So, there are several things about internet dating.
It seems like it’s been a topic that’s never far from, well, anything these days. I spend my Wednesdays discussing various dates and escapades from a co-worker, my drunken evenings out contemplating making a profile, not to mention this from Thought Catalog recently, and the fact that my Daily Singles Horoscope (I know, gag) is constantly telling me to update my profiles as if anyone who receives a Daily Singles Horoscope can’t possibly be among those who aren’t on Match.com.
I’ve never tried dating websites, although there seem to be more and more people in my life that seem to be attempting to push me in that direction. I get it. I’m nearly thirty and perennially alone. And, there are two types of people who can get dates the traditional way. I’m not saying relationships, I’m saying dates, those who are attractive (smartness and wit levels don’t matter in this equation) and those who are outgoing. I am neither of these and thus it makes much more sense for me to attempt to get someone to know me first. Internet dating makes sense. However, no matter how much I actually think about this I can’t quite seem to manage making a profile. Now, why?
I think there are several reasons; the external and the internal. The former of which can be summed up by several unappealing examples.
Example #1 [and I must declare that this story was recounted to me from a third party about people who I have never met, in the hopes that none of the parties involved will ever read this]: A woman, we shall call her H, signed up for OkCupid and relatively soon discovered a fellow, we’ll just call him Dude because I don’t remember his name in the slightest, who was seemingly completely awesome. His profile was filled with tales of international espionage, speed boats, and various other highly unlikely but overly creative things. H started up an exchange with Dude until she told the third party about it, as was her nature to do, he perused the profile, pronounced Dude awesome and spread the profile around to his friends, including B. B then joined OkCupid and started up a repartee of her own. Pretty soon H was bemoaning to the third party about Dude’s disappearance. And then, of course, because everyone must put themselves forward in their best light on dating websites, once B talked enough to Dude via chats she decided he was boring and cancelled his impending visit.
Example #2: A friend is a member of a certain dating site, which she joined after tiring of the crazies off Craigslist and boring of randoms hitting on her at bars. What has resulted is hours of amusing tales, lots of potential, and probably a lot more disappointments. See, her problem is that they just keep disappearing. She’ll beginning talking to someone that seems interesting and further more seems interested, they talk and talk and eventually set a date to get together in the real world. And that’s when it seems to go wrong, because that’s when they vanish. Sometimes without a trace and other times still lurking in the corners but refusing to answer their messages, texts, or phone calls. I can only imagine this is the internet dating equivalent of someone saying they’ll call and then never calling.
Of course everyone knows that this happens. It’s sort of the way of the world. People want what they want and they want it without paying any sort of consequences. No one is exempt. But the thing that’s completely bizarre to me is that the blow off seems to happen before the… well before the anything. I will not publicly analyze this, although I’m sure with my insane over-analysis skills I could, because 1) it’s not my story to over-analyze and 2) it would be vaguely crazy.
The same third party friend, who I think we’ll just refer to as Third Party from now on (because that’s hilarious), has this saying. He probably stole it from somewhere but that really doesn’t matter right now. “The odds are good but the goods are odd.” He’s repeated this to me three times. The first took place after discussing the profile made in Example #1 by H. There was an “inevitably” thrown in that time, just for good measure. The second utterance of the phrase took place after a tale of his former girlfriend who called him up one day to tell him that she was having sex with some guy and was reminded of Third Party by a cartoon theme song, at which point she started mid-coitaly laughing. This was how Third Party discovered that their relationship was, as they say, terminated. My response was saying something like “Where do you find all these shitty girls?” The answer was, of course, the internet. The third time this phrase came along was at the beginning of the writing of this when I asked him point blank what he thought of internet dating. He didn’t really seem to care for the question.
But whatever the circumstances, it’s a perfect phrase for internet dating. The chances that you’ll find someone are pretty high, with thousands of people all searching for the same thing, but the chances of it working out? Really not so high. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, of course, but I’ve never met anyone it worked out for without large extenuating circumstances.
I think in the end the main reason why I am not internet dating is for much more personal reasons. I really don’t like being vulnerable. In fact it’s a state I loathe. I go to great lengths in order to make myself invulnerable. Co-Worked C said recently that she never thought of that as something to work at, that she assumed I just wasn’t vulnerable. Nope. It’s hard work. And there is nothing that makes one more vulnerable than saying that I care so much that I’m putting information about myself on a website hoping that someone will see it, like me, and take a chance. It’s much easier to pretend that you don’t care, and to believe it most of the time.
But there is a secondary reason; I’m not sure that I’m completely willing to give up on meeting someone and having a surprisingly genuine connection. Dating sites are the blind date of our generation, everyone knows what’s up and everyone’s invariably awkward about it. And not to say that’s totally a bad thing, but you have to give away serendipity. It’s the same problem I had with the movie TiMER and sometimes have with How I Met Your Mother. It’s a forgone conclusion. Not that it will automatically work out, of course, but rather that everyone’s of the same state of mind. Plus I sort of think that I’d feel as though I had to perform, be as interesting as I can be and therefore fail to be interesting at all.
Well, that and the fact that I’m horrendously picky and have a list of qualifications a mile long.