Friday, August 20, 2010

misadventures in online dating

I've decided to wound my pride by sharing with everyone my misadventures in online dating. The idea of finding a partner online and forming a relationship over AIM seems so common place now. I always thought it was a morbidly desperate attempt at finding a soul mate. But somewhere along the way, I decided to give it a go.

One day about a year or so ago, I sat down at my laptop and logged into a popular free dating site. This is normal, I told myself. Everyone is doing it. I convinced myself that baring my soul to internet strangers and "selling" myself like a cow at a stock yard (I'm young, love nature, have a little meat on my bones...) was better than being alone. Plus, I was getting real sick of relatives asking me where Mr. Right was.

I answered dozens of stupid questions about myself and tried to describe my aspirations, interests, and personality. I discovered it's nearly impossible to do this without sounding like a narcissistic twit. But I did it. I sat and waited for my matches, for my future Mr. Darcy to sweep me off my cyber feet.

Things started to look really dismal from the beginning. My first match was a former co-worker--we'll call him Bob. Bob is partially blind, about 600 pounds, and tried to kill every customer at my concessions job by spraying the soft pretzels with Windex instead of water. I was mortified. What could possibly be in my profile that would suggest a guy like that would be a good match for me?

But I didn't lose heart. Surely, there was someone out there.

The next day I received a message from a friend from high school. "Hey, saw you on here! Isn't it a small world?" Great. Just great.

Months later and my matches didn't get any better: a post-doc that worked for my step-mom, a body builder that looked like he was sprinkling steroids on his Wheaties, a John Wayne Gacy lookalike (a la clown make-up), countless baby daddies with names like Cletus or Elmer, a 50-year-old married man, a guy named Dark Silencer who probably slept in a coffin, and a LARPer. I only wish I was exaggerating.

Sometime later, my good friend Canyon Girl met a seemingly normal guy on the same dating site, renewing my interest in finding someone that at least had all their teeth. I made a resolution to not be so picky. Surely that was my problem. Surely there were lots of women out there interested in Cletus.

I received a message from a fellow student at Penn State expressing interest in getting to know me better. He was an engineering student, read Stephen King novels, and yes, had all his teeth. At least the ones I could see anyway. What did I have to lose?

We began to talk over the private messaging program. He was nice enough at first, though a little boring. Things took a more interesting turn when he started talking about naps. He told me how much he loved taking naps, and how taking a nap together would be a great first date. Date? Did I say anything about a date? The conversation grew progressively worse as he told me he was a virgin and insinuated that I was a scarlet woman for wanting to take a nap with him. Did I say I wanted to take a nap with him? I don't believe I did. I cut off the conversation when he started asking my bra size and what type of underwear I wore.

After this, I decided I was done with online dating. No more. But the saga wasn't finished yet. Mr. Naps-a-lot apparently had great interest in stalking, in addition to those Stephen King novels. He found me on Facebook and found my cell phone number.

For a few days, I received texts like, "Hey, we gonna take that nap? Wink, wink." I finally texted him back that my name was Tiffany and he had the wrong number. Naps-a-lot proceeded to hit on "Tiffany" via text.

This whole online dating thing has left a bad taste in my mouth. What happened to those days where you met people in person? Have meet-cutes progressed to smiley faces and winks behind a computer screen? It's hard enough to really know and trust someone when you form an in-the-flesh relationship, but when you can hide behind the internet how can you know that your Brad Pitt lookalike isn't really Jason Voorhees 2.0? At least if you meet in person you can ponder why your date is wearing a ski mask and has a fondness for chain saws.

I don't mean to knock online dating, especially when I know of many people who successfully met their spouse on Match.Com or eHarmony. Online dating just isn't for me. In a world of technology, I don't want to lose something as intimate as dating. I can wait for now. I'm young and careless and happy. When the time is right, I'm sure a Mr. Darcy will come my way. I'll even settle for a Mr. Bingley.

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At August 24, 2010 at 12:26 PM , Blogger Canyon Girl said...

Oh man, I love this! And lets not forget how my little adventure blew up in my face... but I think that this is the wave of the future--judging people based on profiles and pictures rather than on that first gut feeling you get when you spy Mr. Right across the room.

I wish people still met in person!

At August 24, 2010 at 1:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well written :)

At August 24, 2010 at 3:12 PM , Blogger Jessica said...

Haha, thanks! It seems to be more and more common in our technological age. I know so many people who met their partners online. It just doesn't seem to work out for me!

At August 24, 2010 at 5:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are just too many creepers out there, like Mr. Naps-a-lot, you really never know what you're getting into. But it is understandable why most people turn to online dating, less risk and more convenient.


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