Psyching Myself Up To Date

Part of the problem of being an introvert who loves my dog more than I love most people is that it’s really difficult to meet potential dates out in the world. I don’t really go “out” places, and when I do venture forth from my home, I’m pretty sure I have my resting bitch face on. I don’t mean to, but if I’m at the grocery store or the gym, I’m just trying to get stuff done so that I can go back home. This has always been the allure of online dating; I can scroll through numerous pictures and profiles, converse with people without brushing my hair, and not have that awkward in real life fumbling until we’ve at least established some basic commonalities.

Recently, I ventured back onto OKcupid; this latest try lasted about four days. I was talking to five different guys. One of those conversations had moved over to Facebook Messenger so that he could send me pictures from his recent trip to Alaska. I was making many matches, and I was gaining plenty of admirers (duh). Here was the problem – I didn’t care to invest any amount of time getting to know any of the guys I was talking to, and I was beginning to resent the call on my time that having to message them back was taking.   When I would be notified that I had made a match with someone, or when a guy responded to me, I had no excitement whatsoever. In the past, when I first met Dan or Jay on OKC, I would get total butterflies when they messaged. I couldn’t wait to get online and see what they said! With this latest round of guys, I’d get the notification that I’d received a new message, and I’d delete it and think, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll get to it later.”

And it wasn’t just this time around. The past few times that I have tried online dating, I’ve had no interest in actually pursuing anything. I’m looking because I feel like I should be looking, like I should be making some kind of effort to meet guys. The last time I went on a date from an online site was over a year ago. Granted, I was dating Dan again from August through New Year’s, but we’re at the end of July, and I haven’t set up even one date. Every person seems to say, “Oh, it’ll happen when you stop looking, when you least expect it.” Please provide to me an example of how that is true for any other aspect of life. How often do people find new jobs when they’re not looking for them? How often do people find their dream home when they’re not looking? I get that you can be offered a job that you weren’t looking for, but typically, in any other area of life, the advice is to not give up, to not stop looking until you find the right fit. I get that love has it’s own rules, and doesn’t play out like other areas of life, but come on!

I disabled my OKcupid account on Sunday because I just couldn’t work up the energy to be excited about anyone I was talking to. Had I talked to every guy on OKC? Of course not! Had I even talked to every guy that I had matched with? Of course not! But just thinking about making the effort to get dolled up to go on a date, or even a series of dates if there was a connection, made me so tired that  I wanted to take a nap. I just want to naturally find someone who immediately makes me laugh and just fits well into my life. That may be too much to ask, but I’m asking. The worst the Universe can say is “no,” and then I’m no worse off from where I am now, which really isn’t bad at all.

– Finch

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I’m sort of the opposite of a serial-monogamist

Another Sunday, another OKcupid date. This one didn’t leave me wanting to dig my eyes out with a sharp stick, although I did go home and pass out for two hours. Let me explain…

We met up at two, but the bar he had picked was closed. We convened at another bar, got some drinks, and proceeded to start talking. We actually had a lot of fun. So much fun, in fact, that I had four beers on an empty stomach (I wanted to look extra thin for the date – no judging!!), all in the course of about two and a half hours. I literally lost track of the time. When I got back to my car and saw that it was 5 (and I had previously told this guy that I had other plans at 6), I was shocked. I had not thought that we had hung out that long. So yes, I stopped at Maudie’s, got some insanely good breakfast tacos, and then went home and passed out until about 8. I’m too old for this!

The date was certainly fun, and even if I never hear from him again, he gave me a great piece of information. We were talking about our past OKC experiences, and he said, “I’m sort of the opposite of a serial-monogamist. You know, so many of my friends can’t go five minutes without dating someone, but I’ve only had one serious relationship in my adult life. The rest of the time, I date a little here and there, but mostly, I’m happier when I’m single.” PEOPLE! This is literally me!!! I’ve only had one serious relationship in my adult life (okay, or maybe two – Tripp and Ex). I will date for a couple of months here and there and then be single for a year or more. I stated all of this to him, and told him, “I thought I was the only one.” He replied that nope, there were plenty of us out there.

And here’s why that is so important to me. I live under a constant fear that I will never be with anyone ever again, that I will never fall in love again, and that there is something seriously wrong with me because I don’t constantly have a boyfriend. However, this guy gave me this nugget of truth that I am not terminally unique, and that it is perfectly normal to find more happiness and contentment in your own company rather than in a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I love being unique and one of a kind, but it truly sways my fears to know that there are other people out there like me in this regard.

