Dating In The New World

In Opinion/Personal, Personal, Random on August 9, 2013 at 8:50 am

I received my divorce papers back in the mail today – mostly completed.  A small part of me feels that this tiny little oversight of a missed signature was done intentionally to draw out the process even longer, but I will continue to remain cool and collected.  At least I did finally get the majority of it back completed after months of waiting.  But my focus in this post will not be on the childish antics of an ex.  Upon making the decision to go through with a divorce, I knew things needed to change.  Not just in my living arrangements or marital status, but in myself.  I needed to put myself out there and start taking risks.  No more standing on the sidelines watching other people chase happiness and fun, I needed to be running with the bulls myself!  But there was one little hitch…I’m completely lame.

I’m awkward and have weird interests and even weirder habits.  I suck at small talk and I’m terrible at meeting people.  I don’t know how to date!  I had never been on a real first date.  All my dates were in my small hometown with people I already knew from school or through friends.  I had no idea where to start – until I shared these concerns with a dear friend who suggested online dating sites as an ice breaker into the world again. I questioned this initially.

Isn’t that kind of weird?  “Nope, lots of people do it.  I was even on one for a while.”

It’s gotta be all creepers, right? “Not necessarily.  You can be as picky as you want, you just have to be selective.”

I don’t want to look desperate or sleezy.  “No way!  You’re meeting new people, you don’t ever even have to meet them in real life if you don’t feel comfortable.”

I still wasn’t sure, so I tested it out on another friend during dinner.  It casually came up that a dating site had been recommended to this friend by someone else.  We joked about it, about how awkward we were in general and what bad dates we would be.  I shared that dating sites had been recommended for myself, as well, and somehow it came about that if one of us did it, we would both do it.  Somehow, this made it easier for me to go all in and create a profile online somewhere.  So I began the search for an online dating site that seemed like a good fit.  Everyone sees all the commercials on television for how successful these different dating sites are.  I started with Match.com and quickly called that quits. I’m too broke and cheap right now to pay for a membership just to see local lonely males in my area.  I obviously wasn’t interested in a religion based site, such as Christian Mingle.  And that was the extent of my knowledge on dating sites from television  ads…

There had to be other options and something easier.  Then it hit me: I have a smart phone.  App store, here I come!  I did a general search of the app store for “dating” and was hit with so many options that I became exhausted from looking through them.  Most of them were a weird messenger that semed to just show people nearby that you could text back and forth with.  I installed a few to see how I liked them.  That was like opening a doorway to all pervs.  All these messenger systems were just making it easier for people to find random booty calls.  No thank you. That’s not my bag.  Then I found OKCupid.  It was free, and I’ve since learned that it’s apparently the Match.com for people ballin’ on a budget.  It let you set up a real profile with interests and facts and let you browse other people’s.  This looked like the perfect one for me.  Looking back now, I wish I had screenshots of some of the messages I received, starting almost immediately after confirming my account and profile.  Some of my favorites were:

  • the little foreign man wishing he had big floppy ears like my dog so I would cuddle him (no thanks)
  • a very burly dude’s lengthy attempt at a joke, something along the lines of “We seem very compatible, so go ahead and send me your name, social security number, and birth date so I can steal – oh, I mean…Just kidding, message me back if you’re interested in chatting.” (nope)
  • an invitation to be part of a personal fantasy as long as I agreed to wear a wench costume and eye patch (no joke, double nope)
  • booty call, booty call, booty call! And “amazing” night with a self=proclaimed sex god, no strings attached (oh, come on!)

Needless to say, I ignored these messages.  The most awkward would have to have been the message and offer for a date from a guy that works for the same company as I do. Worst part: he had no idea who I was, despite the fact that he did work in my building multiple times and had been around each other on multiple occasions over the near 4 years I’ve worked there.  Even after reminding him that he knew me, he still offered for us to go out, but I didn’t feel comfortable making it any more awkward by getting any kind of involvement with a sort-of coworker.  Plus, he wasn’t my type.

But it wasn’t all bad.  The app let me scan through people in my town and check out their profiles and I could bookmark ones that I may be interested in communicating with later.  One day, I received an email.  “So-and-so has chosen you!” What’s the hell?  I go to my app and discover that profiles can be rated.  Receiving a rating of 4-5 stars generates this email and leads you to the person’s profile that gave you that rating.  If you rate the person back with 4-5 stars, it sends the email back to them and sends you an email saying basically, “Hey, you’re both interested.  Start a conversation.”  I even ended up getting comfortable enough that I decided to meet one a few people in person.

But my main point is, I quickly figured out that my friend was 100% correct.  I could be as picky as I wanted.  I could easily ignore the messages from people that were not appealing and I was getting more comfortable and secure with myself.  I had accomplished my goal of putting myself out there and making changes after being stuck in a bad situation for so long.  And I was meeting a lot of people in my town, people that I would have never met had it not been for this wonderful world of the internet.  Granted, I really only keep in touch with one of them now, but I could see how these sites could be beneficial for creating friendships in addition to relationships.  Even though I was so nervous to try it out to begin with, I’m very glad I did.  I’ve heard many success stories from online dating, but actually testing out the waters on my own showed me that my original opinions of it were skewed and not entirely correct.  I broke through my wall of awkward and my fear of dating and I met a pretty awesome person through the process.

I have since deleted my OKCupid profile and the app on my phone because, if I may be honest, I don’t need it anymore.  However, I would definitely recommend trying online dating to anyone.  There are so many different sites and apps to fit different personalities and it’s not at all desperate or needy like I imagined it to be.  There are some pretty cool people on these sites that you may never meet in the real world without the little nudge from the universe via high speed connection or wi-fi.  So if you’re considering your options or have had a dry spell in that department lately, upgrade your style to the new generation of dating and just…relax.  It’ll all come together much easier than you think.


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