I’m Dating…Offline


Finding myself alone, bored on a Saturday night, and beat down by the holidays, constantly reminded of how I’m not part of a couple to celebrate the festivities with, I saw the ad for a free trial on an online dating site.  The idea of online dating leaves a sour taste in my mouth to begin with.  In the past, also bored & (gasp!) lonely, I’d given this “new kind of dating” a try.  I had found myself being emotionally intimate far too quickly with one guy – later to find I had absolutely no physical/sexual attraction to him once we met in person for the first time.  I promptly cancelled our second date.  Another guy, who I found physically attractive, had begun conversations with, “What’s up?”  Me, “Not much, you?”  Him, “Me, wanna come over and find out?”  Gee, no thanks!  Ugh.  Is it really this black and white?

I thought to myself, hey, several years have passed, why not give it a try?  I’m one of those nerds who actually enjoys filling out all the categories about myself and completing the multiple choice question surveys for hours.

I’m Dating…Offline

What have I learned from my most recent experience with online dating, you ask?  Well, most importantly, I learned that not only was I bored, but I was trying to distract myself from feeling pathetic, with my most recent venture in “finding love” squelched when the guy chose another over me.  Take note – this is not the best reason to decide it’s time to start dating.

I also learned that no matter how stimulating the conversation, I wanna see photos!  Why pretend there’s anything there, or get emotionally involved in intimate conversations when you just aren’t attracted to the guy?  That’s sometimes something you CAN grow into (I’m not that shallow, after all).  I’ve experienced this myself in the past, in high school.  Not so “hunky” guys became very attractive to me when they paid me enough or the right kind of attention.  The older I get, the less I’m prepared to cross my fingers and hope I’ll “grow into” an attraction for someone.  I’m running out of time here.

I’ve also learned that the attractive guy, in his charming, 25-year-old ways, has lost me the minute he opens his mouth.  Sure, if I’m ever desperate again for a trist, I might look him up.  But I’m not really looking for that kind of “good time.”

And “hey, beautiful” or “good morning, gorgeous” just doesn’t carry the weight it should with someone I met online, someone I barely know, someone that doesn’t appreciate me for WHO I am, first and foremost.  Those words mean more coming from someone whose intentions are just to get to know me and enjoy my company as opposed to picking me out of a lineup on an online dating site.   Or even a friend – male or female – who compliments me on my beauty as a whole person.  No, “hello, beautiful” means much more to me coming from someone who appreciates all of me.

And damn it, I’m f***ing cool, alright?  If I have to tell you and you don’t take the time to discover that on your own, you can hit the road, Jack.

Also, perhaps to my horror, I discovered I am what I’m labeling as judgmental.  Or is it mature?  I am answering their stupid online dating questions with more honesty, less fear that the importance I hold on sharing a faith with my “permanent mate” will be a turn-off.  If you’re uneducated, live with your parents, “between jobs” or experimenting with extracurricular drugs, you need not apply.

What kind of guy am I really looking for, here?  As previously mentioned, I might have a history of choosing the wrong men.  A certain type of dress – revealing, low-cut shirts, short skirts, etc – will get your attention alright.  But is it the RIGHT kind of attention?  And do you see “forever” with these boys – ahem, men –  who take note and approach you based on these outward appearances?  For me, no.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to try to look my best when I go out.  But it’s with a much more conservative dress that I approach the world with these days.  I’m looking for someone who sees ME.  An attractive face, a boisterous laugh, inappropriate sense of humor, a desire to deepen friendships, get to know people, and try new things.

As I went to close my account, ending my online dating for good (for now) I was irritated to find the “please don’t go” plea not to unsubscribe – it’s rough out there, and the chances of you finding someone you’re COMPATIBLE with are slim to none, without our help.  I sort of chuckled.  The “matches” I’d been set up with – out of 20+ – only maybe five of them were within my “criteria.”  The rest came with a line like “this person is outside your preferences, but could still be a good match for you.”  Really?  You don’t think I can find someone “outside” of what I’d prefer on my own?  Too young, too old, lives 4 hours away, etc. I’ll take my chances out there, without your help, thanks.

The biggest lesson, I think, is that I am not ready to settle (as I see it) for online dating.  And I certainly will not PAY for men’s attentions or potential dates.  I’m only twenty nine, going-on-30, after all.  Sure, online dating works for some.  I put a little more stock in it after a conversation with a high school friend whose oldest sister met, dated, and married a man from an online dating site.  There are success stories, sure.  But while I still have the ability to write MY story, I choose real life.  I choose continuing my project of becoming the best-version-of-myself, offline.

However you’re veering through the dating world out there, behind a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, out at the bars and pubs, online, no matter– make sure you take time to reflect.  Determine what’s best for YOU.  And ask yourself – who are YOU really looking for?  And, are you enough, on your own?  ‘Cause you should be!  You’re fan-freaking-tastic, lady!

Kara L. Rockwell

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Each day, I'm one step closer to becoming the best-version-of-myself. I'm learning to fight for what's best for me, expect to get back the love I put out, and fall in love with myself first. 2013 is going to be my year - turning 30 is just the beginning.
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  1. TAS says:

    YES! I hate “Hey Gorgeous” from an online “boo” lol. Like, you don’t know me…

  2. Jill says:

    I totally agree with this article. I’d much rather meet someone in person then spend hours searching through profiles of guys that could hardly be called “matches.” I swore off online dating for the new year and trying to meet people in IRL is hard but I think it’s worth it.

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