When the idea of meeting strangers on the web, as opposed to in a dark, smelly bar, came into the fore of modernity, many of us were… well, we were still minors. But we heard the horror stories. We snuck up behind our parents or our parent’s friends as they not-so-silently judged awkward Uncle Stan and his ‘new friend’ Carol. Soon, popular culture decided that the idea of finding love via your computer screen was akin to social exile. But that was years, nay, decades ago! The question now is, does the stigma remain?
The short answer? …
Yeah, there isn’t one. So instead I submit, gentle readers, my humble experiences as a freshly single gal, in a relatively new city with few avenues for meeting new people. Or maybe I was just too lazy to put on pants. Whatever, here we go:
Act 1: Being a broke graduate student, I had limited options in terms of a correlation between a decent looking interface and that same interface being free. I quickly learned there was no correlation, and beggars could not be choosers. So I started with OKCupid! After filling out my profile with a close friend to offer ridiculous answers when I came to a blank, I sat back and waited. It wasn’t long before I caught myself a certifiable lil’ babe: 20 years old with a face like a teenager. This was his lead-in:
“Hey, just going to be honest with you, I’m not looking for a relationship. I really like when older women kick me and knee me in the balls for fun… yes I actually do like it, its [sic] a fetish. Is that something you’d be into or willing to try?”
…I mean… don’t get me wrong, Mama’s got a couple kinks up her skirt, but that one was a little lateral for me. My response:
“Honestly? No, I’m not, nor would I be, into that. But good luck finding that special lady-friend to blue-ball you (literally) to all hell. :)”
Act 2: I’m starting to feel as though I’ve concocted, through sheer repetition, a concise speech introducing myself. Like, yatta yatta yatta, me! This is L’s, all wrapped up in a cute little box! I now remember why dating is often described as “exhausting.” I’m getting sick of digging out that monologue again and again. Gawd, just know me already!
Anyway here’s what happened next:
After some clever tête-à-tête, I decide I’m intrigued by this dude’s sense of humor. However, we started this little repartee during my spring break. So we set a dinner date for mid-week following my return to Tallahassee.
Since our date wouldn’t occur for another five days or so, he checked in via text once or twice a day, just to see how I was doing. So cute right? I thought so too, until…. It was Saturday night, and I was in Tampa visiting friends. By 2:30 am we were a bottle of Maker’s Mark deep and dancing around the living room to Asia… ya know, totally normal. Dude texts me and says, “Listen, are you down to f….” He couldn’t even finish the word.
I immediately started laughing. My bewildered boos, upon squinting at my phone as I held it in front of them, broke out in nefarious giggles as well. I waited to respond until the next afternoon with a concise, “…lol, seriously dude?”
In return I get straight up radio silence until the day of the proposed date. By this point I had no plans on going, but I figured I could at least have a little fun at his expense. So I say, “What’s so hysterical is that I might have been, but you lost your wad way too soon buddy! Way to shoot yourself in the foot!” During a slew of embarrassed responses, I continued to rib him until I (finally) ran out of delightfully mocking remarks. He clearly appeared humiliated enough for the both of us though, so I let up and offered an olive branch: I suggested that we could still hang as friends, but that I would wear little to no makeup and a baggy, possibly stained T-shirt to ward off any expectations. He agreed.
After another cancellation and a no-show, I was over it…. Mostly. Then, one Thursday night, three glasses of wine deep with a nagging itch I couldn’t scratch, I texted him (against my better judgment, I know!), “ok dude, I’m done with you in the amiable sense, but now I am down to make out.” An excited affirmative, and then over two hours later, no follow up.
The next day, I got an apologetic response: “I’m really sorry I never got back to you last night, but I was busy calling family because my dad had a heart attack.” ….Well, crap…. Uh… I had to entertain the notion that he was just lying to me. But how could I call that out, ’cause we are of the age now where that’s an unfortunate possibility of adult life. I texted back, “thanks for the explanation, sorry about your dad. Hope he’s ok!” And I washed my hands of it, regardless whether true or false.
…I still occasionally get the random text asking me what I’m up to. When I respond he inevitably says, “Oh, I’m just chillin’ at home, bored.” To which I never reply. I find that simple exchange absolutely uproarious, because dude still doesn’t have enough sense to blatantly ask for the booty call himself, he just assumes (or vainly hopes) that I’ll take the bait he’s dangled before me.
Act 3: Well, by this point I was quite disillusioned by dating in the academic sense, but Mama still wanted a little T.L.C. So, I decided to try… *gulp*… Tinder (Science help me). At first I felt unbelievably judgmental, but eventually I got the hang of it. Match, match, match after match, it starts to feel like a fun game! Eventually, I got a message from a cutie: dark hair and eyes, beanpole type, with tattoos. He drove a motorcycle and played like three instruments (oh man, do I have a type). We met up for a beer at my home-away-from-home bar, and quickly discover a mutual love for Monty Python’s Holy Grail, which I just happen to own…
We got about half way through the following ‘movie date’ before he made his move… and I was all:
The, ahem, bullshitery didn’t start until we’d been “hanging out” for a week or so. I started to notice that while he consistently liked my crap on instagram, he no longer responded to my texts in a timely fashion… or at all. Humph. Then and today, I find that kind of behavior just rude. Listen, ‘cutie’, I know you saw the text; I know you’re on your phone. I know you are because you just liked my pic of me at the pool.
And then I was all:
Act 4: Guys… after several more dating fails, I was tempted to throw in the towel, content to court my fridge, maybe invest in some cats. Then, miraculously, the Gods of Amour (…Fabio? John Stamos? Stefan Urquelle?) dropped Mr. Red in my lap.
I truly didn’t want to end this article on a pessimistic note, so here’s what I’ve got: It’s too soon to tell, of course, but I can honestly say that Mr. Red and I hit it off on our first date and have since made a list of things to do on our second, including laughing at each other as we suck at ping-pong and darts and going fast as shit on his motorcycle (like I said, apparently I have a type) Maybe my next article will be titled “The Joys of Online Dating: Who Knew?”
Optional playlist to lull you to insomnia as you delve into your own online dating adventures:
1) “Alcoholics” –The Ones to Blame
2) “I don’t wanna be an asshole anymore” –The Menzingers
3) “Word Crimes” –Weird Al Yankovic
4) “I take my chances” –Mary Chapin Carpenter
5) “First Defeat” –Noah Gunderson
6) “Who’s gonna raise these babies” –Carrie Ann Hearst
7) “Mean streak” –American Steel
8) “In spite of ourselves” –John Prine and Iris Dementhe
9) “I’ve got my mind set on you” –George Harrison
10) “Sexy Bitch” –David Guetta (just in case you forgot you were by the end)