Online dating is something I've done reluctantly, off and on (mostly on) for the past 5 years. I've found a few boyfriends here and there, but not many - and not lately. What I've mainly found are duds: lots and lots of duds, providing me with enough awkward first-date stories to last a lifetime.
Who were these duds, and what were their offenses? Let's see…
- There were more than a few duds who didn't cough it up to pay for my coffee. (It's coffee, you know? I don't demand that a date pay for dinner, although it is a nice gesture. But not offering to pay for a $2 cup of tea just makes a dude look cheap.)
- There was the dud who showed up in his sparkling-white tennis outfit and sneakers -- no time for a post-game change of clothes, apparently.
- There was the dud who came dressed in a half-unbuttoned ruffled poet's blouse, replete with peekaboo chest hair.
- There was the fake-gang-member dud.
- There was the total-drug-addict-in-denial dud.
- There was the dud who simply failed to show up for our first date, leaving me waiting at home for hours before finally emailing to tell me he didn't like the idea of my dating other people (um-having the monogamy talk before we'd even met? Crazypants.)
- There was the utterly bonkers artist dud who commented on "how good I would look in the back of his car." (No, I'm not sure what that means, either, but he said it, and it was creepy.)
Duds be damned, I've returned to these dating sites (OKCupid, eHarmony, Nerve personals, Match - you name it, I've tried it) for more and more exercises in watching-my-ego-get-squashed-like-a-little-bug. Why do I go back? Because I want a relationship, dammit. Because the sites make it look so logical and easy -- "just create a profile, put up a picture, and poof! You'll be instantly drowning in dudes who want to marry you!" Because we all have at least one of those friends - the one who lines up a date or two per week, and looks forward to each of them, and goes in with no expectations. She's able to laugh off the duds as "experience," and she never takes it personally when a guy fails to email her back after what she thought was a decent date.
So yeah, I've had lots and lots of Internet dates, and met lots and lots of duds. (There were some legitimately nice guys thrown in there, too -- they're just not as fun to write about.) But I go back, because it worked for me in my twenties, and I know a few other people it's worked for. And it seems, at this point, like everyone is doing it, and everyone (except me) is having a modicum of success at it. And I'm in my thirties, and I'm still single, and I feel like I'm running out of options, and Internet dating sometimes looks so easy and shiny and alluring, like strolling through a big shopping mall full of men, checking out the price tags, examining the goods, and putting back the ones that cost too much or have missing buttons.
The mall is getting old, though. I'm sick of shopping (who knew that was even possible?). My fragile ego might not be able to withstand any more bad dates or doomed duds. So I'm signing off from online dating - for this week, anyway.