive, tongue-in-cheek advice for dating websites, especially the popular eHarmony and Match. com dating services. Each stops woefully short of providing really, really useful data to women for prospective dates. We need practical, pragmatic information, not “What is your favorite color” or “Are you athletic and toned?” Really? Who trusts those answers? For example, eHarmony’s twenty-nine points of compatibility offer no meaningful clue as to what the guy looks like now or what he will look like at age 60. The fix—require a photo of his parents and his last girlfriend. Simple, huh? Both are a “tell”; both cut through the male machismo. And how do you know he isn’t a couch potato? Again, simple answer—require a photo of his recliner in his man cave. If it has been re-upholstered recently, run. There’s your thousand words.

Of course, Match.com is not much better. It provides no boxes to check for “Do you manscape?” or “Do you take Viagra or Cialis?” “Yes” to the first question is critical. Who wants to dig through the entire box of Cracker Jacks, right? And “yes” to the second question is like the two-state solution in the Middle East. For women under 50, “no” is good, but for women over 50, “yes” means he has potential, too, particularly if his prescription is in your name and you can control the doling out of single packs. Ladies, you can simply gift him a vowel, tax-free, only when you are in the mood.

I told you that I had mad Martha Stewart-like skills. Believe me now? Match.com and eHarmony, I am available to consult.