Stories on this page talk about online dating.
Whether the search is for Mr. Right Now, Ms. Now & Then or Happily Ever After, millions of people find their answers online. And millions don’t.
Stories on this page talk about online dating.
Whether the search is for Mr. Right Now, Ms. Now & Then or Happily Ever After, millions of people find their answers online. And millions don’t.
By Josh Leskar
Of course it would happen. I spent all this time doubting it, writing a story about how it worked for everyone and didn’t work for me, and pouring my heart and soul into the woe that has been my experience with online dating. Countless hours wasted on so-so dates that led nowhere. I had sworn off online dating for good.
Then, I met Julia.
It was my last hurrah, casting one final line into the sea of online dating before packing up my tackle box and cutting my losses, deactivating my account and closing the door for good. I opened up my web browser, keyed the letter “O” and watched the familiar website pre-populate in the status bar. My pinky reflexively tapped the return key, and I began my final perusal.
As happened from time to time, one match in particular caught my eye. Her photo exuded this sort of genuine happiness – not simply by her bright smile, but also by something much less tangible that I couldn’t quite place. And while I certainly found her attractive, this wasn’t some love at first sight nonsense. I didn’t instantly fall head-over-heels from a headshot on a dating site. She was just another woman who, I assumed, would be fun and interesting, and with whom I could probably get along.
I was intrigued enough to click, and she seemed absolutely delightful. We had tons in common: she had just run her first marathon; I was gearing up for my third. She was Jewish; I’m Jewish. She liked ice cream; I liked ice cream. If that isn’t chemistry, I don’t know what is.
So I sent off my relatively standard note, mentioning our similarities, detailing myself with bit more color, and asking a few questions I had after reading her profile. I hit send almost instantly, going against my general, “measure twice, cut once” attitude. Hell, what’s one more message before I left the world wide web of courtship?
But to be honest, I didn’t exactly have high hopes. I rarely did these days, and not in some, “throw-me-a-pity-party” way, but based on my past experiences, my response rate of return isn’t exactly what one would deem successful. I can’t quite articulate what drove me to send the message instead of just deleting my account as previously planned. Perhaps it was the romantic equivalent of a Hail Mary – I had nothing left to lose. Perhaps there was some small part of me that wanted to believe in love online. Perhaps it was just my gut telling me that this was the right thing to do.
Yet to my pleasant shock and surprise, I was welcomed with that rare, elusive  nestled next to the ‘Messages’ folder, and we exchanged a few messages before meeting soon after the New Year. When we finally did, she exceeded my wildest expectations. Her smile was even more infectious; she was intelligent and witty; she was inquisitive and perceptive; she was just as happy as her photograph led me to believe, and her enthusiasm for life was palpable. I knew almost instantly that she was someone around whom I wanted to be.
I don’t know if we would have met any other way, so perhaps I gave up on online dating a bit too early. Who knows where this relationship might go, but one good experience has certainly altered my perspective. And as good as Julia looked on paper, she’s even more wonderful in person.
Eventually, I did delete my account: just not for the reason I originally intended.
By Josh Kodish
First of all, I have to say, online dating is a misnomer. Online dating is as much like dating as shopping at the grocery store is like eating a steak. Actually, it's like a grocery store where you have to sell yourself to the steak. "Hi, Ribeye, I love your packaging! And you look really tender. I rated you Grade A... I'd love to eat... I mean get to know you better. Um, whaddya think? Wanna get marinated sometime?"
In short, I dreaded the thought of online dating with a passion inexplicable to anyone (my parents) who asked why I hated it so. I just couldn't quite answer the question of "Why not try it?" with adequate logic. But I had my reasons: the whole notion of online dating seemed grotesque, desperate, sad... the last stand for 21st century losers. Yes, I judged. Surely, I said then, I could do it the "normal" way. Surely, I didn't have to turn to the internet to conquer my inability, at 30, to have ever had a relationship longer than two months. Surely, the internet was not the answer to my inability, at 30, to have had more than a handful of dates in my entire adult life.
Yes, I judged. In spite of the fact that deep down I knew trying it was inevitable, unavoidable, the way of the new world. I judged only to put it off as long as I could. I was shy, nervous, inexperienced. If I didn't try it, I couldn't possibly be rejected. And, somehow, being rejected on the internet seemed the ultimate cruelty. Plus, I definitely didn't want to give my parents the satisfaction.
Thank God for loneliness, otherwise I would have never pulled the trigger, uploaded an OKCupid profile (at least I wasn't going to pay for this, that's where I drew the line), and started the awkward, start/stop, misstep-filled journey towards the one woman who could possibly have made it all worth it. A mere two years later (though it seems a lifetime), I feel like a new man, with a new life; a life even better than the one I always dreamed of, hoped for, but seriously doubted would ever happen to me. She made all of that doubt disappear.
In my first emails with Michelle I knew right away she was different than the rest. I always struggled with the email part of online dating. What do I ask? How do I show I'm interested but not too interested? How do I subtly shield myself from rejection? How do I keep a conversation going with a person I really don't care about yet? Especially when they are usually giving me so little. I guess these problems are not so far removed from real life dating, after all.
But, with Michelle, the emailing was easy. She made it easy. And she was out of town, so there was no pressure to push for a meetup. We talked about the Beta Band, Leonard Cohen, feminism (I said I had never thought of myself as a feminist, but I sure did like and respect women, did that count? She said yes.), my quirky hobbies (making sourdough bread), her life plan, and on and on in some of the longest emails I've ever written. I shared, she shared, I over shared, and it was all okay with her. She seemed to get me. And her writing was such a turn on. It was so naturally smart, funny, and warm. I had a good feeling every time I opened my inbox and saw a letter from her. Finally, a girl I was attracted to and I could be best friends with, a girl I imagined wanting to spend all my time with. And then the letters stopped.
Michelle was moving from New York back to Florida. I knew that. But she had been a little cagey about the timing and for about a month and a half, I received no letters from her. I was disappointed. Sad, if I allowed myself to be. What had happened? Maybe I actually had scared her away with my neurotic over sharing? Maybe she decided I was ugly? While I waited for the answers to these questions, I moved on. Another girl had emailed me, so, we met and went on a few dates. It was only desperation. I literally imagined how much better it would have been to be talking with Michelle when I was with the other girl. It felt like cheating. These were not emotions I expected to have about someone I had only talked with online.
Finally, Michelle surfaced. She was in town and ready to meet; I was delirious. During our first telephone call I was smiling from ear to ear the entire time. After our first telephone call, I was buzzing. My body was literally pulsating. God, I wanted to talk to this girl forever. Our first date was at an ice cream shop and I remember my first vision of her so clearly - walking towards me with arms outstretched to give me a hug, her face almost shockingly beautiful, sexy, comforting. I felt relief. We hugged and walked into the store, ordered, and fell right into a conversational groove, as if we had been together for years (I imagined, having never made it past two months, as previously noted). All the nerves faded instantly, and before the night was over, the hopelessness of my future had faded, too. She brought out the best in me.
