The online world of personal connections is new terrain for me. With my interest piqued, I wandered into it. And since wandered back out.

While the experience had me conclude that I’m not of the right mindset and motivation to pursue Internet dating further, I did find the exposure to it to be fascinating and highly revealing… about myself and others.

Putting aside the radical and redundant, the peculiar and the pathetic, and not bothering with those seeking an undistinguished orgasm or a baseborn detour from their vows… I find the sincere searchers to have underlying and common themes that adjoin them, and yet separate them entirely, to where it seems impossible to make genuine pairings from the virtual forum.

Hopeful profilers are reduced to a shopping list of attributes and attractions, none of which we can demonstrate 24/7. Let’s take ‘sexy’ as an example. I’m sexy sometimes… but not when I’ve just departed a cross country flight, having sat next to a tawdry couple hell bent on consuming the entire inventory of miniature scotch bottles and debating whether Uncle Hank intentionally backed his LeBarone into the hen house.

I’m at a loss as to how we can sew enough pockets on the custom-contoured garment to fit our multifarious characteristics.

The obsession with age, weight, and appearance is torrential. It peels away so much potential for discovering what is actually there in front of us. Packages are dismissed if the postmark or the pounds are outside our specified shipping requirement… rendering irrelevant the beauty and brilliancy that make it most certainly worth opening. We fear something and reject something that comes to us in indiscriminate numbers, angles, and images which, in five seconds or less, is put into the “discard and ignore” file or the “may possibly grant time with if nothing better arrives in my Inbox” file.

I’m exceedingly curious as to what the vast number of men consider to be so off-putting, offensive, and downright repulsive when a woman moves past the age of thirty-five. What is it that manifests as she awakens the morning after her 36th birthday party? Do her eyes hollow? Her demeanor grow dark? Her desirable features vanish?

I’m amazed at how many forty-somethings insist upon ‘under 35’. I welcome any eligible-bachelor insight in this area. Be candid, please. Unjarring, if necessary. I shall take no offense nor commit any of your furnished opinions to my own intricate parts, as I’m well aware that they don’t apply.

The women “ISO” are just as inclined to tag a myriad of fiddling requirements to their perfect partner. It’s hardly a gender bias. Apparently superficial requisites and vanity-driven desires are an equal opportunity exploitation.

What the Internet cannot surmise, nor deliver for any of us, are the nuances and impalpable aspects of another person that are the seeds of an intimate connection. It cannot mensurate the chemistry that brings about the urge to endlessly touch and taste the miraculous soul who happened upon our path; and who, by our own unique measure, we have deemed exquisitely-designed.

Electronically proffered words cannot capture chemistry… and much like a butterfly, any attempt to grasp it would only crush its splendored hues in the palm of your hand. It must land lightly upon you. Naturally and in its own time. Raw in form. Real and reciprocated.

I do miss the deep intimacy and the sheer comedy of mating. At moments I yearn for the ‘him’ who would wash my hair when we shower together. He knows precisely the decaf latte and morning glory muffin I desire on Sunday morning, and he will come up with a suitable relocation plan for the spider that has architected his own split-level condo behind my laundry basket.

With that said, I have decided natural encounters will have to be my source for a possible one degree of separation. The cyber profile exercises (reading, critiquing, pursuing, rejecting, stipulating, capitalizing & underlying one’s insistence, bragging tendencies, age avoidance, and propping up one’s personality)… where most of the features that really count are all optional… beg me to move my attentions elsewhere.

I wish to share a few sentiments, in case any may help a romance-hungry reader find someone who turns their world sideways (because, really, if you’re always upright the view never changes).

~Bruce Springsteen is right. Women have a secret garden. If you listen to his song, he provides poignant and honest clues on how to make your way in.

~Seek someone who possesses grace. In its purest sense. Grace comes from within and is visible in all aspects of a person- from the way one carries onself, to the touch of a hand, to the art of a kiss.

~Find someone whose pace mirrors yours. There is no joy in being hurried nor hampered.

~Be suspicious of rotund purses the size of grain sacks… and consider what that says about the likely mountainous luggage needed for a three-day excursion!

~Pick someone generous with their smile and warmth, and stingy with their fault-finding and impatience. And make sure their laugh comes easily.

~Be impressed by those who can reveal their life’s stupid episodes equally as they share the sensational ones. (Example: The sensational: I had built a magnificent home from the ground up, on a quaint bricked road, four blocks from the white sandy shores of the Gulf of Mexico. The stupid: I waited until the worst housing crisis in America’s history to sell it).

~For men: If her surroundings are exceedingly lavender or pink, and if her shoe-size yapper is wearing designer doggie digs, consider those the warning signs that you’ll soon be wearing matching outfits.

~Search for a person living inside truth- flowing with appreciation for all of it… from the daring to the darling to the reckless to the resplendent, and the elemental to the extraordinary.

~Find an authentic soul. Not an age, an occupation, or a ‘hottie in bed’. Instead, find that electrical charge of emotion that comes only when we pour out of ourselves, boldly and bravely.

One final thought to share. To bring you full circle to your vestal counterpart, make sure your passion is alive. Undiluted and susceptible. If the kaleidoscope of one’s heart is harbored, hidden, or extinct, the animation of one’s spirit will be entirely dulled.

Enjoy the search and be inspired. Well, at least be marginally optimistic. And please, tell me of your Internet dating experiences. I need a good love story!