I often say that publishing writing online is akin to publishing naked photos online.
It freaks me the fuck out. It puts me in a very vulnerable position, open to scrutiny, criticism, misinterpretation, and yes, compliments too. Plus, my parents read my blog, which can be awkward sometimes.
With that in mind, please enjoy this pointless drivel of a metaphorical striptease.
They had reasonably suggested that I was still single not because of my own shortcomings, but due to my work situation (one employee in a company of – at the time – three), and my perchance for hanging out in dive bars. To them, the obvious solution was to get online. I refused.
I stuck to this sentiment that online dating was for social goobers – despite the fact that Alex & Christine (both who have online-dated) are attractive, well-adjusted, socially competent women like myself – for close to two years before breaking down and setting up an OK Cupid profile.
Surprisingly (or maybe not) online dating ultimately ended up being an exploration of the self, more so than an exploration of suitors.
The first thing I learned is that online dating was really good for my ego.
“It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet of men!” I squealed in delight to Christine, approximately 36 hours and 50+ messages from dudes later. “I see the light! Why didn’t I do this before?”
The second thing I learned was how to be picky at the buffet.
There was the guy who was the vanilla ice-cream of men. There was the guy who made a fat joke and then remarked on his desire to shoot raccoons with a BB gun. There was the guy who invited me to a baseball game (the tickets were supplied by his boss), and then was too cheap to shell out $6 for a watered-down beer.
There was the date that went incredibly well until the guy threw up and passed out on my bathroom floor. There was the guy that pursued me like an over-eager puppy – despite my polite attempts to communicate that he needed to cool it – until I had to send him a “break up” text.
There was the guy that I actually hit it off with. We dated for a month or two, until he began to slow-fade me.
Let me be very clear about something: I can fucking tell when you’re slow-fading me. I will give you the benefit of the doubt for a few weeks, but realistically, you are not fooling anyone. You are just being an asshole.
For a while he rebuffed my invitations to hang out, then stopped replying to texts altogether (always with the texting), until I told him “it seems like you’ve lost interest, which is fine, but gradually disappearing is rude and cowardly.” Suffice to say, being called rude & cowardly did get a response from him.
There was the guy that treated me like a stop-n-go, then months later “humbly beseeched” for my forgiveness.
“Maybe he realized afterwards how cool you are, and he regrets it,” my friend Jackie mused.
“Maybe holiday party season is coming up, and he doesn’t want it to be awkward,” I shot back.
There was the guy who stopped talking to me after I had drunkenly called him to hang out, then told him “you’re the worst” when he declined.
Needless to say, while the buffet has been immensely entertaining to sample, I found myself walking away hungry.
“That’s funny, because I wouldn’t peg you as hard-to-date”, my friend Marco told me as I relayed my dating escapades to him.
“Maybe it’s because they can tell you hate men,” Christine suggested at a girls night out, as I lamented that even Charles Manson had a significant other, but I did not.
For the record, I do not hate men.
“You have another ten years (I’m 23) before you should start freaking out”, my sister consoled me. She recently got engaged, prompting a barrage of wedding-fever-esque commentary from my parents & grandparents about how “Sophie’s wedding is next” and “the girls’ grandchildren shouldn’t be too far apart in age”.
My awkward smile has been getting a lot of face time around my parents.
But as I try to get to the root of my dating woes (is it me? is it them?), it’s hard not to feel down on yourself when every romance dissolves right around the two-month mark.
I guess two months is the amount of time it takes to realize that I am a psycho that will blog about you.
But in my defense, I have exercised an enormous amount of self-restraint in keeping mum about their sexytime behaviors. So there’s that.
How do I conclude this striptease of my admittedly hilarious, yet totally depressing online dating stories?
The third thing I’ve learned from online dating: How to be my authentic self.
As I looked for a common denominator for why I had failed so miserably at love, the one thing I could put my finger on was a horrible one:
I was the common denominator.
It could be that I dress like a total bum. It could be that I stoppped wearing makeup. It could be that I’m a smoker, which is gross, or a vegetarian, which is inconvenient, or that I don’t want kids, which is for many men “pointless”. It could be because I’m an angry feminist. To which I will say; unless you are a complete fucking idiot, it is impossible to be a happy feminist. It could be because I CrossFit, which some people find butch and threatening. I could be because I’m “the most opinionated girl ever” (according to a shoe salesguy, who had only heard my opinion on the shoes in his store, but nonetheless parroted a phrase that I’ve been hearing for the vast majority of my life).
But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.
“I’m going to throw myself a perpetual bachelorette party,” I told my sister and her boyfriend (now fiancee) as we waited for our table at Homeroom in Oakland. “Every year that I’m a bachelorette, I get another party.”
They think I’m kidding, using humor to deflect my inner hurt at being so incredibly accomplished, yet so incredibly single.
But I’m not.
Perpetual bachelorette party, here I come.