Less than a year and a half later, we got married right on the beach where we had our first date. Right where she had made me yell out my inner demons into the void of the vast, dark Atlantic Ocean. Right where the best thing I could think to yell was "Hot snickerdoodles!" Right where she totally got it and thought that was a great thing to yell. Right where my life changed forever.
All of this is to say: 30-year-old hipster doofus reluctantly and mostly to spite his nagging Jewish parents, entered the dark void of online dating only to find the love of his life and the greatest woman in the world (lucky for him, these are one in the same person).
By Valerie McCarthy
I didn’t have time to take a Spanish class in hopes that one of the eight guys in the seven-week Tuesday night class would be my dream man. I like Rombauer and even a Dark and Stormy every once in a while, but shallow conversation in a bar full of people I didn’t know was not my idea of fun. And college parties were almost 15 years behind me. But I was ready to make relationships more of a priority in my life. So where to next?
With the encouragement of girl friends and ironically my 65-year-old step mom, I tentatively dove into online dating at the age of 34. I did so confidentially outside of my close friends and family. (Did nice girls really meet nice men online?) And as a hobby - albeit prioritized, but not as a full time job like others I knew.
I chose Match for what I expected to be the mainstream and Nerve for those I might not take home to Dad. Then my new online name CardinalRedGirl was chosen, honest profiles went up, and escape hatches – girlfriends lined up to call 10 min in so I could feign emergency if need be - were established. My step-mom even created different personas for me to “try on” with different dates. And in my typical goal-oriented, over-planning fashion, I wrote down a list of requirements for a suitable partner, my personal version of “The Rules.”
Then I started dating online. For me, this meant sorting for the tall, blue-eyed athletes who liked to read the New York Times and enjoyed visiting new places and trying new restaurants. I found a number who, on paper and email, seemed to fit the profile. But I had a zero percent hit rate of reality matching perception. I saw some of their bluffs on the first date. I saw the expected “more bald than the profile picture” and the unexpected “arrival with no legs or arms.” (I’m fine with that, just why not give me a hint in advance?) For others it took a few dates for me to root out deal-killer facts - like that they were actually married but had an “agreement” (yea, right!) or they were really looking for a stay-at-home mom.
The hunt went on and I ventured back every once in a while to date a friend I knew. After all, that was my comfort zone. My first boyfriend in the spring of 1st grade was my assigned seatmate for the year. My last boyfriend before plunging into the online dating world was a trusted golfing buddy. Maybe that was why I was having a hard time with online dating?
The last guy I met online, “RiversCross,” freaked me out by breaking all of “The Rules.” He overcame my “friends first” reflex. Like some others, I liked him the moment I met him at a mellow bar in Menlo Park. It took me one minute to realize he was in line with Rule #1 by being physically attractive. (You can fight the “don’t judge the book by the cover” adage, but if you do, you will waste a lot of time with online dating.) Instead of it going downhill from there, this one showed more potential.
An hour into our glass of wine, it was clear we had an easy rapport with each other and we had similar values and aspirations. (After two years of online dating, we both had gotten better at addressing important deal killers sooner than later.) Drinks turned into dinner. Dinner turned into after-dinner drinks. And after dinner drinks turned into a long, innocent conversation in the parking lot.
After five hours, I felt like we had known each other for a year. Maybe in my pace of dating we had covered a year of dating in one night. But I had no clue who he really was. Shorter term, I struggled with whether he was a pervert for calling me the next morning. My friends assured me he was not. As our dating continued, I struggled with following “The Rules.” Could I live with someone under 5’ 10? Could I live with his ultimatum of not having any more kids? He had been married before, so was I OK living with damaged baggage? Could I live with someone who preferred making a warm home over traveling around the world?
I never seriously dated anyone after RiversCross, even though we broke up twice in the interim. And six years after meeting in Menlo Park, we got married. It took me six years to be ok with dating first and best friendship to follow. And it took me six years to realize some of “The Rules” might have been wrong. A second marriage comes with lots of experience and knowledge of what not to do. A shorter man is actually easier to snuggle with. Dinnertime at a place we have made home is a special treat.
It has taken me four more years to come out of the closet and admit to anyone that asks (they all do) that I met the man of my dreams online. But now that we are old best friends as well as lovers, it doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore. And daily I thank the lord that one special online man named “RiversCross” was the one to break “The Rules.”
Online dating seemed like a thing you try when moving to a new city. I figure I'd get a few good stories out of it, maybe boost my confidence. But I never expected much. I am not someone that likes to put a lot of detail in a Facebook profile, let alone a Match.com ad selling myself. But somehow I found myself one day signing up, cropping and uploading my most flattering photos from college and forcing myself to fill out the dreaded "About Me" section. Sacramento was a lonely place and I wasn't going to find a guy at work or on my couch (I worked the graveyard shift and spent a lot of time snoozing.) So I started responding to messages from guys who seemed somewhat attractive and normal. I did not have the courage to actually initiate contact myself. I couldn't handle the online rejection.
I can only count a handful of dates in Sacramento. None of them went beyond the initial first meet-up---not so much because they were bad dates, but mostly because I just didn't put the follow-up effort in. "I work weekends and he lives half-an-hour away in Roseville" was one of my excuses. When I finally got a job in San Francisco, I still kept my previously scheduled online date, mainly because he picked a wine bar I really wanted to try. I had enough fun on the date that I was willing to try it again in my new city, with hopefully an even bigger pool of eligible men.
I only had one more Match date before I met Dave. The guy tried to impress me by ordering bad sake, and admittedly, he was a little short for my taste. Of course, I was still offended when he didn't contact me for a second date. While I was stewing over that, I got a message from Dave. It's easy to categorize the kind of messages you get. The copy and paste kind, the desperate and scary kind. It's rare to get one from someone who seems genuinely interested. That's what caught my eye about Dave and compelled me to respond. Hey, he took enough time to ask specific questions about my job? I couldn't not write back. He was a Biophysics Ph.d candidate, an NPR fan, and didn't own a television. I produce TV news and haven't taken a math or science class in years. But he liked food. And he had the smooth idea of sending me the link to the top 100 Bay Area restaurants. That sealed the deal for a date. He suggested Moroccan...even more intriguing. It was really only a couple of e-mails back and forth before we were agreeing to meet.
The day of the date, I was almost ready to cancel. I had an exhausting night before (I still had single friends who were wanting to go out) and the thought of dragging myself out of bed to meet a stranger sounded like torture. But he seemed nice and the lure of a top 100 restaurant got me there. Parking was a nightmare. I avoided doing valet at first because I saw him standing out front and didn't want to awkwardly meet him that way. Later, I learned he had the same troubles with parking and even worse, worried that I'd see him climbing out of his passenger door (the driver-side door was broken). Once we got past the first awkward introductions, I realized this wouldn't be so bad. Conversation was easy, and we quickly bonded over our mutual like of the show "Castle." Sounds lame, but it's amazing how much comfort something little like that can bring you. He was impressed by my gutsy food choices, like beet sorbet, for dessert. The next thing I knew, I was talking about a place I like to hike and he was asking to hang out tomorrow. This was not a guy that played by the three-day "rule."
