Does this come as a shock to anyone reading this? Not because it is me. (We will get to that in a little bit.) But because it’s the 21st century and we do literally everything online: pay bills, buy Britney Spears’ chewed gum (sold for $263 on eBay, by the way), and video chat family members miles away. In other words, my generation would be lost without internet.
Yet, when it comes to admitting that I’ve met men on the internet, it comes off as one thing to people: desperate. As if, judgmental people.
I’m writing this to prove you jerks wrong.
First off, it should be that noted that I’ve never, never, NEVER signed up for a dating site to intentionally go looking for men. After all, that’s what free sites, like Myspace, were created for. [Note: Do you remember when Myspace was cool? It was eons ago, but it was really spectacular at one point. I would normally pick a song to depict my love life. I would put a picture of Seth Cohen under "Who I'd like to meet" and I made sure that my best friend was my number one friend, unless I had a boyfriend at the time.]
I’ve met less than a handful of men, online, in which two of them became boyfriends. (In fact the only two I’ve ever had.) Thus, I like to say it has been quite positive. But now many will wonder why I could ever give relationship advice. I think it’s because I am a really great writer.
The one time I dated someone without A/S/L being the first letters exchanged was to a neighbor. While yes, convenient at times, once things fizzled I was afraid to leave my apartment. Inevitably I just moved out.
Some may (or may not) ask why would I, a
seemingly normal girl, rely on the web to meet people. It’s simple, really.
First, it’s just easier for me. (Or maybe I’m just lazy.) I can get to know a man from a comfortable distance: in my pajamas with disheveled hair, all the while eating a juicy cheeseburger that is dripping down my chin. In other words, I am being myself without Insecurity knocking. (He’s almost as bad as that Procrastination guy, I tell ya!) Secondly, I’m a writer and
can tell a lot about judge a man (or person) by the way he (or she) writes. Some believe a woman having two cats is a deal breaker, but if a man doesn’t know when to use the correct your, their, its, or to I know we won’t last. It’s a fact of life.
I know some of you are still not convinced. Damn you. Most of you are wondering why not go out in the real word and meet a man. First off: if you’re not in school, it’s harder than you think. If you’re a new resident to a city and know absolutely no one, it’s hard enough to make friends. Many of you will likely suggest at a bar. I retort: why is it any better for two people to meet at a bar than the web? Why is not just as desperate to go to a bar and wait and wait and …wait for an intoxicated man to never come up to me? Are you thinking: “Uhh, like, you know, because, like, you’re not hiding behind a computer. Duh! He could be, like, a total creeeeeeper! Haven’t you ever watched To Catch a Predator on Dateline?! You don’t know who you would eventually meet. (Um, hello, that’s what Skype is for!)
It’s true that I won’t know who I will eventually meet face-to-face. Will it really be the scruffy-faced, dark haired, charming man I’ve been exchanging witty banters with for the past few weeks or will he have a receding hair line and approaching 39… quickly? Well, what about those Valentine’s Day hearts filled with chocolate? We don’t know what’s going to be in the inside of those chocolates, now do we? Will it be raspberry cream? Yum. Or will it be coconut? Meh. Does it stop us from taking a bite into it? Absolutely not. We are a curious bunch.
The moral of the story is that a person could be lying about themselves regardless of where the fairy tale setting takes place when you meet Commoner Charming. While yes it’s less likely for a person who we don’t meet online to lie about their physical appearance but they sure can emphasize. For instance, I am fooling everyone into thinking I see really well, but I desperately need eye contacts. I also color my hair. But I don’t like to think that I am lying. I’m simply emphasizing these qualities. This is exactly what people do on the internet. We are highlighting our best features: infectious laugh, easily amused, and has two awesome cats. We don’t introduce ourselves while also sharing the fact that we haven’t shaved in over a month. Namely because that would be a deal-breaker and we would be forever alone.
But this is dating! Whether it’s online, blind, or speed dating. We are all trying to do one thing: meet that someone special by impressing one another. It normally takes me hours to get ready for a date. (Mentally and physically). I switch outfits 84 times and finally settle on the one I started with. On a day-to-day basis, I get up, wash my face, throw on the same jeans I have been wearing all week, brush my teeth, make my hair elegantly disheveled, and I run out the door.
After all the dating and courting shenanigans is when we can finally introduce our true self. Slowly, but surely we can start to reveal those bad habits no one knows about. And if the other person accepts our flaws, our grit, or the fact that we haven’t shaved in over a month, then great. At least then we know it’s real.
[Side note: My ultimate dork fantasy would be to meet the man of my dreams in a bookstore, in Portland, at Powell's.]