#onlinedating | Island Living: Adventures in Online Dating on Hatteras Island | #bumble | #tinder | #pof

Maybe it’s years of social isolation. Maybe it’s my age catching up to me. Maybe it’s another bizarre facet of the 2020 Curse whose despotic thumb we are all living under. Whatever the reason, dating on Hatteras Island is the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do.

Since my social circle mostly involves close relatives, animals, and happily-attached couples, I am trying to find that special someone via online dating. Let me tell you, it is slim pickings.

Where are all these “hot singles near me” I see touted on the ads for all the dating apps? Is my definition of “hot” off, or do the developers not grasp the meaning of “near?” Sure, in the grand scheme of things, Norfolk isn’t all that far from Salvo, but for enjoying a spontaneous, romantic dinner for two, it may as well be Kuala Lumpur.

My list of ideal traits is not exactly extravagant, either. Single male, 32-50, no kids, employed, preferably non-smoker, and preferably with at least a few teeth in his mouth. I am flexible on the teeth. Can that really be so hard to find?

Yes, yes it can.

I’m not one to make split-second decisions, but these profile pictures are killing me. Toddler on his knee? Could be a niece, but I’m not convinced. Swipe left to be safe. Chick pressing her cheek against his? Maybe a sister. He’s probably dumb enough to put a picture of his ex on his dating profile, though. Swipe left. So many people in the picture I can’t figure out which one he is? Swipe left.

Yesterday, the all-knowing, match-finding algorithm recommended someone with a chimpanzee as his profile picture. His “Brief Intro?” “Wassuuuuuuuup.” Great. A literal knuckle-dragging ape who thinks a late-90s beer commercial is an acceptable pick-up line. Swipe left.

I did come up with one promising match. Let’s call him Patrick.

Patrick and I simply clicked. Every conversation we had was honest and straightforward, each of us bringing the proverbial skeletons from the depths of our respective closets, each of us accepting the other’s broken edges with open arms.

In the course of these honest conversations, we discussed our respective medical issues. For me, that is polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. My PCOS causes hair to sprout forth on my body like new leaves in spring, only without the beautiful, wholesome feeling of serenity that spring vegetation brings. This condition has blessed me with luscious eyelashes but has also blighted me with Brooke Shields’s eyebrows and Groucho Marx’s mustache.

Now, you may have seen a certain video of me circulating online, wherein I rip said mustache out by the roots while wearing a green onesie. Yeah, you can thank Patrick for that.

Naturally, I did not wax my lip unwillingly. I had bought the waxing kit some months prior, but I wanted so badly to impress him that I finally thought it was worth a shot.

Two weeks later, he dropped off the face of the earth. Son of a gun ghosted me. I later found out he had done the same thing to at least one other woman. Get close, air out the skeletons, and vanish.

So there’s some confirmation that, at least in this case, it’s not me.

There must be someone out there looking for an overweight, anxious, animal-obsessed weirdo with a flair for the sarcastic and a slightly insane family. I’m not terribly attractive, I’m not at all athletic, I’m three steps past socially awkward, and I’m a horrendous housekeeper. I do, however, have deep ties to the community, a generous heart, and a taste for craft beer rivaled only by my low tolerance for alcohol. I also bait my own hook.

Well-intentioned individuals keep reminding me that there is nothing wrong with being single. While that is certainly true, there’s also nothing wrong with holding conversations with a real, live human being instead of my cat. My cat has stopped actually listening anymore.

And Patrick, if you’re reading this, I still have your hat. I had to put all the pieces in a bag, though, because it got run over by a lawnmower. Oops.


Elaine is a lifelong Hatteras Island resident, frustratedly single, and increasingly desperate. She enjoys long naps, Marvel Movies, and working with animals at Hatteras Island Pet Resort, which probably explains why she has no social life to speak of.

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