Thursday, November 12, 2009
For those of you new to the blog, here's an oldie but goodie...............
Online dating is really not my thing. I tried it once, several years ago and spent a better part of the evening watching my date - who showed up wearing clothes that looked as if he’d slept in them for days – shovel food into his mouth at the speed of light. I’ve never had a problem meeting men which sometimes prompts people to sign up for online dating. I witnessed a good friend go on date after date when she joined Match a few years back, each date getting worse than the next – nobody looked like their picture, the men seemed desperate, the whole process was totally unnatural.
My stance has always been – “It’s just not for me.” Until today. Yup, I did it. I joined the millions of people surfing the net for their next true love. Only I’m not looking for love necessarily – that would be a bonus.
I’m looking for an education.
I don’t know how to date. Nobody taught me. My mother wasn’t a big dater. My best friend married her high school sweetheart. As role models go, I had few. There was Luke and Laura from General Hospital. Bobby and Pamela from Dallas and of course Gary and Val from Knots Landing. None of them dated – they just fell in love and spent a lot of time breaking up and getting back together.
I followed their lead and had several intensely dramatic relationships with men whom I probably spent more time getting over than actually going out with.
I shy away from dating because I don’t totally trust my instinct. Everyone tells me to be “open-minded”. But there’s a fine line between open-mindedness and talking myself into something that isn’t right for me. There’s also a fine line between being staying single just ‘cuz it’s comfortable versus taking a risk and pushing myself beyond my limits.
So, today, I am hunkered down on my couch and doing it. I have to say that I’m amazed at what goes into the process. First, there’s the username. It’s obviously best not to use your real name, but choosing one is so loaded. Should I be clever? Should I be funny? Should I be straight? Cryptic? All these questions flood my mind as I try to come up with my handle. My go to is always “gari”, but that’s taken. Strike one, Match. I choose “bkgari” because I live in Brooklyn and I can’t really think of anything else. Good times!! This one isn’t taken. I’m on my way.
Next up is creating a profile. This is the place where potential suitors can read about my hobbies, likes and dislikes, favorite places and anything else I want them to know. I hate this part. I really hate this part. In conversation, I’ve got no problem talking about myself, in fact, I’m sure I go on a bit at times. But this; this is sooooo contrived. This is the first of many moments where I contemplate aborting my mission. “You are doing this to learn.” I assure myself and coax myself gently through the 5+ page questionnaire.
Joining is the easy part, though it costs to join. Who knew? I feel so cliché, resistant and a somewhere between optimism and horror. But, I’m determined. I’ve committed to three months for $75, a small price to pay to cultivate instinctual trust.
The profile part is hard because I’m not one to nutshell myself. When asked about my favorite things, I snort aloud, “At this moment? Ask me again in five minutes. I’m sure it will be different.” I want to be authentic. I like museums, but not all, so I choose “some museums”. Favorite places? Hmm….right now, it’s definitely not here, on my couch filling out this profile.
The final part is filling out a blurb about me. In 4,000 words or less (200 word minimum), I have to tell people who I think I am. Thankfully, I’m pretty clear on who I am, however, putting it down on paper, so-to-speak, is another story. Apparently, others have the same problem. There are examples provided with little coaching-esque explanations in the margins.