Pulling Back Curtain on Online Dating
By Melissa Moore on January 29, 2020
If you want to doubt your self-worth-try online dating. Online dating may be a necessary evil, but be prepared because it can breed insecurities. As single adults of a certain age, I don’t think we just ‘meet’ people the old fashioned way. I have dreams of being in Whole Foods (sounds cooler than just the grocery) and meeting someone ironically at the meat counter. As we laugh over the steak cuts, we strike up a conversation and he asks for my phone number. This is a very Nora Ephron movie moment in my head. The online version of this scenario is totally twisted and resembles more of a slasher movie. It starts with me signing up for a dating site, which takes a lot of debate and mulling over. I know Tinder isn’t my thing and Our Time is for older folks, so I pick something that requires a little skin in the game (money membership). I then painstakingly write a short paragraph highlighting who I am, without sounding arrogant and without giving away too much information. I then finish up by posting my Hemingway description and pictures online. Just so you know the pictures are key here. They can’t be too sexy and they can’t be too boring. They also need to be clear, bright and ‘fun’. Masterpiece finished and I hit the post button. Now the fun part…waiting.
Next step: More Waiting and Searching. I think of this waiting room like being in the OBGYN office and waiting for your annual. Ladies know exactly what I’m talking about. You gotta do it, but you know it’s just not fun! Scoot down a little bit more, a little bit more….I digress. My chosen dating site will rate guys and send me guys that they think are a good match. I may look them over and I may look at some profiles as they pop up. At first, every dating site seems good. They save the good guys to put in the front of the line, but then comes the bait and switch. By the end of the week it’s a single picture, no write up and we have absolutely nothing in common. My personal rule after much trial and error is that I’m not going to send a guy a message first. Maybe it’s the caveman theory, but guys will let you know if they’re interested. Liking a picture or profile with just a ‘like’ button hit is fine, but no comments. If they are interested they will reach out. Trust me. It goes back to he’s just not that into you’ theory. It’s applies to online dating as well. And yes, I know this feels like I’m setting women’s lib back.
Next step: Checking my dating site Inbox. This is where you get a message that ‘Tom’ likes you, drawing you to open the app and see Tom . For most of us this is an instant thumbs up or down. You just know. Tom with a trophy animal in his profile isn’t doing it for me. Tom obviously didn’t read my love of animals and because of that now I think he’s a step away from Ted Bundy. Let’s pretend that you have a blind squirrel finding a nut moment and get a message from a guy that seems genuine and interesting. Exciting! You message back and forth at first, then call, then decide to meet. This is where it goes well or horribly, horribly wrong. You’ve heard about my horrible dates, so let’s pretend it goes well and you both like each other. There is a big issue after a good date that may just shake all your good feelings about the date. It’s the ability to see when ‘he’ is on the dating site and looking.
Think about it this way, you have a good date and you decide to go home and look at this profile again. You see that he’s now online too. Is he looking at my profile like I am or is he chatting with someone else? I thought we had a good date, what does this mean? Omg, he’s a player and I’m an idiot. Your brain starts going crazy brain and all those good feelings have left the track. Self-esteem – in the toilet. Let’s be fair, it’s a dating site and it was one date. But what if this happens after date 2, 3 or 4? It’s disheartening – trust me. Which is why it feels like there will never be a good outcome to online date. The problem, we all know that one couple who met online and are deliriously happy. That’s the couple that gives us hope and keeps us going. If it can happen for ‘Tiffany’ it can happen for me, right? Maybe. Maybe not. I obviously have NO idea. I’m still in that department of going out, connecting and either getting blown off or finding out he’s online looking and talking. A friend of mine calls this the online dating trap – the BBD. Bigger, better deal.
So to all my married/partnered up friends who think that online dating looks fun…please just read this. I actually think I may have hives after putting it all down into words. If I thought I had a chance at Whole Foods in meeting someone I would go every day. Every single day, but let’s be honest the person I would get to know best would be the sweet meat manager who thinks I just have a thing for steak.