First Adventures Online

In my writing, I’ve been over some of the reasons that a person–in particular this person–might hesitate to embrace online dating. To summarize: vanity, pride and an irrevocable fear of coming across someone to whom I’ve taught freshman composition.

I’ve spilled less ink enumerating the reasons one might be compelled to date online. And they are, of course, considerable. So here we are:

For one, it’s become entirely normal: the last statistic I heard was that one in five couples meet online. I’ve taken to interrupting people who start describing their “mother’s best friend’s cousin who…met on match…” I know, I tell them, I know.

For another, it’s a good way to ensure reasonably consistent male attention during those phases when one is more couch than bar prone. (And let’s be honest: Albuquerque’s biggest and hottest barfly is hardly guaranteed a single pick-up in a given week; has the internet made people forget how to flirt?)

And, oh yeah, you might actually meet someone to go on a date with. Potentially more than one. And sometimes it’s nice to go on dates. And sometimes it’s nice to have some faith in the possibility of another.

I guess the most compelling reason to date online, though, is that all the reasons not to are actually pretty dumb and embarassing to admit. (I mean, I think the former student thing is legit–but it’s something, I’m told, I have to swallow. Apparently that’s what grown ups do.)

That was the reasoning, at least, that led to me sitting in front of my laptop yesterday with my NY best friend R, perusing the local lads of OKCupid.

“Let’s just get you a login and see what’s out there,” she implored. “We don’t even have to set up your profile! What’s the harm!?”

“Thank god you’re here,” I muttered, repeatedly and with devoted sincerity, as she coached me through the initial trauma of producing a reasonably cute, anonymous (and untaken!) username.  

Because, folks, I have got to tell you–that was just the beginning.

R was hardly once able to finish producing the words “he might be cute” before the click of a mouse would turn up some incontrovertable terror: a motorcycling photo displaying obscenely sized gams, too many tattoos and a small commune’s worth of children. Usernames like “manalicious” and “businessman2000.” Just when we thought somebody might look normal we’d go into their profile and find they’d spelled the word “kick” with two ks. (As in, “I like to kikk it.” Please.)

You must believe me that I am not joking when I tell you one prospect posted a link (with the tagline, “something I’m interested in lately”) that led to a completely non-ironic Youtube rendition of “Scotland the Brave.” I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.

I mean, I haven’t gone and deleted my profile. I even fleshed it out a tiny bit to reveal some of my most esoteric qualities–like that like to cook and travel and play with my dog. I’ll give the thing a chance.

But damn. The whole pride/vanity thing is an obnoxioux obstacle, fine. But my exploration has revealed others, a bit more concrete: one, describing oneself in such a direct and yet guided manner is downright hard. And two–and again, I’ll give it some more time–but a session of perusing the online sea of available men can be, I’ve learned, downright depressing.

Less so, though, when said session is puncuated by intermittent giggle fits with one’s most gamely supportive best friend. If only she lived a few thousand miles closer. And was a man.

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2 Comments

Filed under Love Life

2 responses to “First Adventures Online

  1. Elizabeth: I had to laugh when I read this post. It is all too familiar. As a writer of course I have saved a folder of letters/photos/emails I have received from personal ads over the years. The experiences I have had doing this kind of dating are not even believable they are so odd. One guy seriously got naked in a state park to skinny dip, then he noticed a bridge where people had congregated.to ogle.Maybe it was me who looked even more ridiculous in my jeans and long-sleeved shirt. He could have been arrested I suppose–state park and all. And why do men choose names like “Dickeyboy” in a personal ad? I am 65, so if you think the pool of available men is depressing in your age group I can’t even explain the choices for me. Oy.

    • Oh, I can’t even begin to imagine! I guess it’s easier in real life to avoid people radically different from you than it is in the universe of personals/online dating…it’s a bit of culture shock, for sure. I’m trying to be strong and patient…you do the same!

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