This past Sunday afternoon, my girlfriend and I met up at a local bar for an overdue catch-up and to witness my fantasy team sail to its third consecutive victory. From my calculations, I am currently in the lead of the 2015-2016 Va Jay Jay Cutler league, but I can’t get too cocky! That killed me last year. So in between ciders and wings, the topic of dating and relationships became a hot topic of discussion; this is how guys watch football right?!
My friend in question just celebrated her thirtieth birthday. She is beautiful, funny, smart, and I have to say, knows more about football than most ladies (and guys) I know; which from what I know about men, would definitely make her a hot commodity. However, she is fed up with trying to meet anyone; especially online. And I can’t blame her!
Now I know that I am married, and that automatically makes me not your favorite person to talk to about dating, but in the effort of solidarity, and since boyfriend weather is upon us, I thought I would regale you with a couple tales from my less-than-flattering time of being single and trying to find love online. While this may or may not encourage you to invest in this dating method yourself, my hope is that you can at least find relief that if you’re currently dating or wanting to date, you’re not the only one who has a couple of bad stories to tell.
I have exactly two real-life experiences with online dating. As I’m sure it’s of no surprise to you, after this definitely-not-right-for-me- but-boy-did-I-want-him-to-be guy broke my heart a few years ago, I decided that the best way to get over him was to quickly find the love of my life. Forget that letting the heart heal nonsense; I’ll find my own husband!
Great plan, right?
At the time, I was convinced I was only one amazing conversation away from finding this guy (I mean I went to literally every social event possible), but much to my chagrin, I found discussing my broken heart to anyone who would listen was apparently as effective in finding a new man as wearing gaucho pants or eating an entire jar of queso by myself at a party. The latter may have recently happened. Thank God I got Dan on lock down…
Not one to be discouraged, I decided to outsource this biznass. Why not take the search online?! I had heard all sorts of mixed reviews about the effectiveness of this new-fangled online dating world, but I also knew of two successful marriages so I figured this would definitely work for me. After all, I am so good on first dates. It’s probably because I don’t let silence happen.
Using my amazing logic, I signed up for eHarmony because I figured the most expensive one would lure the most financially secure guys.
Four hundred hours later, I was pretty sure I had successfully convinced that silly test that I would be the perfect match for anyone and I had very few flaws. Voila! This was bound to get things done!
Enter what I call the Christmas morning phase. Each day, I would wake up to a new slew of matches in my inbox. Convinced I was getting close to meeting the man of my dreams, each morning I couldn’t wait to see what this brilliant machine had picked out for me!
Well let’s just say that there were very few options that looked like Ryan Reynolds’ twin brother and my desired age window for my future spouse seemed to be continually ignored. So I got a bit discouraged. Not to be dismayed, or waste my financial investment, over the course of the next couple weeks I decided not to judge a book by its cover and entered the “conversation” stage with a couple of dudes. I sent out so many smiley faces and really put myself out there. Let me tell you, this part is hard work! You have to answer like a million questions and provide WAY too much information in written form before ever meeting someone.
Getting burned out by the time commitment this was stage was taking, and figuring my amazing personality was being stifled without in-person time, I pushed a couple guys to grab drinks. Yes, I asked them out. So what?? This was how I was going to get this dating thing off the ground.
Enter what I am cleverly calling Date 1 and Date 2.
I forget the Date 1 guy’s name, but in his profile he had a full head of dark hair, apparently a job in finance (which IMO means he should be smart), and was into CrossFit. So I’m thinking that his body is going to be banging and we could discuss world politics. In the name of love, I briefly overlooked his overuse of smiley faces in text messages.
I boarded my scooter and headed to Southport corridor for the night of my life…
Unfortunately, within the time span of one drink, I learned that either his photo shopping skills were incredible or he had run out of his Rogaine. On top of that, he managed to regale me with the very personal details of how he lost his virginity at the age of 15 in a barn somewhere in the Indiana countryside. I literally almost choked on an ice cube.
This can’t be for real.
By the time my best friend, Ashley, had texted me back with the appropriate emergency to get me out of there, I was already coming up with a game plan to block him on my phone and file a restraining order.
Bad date was an understatement.
Figuring things couldn’t get any worse, I naively shopped for the perfect outfit for Date 2 with Austin, the young 25-year-old suburbanite, who was coming into the city in order to meet the love of his life the following Tuesday.
When I got to the bar Austin was meeting me at, which was conveniently next door to my house, I ordered a beer and battled if I could order mozzarella sticks for an appetizer for myself on a first date. They say to be yourself, right? Well, as luck would have it, I was able to scarf down all of them before he arrived so no harm, no foul. This date was off to a great start!
Quickly shooing away the evidence so my delicate feminine demeanor could be restored, Austin came strolling in 20 min late (traffic…), and at a height that was MUCH shorter in person than his profile would have suggested. He also weighed what I am estimating as 20 pounds less than me. It’s probably the mozzarella sticks. And he had the heart of an angel. I am pretty sure that he had never heard of any of the beers on the craft beer list I handed him and just ordered an Allagash White because I had. How cute.
He was a pastor’s kid who lived with his brother in the suburbs and still spent most weekends with his family. He desperately wanted to meet a wife because he wanted to raise a faithful family and he couldn’t wait to be a Dad. He mentioned he never drank “brewskies” alone and I questioned whether he would judge me for the bottle of wine I drank the night before. He was absolutely perfect for like three of my nicer friends, but I knew that I would break his heart every time I swore and that I couldn’t be in a marriage where I was hurting my husband all the time.
Regardless, we had a lovely conversation and when he offered to buy me ice cream afterward, I let him. I mean, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. At the end of our date, he walked me the half block home and we agreed that we didn’t think this would develop beyond a friendship. Either way, my faith in humanity was restored by that sweet, sweet guy.
Knowing there were kind (boy) men like Austin in the world gave me hope that my husband was only a few clicks away. So when my inbox filled the next morning with my new matches, I eagerly signed into my account.
But when my very brand-new ex-boyfriend popped on my screen as my first match for the day and his profile picture featured him with his SHIRT OFF, I promptly said, “Oh HELLLLLLL no” and immediately deleted my account. Like immediately.
Was this some kind of sick joke, eHarm? I mean come ON! I don’t remember exactly, but it’s likely I called for a refund…
So I can’t tell you if online dating would have eventually worked for me or not, and I am thankful that I somehow managed to meet a guy anyway (I also asked him out first for the record…), but I think the recipe for success is to be open-minded, give it a whirl, and not take it too seriously.
I will say, it’s still important to practice meeting humans in the flesh, too. After all, you don’t get to have online conversations with your spouse where you come up with the perfect witty response to everything they say. And you always have to eat your mozzarella sticks in front of them. But if you’re doing nothing else dating-wise, could it really hurt to give online dating a try?? I mean, it certainly couldn’t hurt to have a machine without emotions (or baggage) curate some viable options for you since I’m fairly certain nobody is going to get plucked out of a pew anytime soon.
If nothing else, it could make for some interesting stories for the next time you’re watching football with your girlfriends.
My last request, and one of my greatest regrets because I failed to do this, is that if you meet an Austin-like character who is a dream, but not your dream, help a sister out and pay it forward. Set him up with a good friend and see what happens. I know of exactly two relationships where this worked out so it’s definitely God’s plan.
So with that, I wish you happy swiping.
Any other online dating disasters out there??