After my last serious relationship ended, I was left unexpectedly single. I quickly realized that I had no idea how to get back out there (“out there” being the dating world) and meet other single people. Some friends suggested online dating—I gasped in horror.
“But the internet is full of strangers!” I protested.
My wise (and definitely married friend) said “Everyone is a stranger to you, until they aren’t.” Okay Dr. Phil, calm down with the advice.
Over the last five years, I have had an on and off again relationship with OkCupid. I deactivate my account more frequently than a child asks “Are we there yet?” on a road trip. I freak out and have an anxiety attack whenever I come across a profile of someone I know. I realize this is a contradiction to my initial opposition to online dating, but I don’t want people I KNOW, knowing that I’m online…dating. Listen, I don’t have to explain the inner workings of my brain. Nor do you really want me to, it’s a messy and scary place. The point is, I can’t commit to this online dating thing. Somedays I think it’s my only option and other days I feel strongly about it not being able to work for me.
While I know several couples who met online and are the most adorable real-life couples now, I have not had that type of luck. Online dating is the worst. And yet at this moment I have an active dating profile on OkCupid. During my on and off again relationship with OkCupid I have had some interesting experiences. The worst of the worst have their own separate posts/chapters but, here are some highlights of the swing and misses.
Her: You seem to have a sense of humor and you are adorable so [thumbs up emoji x2]
Her (1 week later): I guess not LOL.
Me: Hi. Thanks for the message. Sorry I didn’t reply. I believe when you first messaged me your profile was blank and we were a 0% match. I was pretty sure you were a bot or certainly not a compatible match. Best of luck.
Her: Well looks as though we moved up the ranks to 2% match…wanna see if we can double or nothing?
Then she deactivated her account. Who knows, maybe by this time we’d be a 78% match. I actually don’t really understand how OkCupid calculates matches—it seems rather random to me. I imagine a small hamster wearing a tiny poker dealer visor with a tiny calculator making his match predictions while stuffing his face full of nuts.
The Ex Who Forgot She Dated Me
Some relationships aren’t that memorable. In writing this book, I’ve realized I had forgotten many relationships and dates as I scanned old journals for material. I just never wanted to admit that I might be forgettable. But Heather did not remember me, at all. To be fair, it took me halfway through our date to remember her.
Heather sent me a funny and compliment filled message. Her profile pictures seemed familiar but I couldn’t place from where and figured I must have just seen her around town before. We exchanged several witty messages before deciding to meet for drinks at a local brewery. When I saw her in person, it became apparent to me that I definitely knew her from somewhere. It bothered me for the first 30 minutes—how did I know her??? Then she mentioned a college ex who just went by the letter J, a masculine lesbian she had dated several years ago—and it hit me! This was HEATHER, a woman I dated for 3 brief weeks before having to fake move out of the state because she wouldn’t accept me not being interested anymore. I tried to play it cool, since it seemed she had not connected the dots that I was in fact J, the masculine college lesbian who had transitioned into Jay, the masculine stud muffin sitting across the table from her. We finished our beers and politely said good night, both agreeing the “spark” wasn’t there. I went home and deactivated my account.
A random man from Indiana who I did not know and did not appear to have any connection to me sent me the following message.
Him: You are sunshine! Thanks for being you. Yes I know your straight. Just giving you a compliment.
While I appreciate compliments, no friend of mine would ever describe me as sunshine. But most of all, his misuse of “your” bothered me. I wanted to reply to let him know that it should actually be “you’re straight” not “your straight” but decided it was best not to engage.
Similar, But Not
Her: You are eerily similar to me. Stop it.
I glanced at her profile, OkCupid thought we were 50% enemies and only 20% compatible. How was I similar to her? Most of her pictures were of her hunting or posing with guns. I disagreed with her, we were not similar. But I would stop it.
The Woman on Fast Forward
Dani and I messaged each other three times before she asked if I wanted to meet up in person. I was a bit hesitant because it seemed pretty fast, but I also had no idea about how many messages one was supposed to send on OkCupid before meeting in person. I took a deep breath and decided to go on a date with her. Two days later we met up for dinner.
I became immediately aware that someone had put Dani in fast forward mode. She was trying to move fast. She began sharing all her baggage at once; her ex-boyfriend who she had a restraining order against, her extreme debt, her felony that she wouldn’t specify, her little brother who lived with her, etc. And then she told me she felt we had a really strong connection and she wanted to see me again. She suggested tomorrow. I explained I had plans to go to Chicago. She looked like she was about to cry. Then she smiled, “What about Sunday? We could have a Sunday fun day and hang out ALL day!”
“That sounds fun, but I’ll still be in Chicago. Maybe next weekend we could go to a movie or something?” I offered.
Dani looked really disappointed and possibly mad. All the alarms and flags were going off in my mind. Where was our server? I wanted the check and to get out of here. Dani smiled and started the conversation again about movies and shows we liked. Our bill came and I paid. Which prompted a “Thanks babe, you’re the sweetest” from Dani, who in case you forgot had just met me in person 90 minutes ago.
As we exited the restaurant, I started to give her a hug and say goodnight when she grabbed my face and kissed me. “I’m so excited to see where we go from here!” Dani squealed. Umm, did she mean literally where we went from here, because my plan was to go home, by myself and watch an episode of Big Bang Theory. Or did she mean figuratively where “we” would go from our first date, because I was pretty sure we were not moving to a second date. As she turned and literally skipped to her car, I realized with relief that she meant figuratively. I hadn’t even made it to my car before my phone buzzed. It was a text from Dani: I already miss you. [heart emoji]
I called Dani the next day and explained that I thought we were on two different pages and I didn’t see us working. She cried and said I was blind for not seeing our connection. I deactivated my account, again.
I don’t know if I’ll find my person online or in the real world. I do know that both platforms feel really awkward for me. Dating is hard no matter how you begin your connection with someone. I also know that so far my experience on OkCupid has just made me say, “No way, Cupid!”
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