Admit it. Gay or straight, we all know the trepidations that can befall the luckiest of us as we grow up and start looking for mates, or a garden variety hook-up for that matter.

Back in the day when I was a sweet young thing with a mind for trouble, I went looking where the conventional wisdom said the getting was good — bars.

Unfortunately, most of the “getting” turned out to be batshit crazy, and I soon gave up and started spending my limited free time with the mostly married men I had known since childhood watching or talking baseball. But you can’t hang out with your friends all the time and live a full life.

So, knowing that we live in the future and not being one to dwell in the past, I decided to give online personals a shot. Besides, I had a former roommate who continues to be in a long-term, healthy relationship with a woman she had met while hitchhiking on the information superhighway. Hoo boy! What a Pandora’s box this turned out to be.

With my mother’s warnings about talking to ax-wielding strangers in my head, I whipped up a profile describing my Wonder Bread upbringing, listed my interests, and threw it out there like I would a fishing line at Folly Beach. What I reeled in was what I loosely refer to as “life’s rich pageant.”

There was “biggurlfun” who was tragically obese but not shy about how much she was into really skinny girls like me. This one got bent out of shape because I never responded to her messages. I had to block her.

Apparently I’m a big hit with African-American lesbos. Who knew?

Next was “MysticLyric” who was searching for deep spirituality and was into New Age whatever. I’m sorry, but that name sounds like a sailboat. She was insistent that she didn’t want “ANY DRAMA AT ANY TIME!” But for not wanting any drama, she sure as hell bugged the crap out of me with unsolicited long messages about how she wanted to establish a “true connection” with yours truly. No clue where she got that idea. I had to block her too.

There was also a bunch of junior-varsity dykes who were looking for mature women. Bitch, who you callin’ “mature”? I’ll “mature” yer ass right out! They had way too many tattoos, and most of them still lived at home. Next!

Lest I forget, there were the “lezbeans,” a group of womyn who sported mullets, ball caps, an unfortunate sartorial flair, and a tendency to post pictures of themselves getting wasted. I’m sorry, but you’re not going to get the femmes you insist upon with pics of yourself going down on a beer bong — especially those recovering English majors with a taste for proper spelling. A great one was “LaotianLotion” whose picture led me to believe that the featured person was in reality a male sex worker from Thailand.

I would be remiss if I left out all the weird straight guys posing as women so they could sneak past the women-only filters. I hate to break it to you fellas, but repeatedly calling a lifelong lesbian “hott,” “crazee” or “sexxxy” will NOT convince her to have sex with you. Eew!

And then there was “MozarteanMadness,” who described herself as “distinguished, financially well established, and literary minded.” She wrote me quite a bit, including this little gem: “I’m used to women who wield their Chanel lipstick like a samurai let loose with a sword.” Snort! I still want to submit that nugget to The New Yorker for the “Block That Metaphor” feature.

What was really annoying were all the girls who wouldn’t leave me alone because I didn’t “friend” or “smile” or “wink” back at them. Just because we share an orientation doesn’t mean we need to share anything more.

In all fairness, there are a lot of sweet, genuine, and not-crazy gay women on these websites who are just trying to make some connections, whether for networking, friendship, or romance. I’ve made some friends that I’ll have for the rest of my life and am grateful for the opportunity that the internet provided.

For the most part, however, the whole experience was far too reminiscent of high school. Having despised that world the first go-’round, I have no desire to go back there, so I doubt I’ll be looking for love on the web much in the future.

I am, though, rooting for one local gal out on the net just on principle. Her handle is “LookinForADyke.”

I’ll bet anybody 20 bucks she knows what was the last thing to fly out of Pandora’s box.

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