He showed up at my door with flowers. I borrowed my roommates' dogs to break the ice. (Turns out, he is not a dog person but liked me anyway.) The dates were fun, but it was hard to tell right off the bat if it could go past the friend zone. The thing about online dating is, you have to work a little harder to see if the chemistry is there. And that can be uncomfortable and confusing. But I realized, every time I was open to another date and gave him a chance, I was happy I did. Date #3 was a surprisingly good first kiss. Date #5 was a meet-the-friends dinner party. I was so worried that I wouldn't fit in, but I couldn't have found a more welcoming group of people who were genuinely interested in meeting me. I got a better sense of the kind of person Dave was through his friends.
We took things slowly. It was little gestures that made me start to see him as a keeper. Bringing me Girl Scout cookies and organic orange juice when I was sick. Planning romantic picnics. Calling instead of texting. Three years later, it is hard to believe I even met him online. When people ask how we met, it's not embarrassing. We usually laugh, because it's like a Match.com testimonial commercial in real life. It's weird to think that something so great could possibly originate on the Internet. I didn't love online dating. I'd warn anyone who tries it that you're probably going to have bad experiences. But all it it takes is one, and it's hard to imagine how different my life would be had I not taken the chance.
By Nikki Yeager
I’m from Cleveland, OH. Land of burning rivers, Great Lakes Brewing company and a general distaste for online dating. After all, only weirdos and losers need to turn to the internet for love. Right?
After growing up in Cleveland, I moved to NYC as a teenager. I loved everything about it and found dozens of new methods for friend-making when removed from my suburban environment. I met people from CouchSurfing, from Meetups and Eventful. My propensity for online friend-making eventually morphed into something more. I decided it was time to “settle down” and find myself a husband when I turned 20 and to do that I took my search straight to the internet.
Now, I still had some holdover prejudice against online dating that was deeply seated in my psyche. So I couldn’t quite bring myself to pay for a website like eHarmony. Instead, I justified my dating endeavor by making it into an experiment. I was going to find a free website to test the dating waters, and if nothing else I would have some great fodder for my blog.
So I did what any sane, single girl would do – I went on Craigslist. My post was practically titled: “Not a Psycho Killer or a Crazy Stalker. Yay!!!” because, obviously, I didn’t want be murdered. In the post itself I wrote exactly what I wanted: A serious relationship that could eventually lead to marriage. A man who was passionate about something in life, no matter what it was (even if that something happened to be taking out the trash – he just needed to wake up excited about doing it). Someone who could deal with my overwhelming enthusiasm for, well, everything. And a warning: “I am trying to find a long term relationship so don’t expect amazing, animal like sex on the first date (and probably not the second either.)”
More importantly, I considered what I did not want to include in the post. There was no picture of me and no physical features listed. I did not request that my suitors be of a particular income level or appearance. I figured I’d remove the possibility of meeting the wrong type of guy by clearly stating what I did want and omitting any items that would attract the person I didn’t want.
Within the first hour I had over one hundred responses. So I came up with a system to speed up the elimination process. I would only respond to men who had written at least three complete sentences, had included a picture (I wanted to make sure they were real) and could be verified as human beings after a quick Google search.
When I responded, I was open and honest, including a link to my Facebook, blog and Twitter in my email signature so any potential man-of-mine could easily find information about me with just a few clicks. After one or two emails with any person, I suggested that we meet and then I let the guy do the planning.
From there, the dating began.
I sincerely suggest that every single female try serial dating for at least a week online. During that time I went to multiple broadway shows, ate at an amazing Indian restaurant, saw an off broadway one-man act, attended a dance lesson, drank at multiple bars and wandered around multiple parks. As I learned about each person, I also learned a little bit more about the city I lived in and got to experience new things every night – for free!
And surprisingly, not a single person I met was “weird”. My inner Clevelander was shocked, confused and a little disappointed that I didn’t have better stories to tell. However, I found something better than a great story. I found myself a husband.
The first guy I went out with was my age, a native Brooklyner and wrote his initial email with the type of wit and charm you rarely come across in online writing. For our first date he took me on a tour of Chinatown, where I was living at the time. He’d studied the neighborhood in college and told me all about the history, changing demographics and even the illegal activity going on in alleyways and underground buildings all around me. He’d done his research and read all about me on my website before the date so he knew just how much I was drawn to other cultures. Plus, I’d travelled and lived in multiple countries so I clearly liked to experience the unknown. He figured he’d bring that passion to life while we were still conveniently located in NYC.
After the informal tour, we wandered off to his favorite pizza place in Manhattan (another thing he studied in college, albeit less formally) and again he told me all about the history of pizza parlors in New York, weaving in his experiences growing up in the city. During the entire date we didn’t have a single lull in conversation. I loved that he could share things with me that I’d never known about. Plus, he was as equally intense of a listener as he was a talker.
At the end of the date, I turned him down.
Sure we had fun, but was he the person I’d settle down with? He wasn’t set in his career and, to my abject horror, he still lived at home.
So I went on more and more dates. But he kept popping up. He’d send me a quick email once in a while or we’d meet for coffee when he was in the city. I made it clear that it wouldn’t work, but he still called me to see how things were going and showed up at every one of my art shows without fail.
Eventually he wore me down. He won.
And now, as I look at my wonderful husband, I can say that he is the best – and only – person in the world for me. A person I found on Craigslist.
By Michelle Hulan
We all have those memories that are tied to the beginning of a relationship. Sometimes it’s described as “butterflies.” In movies, it’s usually shown when one character asks their friend, “Who’s that?” For me, it was “does his head look like it’s shaped like a peanut?”
About two years ago, I was taking Adderall pretty frequently to get through my final semester of college and was planning on leaving Brooklyn for South Florida in the following months. I wanted to scope out the dating scene, and met Joel on OkCupid. He had given me four or five stars, and I went to each of my roommates to find out if whether he did in fact suffer from some deformation or if it was just the lenses from his glasses. I carefully reviewed his pictures. In most, he wore a sweater, which told me that he probably lived up in the Northeast, a New York ex-pat I guessed. I learned that he was living in Lake Worth, baking sourdough and teaching middle school Intensive Reading. It turned out that he was into adult indie-ish rock bands… less Of Montreal, more Neko Case and Leonard Cohen. I liked that his responses were not too forced, more conversational, smart. I felt a little intimidated. Knowing the New York dating scene, if he lived there, I wouldn’t make the cut. I’m not a sad-sack. It’s just the growing reality of an ever-increasing pool of single women in New York. It also didn’t help that I’m combative, stubborn, very strange, and intense. These traits alone scared many men away. I visited his profile at least four times before returning the five stars.
