It’s confession time. Since my last post where I vowed to meet new people every day, I have taken it upon myself to push that to the next level. I joined a dating website. I like to describe it as a state of a sort of temporary insanity during which I am more intrigued and entertained than I have been in months! Then I remember that this is actually my life and suddenly the act of what I’m doing seems futile in the grand scheme and I get the urge to pull out a very large bag of peanut M&Ms and munch away. There’s no shortage of interesting people amongst this particular group of individuals- perfectly the opposite actually. I feel like I could teach a course on the subject after viewing the weird and wonderful profiles that I have. I don’t know if the problem is that some people really just aren’t stellar at first impressions, or if they just truly don’t realize how insane they sound. A guy who starts his profile off with a paragraph ranting about gold diggers and ho bags probably isn’t for me you know? Are they for anyone? Who wants to read that? Nothing says baggage like starting off a dating profile with a personal rant.
I’ve received a number of messages from interested parties but I promised myself early on I wouldn’t respond unless I was interested back. There was a time I might have personally responded to all just because I felt some humble obligation to pay homage to their efforts but does “hey baby” really warrant such a response? I think not. Since it’s a dating site I figure unless I’m truly interested in getting to know the person I probably shouldn’t start things up. This has resulted in a few angry private messages berating me for my rudeness. Is it better to respond and reject? In saying all that I have to admit I’ve received some truly hilarious little messages. In an attempt to be flattering (I think) one guy said “Hey you’re so beautiful. Your smile is too nice to be involved in something as complicated as engineering” (I work at an engineering office). I think I stared at the screen for a full five minutes in horror then laughed uncontrollably for another five. That’s right internet dating man, you’ve wooed me. Another complimented my “kilt”. In the picture I’ve posted I’m actually wearing a plaid winter jacket, but uh…thanks… Last, there was another worth mentioning that messaged me about travel. It seemed promising- an actual paragraph which demonstrated that he at least skimmed my profile and learned a bit about me. Trust me, this is a novelty. The message went downhill somewhere around the time he asked me to tell him what Europe was like so that he’s prepared for his trip to Cuba later this year. I face-palmed on that one.
Just as all my posts do, this one has a point. Believe it or not I’ve learned a few things- lessons that I feel could actually turn out to be kind of valuable.
Lesson One: I’m pretty judgmental sometimes and maybe, just maybe, it’s to my detriment. I’m great at eliminating people as possibilities because the way their lives are laid out in neat little profiles it’s like I can just go through with my little red pen and edit. I do this- “okay casual smoker- downfall. Wearing socks and sandals in that picture- downfall. Likes Will Ferrell- downfall. Snowboards…hmm but I’m totally uncoordinated in every way so we’d have nothing in common there. Downfall.” Seriously, that’s the thought process. Realistically if I met someone in real life and I liked them I’d probably overlook many of the things I’d typically dislike but laid out like a resumé I become this crazy sniper out to shoot down any and every eligible bachelor within a 30 km radius. It has nothing to do with believing I’m better than them it’s more my immediate belief that we must be incompatible. When the information is all just there I’m able to pick out exactly what might make the person right for me, but also wrong for me and I believe that’s maybe where real life wins out over the internet.
Lesson Two: Lots of people are frighteningly unable to spell. There is no spellcheck involved with this online dating business and it is potentially the greatest gift the site could have given me. Not only is it further motivation to work towards becoming the English teacher I’d always thought I’d be (to save the youth of tomorrow from a similar fate of course) but it also acts as a bit of a sifting device. If I can’t understand the person whose sending me messages, there’s a good chance I don’t want to date them.
Lesson Three: I had no idea there were specific things I’m actually looking for in a partner, but there are. I’m attracted to others who have traveled, are working on developing their careers and have goals and aspirations, and are over the “party everyday” mentality. This usually works out to be guys who are slightly older as many my age aren’t quite there yet, it seems. There’s a revelation. I also apparently don’t find smoking particularly attractive. I had no idea I felt this way about any of it until I joined this site, truly. It’s like it’s brought this weird very decisive side of me that I had no idea existed. Where are you when I try to make big important decisions about career and education, decisive self?
Lesson Four: I’m actually very okay with the fact that I don’t have it all sorted out. Dating is exhausting and to be honest, I don’t enjoy it. I enjoy becoming friends with people and getting to know them but not interviewing one another in awkward social situations in order to determine if I should get my best friend to do the signal call and secure me a hasty exit. I want it to happen naturally and for right now, I’m okay with spending more time with myself to figure out what I want and need while Mr Wonderful takes his time finding me.
Since returning from Sweden I am more independent than I’ve ever been and I find myself just appreciating moments more than I ever have. I’d love to have a sidekick to share the moments with but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with going solo for now- taking in the sights. Today at lunch I spread out my sweater on the grass and laid flat so that every bit of me was lapping up the rays. I pulled my hair out of its ponytail, ignored the millions of bugs I was sure were crawling in places I didn’t want them to, and enjoyed every glorious minute I had. I got home with new resolve and deleted the account. One final message came through right before I had the chance to hit delete and I thought ‘whats the harm in seeing what is says?’ I opened the message, not really expecting much, and read ‘Hey beautiful. What are the chances you’d be willing to date someone whose saving himself for marriage?” It’s not really the charming opening line I was looking for. In fact, it’s way too much information. Suddenly it hit me. Real dating is supposed to be this exciting slow trickle of information you gather about the other person. I’m no expert but I think it’s supposed to be an exciting realization that maybe, just maybe there’s compatibility in personality and not just a laundry list of interests. There is supposed to be an expansion of horizons. I zipped back over to the page that read “Are you sure you want to delete?” Oh believe me, now more than ever.