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(Internet) Dating

September 1, 2009

There’s gotta be a better way.

Internet dating, to me, has been like job searching or apartment hunting. It sucks. You set up interview after interview after
interview, at first looking for the perfect fit, only to lower and lower and lower your standards to find just something that’ll eek by.
And then, even when you find the Eeker, they don’t respond to emails – despite the fact that damn it I’m over qualified for the position!

(Is it obvious I’m bitter?)

This time around I gave it two months.  In 2008 when I tried I gave it a month, and prior to that I think my grand total was 2 weeks.  Why do I keep coming back? Why do I return to what I know is hell, what I know hasn’t worked for me, for what I know I frankly don’t have time?

Because I can’t seem to find anything else that works to meet single, straight men.

And it’s not for lack of trying. I tried the bar scene for a long time, which resulted in a handful of one-night-stands, guys with substance abuse problems, becoming the “other woman” (truly unpleasant, I don’t suggest it) and enough hang overs to last me a lifetime.

I also tried something drastic.  Sometime in early spring, I finally decided I needed to ask for help in a big way. So I sheepishly sent an email out to well over 50 people – mostly women and gay men but with a smattering of straight men I trust more than most – asking for assistance: I obviously was not successful left to my own devices, so I needed suggestions/set ups with friends, friends of friends, coworkers, particularly intelligent and good looking cafe baristas, whomever. I had a couple qualifications: no assholes, no serious potheads or non-recovering alcoholics, must be intelligent and funny, and must take care of themselves physically. I’m not saying they had to be Zeus, but I exercise 5-7 days a week and my physical practice is an enormous part of who I am, so they should probably have something physical they love as well.  Oh, and straight.  Also a must.

My result from 50+ people from all around the United States?  Nothing. No, sorry, not nothing: one guy who responded to one Facebook email then disappeared, and one invitation to come to a concert with a friend where some of the band members “might be single.”

After a couple more months of frustration, I signed back up for internet dating, and lost another $80+ to a waste of time.  The stress added to my life from trying to answer emails, trying to find time to set up dates and trying to find someone interesting colossally outweighed any “fun” I may have had.  Not to mention reading the same damn things on every profile (“laid back!” “comfortable going out or staying in!” “loyal and I love my mom!” “looking for someone cute and smart with a great sense of humor!”…) frightened me for the state of originality and uniqueness in the world’s population.

There has to be a better way.  Other people are dating. Other people have significant others. Other people have sex on a regular basis – with the same person more than once!! It sounds like a fairy tale to me but I hear people do it. But somehow the secret has evaded me.

And please, I implore you, People-In-Relationships, do not say to your single friends, “It’ll happen when you’re not looking.” While there may be truth to this cliche, it is probably the most irritating sentence I hear on a regular basis. I don’t stop looking. When you’ve been alone as long as I have (and that length depends on whether you believe in past lives) you’re never not looking.  Sometimes I pretend I’m not looking, but really I’m only pretending not to look in hopes that my “not looking” makes him manifest. I think of it as the dating equivalent to a child covering their face and peeking through their fingers to watch a scary movie.

My therapist has funny opinions on the subject, most notable of which is she regularly tells me to take a class in auto repair. “You’ll definitely meet some straight men there.” I can’t tell how much she’s joking.  She shares my distaste in the patterns in New York men, however – that their noncommittal, non email-answering, non phone-call-returning, total lack of chivalry or, hell, plain old respect is greatly disheartening.

The fact is I’m in a complicated position. When you’re looking down the door of 30 and still searching for Boyfriend #1, you’re in a prickly situation.  It gets way more complicated when you’re an old soul, would probably be matched best with a man in their late 30s-early 40s, who himself is probably knocking down the door of long term commitment. Oh and then there’s the fact that I need to meet him, engage in a relationship with him, and sleep with him for a while without any alcohol. Have I mentioned that self-rule? Yeah.  It’s prickly.

I’m not really sure what my thesis for this post is other than, damn it, the internet is less than 20 years old and this species has
partnered for millennia.  There has to be a better way.

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