It only took me two emails to get his full name, which I googled. Any women who denies they do this is either lying or sane. I eventually found a blog of his that chronicled his relationship with an older woman and his movements across the country. I knew about his sourdough starter named Mortie, learned that he was Jewish and had that guilted neurosis I knew so well from my adolescence in Boca. I read every last bit, and when he sent me the link later on, I pretended I didn’t know it existed. Over the months, we kept up with casual emails that promised we’d eventually meet, and when I finished school, I moved to Florida.
Two months had passed before I got a call. I don’t remember the conversation, but I was in a parking lot on my way to the gym. He was nice, and I felt at ease immediately. It turns out, Joel had a calming voice. He was the treat to my Pomeranian, the muscle relaxer to my tight shoulders…. He almost seemed airy, for lack of a better word. He paused when he felt like it, laughed at my stupid, nervous jokes, and kept the conversation guided and meaningful. It wasn’t too long or too short. I liked him. It was as though everything on his profile was honest, real. This conversation, coupled with my cyber stalking, made me feel as though I knew him.
To make a long story short, we met for ice cream. I quickly determined that his head was in fact normal. We walked to the beach with our cones and sat in the sand for hours. We talked about everything. His reasons for moving around so much, his brief bout in San Francisco, which ended with him having to scream “Hot Snickerdoodles,” his affinity for all things bread, his horrible vision, and much more.
That first date was one of many. He became my best friend. We fucked with each other, summa wrestled with pillows, talked about our future, until over a year later, we got married on that same beach. We now sell his sourdough bread at the local farmers market, and now we’re trying to have a baby together and dreaming about where our lives will take us. I might not be the most eloquent writer, but I hope the message is clear. Online dating works. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but either way, somewhere out there is a possibly peanut-headed man or woman who might change your life, whether it’s for a day or a lifetime.
By Josh Leskar
I don’t look good on paper.
Transcripts, résumés, test scores and applications all show mere bits and pieces of the entire person I consider myself to be. I always had this nagging feeling that if these people – college admissions staff, potential managers – who were supposedly deciding such integral parts of my future could actually meet me in person, they would have a much better sense of me: Joshua Aaron Leskar, the charming, silly, smiley guy who can chat to a brick wall for hours.
Instead, I find myself confined to a two-dimensional computer screen or an eight and a half by eleven sheet of paper.
But when it comes to romance, my bubbly demeanor pops and spills into a puddle of awkwardness. I’m a notoriously terrible dater, plagued with “nice guy syndrome” and paralyzed with a fear of overstepping boundaries in an effort to be polite, chivalrous and gentlemanly to a fault. As a result, I am placed in the friend zone more often than not.
When I confessed of this to my first roommate in San Francisco, she prophesized that within three months of living here, I would be on OKCupid, a popular online dating website for my peer group.
Initially I resisted, scoffing at the thought of meeting some stranger on the vast expanses of the Internet. Indicative of our society today where so many of us hide behind text messages and emails, online dating seemed to be just one more excuse to have less real-life, in-person interaction: a skill that I believe we as a culture are losing. Besides, despite my awkward tendencies when passion comes into play, I figured my odds were still much higher when I didn’t lead with that bland sheet of paper.
Yet almost three months to the day, I caved. I rationalized to myself that if dating was indeed a numbers game, a service such as OKCupid would significantly narrow the pool of women to a subset with whom I had a higher probability of getting along. And making friends in a new city proved more difficult than I had anticipated, so even if nothing romantic came of my endeavor, I could perhaps add a few more friends into the mix.
It was exciting – answering questions that really made me think about myself – both my innermost values as well as my superficial desires. Percentages popped-up: how compatible were we as friends? As partners? As enemies? Eagerly, I sent messages to women with similar interests – referencing our shared love of James Taylor, cooking dinner, or traveling the world.
Just as in real life, however, online dating seemed to produce the same results: or lack thereof. The guy is nearly always expected to make the first move – in this case, sending a message. And more often than not, I was met with the same rejection that typically plagued my “live” version of dating. And the dates that I did end up attending in real life were mediocre and fizzled quickly. Too many aspects were lost in translation from screen to reality. It all just felt so forced.
For a while, I found myself in a constant struggle - how much effort should I put into an online platform when that effort could otherwise be used for meeting people in real life? Was my time better spent in front of a computer or in front of a bar?
Ultimately I decided to leave the world of online dating. But every once in a while I do find myself logging back in, just to see if my dream woman has also decided to take a chance to see how she looks on paper.
By Nadine Ott
Online dating. After trying it out for a while, I got used to people giving me that, “I think you’re crazy, but society says I can’t just come out and say that,” look and politely asking why. I would give them the usual responses. “I’m networking in a new city.” “A bunch of people told me it was so much fun, I do it for the outrageous stories.” “I get to check out a cool new bar with a potentially cool new person every time I go on a date.” What I never mentioned to these skeptics was that while all of these reasons were true, it was the hopeless romantic trapped deep under my protective blubber of logic just screaming at me to give it a shot, because maybe (just maybe) I would meet the one. Well, I didn’t. Not even close.
I did, however, meet a guy who thought it was “so cute when I got annoyed and argumentative,” that we ended up getting in a fight. I put money down on the table and stormed out of the coffee shop, never to see him again. There was the guy who had gained a good 40 pounds since all of his pictures were taken, and I wasn’t so much deterred by this new body he lived in but mystified that he thought it was a good idea to start himself off at such a disadvantage. There was the guy who was so rude to me on the date that I received an “I’m sorry” text an hour later. At least I assumed he was apologizing for the bad manners. Maybe he was apologizing for never making eye contact but giving my chest plenty of attention, telling me there must be something wrong with me for being single, or checking his phone every 60 seconds the entire time. I guess I’ll never know.
The ultimate, however, the one that makes all of these guys pale in comparison, was what my friends fondly refer to as “man-purse man.” Yes, ladies and gentleman, he carried a purse, a black leather satchel that he wore over his right shoulder, the strap cutting diagonally across the torso. It stood out even more than you might imagine given that he wore an entirely white outfit. Telling myself I was being completely shallow and I wasn’t on a date to find a guy who understood the value of a wallet, we began to talk and I was immediately disappointed to find that many of the smart retorts and comebacks that he seemed to possess in our online exchanges were lost in person. What had seemed in writing to be a quick sense of humor and clever wit was in fact something he must have put some time into portraying, for in person it was nonexistent.
Needless to say, we didn’t go on a second date. I came home and disabled my online account. I fell asleep that night going through all my failed dates in my head and figuring out what I did wrong. Here’s what I concluded: some people are dishonest, and online dating makes it very easy for people to misrepresent themselves. Some online daters are there because in person they haven’t had the best luck, so they think that if they lay groundwork first, the first interaction with a potential romantic interest might give them different results. Finally, it is easier to gauge your chemistry with a person in 10 seconds of face to face interaction than it is after months of daily email exchanges.