As for the guy himself – I don’t know. That’s not true – I do know, but it’s a scary feeling. He was cute, incredibly smart, had similar interests, and was really great. But I just can’t picture anything with him. Okay, yes, I can picture some drunken sex with him, but that’s not exactly the basis of a relationship. I think there’s someone out there who is a better fit, and it will be difficult to find him if I spend my time with someone I’m not crazy about (and sure, feelings could grow, but there are other factors there that I don’t want to get into of why I won’t be pursuing this). So, my Sunday Date, thank you for a lovely time, and showing me that four beers is way past my limit when I haven’t eaten anything, but most especially for showing me that I am not damaged and that there is hope for me yet.

– Finch

Quick thought: OKcupid is the Forever21 of dating

It is!! Picture it – Forever 21 (which I have loved since I was 16) is chock-full of cheap pieces, in a variety of colors and styles. Like that shirt, but wish that it came in blue? No problem, it’s over there. Think that skirt would be cuter with an exposed zipper? Yeah, that’s over in that section at the front of the store. Inevitably you end up with an overflowing pile of clothes to take back into the dressing room with you, wondering how on earth you are going to afford everything, only to discover that not one thing looks good on you. It’s either too big, too small, too sheer, too short, too much! And you leave the store wondering how you could have spent 90 minutes in there with absolutely nothing to show for it. But you know what? A few months later, that same store will lure you in with a promise of new styles, only for you to discover it’s the same old crap with new zippers.

They might as well rename OKcupid “Cupid21.” It leaves you with exactly the same emptiness.

– Finch

I’m not really into the whole materialism thing

I had a date this past Sunday, and there was just no connection whatsoever. And y’all know my policy – as long as the guy didn’t do anything out of line, I’m not going to blast a guy for just appreciating different things/ideals from me. However, he did make several comments that I feel need to be addressed to the dating world at large. I realize that online dating directly leads to a lot of snap judgments – “Oh, not that cute, I’m passing,” “Doesn’t like dogs, can’t have that,” “Likes Miley Cyrus, oh hell no!” However, I think that there are some snap judgments which need to be evaluated a bit further before basing an opinion on them.

Sunday’s guy (I’m not even giving him a nickname) made several comments about driving an older car, thrift store shopping, and the like. Then, at one point, he literally said, “I’m not really into the whole materialism thing.” Okay, first off, you’re not The Dude (bonus points if you’re catching my reference). Second off, I was not at the date dripping in diamonds or Louis Vuitton. I was dressed perfectly normally – jeans, sweater, leather jacket. Finally, I was not spouting off about having bought a new car last year or a buying my condo. So I wasn’t really sure where he was getting this whole “materialism” vibe from, or what he was trying to tell me.

But here’s the thing – who cares if I am materialistic?? I make good money, and if I choose to spend a portion of that money buying myself diamond earrings rather than investing in microloans, so be it. I will say, this guy had a good job, so maybe he had been taken to town by several gals looking for a sugar daddy. However, I am not one of those women. No one else pays my bills – if I feel like shopping every week at Whole Foods, I’m not going to ask for help with the grocery bill, and if I decide to hit the Outlet Malls every weekend, you won’t find my credit card statements on your doorstep. So, even though there really wasn’t a connection to be ruined, because this guy had made some sort of snap judgment about me, he really lessened any chance he might have had.

I’m perfectly fine with someone expressing their values on a date; that’s kind of what we’re there for. However, when you repeat the same sentiment in several different ways in a one hour time frame, I’m going to assume that you’re trying to send a message. I would just ask that you ensure that your message is properly suited to the recipient.

– Finch

The problem with online dating

So I’ve ventured back out into the world of OKcupid. No, I am not a glutton for punishment, I just felt it was time to get back into the mix, and this is the way I chose to do that. I’ve had surprisingly good luck thus far – I had one date yesterday (no go there), I have two more lined up for this week, and one for next week. The two of the three remaining guys are so completely and totally my type, it is amazing. One even looks like Joshua Jackson!! The third one is pretty cute too, just not in my usual vein (which may be a good thing).

However, here is something which I have discovered during my time online, and which may prove detrimental to my participation in further online dating. It seems that people never stop looking, thereby never really giving anything a chance to develop. Right off the bat, let me express that I am not necessarily talking about my current experiences (it’s too soon to expect anything there). Just hear me out. For those of you old enough to remember meeting people in the bar – you know, there was always that guy who would hit on every single girl, just waiting for one of them to actually pay attention to him, and then, once he had found that girl, he would talk to her until either she blew him off or until he got her number. No one would hold simultaneous conversations with five different people at the bar, and yet that is *exactly* what is happening now! We start these online conversations, and then they either peter out or go forward to an actual date, and we either don’t like each other or we start dating, and all the while, we’re still checking our OKC profiles to see if we have any new messages or potential matches. I’m not advocating that we settle, but at some point, our dating world has became way too ADD-like – we need to focus on one person at a time.

