Monday, February 10, 2014


  I have one major prerequisite when dating someone for an extended period of time - there must be a cool story about how we met. An idealistic bonus is that my partner has a really cool name: Lucie, Joya, Tia, Anita, Altaira, Veronique, and Elisa are all acceptable examples.

  My expectations aren't even that high for what would qualify as a cool story. In fact, I've set the bar so low that "cool story" just means that I met you randomly in real life and not online. This could mean anything from meeting you at a bar or at a party, on the bus or on the street, at the laundromat or even at the grocery store. It's not totally unreasonable to want this, right? I mean, my grandparents didn't meet during WWII by mindlessly "swiping" right on each other's photos. They met like normal people do; in real life and in a real life situation. This is only one of the many reasons that exist for why internet dating will never work for someone like me.

  Oh, I've tried. Believe me, I've tried. In fact, I'm what some would consider a "veteran"; an expert at all things e-dating. I'm stubborn as all hell and that's the only reason I still dabble in it after all this time.

  I've gone on well over 60 dates over the past decade, all of which were the result of messages I'd either sent or received courtesy of Plenty Of Fish, OKCupid or Tinder. I've made sure to give my "dates" a fair amount of time and attention, regardless of attraction. I even have a self-imposed rule of ordering myself at least two beers per date. If I'm enjoying myself, I'll have more. Though I'm no mathematician, in my summation I've probably spent no less than 150 hours drinking 150 pints of beer on dates that went absolutely nowhere. To put this feat in perspective, I'd have to spend an entire week, dating 24 hours a day, just to equal the amount of time I've given to girls I've met online.
  How's that for dedication?

  The sheer numbers alone are quite impressive when you consider that I've only been single for less than one year in total over that entire 10-year period. The reason I've had so many dates in such a small timeframe is that I don't dawdle online. If I think you're cute and you have some semblance of being normal, I will ask you to go out almost immediately. I mean, why the hell would I want to talk to a stranger I've met online for an entire month just to realize I'm not sexually attracted to them the moment we meet in person? Let's not split hairs on this thing, because sex is what drives us and what ultimately causes us to fall in love in the first place. The fact that you like the same bands, eat the same foods, or like the same movies I do is just a bonus.

  In many ways, joining an internet dating site sounds like the best idea in the world ever. In fact, it's such a great idea you'd think that the Germans or Swedes invented the concept. Take a moment to really think about it. I mean, you can actually "meet" people and plan dates without ever having to leave your apartment. Hell, you don't even have to put pants on. How crazy is that? I know what you're thinking; "where do I sign up?" But not so fast, horny human. Though it may seem like simple, one-stop shopping for love and sex, internet dating actually sucks.

  First off, let me clarify some things for all of you. Though I may not be Brad Pitt, I am certainly no Danny DeVito. I'm more like Serge Gainsbourg, just less sleazy. I'm intelligent, charming, witty, funny, disarming, and thoughtful (other peoples' words to describe me, not my own). I reactivate my online dating profiles every time I'm suddenly single not because I'm socially inept or incapable of meeting new people. I'm on dating websites because I'm lazy and it just happens to be winter whenever I'm single. I am not an anomaly. In fact, there are many reasons people troll sites like OKCupid. Below is a basic list of why you are probably online:
  1. You're too busy to meet people (aka: your job as an astronaut has you stationed on the International Space Station for the next 10 months). 
  2. You're desperate (aka: you've abandoned all hope and standards for the chance to meet somebody ... anybody). Before internet dating existed, you'd probably have been one of those people who wrote letters to convicted killers in prison just for a chance at love.
  3. You're moving, or have moved, to a new city and you want to meet people.
  4. You're a complete creep and/or are incapable of interacting with people in social situations (ladies know better than anyone else that dating websites are a breeding ground for predators, shirtless douchebags and guys who just can't wait to send you dick-tures).
  5. You're recently out of a long-term relationship and you don't know any better (Though, you figure out really quickly the inherent problems and horrors of internet dating - see #4. You're on here briefly and disappear back into the real world as fast you left it.
  6. You're lazy (aka: me).
  The harsh truth about internet dating is that it really shows you just how incompatible you are with most people. Although 98% of the people I've gone out with turned out to be nothing short of weird and/or utterly insane, that doesn't necessarily mean I haven't met some really good people. In fact, I've forged some really worthwhile friendships via the internet. But they have never morphed into anything more than that. I suppose there's just something so unromantic about going on a date with someone I've met online that it actually sullies the entire idea of being with that person at all. Going out with someone you've met on the internet is probably the most unnatural thing I've ever done. And after an illustrious history of internet dating, that uncomfortable feeling has never really waned.

