If you have found yourself single at any point in time during this last century, then you have no doubt put yourself through the ultimate form of social torture we call online dating.
You also probably did this because you heard about a friend of a friend, who somehow found the man of their dreams this way. They bonded over their mutual love for wine tastings and cooking, and the wedding is this fall. Apparently, it was love at first site. Its the adult urban legend.
But that was all you needed to hear as you mentally wrote out your “About Me”. You picture someone with the charm of George Clooney and the abs of Channing Tatum reaching out to you, begging to take you out for dinner. Obviously it will be love at first sight, and blissfully you’ll delete your accounts, together, while watching the sunset. And then YOU will be the next success story, told by your friend to another friend.
Except it hardly ever works out that way. Let me just clarify that for you now.
Now, I’m not saying there aren’t success stories. There really are people in my life getting married as a result. Think of the toast- “It all began when John sent Jane a wink…”. But I AM saying that there are a lot of horror stories that you must first be willing to subject yourself to first.
In a world oversaturated by social media, we could only expect that our love lives would eventually become involved. It is no longer suspected, but rather expected now that before a first date, your name has already been googled, your Facebook stalked, and all previous boyfriends sized up.
And as a result, your first impression was made looooong before you even set eyes on each other.
Suddenly it doesn’t seem so romantic now, does it?
As you may have already guessed, I myself am on a dating site. Though I am slightly unusual in the sense that I only belong to one. Current statistics will show most people join at least 3. I’m not sure where exactly people find the time for that, but I applaud their efforts (that is, hopefully, its effort and not just the desperation to get laid). Like most young professionals, I made the decision to join because I was “busy”. And MAJORLY over the bar scene. Plus, it seemed like a harmless way to put yourself out there without having to actually put yourself out there. At first it was kind of like window shopping for men.
It. Was. Awesome.
I could look all I wanted, communicate only if I was interested, and ultimately save myself A LOT of time. And bad dates.
Except men aren’t shoes. And judging someone off of a self-written profile is about as stupid as believing their pictures accurately describe how they will really look in person. No, seriously. I learned pretty quickly that 6 ft really means 5’10. Athletic Build really means Average, and Average really means A Few Extra Pounds. Oh- and 36 sometimes meant he’s turning 40 next month. Sometimes even 45 (ew…). But even if all the information wasn’t totally accurate, it was still enough to paint a general picture of someone in my mind. It was still enough for me to decide whether or not I wanted to try him on for size, so to speak. And as a result, I found myself becoming way too critical, judging men solely on their looks and/or jobs. Receiving tons of messages, I responded only to those that met my standards. And that was exactly how I realized my standards were bullshit.
So its no surprise that the dates I did go on were terrible. Well, most of them. I actually did meet some great people, some of which are still good friends. But in all fairness- I didn’t join to make friends. I joined for the hope of meeting “the one”. My potential other half. Because I want to be part of a true Power Couple- both hustling and living their dreams, together.
But all I really found were the exact types of men I purposely avoided in my day to day life: men that were womanizers, men that just wanted to get laid, men that were rebounding, men that were lazy… and even men that were only looking for green cards. And yes- you read that right.
So why do we continue to use them? Well that’s easy- because we have no other choice. The days of meeting your future husband in the grocery store are over. You can stop fantasizing about running into him in line at Starbucks. Forget locking eyes with him at Happy Hour. And why is that? Because he will most likely be looking at his phone, checking his inbox, flirting with 15 different girls on his 3 separate accounts, musing about who will put out first as he breezes right past you. Or because you’ll be too busy looking at yours, texting the same loser for the last week who’s really just too uninterested in you to commit to an actual date to even notice anyone else. Because we no longer live in the present, and instead fixate on any other form of communicating with one another other than actual communication.
And so even though my results have been less than impressive, my profile still exists. Even if its only for the sake of dating etiquette- if you’re single, its expected. In fact, its really the only way to declare yourself as “available” to others. Because its the only way people even know how to even inquire.
And really- because I still believe in the possibility.
Just the other night that belief was reaffirmed when I took a chance and met someone for coffee. I was already exhausted, and it would have been easy for me just to pass. But at the same time, I knew if I didn’t continue to try, I might as well just accept a life full of being exhausted now. And I’m NOT the girl who quits. And guess what? For the first time in a long time I was able to simply enjoy ones company. No drinking, no bragging, no interview-style questions. Just two people, in the moment, with the simple desire to learn more about one another (and in the end, maybe rip each others clothes off too- lets be serious here). And while there’s no telling where it will go, and too early to even guess, it was enough to restore my faith in the whole process. Enough to believe we are still capable of focusing on one individual, and for the right reasons. That we can still communicate, person to person. That we can connect- and in so many amazing ways (ways that your phone certainly cant do for you…). And while I still have visions of deleting my profile for good, it wont be because I simply gave up- It will be an act of no longer declaring myself as available. Sunset optional.