What does this mean for the tireless romantic inside of me who has probably resorted to collecting stamps as a result of all the recent neglect? It means that a computer algorithm will probably never connect me to my soul mate. I will never be able to gauge if a person can make me laugh based on their wit in a message, and that I can’t assume online dating is a level playing field. Let me explain. I choose pictures that will give someone a good idea of what they can expect to see if we meet up for coffee or beer. I portray myself as I am: the goofy, the good, and the unsavory. Not everyone does, in fact I might even say that most people don’t. Expecting this from people online is unrealistic.
Having said all this, I feel obligated to admit that a week ago I reactivated my online account. Why? Maybe that hopeless romantic I try to suppress is dumber and stronger willed than I realized. She must be if she’s willing to ignore all the data collected in an attempt to find someone to watch Netflix with, to go check out a killer DJ with until 3am, to be my official taste tester for five variations on double chocolate cookies. And hey, if there’s someone out there who might fit the bill, and that hopeless romantic in me wants to roll the dice a few more times to find them, who am I to stop her?
By Annie Marron
It’s official. I am now an online dater. Well, an online flirter at least. After digging in my heels for years a friend convinced me to make a profile. And, surprisingly, I totally love it. It’s so fun, the flood of messages and attention from these men working so hard to sell themselves. Why doesn’t this happen in my real life? They’re all looking for love online, but in person could kind of care less.
“Oh, you. Standing there, do I have to be bothered to talk to you? Yawn.”
Then online I’m the cat’s pajamas (or is it another feline reference I seek) and every man age 26-52 wants to throw down for a dinner date.
Maybe I’m breaking the shy barrier by going online. Is it that by essentially announcing my availability, becoming easily shoppable, I have broken through some deep-seated fears people have? Now they can click and choose who to date with the gentle veneer of technology to block the fall if someone’s not interested. So clever. So effective! But how is it that apparently I’m so much more attractive when met online than in person?!
I was chatting about this with a girlfriend the other night after dancing.
I was like, “What’s the deal. No one EVER hits on me.”
She disagreed. I very correctly pointed out that the only person who approached me that evening was a very nerdy young man and he didn’t count. And, let's be clear, he wasn't nerdy in that ‘secretly sexy even in tights’ Clark Kent way. Oh no. No, he came up to me and began listing streets he had lived on as a substitute for small talk. My friend was engaged with his cute, and conversationally functional, buddy and I was just kind of gaping at this guy thinking “Why. Whyuuuuuh are you telling me your roster of home addresses over the last three years?!”
Fortunately he was at least nice. It seems like the only other men that do actually approach women at bars are those guys sending classy online messages such as, “Sup girl…u wanna chat 2night? You got a nice ass”, or have an online user name like “uFineLets69”. The guys that usually approach me in person are not the cute, witty men who send grammatically correct messages online and want to meet up for fun dates. The very same cute men who seem so disinterested when I’m out and about on the town. Where’s the disconnect?
Whatever the reason for this dissonance, I’m okay with it. For all the shit I talk about online dating, so far it’s really fun! If you’ve never done it, you have to try it. I’m a proud proponent of everybody making an online profile and flirting with strangers. Maybe I have a different outlook than some, as I’m not really looking for something (or someone) in particular. I’m just looking to have fun, make out, go dancing, and meet some spicy friends. I might be more frustrated if I had a timeline like kids (holy shit, 34? It’s baby time!), or marriage, but right now I’m not attached to either of those outcomes.
Right now I’m just appreciating all this new attention. And all the fun, funny, ridiculous, and sexy stories that are accumulating as a result of this venture into the online world. Stay tuned for next Friday. Because it’s gonna get saucy.
This story first appeared in Ladyish.
I wasn't going to do it.
When I became suddenly single after the demise of a relationship I found last year on eHarmony, I decided that I would go organic for a while - see what's out there, like they did in the olden days before you could shop for men as easily as you can shop for lamps on amazon.com.
Of course, those of us who have participated in the online dating game/fiasco know it's not exactly that easy. There are tiresome pitches from grossly underqualified candidates to seed through. The kind that when they pop up on your screen, you want to de-bug your whole computer and wash your hands. The good ones? They seem to be already engaged, or perhaps they just find my "wink" less than appealing.
And then there's the hassle of creating a new profile, where every word you write could be analyzed in a way you never imagined, leaving a potential suiter with a bad taste in his mouth before you've even met.
So once the pain of the breakup started to feel a little less stark, I opened my eyes to what was around me. Sadly, I saw nothing but exs to be recycled and otherwise bad ideas, like sub-par co-workers, or friends of friends with whom I could be fixed up... but the only thing we had in common was that we were both hoping to be fixed up.
It's not that I'm desperate for a man. I love to be alone. I have plenty of friends and male companions who would be happy to fulfill most of my needs.
But I was bored. I thought of all of my friends in unsatisfying relationships who would love to "see what else is out there". I thought of myself in 20 years, wondering if I had done enough research in the field. I'd say I thought of a potential future child, glad I "winked" at Daddy so many years ago... but that's a little heavy for this stage in the game.
The bottom line is: you never know. And my line is going back in the water to see what I can catch.
If the question is, "Why Tinder?" and not one of the other dating sites, I imagine my response would echo that of most law students who hopped on to the same app. I. Don’t. Have. Time. To. Date.
Accepting or rejecting a guy via a quick finger swipe on my iPhone during commutes to and from school is simply using time wisely. There is always at least some time on the bus and train to chat with new people (a.k.a. look at hot men). During rush hour, I'm able to allot a solid half hour to this task.
Flash back to a year and a half ago. I'm sitting in law school orientation, and one of the speakers is lecturing our incoming class about a weekly meeting for couples - emphasizing that relationships and marriages have a tendency to be strained due to the intense and rigorous schedule we are about to take on. These meetings are meant to help partners develop the necessary skills to stay together through these trying times. I rolled my eyes, twice. I don't need couples therapy. We'll be just fine.
I was wrong, and we weren’t.
I’ve spent the last six months haphazardly grabbing onto new theories about what went wrong, and a common thread among them seems to involve law school. Sitting in class after this realization made me angry, sad, anxious, and upset. Law school is not fun, it does not make me happy, and the notion that I lost something that did because of it is hard to stomach.
I had to get away, to take a break from school and from my head. I left for San Francisco and visited my big brother. At some point during the weekend, we had a very on-the-surface conversation about dating when I blurted out my typical (and convenient) excuse, “I don’t have time to date." His response was simple. “Make the time.”
This wasn’t a, "you’re-getting-old" kind of chat. It was coming from my brother who was "too busy" to date for years and was giving his little sister some advice on balance: advice he once could have used himself.
I got back from SF with the goal of making some time. Tinder was a pretty good way to do that. No, I’m not naïve, and I am very aware that it’s The Hookup App (I never knew so many shorter men have fantasized about being with a taller woman) but some of the chats I’ve had with guys have made me smile, laugh, think, and blush - and that feels good.
As of this morning I have been on three dates using Tinder. The dates were fun. The dates were adventurous. Each date challenged me to peek outside of my comfort zone. The dates didn’t take that much time.
By Paula Conhain
That was what a friend said to me when I explained my stance on online dating.
