Oh, The Joys of Internet . . . in any form

Stephen Colbert once did a small piece on LinkedIn when he was still on Comedy Central. He said he receives invitations to join, and, as soon as he finds out what it does, he will join.

I joined a few years back and I feel the same way. What does it do other than waste my time?

Granted, I have enjoyed a forum of Medievalists sponsored by Linkedin but is it worth maintaining a subscription for a single forum when there are other online sites through which I can chat with Medievalists?

I occasionally receive postings about jobs, none of which am I qualified for.

Today, the service sent me a list of 95 people I might know. I did know some. One person was formerly in my writing group. Another was my son whose last name is different than mine.

Interestingly, there were two people I encountered before through a different form of internet communication, dating sites.

I was active in the predecessor of online dating sites, print media personals, just after my divorce, 23 years ago. For about six months, I met men for coffee, occasionally for dinner. I had between one and three of these meetings a week.

I never wanted to see any of them a second time and always left the cafe or restaurant at a run.

After a six year relationship that began with a face-to-face encounter at a Cajun dance session at the late, lamented Johnny D’s, I tried the internet version of the personals.

I actually agreed to meet a man a second time. He was physically attractive, educated, intelligent and articulate. He was also a widower.

Both times, the conversation flowed easily. But the second time sent up a signal flair. I had suggested we meet at Tower Hill Botanical Garden. He called me and asked that I meet him instead at a hotel in Sudbury, MA. He begged off because of the heat but I wondered if he had weighed the price of admission.

Now, meeting at hotel does not automatically set off alarms because hotels have lounges where people can sit for hours undisturbed.

But . . .

This was a hotel where he and his late wife would go for weekend retreats. The problem for me is that it was a humdrum place on Route 9 in a town with no particular charm except for the living history museum and they lived in Vermont. Yeah, I always think of fleeing Vermont for Route 9.

We walked over to a bench next to the lake behind the hotel. By this time, I knew to hang my shoulder bad between us on the bench.

He emailed me later the same day to say how much he enjoyed my company and asked for a third meeting. I no longer wanted to wait for the classic “third date death,” although I did not respond for a week. When I did, it was to say no.

The other man, who I contacted years before via the Boston Globe personals, is much older than I am, a retired Harvard professor. In fact, I wonder if he is still alive or if his LinkedIn account simply continues without him.

I never met this man although we exchanged several emails. He, too, is a widower, although his second wife was much younger than he. They had two sons together who attended the high school where I was a permanent sub. He thought had we begun dating , he did not want one of his boys to show up in a class I was assigned for the day. Reasonable, I suppose.

Anyway, during the internet era, I received an email from him. He thought my profile matched the type of woman he sought. Besides, I was, to him, beautiful. I answered that we had had a previous history in which he declined to meet me.

Now, in terms of raw data, either of these men would seem to be “my type.” We were all lefties. We had all worked in education. We all held graduate degrees. They were reasonably attractive and younger in spirit than their respective ages.

But, who is to say what a type is. What about those qualities that are not reflected in personal appearance or on a resume? What happened to not judging a book by its cover?

Of course, I declined to connect, even on a ‘professional level,’ with either man.

As for LinkedIn, is it really professional? I am not trained in any medical field nor do I have an MSW. My resume is posted there. I could, possibly, work in television. But is someone going to hire a 69 year old woman for professional television work? I am seriously thinking of dumping LinkedIn. I receive an average of 150 emails daily. Cutting back on even one source would be a help.

Particularly, like Stephen Colbert, I am still not certain what it does.

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