My name is Brian Donovan, and I am an online dater. For those who have been following me on Thought Catalog, that’s not much of a revelation. I’ve written about it here frequently. For those who’ve read my other site however, It’s Not a Match.com, that probably comes as a bit of a surprise. Because even though it’s all about my dating life, up until now I have been writing it anonymously. No names, no pictures, no women hating me for writing about them online. But with the release of my new ebook, Not a Match: My True Tales on Online Dating Disasters, that will all change. That’s right, I’m going to finally attach my name to my ridiculous online dating exploits. Yippee! I think!
As you’ll read in my book (because you’re obviously gonna buy it, right? RIGHT?!), I have been dating online for years, and have gone on at least 100 dates. I say “at least,” because actually I’ve entirely lost count of how many, and chances are it’s far more than 100. I know, I sound like a scandalous ladies’ man. To dissuade yourself of that notion however, simply click on my archives. My favorites things to write about are my cat and The Gilmore Girls. Bea Arthur is more of a ladies’ man than I am. But I wanted to find the girl of my dreams, and so logically the first thought that jumped into my head was, “she’s probably hiding inside of a computer!” So I’ve used Match and OkCupid on and off since college, and have amassed quite a slew of stories. There’s the girl who caught on fire, the girl who brought her boyfriend on our date, even the girl who confronted me on national TV. Plus a lot of great advice, that will hopefully allow you to have a less tragic romantic life than I do. It’s all in the book…that you’re gonna buy a few copies of for yourself, then buy some for friends, and family, and strangers in the street, and even some dead people, and probably a few stuffed animals. My book does particularly well with stuffed animals.
But the real question is, why am I doing this? Writers don’t have to write about their personal lives, and if they do, it’s certainly understandable if they use a pen name. There are articles written all the time on Thought Catalog under pen names, some even by me. On It’s Not a Match I have been known for years only as ‘B,’ and have tried very hard to protect my anonymity. My reasoning was this: what woman would ever go out with a guy who might gab about it afterwards online? Especially on an internet date. I mean, there’s at least a 25% chance anyone you meet on OkCupid is going to be a psychopath to begin with. Then if you throw in the possibility that he’s gonna write about you on his blog, add on the price of gas, parking, and the time it takes to get ready, and screw it–you might as well stay home and watch House Hunters. Or, just a suggestion, The Gilmore Girls. If I openly wrote about dating, would my dating life be finished? In early trials, it seemed like it would.
When I first started my site, I had an optimistic full-honesty policy, which required me to tell women about my blog before meeting them in person. That way, no one would feel hoodwinked and freak out. No big deal, right? Wrong. Very big deal. Here are some of the responses I received after telling women about It’s Not a Match. Keep in mind that before this revelation, the conversations were going quite well…
“Are you fucking kidding me?!”
“My brother’s a writer! But I really don’t want to go out with you anymore.”
“Sorry, but no way.”
“Really? That’s cool. No thanks!”
“Is everyone online such a freak?!”
“I want my money back.”
I wasn’t sure what money she was referring to, but I sent her a check anyway. Seemed like the least I could do. And these were the women who took my news well. Most of them just stopped talking to me altogether. Honestly though, I don’t blame ‘em one bit. I never lie on my site, and I always change my date’s name and identity as much as possible, but still, I’m not sure if even I would’ve wanted to go out with me. Especially with all the blabbering about my cat. I mean really, it never stops. So as an emergency measure, honesty was shelved, and I ceased telling my dates about my writing until things got serious. And even then, it was broached carefully, and none of them were particularly thrilled. So what’s changed? Why have I now decided to come out of the internet dating closet? For one, I don’t date anywhere near as much as I used to, so the effect is minimized. But more importantly, I realized that the right woman for me will understand what I’m doing. She knows that I’m a writer, that sometimes it’ll be about my life, and that, for better or worse, it comes with the territory. Is she throwing a parade and telling her friends and family with glee in her in voice? No she is not. But she tolerates what I do, and on occasion maybe it even makes her smile. I have found a few such women already, and every time I am amazed at their greatness. Ah, great women. They’re just sensational, aren’t they? I have no idea why they tolerate us being such goons…
So I’m going out on a limb here, but I hope it’s worth it. If your interest is piqued, I hope you’ll give the book a read. If you don’t like it, I’ll give you your money back. I mean, I won’t, obviously, but it feels like the right thing to say in the moment. Now I’m gonna head over to my other site, post this exact same article there, and see what happens! Yippee! I think!