It wasn’t the first time I had said it, but apparently this time I had pushed a button. My friend was a staunch supporter and longtime user of Match.com. She wants to get married, have a family, and move to the burbs. I say that without criticism, but instead to point out our differences: I have no interest in children, am a city-dweller for life, and while I hope to one day find that special someone, I don’t feel the pressure to get hitched.
I continued to explain my position, which can be summed up as this: online dating is just another terrible thing for our social skills. We email our coworkers instead of getting up to talk. We text instead of calling. We get satisfaction from the number of “friends” who wish us a happy birthday on our Facebook walls, practically putting the USPS out of business. Now, we can sit at home in our pajamas, no makeup on, watching reality TV and trolling some website for a love connection? No thank you.
Living in San Francisco, a city famously connected to technology, I see every day how we cut ourselves off from human contact. We stick our headphones in while riding the bus to work. We Instagram photos of our food when we could be talking with our dining companions. We text while waiting at the bar for a drink instead of looking up, smiling at the guy next to you, and striking up a conversation.
All of this said, I was excited for my friend when she’d meet a new prospect on Match and get a second date. Yet the thought of doing this myself was against everything I believed in. She repeatedly told me that she believed online dating was a complementary tool to meeting people in real life. I just didn’t see it.
One day, while on vacation, lying by a pool at a Tuscan winery that played classical music in the vineyard – the perfect venue to think deep thoughts – I was chatting with my friend about his dating adventures in New York. Both of us were new-ish in our respective cities. He, however, moves every few years and I have always respected how he takes charge to meet new people and create that feeling of being settled in a new place. I started to wonder if whether or not I was doing everything I could do to meet new people (ahem – men-type people) myself.
A week later, I was home, in my pajamas, watching reality TV, and I suddenly did what I never thought I would do: I grabbed my laptop, found photos of me on my best good hair days, and after a quick mental analysis of what would be right for me (Match = looking for love, Tinder = looking for sex, OK Cupid = somewhere in the middle) created a profile on OK Cupid.
Maybe I did it to prove I was right. Maybe I did it because, deep down, I thought I was missing out. One thing is for sure: by what happened over the course of the next several weeks, I think I proved that I am not judgmental.
By Paula Conhain
The aspect of online dating that made me the most anxious was not the prospect of terribly awkward dates or even potentially meeting that special someone – it was the thought of writing my profile.
From answering five or so open-ended questions, I was supposed to convince someone I didn’t know that I was interesting enough for them to want to meet. I am a fairly private person until I really get to know someone, so putting it all out there was just too much. And, despite the fact that I have worked in communications for over a decade, my PR skills fall short when selling myself. I started out with the basics: that I had recently moved to San Francisco from Washington D.C., that I love to travel, and that I cannot live without cheese. I didn’t think it was my best work, but it was enough to get me started.
The way OK Cupid works is that, any time someone new joins, they are “fresh meat” and appear in everyone’s searches. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with men who were looking at my profile. I checked a few out and quickly realized that I had better rewrite my profile – these dudes were not my matches at all.
I must have rewritten or tweaked my profile 50 times over the course of the short while I was on OK Cupid. I tried the sarcastic route (look at me, I am funny!). I became direct (I don’t ever want to have kids and the thought of living in the suburbs gives me hives). I did the “I know lots of cool bands that you have never heard of” thing. Everything I tried resulted in limited success at attracting the type of guy I would like. I was this close to asking a friend to write a profile for me.
Who did email me? I suspect they were the guys who contacted every decent-looking woman online. There was the married guy who looking for a discreet affair. There was the married couple looking for a new friend. There was the guy who, bless his heart, may live in his mom’s basement. More men than I could count thought that simply writing, “Hey sweetie” would be a turn on. I tried to handle this by changing what I wrote in the “You should email me if” section of my profile to reflect who I did not want to email me, but since many guys didn’t appear to actually read what I had said and instead were emailing me because of my photos, it didn’t work.
I started to question myself. I was doing it wrong.
It was time to take matters into my own hands.
By Paula Conhain
When thinking about my own stance on online dating, I wondered about who else was doing it and why. Now that I was online myself, it was time to learn a little about them.
I have a particular type of guy that I like, physically. When shopping online, you don’t click on a pair of shoes that are not your style. It’s the same with perusing the men on OK Cupid. I must have checked out every guy within five miles, my age or older, with dark hair, taller than 5’ 10” who hadn’t shaved in 3-5 days. The more profiles I read, the more a theme started to emerge.
It was clear why the men of OK Cupid were single. They were too busy hiking Machu Picchu, going to every sporting event, working on their MBA, camping, wine tasting, hosting dinner parties, and saving orphans in Haiti to take the time to meet anyone in real life.
Seriously, were these guys for real? Every single one of them was an avid traveler, outdoorsman, super genius and perfect human being. The more I read of these profiles, the more desensitized I became. I wouldn’t have recognized someone truly awesome if they had jumped out of my computer screen, grabbed me and professed their undying love.
This also had a great effect on how I positioned myself when writing my own profile. I truly do like to travel – I have been to a majority of these United States (including territories few have heard of), over a dozen countries, and am always planning a trip somewhere. I really do like food – cooking it, eating it, reading about it. I’m educated, have a good job, and love live music. You may be thinking, “Good for you! You have all of these things in common with so many great guys. There are so many matches out there!”
But no. All of these qualities seemed so cliché after reading about them on everyone else’s profile. I felt like if I mentioned those things, someone would think I was just checking the travel/foodie/music/cool person boxes. I even took down the photo of me on top of a mountain in Guam petting a water buffalo: it looked too much like the 500 photos I saw of guys in the Himalayas hiking with a llama.
That said, I am a sucker for a well-traveled man who is ready to pick up and go on a fabulous vacation at a moment’s notice. So, yes, the very good looking guy who emailed me from his European sabbatical and I planned to meet up upon his return. Would he keep his commitment after months away?
By Paula Conhain
Now that I was on version 23 of my profile and been sufficiently turned off by what was in my inbox, it was time to take control. I had already thrown most of my dating rules out the window by getting online in the first place, so why not keep it going and make the first move by sending messages to a few guys?
Ok Cupid allows you to rate people, and if they also rated you highly, you both are sent a message letting you know there’s a match. I thought this would be a safe place to start. I began somewhat mindlessly rating guys on my laptop while watching TV, on my phone, on my way to work, or even while walking my dog. It was like winning the lottery when a notification popped up to let me know that he liked me, too. Some – ok, most – of the high ratings I had given to guys were based solely on looks. I had just been window-shopping! No harm in that. But now that I was ready to say hello, I thought it best to look a little deeper.
After doing my due diligence, I bit the bullet and sent messages to four guys. I felt confident that they were all guys I would be happy to talk to or go out with if I had met them in person. And then, I waited.
Two of the four wrote me back within a day or two. The first, we’ll call him Jack, and I exchanged a few messages and had sufficient banter to exchange phone numbers. We decided to set a date for a drink after work. We discovered a shared love for music and texted several times in the days leading up to our date. Jack had the idea to make one another mix CDs of some of our favorite bands. I absolutely hate first dates, but was excited because I knew that, at the very least, we would have something to talk about.
