Last October I joined the popular online dating site OKCupid. A few of my friends were having some success with it and since I haven’t had an honest-to-goodness-take-him-home-to-meet-your-family kind of boyfriend since 2007, I thought it was worth a try.
I chose OKCupid because I thought eHarmony seemed a little too pretentious (not to mention intimidating – most people I know leave that site with a husband) and I figured match.com was pretty played out. I just wanted a nice, non-threatening place where I could learn how to date and not have to pay a fee – not counting the cost of losing my dignity, of course. Besides, how could I ignore such compelling reviews:
“The Google of online dating” (The Boston Globe)
“The best free dating site” (About.com)
“Pretty legit” (Some guy on Yelp)
This whole experience has been an exercise in humility for me because it’s forced me to acknowledge that I really don’t know how to date. Mostly because I’ve never done it. Sure, I dated in college, but it’s too easy to meet people in college and those relationships were almost never long term. The vast majority of my adult relationships fall into two distinct categories: the ‘men I was already friends with and decided to date but then realized that was a terrible idea so we immediately went back to being friends’ group, and the ‘men who I was in an opera with and so we spent pretty much every waking moment together for three to four weeks until the show was over and we went our separate ways’ variety. I refer to that last group fondly as my ‘showmance’ or ‘locationship’ phase.
So I never actually learned how to date. Consequently, I’ve discovered that I am terrible at it. I hate being terrible at things, ergo I hate dating. I particularly hate the idea of online dating and I make that fact very plain in my OKC profile so there’s no confusion. I’m all about full disclosure. (See below.)
Not that I’m opposed to meeting someone or anything, quite the opposite I assure you. I’m simply averse to the idea of ‘meeting’ someone online. The interweb is where I go to find books and pants and shoes – not a potential partner. The hopeless romantic in me (and I swear she’s in there somewhere!) is still hoping that I’ll meet whoever it is I’m supposed to meet in a way that doesn’t involve a questionnaire.
This is the part where all of my friends jump in and say ‘but I met the love of my life on match/eharmony/JDate’ etc… I know. I’ve been to your weddings and I’m very happy for you, but I can’t help it. The whole process just feels so unnatural to me.
It’s probably my own fault though. As proof I offer…
Things I’ve actually said out loud on dates with relative strangers:
* I accidentally showed up to a first date wearing one of my campy Jesus band-aids on my ankle (because I still manage to cut myself shaving pretty much every day) and rather than remove it before he noticed, I tried to pass it off as deliberate by saying, ‘What? You don’t believe in the healing power of Christ?’ Turns out he was Jewish, so no. No he did not.
* Walking with a date through South Street Seaport:
Me: Can you imagine what this place must have been like a hundred years ago when it was all hookers and syphilis?
Him: Yeah, weird…
Me: There definitely wasn’t a Bath & Body Works, that’s for sure.
* At a fancy wine bar:
Me: I’m the one my friends usually turn to when there’s a death in the family or if they need to get an abortion or something.
Him: *nervous laughter*
Me: I mean, I don’t perform them myself or anything. I just offer to drive them to the doctors… What I’m trying to say is that I’m good in a crisis.
* And lastly, anyone remember my ill-fated smoothie story from a few months ago? Here’s a little refresher in case you forgot:
I’ve also gotten into the habit of making protein smoothies for breakfast and I have had some truly epic disasters with a blender. For instance, there was this one time when I was adding ice to my smoothie and the blender blade kept getting stuck, so I turned it off, mixed the ice around with a big wooden spoon and resumed blending. I discovered pretty quickly that this wasn’t a terribly efficient method for chilling my smoothie, but rather than scrap the whole thing, I decided to press on undaunted…or at least minimally daunted. After about three minutes of blend – jab – repeat, I lost patience and just started jamming the end of the spoon through the hole in the lid while the blender was still running. The end result was a nice raspberry wood chip sorbet. You could really taste the fiber – yum!
Now that I’m a bit more experienced in the art of blending, I use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes. Though the first time I tried it I was so paranoid about the blade getting stuck again that I actually nuked the fruit for (what was supposed to be) a few seconds to soften it up. Trouble was, I got distracted by something on tv and left the fruit in the microwave for way too long – not entirely my fault because half the buttons on my microwave don’t work so I couldn’t set an accurate time limit – and the fruit got really mushy and warm. Wanna know what’s gross? A hot smoothie, which is basically fruit soup, but I still drank the whole thing.
That rambling mess was actually a word for word copy of an email I sent to a guy on OKC who mentioned in his profile that he has a fondness for breakfast smoothies. Oddly, he opted not to meet me in person.
The first line from my current OKCupid profile:
Though I am highly suspicious of the online dating scene in general and I find the idea of winnowing down one’s personality to fit in a small box truly abhorrent, I’ll try anything twice…
Is it any great mystery why I’m still single?
So over the next few days/weeks/months/however long it takes (assuming I don’t get bored and give up on the whole thing) allow me to regale you with some of my more interesting online dating fiascoes. I assure you, it won’t be pretty…