  I don't truly understood why things have never gone anywhere with the people I've met online even though the majority of them have been attractive. Though, a recent experience finally made me see the inherent, underlying problem for what it is. A few months back, I met someone at a house party. I noticed her immediately from the moment I walked in the room. She was like the sun, a radiance that my eyes could not ignore. She glowed and her draw was both vexing and exciting. A mutual friend eventually introduced us and the rest of the night her and I were lost in a world of our own; talking in hushed tones and flirting with each other. I walked her home a few hours later. We held hands. It was innocent and beautiful. Most of all, I was happy and relieved to know that my heart was still capable of being captured.

  Although there was an instant connection between us, something nagged at me. Her face was recognizable, though there's no way we'd ever met previous to that night considering she was new to the city. It perplexed me enough that I eventually reactivated my OKCupid account. I hastily leafed through some old messages. And then I finally found what I'd suspected. It turns out that I'd actually messaged this very girl some six weeks earlier. She never responded, yet here we were so inexplicably drawn to each other. We ended up dating for a couple months. Though, I truly believe that had she answered my initial message we wouldn't have made it to a second date.

  The answer to this is simple. Our attraction to each other at that party was guided by the most basic of human instincts - pheromones. This is something a computer algorithm can never and will never be able to calculate. Although attraction is shallow and easily identified, chemistry is far more complicated than simply looking at a photo of someone. Attraction is fleeting, while good chemistry based on pheromones is the difference between a one-night stand and lasting love.

   Another reason her and I wouldn't have gone out again is that I've never actually gone into an online date hoping for the best. In fact, I flat out expect the worst. And if you look for the worst, you will surely find it. Always. You may ask be asking yourselves why pheromones don't play a part when I go on these internet dates. Well, truth be told, my anxiety level trumps any animal instincts I may have. My senses are numb and my guard is up. I wasn't nervous when I met that girl at the party that night because I had no expectations of who she was as a person. In my mind, she was a beautiful blank canvas and I was excited to discover for myself who she was rather than being told what she was.

  The reason for this anxiety and trepidation when meeting someone on the internet is well-founded, considering that the woman I meet in person is rarely the person she's built herself up as online. Although I'd like to believe that people don't intentionally lie when they describe themselves on the internet, we are mostly incapable of describing our flaws. If we did, who the hell would date us? Add to this the fact that most of us have a warped perception of ourselves. Just imagine the surprising reality that sits across from you when you do finally meet in person.

 This "surprising reality" has included, but is not limited to, girls who describe themselves as "fit" online, yet are pushing 300lbs in real life. It's also why guys often describe themselves as 6'0" when they are actually only 5'5" in person. It's why people post a photo of themselves from a decade ago under the guise of it being a current likeness. It's why humourless people use the catch phrase "loves to laugh" and why uptight people describe themselves as "down-to-earth" or "easy going". In their eyes, this is truth. Maybe it's not that they think this who they are, rather it's who they hope they are. It's almost as if writing it down will make it so. This is why internet dating isn't as simple as it seems and it makes you truly understand why the Germans and Swedes didn't invent the concept in the first place - because it just doesn't make sense.

  That being said, I do know people who've had a different experience than the one I've had with internet dating. In fact, I have friends who've met their significant other in cyberspace and some have even gotten married. So, in the end, maybe the problem is not the internet. Maybe the problem is me? God forbid.

1 comment:

JohnnyRotten73 said...

I'll have to tell you my hunchback story one day.