Jack’s CD was great. I added a few new bands to my list of current favorites.
The date? Well, Jack’s CD was great.
The date was fine. Uneventful. He was nice, but there was no spark. I left feeling good, though, because at least I had tried.
Date #2 was more of the same, just without the free gift. Tim was very attractive, but I could tell he was a little shy and nervous. Both he and Jack had been doing the OK Cupid thing for a while. I really admired their tenacity.
I wasn’t dismayed about it not working out with these guys. Both had appeared in person to be the same guy who got my attention online. They were friendly, good looking, and respectful. It just wasn’t right, which happens all the time when meeting someone out in the offline world.
But, I wasn't ready to give up on my hypothesis yet that online dating was the greater of the two evils. I needed to do more research. Fortunately, I had a pen pal waiting in the wings.
By Becca Hirsch
I had just moved to Chicago with my two best friends after we graduated college. When fantasizing about my new life there, I imagined dimly lit bars with sexy businessmen sending a dirty martini my way, accompanied by a casual wink. I was 22 and ready to date. I had survived four years of college and embraced the casual dating lifestyle that is college, or as older generations call it, the “hook-up culture." But college was over and I was ready to be wined and dined.
What I soon realized was that the hook-up culture does not simply vanish after college, it is instead morphed to new bars with new bros and going to work instead of class. No one was sending dirty martinis my way. Needless to say, my friends and I were unimpressed with the guys we were meeting at the bars. We knew there were plenty of eligible bachelors in the city of Chicago, but how could we find them? Where were they all hiding? They definitely weren’t at the frat-tastic bars we were frequenting every weekend.
I remember sitting down with my roommates during a weekly wine night and discussing online dating. It was this new and scary unknown abyss that came with so many questions. What sites are out there? Did all of them charge? I just wanted to go out on dates with nice enough guys and enjoy being in my early 20s in a new and exciting city. Was that too much to ask for?
So I did it: I jumped on the strange and stigma-filled online dating bandwagon. I told myself at the very least I would get some good experience going on actual dates to prepare myself for the “real deal." In my first couple months on the site, I went out with two different guys. The first one was very nice, but kept talking about his high school glory days and how many chicks he banged back when he was quarterback. Not really my style. The second guy I went out with looked like he had just come from a Blink 182 concert, Vans and all. After a couple dates, he broke up with me via a nine (yes, nine) paragraph long Facebook messaging explaining to me in detail how he still was not over his ex, who broke up with him when he was 16 and there was no way his 27 year-old self was ready for a long-term relationship.
Just as I was about to put my dating life on the back burner, I got a message from someone who seemed nice, cute, and normal. He even had the decency to ask me how I felt about the crazy Chicago winter after moving there from California. After exchanging a couple messages, we learned that we had a lot in common. On our first date we chatted about everything from music, travelling, and school to thumb-wars and even how weird Arizona is. Date number one was a success. We started hanging out more and more, and continued to find new and bizarre topics to cover in our conversations. Labels were put on, parents were met, and “I love you”s were exchanged. We have now been dating for three years, and we still find odd things to talk about, including how weird Arizona is.
I recognize that my boyfriend and I were lucky that we not only found each other, but did so relatively quickly and painlessly on a free dating site. However, other people do not have such luck, and many of my friends struggled with the online dating scene. They joined a variety of sites, yet everyone had similar complaints: no questionnaire, no profile, and no equation could translate real in-person chemistry. In addition, the person you are meeting is totally random. None of your friends can vouch for them, and the idea of sharing romantic dates and moments with someone who exists so far from your social circle and network can feel very liberating, but it can also feel very scary. While online dating opens many doors that may not otherwise be opened or noticed, it also takes the personal aspect of dating out. It almost becomes a regimented interview process, instead of romantic and intimate.
The more online dating horror stories I heard from my friends, the more frustrated I became. I had been in Chicago for a couple years, and I knew so many great single guys and girls who had so much to offer in a relationship, but had the worst luck finding the right people to date. Since I have always had a deep interest and passion for understanding romantic relationships (I am currently in graduate school to receive a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy), and I watch way too much Millionaire Matchmaker, I decided to take the Chicago dating scene into my own hands.
In August of 2012, I started my very own blog showcasing my favorite single guy friends in Chicago who had the “Becca seal of approval.” That is how my brainchild and passion project, Not Your Average Bro, came to be. My site is more personal, since I choose and approve the guys on the site, and I am, “vouching” for my Bros. Girls started e-mailing me through my blog asking to get set up, and I started seeing myself as a modern day matchmaker.
I began writing articles about dating as a Millennial and even started an advice column called, “Dear Becca." This experience has opened more doors for me than I had ever imagined. One of the most rewarding moments I have had through this experience was when I received my first dating question from a complete stranger. It is a surreal and amazing feeling that random people trust you with their most personal dating insecurities and questions.
Online dating can be a great way to meet people, but can also be overwhelming. It is time that we Millennials take the dating world into our own hands and take what we want out of it. I was unhappy with meeting guys at bars, so I took a chance and tried online dating and it changed my life; I met my current boyfriend through it, and it sparked my interest in understanding the dating world for our generation. Working on Not Your Average Bro for the past year and a half has been one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences of my life, and I have online dating to thank for it.
By Jackie Dunn
I’m just going to be honest about it. I have nothing to hide.
I met my husband through an online dating website.
That’s done. Now let’s look into how that happened.
You may think you know how it happened. Especially if you have a significant other that you met through normal channels, like at a bar or on Love Connection. You think, on some level, that online dating really is or isn’t much different that regular dating – you see someone, you chat, you exchange numbers, blah blah.... But the thing is, online dating isn’t even really about dating, it’s more like gambling, but the stakes are so much higher. Hope and heart are on the line.
I knew how to play the game. I’m not much for gambling, but I had some poker face for online dating! For a while, I was coaching friends on what to put in their profiles, the words to use to hook a man, get him to click on your profile and contact you. He’d better not just wink at you and think that would get him anywhere. And once he made the first move, I knew the red flags that would signal he might not be what’s in his profile. Is he wearing a hat in his picture? He’s bald. Only a head shot? He’s fat. Too good looking? That picture is from 1995 AND photo shopped.
Not that any of my own advice worked for me. I had tried a bunch of different dating websites, used different profile pictures, said different stuff but honestly, I never had much luck. Most of the guys that I “met” did not live up to expectation (and vice-versa I’m sure). But what kept me going back was the potential. That maybe the next guy would be the “one.” Peaks and valleys that rise and fall so fast you’re likely to trip as you pursue the next. “Look at his picture, his profile is so witty and well-written, he would totally “get” me, my family would love him. Our wedding is going to make the style blogs, and our kids are going to be so cute!” And then the date. Psssstttt … (insert sound of beach ball deflating here).
