Online dating has always been a thing that I have found absolutely absurd, but in some respects, vaguely tantalizing. eHarmony and Match.com ads have plagued my psyche since as far back as I can remember. I mean, who wouldn’t want some joyful Motown music playing as an elderly white Christian dude tells you he’s gonna nab you the love of your life? That seems absolutely legitimate and not creepy at all, but underneath the all-too-cheerful-vaguely-racist-heteronormative-advertisements, there is some actual draw. All I have to do to find the love of my life – whom I will eventually marry in a grand princess Disneyland wedding and honeymoon in the Cayman Islands with – is answer some survey questions and post some sexy-ish pictures of myself on a website? I’m sold but only because I have been planning that wedding since I was nine years old, and it’s not not going to happen.
Luxuriating in the idea that I could find my soul-mate by just lounging around at home in my underwear while answering basic questions about myself as I ate Rold Gold pretzels with Mad Men reruns playing in the background, I gave in last semester. I was bored. I was lonely. And yes, I was drunk. But I also love answering survey questions about myself. I happen to think that I am very clever and answering the most inane questions would obviously reveal this to absolute strangers.
Either way, it happened. I started off last October, but gave up a week later because it just proved my theory that everyone is awful, creepy, and just wants to touch your body in any possible way that they can. The singular person I could have met resembled Quentin Tarantino in the creepiest of ways, and I knew I would never be able to feel comfortable around him in public, so I quit.
I rejoined in December over winter break because any sort of break from school sends me into this misery spiral of existential crises and exorbitant amounts of drinking. I was pleasantly surprised this time around. This guy liked Disney movies and fancy beers just as much as I do. It was written in the stars, or however that works on the internet. And then we met.
He left early claiming that his parking meter was up. I did not hear from him for four days. He then sent a text saying that he could not talk to me anymore because there was absolutely no physical attraction whatsoever. My OkCupid account was deleted later that evening.
The idea that a boy I could possibly let myself like, after years of nothing romantic, could easily toss me aside because of how I looked kinda hurt. And I am not immune to feelings – I am a human after all.
Of course, three weeks later the feminist in me refused to give in to some superficial boy-child’s ignorance. I rejoined OkCupid for, yes, a third time.
And somehow a slightly new, still sort of battered confidence emerged in me, and it brought all the boys to the yard. Bold, sassy, morbid, but caring and loving at the same time with a body I was finally learning to love and appreciate, nothing and no one could stop me from getting my “Prince Charming.”
I had mad crushes on guys that I would never speak to again. I learned to avoid guys that really only wanted sex regardless of what their profile pretended to tell you (and were actually, with all due respect, really bad at the sex they wanted.) I fell into like with guys that needed a therapist more than they needed a girlfriend. I trekked all over my city to meet with, drink with, and maybe even make out with guys that thought my seething sarcasm and red lipstick were vaguely appealing. And while everyone had their stories and everyone had something to offer, I kept getting stuck. Was this what it was all cracked up to be? I was told repeatedly that bearing my heart and soul (or lack thereof) on the internet was going to land me with the man of my dreams – the one I envisioned walking down the Disney Princess aisle to. And yet, I wasn’t finding him. I found slightly broken, half-assed versions of him, but never the 100%-this-is-exactly-what-I-want-version of him.
Oddly enough, I suppose when you finally stop looking for something, that’s when you happen to find it (or whatever that bullshit-girl-talk-proverb is). I went into the online dating thing with minimal expectations except that I was hoping to be amused, not wooed. But while being wooed, I figured some things out that probably would have been ignored until a later date when I was sprawled out across a therapist’s chaise lounge bemoaning my very lonely existence.
I was finally figuring me out through all the boys that I was meeting, dating, and, yes, sleeping with. I found out that intimacy was something I missed more than anything. Even just the act of sleeping next to a warm body was something I did not realize I had missed until I had it. But I also found out that while all my cynicism had gotten me to where I am today, I am now so much more interested in moving forward with an open heart and mind because if online dating has taught me anything (aside from how good I am at survey questions), it’s that patience, hope, and care, if used properly, will help you find what you were looking for all along – even if that is just really awesome booty calls. Hollaaaaaaa.