I joined an online dating site ten days ago.
As you can imagine, it's been a combination of horror and...what are three synonyms for horror?
You start off with about a dozen scammers contacting you immediately. What's a scammer? That is someone with a fake online dating profile who reaches out to you to try to get you to give them your "off-site" information so they can contact you and play upon your emotions, get you to feel something, and at some point, get you to give them some money.
HA! Jokes on them! I have no emotions! Or money.
If you are smart, hopefully you recognize the scammer profile immediately. If you're not smart, just pay attention to their level of urgency--if they're dying to talk to you, it's a scam.
Not that people aren't dying to talk to you.
It's easy for me. Literally nobody is dying to talk to me, so when someone is very excited, I know it's bull.
Online dating is an intense masters-level course in self confidence. Yeah, I know those pictures are dweebie as all hell, and I am still not at my ideal weight. At some point you have to say, "well, fuck it, maybe some guy likes girls with hips," and just go for it. Trick is, you have to do it knowing full well that NO guy on there cares that you used to be fatter and you lost 60 pounds and you're skinnier now. They just care if you're skinny. Now.
They also care very much that you, the girl, make an effort. None of this "no make-up" shit. Make yourself pretty. No sweatshirts, or sweatpants. No flat shoes. No ball caps. Never mind that all of their pics are of them looking sweaty after a workout, or wearing an Under Armour/Vikings/Packers sweatshirt and dad jeans. They don't have to make an effort, they're guys!
But I digress...
I should also mention, for the most part, I don't care what they're wearing--guys in Minnesota dress a particular way, and you can't do much about that, but I must ask, why am I expected to respond positively to a guy who hit me up when he looks like hell and does nothing for me, visually, but men won't respond unless they're ready to jerk off to your full body pic?
My favorites are the ones who say they don't care about looks and that they just need someone with whom they can have a conversation. First of all, it's a lie. Of course they care about looks. There's nothing wrong with that--I care about looks, too. I'm not going out with someone who does nothing for me. Why would I? Why would anyone?
I must have read a hundred guy's profiles at this point. I take the time to read the whole thing and find things we might have in common, and I send them a non-threatening email, like, "Oh, I notice (X Restaurant) is your favorite place! I also like that restaurant. Have you been to (X Chef)'s other place? That's a good one, too. OK, well, good luck in your search!" and I send it off into the ether.
Here's what happens when you try to start a conversation with the guys who "just want conversation":
You knew that was coming, right?
They don't even TRY to have a conversation with you to see if you might reasonably get along, They don't even pretend conversation matters. They're not going to simply answer your question and then say something like, "You seem nice but I'm sorry, I'm just not interested." They're horrified that someone with whom they cannot picture themselves fucking has had the audacity to speak to them.
Does that sound bitter? I don't think I'm bitter. I mean, I get it--some people just don't turn your crank, and you're not interested. But...zero response? Just...nothing, Conversation Guy?
No wonder it's a lost art.
Meanwhile, if a guy pays me a compliment and I don't immediately say, "Take me now, Stud!" then I'm a bitch.
Yes...that's how it is.
So now that we have established that it's different for guys than it is for girls, let's get to the crazy people.
I'm sure there are plenty of crazy women on a dating site. How do I know this? Because of the crazy men. I have to believe the ratios are similar. They must be...right?
Here's a scenario: I saw this guy...a normal-looking dude with an OK profile. I sent him an email saying, and I'm not making this up, that he seemed..."sane."
And I meant it.
It was a compliment. Lots of guys on an online dating site? They don't seem sane. It's kind of a big deal when you find one.
I had no reason to believe otherwise--his writing was pretty good, he seemed to have the same general outlook on life that I do, and he looked like he took care of himself to a reasonable degree. OK. Move forward. Send an email.
We exchanged a couple of emails, and I started to get a bit of a sinking feeling. Not bad-bad, just...eh...I'm not sure if this guy is for me. I decided that the one way I would be sure is to talk to him on the phone. I am a conversation girl and I like talking to someone who matches my tone/pace. I asked him if he would like to have a phone call, and he said yes, so I called him.
The conversation lasted around 40 minutes and the entire thing felt like a bare knuckle fight. He kept asking me weirdly pointed questions like he was trying to catch me in a lie. He asked me questions about things that I had already told him about in emails, which, to me, indicated he hadn't even read them. For example, he asked me about my former spouse, who I had already indicated was dead. Dead, dead, not just dead to me. Dead. I used the words, "my husband" to describe said dead person and he basically accused me of still being married.
When I started talking about what I did for a living, he (swear-to-gawd this is true) said the words, "I'm bored, already," exactly 5 seconds into the description. He asked if I liked my job and when I said I did, he acted like it couldn't possibly be true. He told me he wanted to take a bike ride on what was a wooded trail. With me. With no other people there. I expressed my concern about the safety of that--because yes, let's just go to some wooded area with some guy I've never met--and he mocked me.
Yeah. I'm feeling pretty good about the one human male wanting to speak to me this week being...shall we say...a bit on the edge...?
Now, there were some moments of the conversation that were not awful. He told me about a hobby of his that he liked and I agreed that it was a cool hobby and a cool skill to have. He told me about his work, and I, being a person who loves work, said, "hey, that's cool what you do--that's a special skill and not just anybody could do that," and I meant it, but the tone and the pace of the conversation were so outside of where I wanted to be with any human, much less a male human on a date, that there was just no recovery. He made the ask, and I said I just wasn't seeing it, and that I didn't think it would work between us.
See...here's were I always get into trouble...I felt bad about the fact that he seemed to be apologizing for his job, and his hobby--like he thought they weren't cool enough or something. I sent him a follow-up email...you know...like I would have done for a job interview? Not so great of an idea, as it happens. Perhaps arrogant of me, as well. I told him I hoped he pursued his hobby because I could tell it was something he really enjoyed but that he had seemed reluctant to talk about it. I ended it with a "hey, it was nice to 'meet' you" and a goodbye.
He answered me back by saying I was "toxic, and far from interesting or intellectual."
What can you do with that kind of thing? Block, and move on.
As luck would have it, the dozens of emails I had sent to other people started to trickle in returns at the same time I was declared toxic. Or more accurately, return, singular. This was OK. It was a guy in my neighborhood and I didn't necessarily think he and I would be good for each other, but I thought maybe he and I could occasionally sit at the local bar and whine about how stupid it all was.
Worth the aggravation? Depends on your definition of "worth". Or "aggravation". Or "the".
Here's the thing: I'm the one thinking, "Gee, if he's sort of cute and seems otherwise sane...should I be judge-y about his hair/body/spelling?" and I really worry about whether I'm being fair in my assessment of these men.
Guys? Guys are just thinking about whether or not they would need the lights off to have sex with me.
In case you ever wonder why women start to think, "Alone? Alone isn't so bad," that's why.
It's tough out there...