Mostly, I found it all so sad. Like the one guy I met who had been clean and sober for one week! He was really just looking for a sponsor. Or the homophobic hearing-aid salesman from San Mateo. I mean, what about that description isn’t sad? The guy with one ear? Sad. (His profile pics were all profiles! Damn irony.) The firefighter who only had like 2 good stories, which he told me at least three times once during a phone call and then again during our date. Sad AND boring. The one guy I ended up dating for two years even though we were totally wrong for each other but stayed together because we were both so desperate to not be alone? So fucking sad. So why did I keep going? Maybe, deep down, I really am truly an optimistic person.
Because as I’m going back now and remembering this time of my life, this relentless pursuit for a man that I was on, I’m trying to remember what it felt like. It really was just this crazy cycle of boundless dreamy hope and then just mild depression. Only mild because you half knew the date wasn’t going to work out before you even met him for happy hour.
When I tell people I met my husband on-line, they give me a look that says they think I’ve copped out. That I haven’t really done my time in the dating scene and I don’t deserve the prize. Well, I’m here to tell you – online dating is not a custom order. It’s as painful, tedious and heart breaking as in person dating. In some ways I think it’s much more difficult to keep going this way, to keep up the smile for the next date because he might be the one. But probably not. Sigh. Do you see how this cycle gets you?
You may ask what it was about my husband’s profile and date that finally hooked me. First of all, his profile picture was the ugliest one I had ever seen. So ugly, in fact, that it made me laugh out loud. (I found out later that the picture was taken on his climb to Mt. Denali. It was taken the moment he realized he couldn’t go on and wouldn’t be able to finish his climb. Now, he uses it as a reminder of what it looks like to be defeated. That he used this pic of failure to snag a girl, I find fascinating). To the standard profile question, “what are the five things you couldn’t live without,” where others would answer “My dog, my family, my sense of humor, your love…” (blech) he answered, “Cash and cokes.” Only two things. I already loved his rebellious spirit. His profile told me all I would ever need to know about him - that he’d be honest about who is. And that’s still true today. Life has been an adventure ever since.
By Annie Marron
That summer was action packed.
That was the summer I moved to San Francisco, got spanked at a sex party, and dated a man who lived next to a federal penitentiary. I learned that marriage-minded monogamous lesbians don’t like it when you want to sleep with men. I started eating chicken after 23 years bird free. I was in the best shape of my life. I had a sweet ride, a kick ass job. I lived in an amazing beach pad until I came home to federal IRS agents raiding my landlord. I was underemployed and broke and lived beyond my means. I was stylishly homeless. I had fun. I was super fucking anxiety ridden and slightly crazed.
And I dated so many people. I dated men and women. I dated to date, to get fed, and fed attention, to have my ass rubbed, and to find some safety. I kept looking to relationships like some sort of Plymouth Rock to anchor my new life, to get my boat to stop fucking rocking. But wouldn’t you just know-they only made it worse.
I knew dating was adding to my crazy, but I didn’t care. Honestly, I did it for the chaos it brought. When I had text messages to agonize over, the reality of my tumultuous life seemed irrelevant.
When I finally thought to backpedal, to swim my way out of the molasses bog of romance, it was way too late. I was sunk deep in the sexytime trap.
Who cared that my fugitive housemate had disappeared to Texas and left me with his mean-ass dog? Not I! I had bad-idea makeout parties to distract from the rapidly shedding dog fur now coating all my tight-ass spandex pants.
My darling friends would listen and shake their heads, oh really, oh you’re making out with him again? That must be interesting for you. Hmmhmmm, oh yes, we remember Tyler, the unemployed 41 year old musician with murky life goals. Ahh, ohhh, really? Oh Marcos stayed at your place last night? The one you broke up with because he said he wasn’t into ‘emotional entanglement’? Glad to hear that’s going well.
It was like Sex and The City except instead of a brunch table, the ladies would bring their mimosas to the side of my relationship bog and murmur hopeful support while I paddled in the muck and told them tales of my frogs. If I kiss enough of them, I reasoned, one would transform and save my distressed ass.
When I started to come to, to recognize that dating was making my shit even nuttier than it was, I turned off my OKCupid account. But even offline I was fucked. My goddamn libido was spinning out pheromones faster than a Tibetan prayer wheel. I’d meet strangers at the coffee shop that I’d fall in love with. It’s like my heart couldn’t keep its pants on long enough to save my soul.
Holy shit, will I survive? I’ll keep you updated as it unfolds!
This story originally appeared in ScarletSass.
By Annie Marron
An interesting phenomenon of online dating is that your (well maybe my) age barrier gets blown to pieces. My current profile says I’m open to meeting people ages 27-49. That means if fate were particularly cruel, I could potentially date someone and their dad in the same week. Hmmm.
What gives with the range?
When I first went online, my profile stated I only wanted to meet people within a 3-year radius of my age. But then I found that regardless of my preferences and their time on this planet, dudes would send me messages. Apparently I’m in that 30-something sweet spot that covers everyone’s bases. Like the center of a Venn Diagram.
So after a couple of months of ignoring any messages from fellas that I thought weren’t “age appropriate”, I gave up the ghost and opened up my spectrum. The results? Pretty damn good. I got a message from the previously mentioned Eedris. He said that although he was younger than I wanted (26), he thought we would be a great match and went on to list all these great reasons why. He was sexy, smart, and seemed interesting so I swam across the age barrier. We ended up dating for 4 months and having a super fun time together. Who knew? Apparently age is only a number.
Not so in all the cases. I recently got a message from a 21-year-old boy. 21! That’s just silly. He can barely vote. Further proof of our incompatibility? One of his profile pictures was of him smiling, getting a diploma with the caption, “9th Grade." Haha! Is he insane? How is that appealing to any non-crazy woman?
But swinging back the other direction, I did go out with a 22 year old, Joe. I know, I know. It made sense at the time. I swear to you. My roommate (male, by the way) made me do it. Joe had written this eloquent message all about how he was young but I was fabulous (Flattery! So effective!), and about his start-up company, and what he was doing in his life. He was cute, smart, and seemed interesting (do you see a trend here?), so I went for it. We totally had a steamy make out session on a park bench after the date. But as he rode off on his 10-speed bike (no car), to his shared studio (with a fellow college student), I acknowledged that I would never go out with him again. He, however, was highly motivated. Although I made it really clear the following day that he was too young, he continued to text me (unanswered) throughout the year on major holidays. He also let me know when he turned 23, as though that would bring me around. “I know you might hate me, but I just wanted you to know I’m 23 now.” So awesome. Oh Joe, I hope you found yourself a nice co-ed to play with.
In reading this, it may seem my opening up has only skewed in one direction. Not so! I have dated some fabulous men in their 40’s. Honestly that makes more long-term sense connection-wise. Older men know what they’re doing and are pretty great at being gentlemen. Either way, follow my lead, date outside your comfort zone! You might just meet someone amazing.
And c’mon now, Johnny Depp is 50 and Zac Efron is 25. Who are we to discriminate?
This story was first published in Ladyish.