I live in Los Angeles, which is a weird place to navigate. Even though the city has a giant population, it often times can feel very lonely, making dating SUPER EASY and NON STOP FUN! (Lies) Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easier way?
*cue infomercial music*
Enter online dating. With the swipe of a finger you, yes YOU, can have hundreds of fellow singles right at your disposal. By golly, that sounds too good to be true! That’s because it is. But hey, we all make mistakes. And I’m sure online dating has worked out great for some people; I’m just not one of them. After spending months in the demoralizing Hades of Tinder and OK Cupid, I finally swiped left to both and haven’t looked back. I did however, learn a few valuable lessons:
No one is willingly going to put a bad photo on a dating profile. OF COURSE we are going to choose the most flattering ones, and then filter THE SHIT out of them. We can also “enhance” who we are in the biography section. (What do you mean marching band isn’t a sport? We had to run laps too!) But the most important part is we can hide our awkward. We can hide our crazy. We can hide the fact that we are still not over our ex, and are using the cute, emoji-filled conversation that we have with a stranger as the confidence boost we so desperately need.
Or, you could have had my worst case scenario: You bring a guy back to your place for a drink and make out session. When he leaves, you get in his car to say goodbye, and you say coyly “Maybe next time, we can go to your place?” and his response is “We are in my place.” Aka, HE LIVES IN HIS CAR. But just because he’s homeless doesn’t mean he shouldn’t date. YES, YES IT DOES. And I left my coat in his car. I bet he’s made it into a lean-to.
Ok, not always, but the majority of the time. Think back to when you saw Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings (Airing out some serious nerdy laundry here. Deal with it.) How frustrating is it when a character appears on screen and they don’t sound like what you imagined, or they’re taller than what you think they should be? THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU LOOKED LIKE IN MY BRAIN is what I want to scream at the top of my lungs. That goes for 90% of the people I met in real life from these sites. But most importantly, they are not nearly as witty or as interesting as they were via message, and that’s a BIG turnoff for me.
Look, we all get nervous, but there’s a reason why it’s tough to keep the conversation going…
Our profile is like our resume, and we have been called in for an interview off of it. In turn, it starts to feel very much like we are applying for the job of significant other. “So, it says on your profile you like *fill in the blank*…” Jesus dude, do you want to ask me what my strengths and weaknesses are in relationships too? It’s easy to run out of conversation quickly because we already know the bullet points. All those quirky, makes-you-look-good stories that we tell on first dates to impress the other person? We used most of that material up in our bios. The well hath runneth dry, my friend. Even worse, the only thing you have to talk about is whatever site you met on.
True story: I went out with a guy who worked for Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club) and all he wanted to know was how long I had been on OKC, how many dates I had been on, etc. I looked him dead in the eye and said “The first rule of online dating is that you don’t talk about online dating.”
You know what I’m talking about. When it’s there, you know. You catch a person’s eye from across a crowded bar. The newbie at your work is sitting alone at lunch so you join them. The cashier at Whole Foods launches into a diatribe of how the coconut ice-cream in your cart changed their life. It’s the little, quiet spark that ignites when you meet someone for the first time under circumstances that haven’t been forced; and it is truly magical. It can’t be replicated under false pretense.
Two weeks after I deleted all my dating profiles, a silver fox walked into the bar I was working at, we made eye contact, and I let out a long breath I didn’t even know I was holding as I whispered “Uh oh.” I couldn’t have forced that if I tried. He was so interesting from the moment I saw him, and the fact that I knew ZERO about him made me so nervous and excited. A year later, I still look at him and marvel at how I found him. Maybe it’s because I stopped looking so damn hard. Maybe it’s because I opened myself up to new possibilities. Or maybe it’s because I lost a very expensive winter jacket and this was my good karma. Either way, I’ll take it.
Image and stop motion video by Robin Reed.
A video posted by Robin Reed (@loveintheageofapps) on