Back in January of last year, I wrote about dating a lot of different guys to try and find who I felt most comfortable with. This wasn’t necessarily about finding “the one” – it was more about finding which style of guy suited me. And I did it all in a one off. In ten days, I went on 15 dates. Now, again, I was trying people on for size. I didn’t continue dating multiple guys after the ten day period was over. I was also up front with them about what I was doing, and the feedback was pretty positive. While I was dating Jay, I still got messages through OKC, and I checked them, and I even talked to a couple of them. But Jay and I were not exclusive yet, and I wasn’t fully committed to the relationship. And therein lies the problem. I stayed with Jay because it was safe, and I was still (for the most part) getting my physical needs met while I was looking around for someone else. Of course this has been happening for ages – I’m not saying that it’s a new phenomenon. However, online dating has made it much too easy to scope through potential matches and see if there is someone out there who is better for you than your current companion.

A friend of mine asked me this morning what I would do if I went out on these three dates I have lined up, and I liked all three guys (and they liked me back). Would I date all of them at once? Would I let them know I was dating multiple people? I told her that until it got to a physical point, I was just going out and hanging out, and I didn’t think that it was really an issue. However, I know that I don’t have the energy to keep it up for long. Dating one guy is tiring; dating three would take me completely out of the game.

– Finch

And this is why you do not put your picture on Craigslist ads

On Election Night 2012, I had a one-off date with a guy I had met on OKCupid. In fact, he was the first guy that I had a date with from that site. We met up at the Driskill for the Democrat Election Viewing Party. It was a perfect setup for me – I was already going to be there with some friends, they serve plenty of liquor (which you definitely need on Election Night), and it was a comfortable crowd (at least for me). We’ll call this guy Grey, which will make SO much sense later on.

So Grey met up with me around 8:30 that night. He hung out until 10, met my friends, we had what I thought was a lovely time. I walked him out and he asked if he could see me that weekend. I said sure, we talked about getting together Sunday, and I went back inside to totally be the first person in the room who noticed when the electoral count changed on the television and scream, “Oh my God, we won!!!!!!!!!!!!” I literally could not speak the next day at work. And even though Election Day is on a Tuesday, and Grey and I had set Sunday as our rendezvous day, I still expected to hear something from him – like, “Man, I left too soon!” or “Hope you were happy with the election (and the date)!” But no, nothing. Never heard from him again. In fact, he became part of a trifecta of guys who I had had amazing dates with shortly after my divorce and never heard from again.

Flash forward about 15 months. I was playing on Craigslist this weekend, because, why not? I love checking out the different ads that people post. Guys, when posting under “Missed Connections” – it’s really creepy if you repeatedly post the same thing every single day, especially if it is about someone you work with or live near. To the guy here in Austin who has a not-so-secret crush on the girl who lives downstairs from him at the Rolling River apartments – I’m sure she knows, and she is trying to break her lease at this exact moment. Man up and talk to her, but you have posted the same exact Missed Connection every day for the past three weeks. It’s just sad. So anyway – I was scrolling through the “Men for Women” posts, and I came across the title “Do you want to explore your submissive side??” Now, I’m not sure that I have a submissive side, but I’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey (although not the sequels), and I’ll admit, it’s pretty hot. So I open it and OMG!!! It’s Grey from Election Night. Like, no way is this someone who just looks like him, or maybe I’m misremembering him. No, this is without a shadow of a doubt the guy that I had a date with the night that President Obama was reelected. He even states that he lives on the south side of town (which Grey told me that night that he did) and he goes in to EXPLICIT detail about what a relationship exploring my submissive side would look like. Apparently he has been doing the dom/sub thing for quite a long time. And that maybe could have been hot, but I kept thinking, “I know this guy! He seemed kind of boring!! He’s seriously into this stuff???”

Granted, it’s been over a year, but when we met up, he told me that he worked in the downtown area, somewhat near my current office. If I see him in person, I don’t know that I will be able to keep from laughing out loud. I certainly won’t be able to look him in the eye.

And maybe he never called me back because he realized that I’m not exactly the “taking orders” type.

– Finch