“Pandora’s Box: The online dating adventures of goyagrrl
I should preface this – I am a late bloomer. I am 35 now, but am secretly about 15 or 16 – all geeky, gawky, and flustered. However, this is far from my outward appearance. I mean on the outside (I guess my alter ego) I have somehow managed to pull it together. I no longer wear strange, slightly unwell-fitting clothes that I think are:
- convey the sense that I want to kick down some doors and slam the system (i.e. combat boots, although I still do have a penchant for high boots, and the boys do not seem to generally mind).
My hair is now a respectable length, often brushed and/or combed. My clothes no longer use safety pins in place of missing buttons. No visible hems dragging or threads fraying. I am usually now the first owner of the article of clothing that I am wearing. I no longer have any visible piercings other than the ones on my ear lobes (now only one each).
And aside from the fact that my “blooming” commenced a bit later than most of my peers, I can safely say that I have made up for lost time, and even probably have surpassed most of them in the “experiences” department. This is not necessarily something that I am proud of, or believe to be cause for the tooting of one’s own horn.
Regardless, I have never really “dated’’ before. Sure, I have had boyfriends and relationships. I have had flings. I have had one-night stands and a few-nights stands. I even had a brief engagement. I have been dumped, and have done the dumping, gotten broken-hearted and broken a number along the way. I have done my fair share of taking another’s feelings absolutely not into account.
But I have never really “dated”. I usually knew guys from school or via other friends. I had some sort of context to place them in. But before I knew it, all those taken-for-granted venues that one so often meets someone to smooch with on a regular basis quickly dried up. I was no longer in school (well actually, I was – but as a graduate student that is at least 10 years older than most of your cohort members, and when most of your class mates are also heterosexual females, well….let’s just say I did not have many distractions in class). I had met (and unfortunately, slept with a few too many of) the friends of friends over the years. My days (or better said, nights) of dancing all night at bars and drunkenly smooching were over – thankfully. So, where is a reformed single viva-la-vida gal to meet a decent soul?
I decided to give the online thing a try. I mean, it was 2006. The whole Internet dating phenomenon had reached its pinnacle. I looked on Nerve’s web-site. I could not believe all these cute boys were looking to be in relationships! They probably are just like me, I thought…too tired to be hitting up bars in order to meet someone (I go to bars to hang out with friends and catch up. I want to talk to them, not some random, foolish strangers trying out pointers learned from “The Game”!) Even though I still thought the whole thing was kind of freaky and a bit forced and unnatural. I must admit, though, that I found the concept of the Internet as a dating tool slightly fascinating. I decided to approach it with an anthropologist’s mind. I figured – what did I have to lose? I mean my recent history within the last 2 years was not at all promising. I had gotten out of a relationship with a man that I had started re-dating four years after breaking up (a man that I had known and carried an off-and-on torch for since college…starting in 1990!) and had spent the better part of the following year having sex every few months with a guy living in LA. LA is very far from Brooklyn.
Clearly, I needed to change things up a bit if I had any hopes of becoming a happily partnered person (HPP).
Thus, I began my courageous, death-defying (ok, maybe not death defying…dignity defying? Rejection-facingifying?) all-around zany adventures in online dating. It began relatively well… I was still in graduate school at the time, so I was pretty busy and the maintenance aspect of online dating did not consume much of my mental energy. I went out on a few dates with lovely people that I had no chemistry with. It was flattering, as I always got a call afterwards asking me if I would like to hang out again. And then I met someone that I actually did want to hang out with again. And we did. And before I knew it – we were “dating”.
It did not last very long – a few months. Until we found ourselves discussing the merits of having children while in bed on a hazy, humid, hung-over Saturday morning. Mind you, I did not want to have this conversation so early in what I still felt was not a relationship. But I guess he did, and it ended.
And the summer months continued. Again, I went on a few other dates. Again, all lovely people – but this time, things got a little hairy. Like the date I had with a guy that point blank asked me if I was okay with “smokables” during our email correspondence. This guy also sweetly and endearingly whispered “I just want to f**k you right” during our good night (and gooood bye….) kiss.
And I am pretty sure because I did not go home with him he sent me an email the very next day saying he had a “great time” and wanted to do it again “real soon”. I sent a vague response and left it at that. I mean, really – why would anyone think this is the thing to say to impress someone on a first date? I digress. This dude was actually not evil incarnate. Just a bit goofy, a little too hipper-than-thou, and horny.
The summer’s end was fast approaching. I am about to start a new job, and finish up my thesis – a long, arduous and extremely stressful process that had been plaguing me for months. Then one day, I get that ever exciting, slight stomach flutter inducing email@example.com email in my inbox. Someone new has sent me a message.
We are living in a mercurial world, and I am a mercurial girl.
I recently heard two things that have resonated with me. Both wisdoms imparted by my dear friend MM –
1) If you focus on only the things you do not have, you run the risk of losing the wonderful things you already have.
2) Everything has meaning. We are just too stupid to know what the meaning is.”
My, how times have changed – how I have changed.