We meet someone online and fill the voids of loneliness we feel with the fabricated meanings behind their emoticons and hollow “lols.” These are the false realities Tinder and Grindr have given our generation. These days, every interaction we have with someone we meet online after the infamous “ASL?” is a series on interview questions. “Do you like Stevie Nicks? Do you like sushi? Yes? You’re practically my soul mate! Here is the link to my Instagram account and a picture of my hard cock. Oh! Do you like tapas restaurants?”
The way we connect online is as if we are sitting by our computers with a checklist of attributes and aspirations that the person on the person needs to fulfill before we find them worthy. But most of the times, even if they don’t, we ignore it. Hoping that maybe our quest for love will end with this person regardless if they hope to be a farmer and you have big city dreams. In your mind, these details are insignificant. In your fantasy he will change for you, his dreams only matter in the scope of your own.
We tell this person all the dark secrets we are never able to tell the people who truly matter. Why would we tell them when we could tell a stranger who has never had to earn it. We build connections we think are there because the idea of going out in the real world and finding love, and the idea of failing at it is too scary to face.
We have a bad day and they’re there with a text or a snapchat with their face contorted in a concerned look. We forget their attention span for true well-being may only be as long as the 10 seconds that snapchat lasted.
When you finally do meet this person face to face, you realize just how different great lighting can make someone look in pictures as opposed to in person. “I never knew they had that mole on the side of their face? Why didn’t they mention that? Am I being catfished?” You’ll quickly discover that conversation can be stunted and awkward without the fifteen minutes of delay time that texting allots for crafting perfectly humorous and witty responses that only Juno MacGuff could spew from the top of her head.
After conversation punctures a hole in the illusion life you have built with this person, you’ll end up sleeping together because bumping uglies is easier that grasping at anything to talk about. You’ll justify it to yourself in a way that makes it seem like you want to try them on in every way, not just intellectually. You’ll want to make sure you’ve given them their fair audition.
Their hands don’t feel as rough and as right as you thought they would when you pictured this moment in your head. They don’t know how to kiss you or hold you or connect with you like you were so sure you both would be able to. You realize the person you have been talking to for weeks, maybe, is just someone you invented by filling in the lines between who this person truly is, and who you wish you had.
As you lay next to them when it is over, you understand that you’re sleeping next to a stranger that you’ve poured yourself into to. As you stare into the darkness a wave of sickness washes over you; you’re laying next to a stranger. They only know the person that you chose to let them see. Only quick glimpses of a life you’ve stitched together through carefully composed texts and snapchats taken at your best angle.
You’ll go home defeated and angry and wonder if this one-night stand defines you in some intangible way. In a fit of self-protection you’ll delete your tinder or Grindr and vow you’ll never again meet someone online. And sometimes ‘never’ really means just maybe not this week, maybe only until you’re feeling lonely again.