Navigating the Treacherous Waters of Online Dating (and dating in general)

1940s

Dating.  It sucks.  I hate it and everyone I know hates it too.  I presume that they are grateful that they were lucky enough to meet their ‘one’ early enough in life that they no longer have to deal with this shit.  Obviously, that was not the case for me.

I’ve loved in life and I’ve been hurt in life – badly.  Badly enough that I’m wary of trying it out again.  Badly enough, that a large part of me is convinced that I must have done something quite terrible in a past life, that the gods have deemed it fit to curse me in love for this one.

Still, upon becoming single last year (and after all of the tears and self-doubt washed away), I felt somewhat excited about dating again.  I thought about how fun it could be to meet new men again and be pursued.  After a pretty hefty amount of healing, I was actually looking forward to getting back in the game!  I could not have been more wrong.  Dating still sucks as much as it did before.  No, wait.  I think it actually sucks more now-a-days.  With the advent of online dating, it seems like the romance is all but gone, along with the balls of men and the dignity of women.  When did we stop respecting ourselves?  When did we start hiding behind our computer screens and claw at whatever random text message we can get?

I used to be ok with online dating.  It’s how I met the guy I thought I was going to marry, errr…at least, I thought I’d be with him for a long time and kind of see where it went from there (apparently, nowhere).  My point being, at the time I didn’t have too much of a problem with online dating back when I met him.  I just saw it as another outlet to meet people.  Things were still relaxed back then — you see a profile, you message to meet, you actually meet.  No drama.  Five years later and boy, the game has changed!  Everyone wants to know everything!  Do you want kids?  What’s your income?  What do you do?  What’s your favorite color?  No, they don’t ask that last one, but it’d be a lot funnier if they did!  All of those questions are pretty loaded and I can’t even bring myself to talk about that stuff within the first few months of dating — let alone on a profile prior to a first date!   Of course, to answer is optional, but I think it actually hinders your chances of meeting someone if you don’t.  The less you reveal about yourself, the less likely they can ‘match’ you with someone.  I feel it just adds a lot of pressure and a lot of dishonesty.  I certainly know of a few men who answer “Definitely wants kids” because they believed that it would get more women to consider their profile.

And the way profiles are created now!  Five years back, I could get away with one or two sentences, a decent photo and that was about it.  Now, people write entire essays trying to sell themselves in one go!  I get it, you want to get noticed, you try to impress others and what better way than with photos of things you supposedly climbed and all of the oh-so-tropical places you’ve visited.    If online profiles are anything to go off of, everyone loves to travel, climb and cook.  This, in particular, makes it hard because I actually do all of those things and the most disappointing bit is when I meet a guy for a first date, that ‘love for cooking’ actually just means: ‘one time I made spaghetti and it was pretty edible.’  False advertising, much?  And what *is* with all of the claims about travel?  Just because you’ve had the opportunity and the fortune and the luxury to travel to a lot of places doesn’t make you any better than someone who just happened to get stuck in one place.

Its a sad truth: People lie/exaggerate (immensely!) in their profiles.  I’m probably even guilty of it too, but I feel others do it way more than I do.  I don’t think I even do it intentionally!  As an example, I *d0* like to travel, but that doesn’t mean I get to do it often.  Actually, I think I even took that off my profile because I kept getting men asking me ‘So — where have you been?’ right off the bat.  I suppose they’re just trying to make conversation — but it feels more like an interview when they ask.  I feel like it’s more of a, “I need to assess your travel resume.”

Then, there are the photos.  I can understand if you haven’t changed your photos in a year or so.  I understand; I get lazy too.  Though it’s quite another thing to post photos of yourself from 5 – 10 years back!  I have been on dates where I totally walked past the guy because he doesn’t look anything like his photo anymore.  Then, they act all butt-hurt because of it!  It’s not just guys, I think.  I’ve been on dates where we meet and the first comment they make is, “Oh, you actually look like your photo.”  My initial reaction used to be, “Why wouldn’t I?”  Then, it dawned on me: women lie too.  Yes, I’m sorry, it took me that long to realize it.  While we are on the subject of photo choices for profiles; I’ve come to start distrusting any profiles that have a heavy does of black and white photos.  Let’s face it, everyone looks better in black and white.   It can be misleading.

I’m not saying looks are everything, but physical attraction is key and it’s a certain type of chemistry that you just can’t manufacture.  Also, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so why don’t you just let your true self shine and see who digs it?

So you get to the part where you start talking with a person online.  There are so many men out there who apparently would much rather email forever and ever or send endless amounts of texts, but never actually pluck up the courage to say, “Let’s meet.”  Sure, I can bring it up too (and I have), but it’s astonishing to me how many men I actually have to prod a little bit to get them to agree to meeting.  It’s not that I desperately love going out on dates — I just, personally, would rather meet someone face to face than exchange dozens of emails.  Words are nothing, I feel, from the safety of a computer.  Sure, they can say all of these nice things and claim that are so into all of these awesome things that I’m into as well, but until I actually meet them – I’m wary.  Call me paranoid, but I’ve been on enough dates to be know to be cautious.  Sweethearts, 9 times out of 10, it’s all talk.

I used to think the delay in meeting was because they were shy (although, there are some shy guys out there), but now I assume that it’s really just because they are talking to other women and sadly, I do not rank high enough for them to meet just yet.  HOWEVER, if the others don’t work out, then I’m next in line.  I suppose that’s my biggest gripe with online dating.  Because so many people are accessible to you, it’s really hard to *not* talk/date multiple people at once.  I’ve tried the multiple dates thing — it’s not my style.  I can’t even carry on more than one or two email conversations at once.  Even that already feels like too much and it also feels really unauthentic.  How can I really give Mr. Friday Date Night a chance if I have Mr. Thursday Date Night on my mind?

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a penchant for dating foreigners.  Sorry, I live in San Francisco — it’s a melting pot and those foreign accents with their stories of their home countries can be alluring.   I bring it up because it’s been mentioned that they also have problems with this whole massive-multiple-dates thing.  Which leaves me to wonder: is this an American cultural thing?  Online dating does seem to be far more prevalent here in the States.

It’s a murky business and I think I may have to take a break from it all.  I suspect my dating prospects will decrease significantly if I try to meeting someone in the ‘real world’, but at least what I see is what I’ll get and hopefully, a little bit of the romantic adventure and mystery of meeting someone new will return.  OR, I’ll just meet a lot of sleaze-os in real life which can be just as difficult to deal with.

Until then, I guess I’ll just keep doing my own thing and keep on secretly hoping that Andrea Pirlo will magically leave his current girlfriend and come waltzing into my life and I can let the charm bomb explode all over him.

 

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