When Chloe asked me to write a guest post for her, my first thought was, “Holy shit, someone reads my blog!” My second thought was, “Holy shit, someone likes my blog enough that they want me to write something for their blog!” And my third thought was, “Holy shit. What the hell am I going to write about?”
Lately, I’ve been hit with a rather large case of writer’s block. I had created two years’ worth of posts on my dating blog (datingolivia.wordpress.com for those of you looking for some shameless self-promotion) that was based on the fact that I was painfully single, and dating pretty much everyone in my town. My online dating life was particularly eventful, and led way to so many stories that I haven’t really begun to tell them all. But as luck would have it, after years of dating many a douchebag, I finally found my boyfriend (who I call Boyfriend on my blog because I’m very clever and original). So while it’s good for me, it’s bad for my writing.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss dating. I may have gotten used to being single and going out with many different men over the years, but I am happier than a kid at Disneyland to be in a loving relationship. And even more than just plain old dating, I really very much do not miss online dating. I mean, after all, I am old enough to remember a day back before cell phones existed, when guys actually had to call your one and only landline and risk talking to your dad first in order to get ahold of you. I started dating in a time before MSN Messenger and MySpace were around, when to ask someone out without calling them you needed to pass a note to their best friend in math class with a “check yes or no” option at the bottom. Ah, those were the days. Online dating may be the way that our world is finding love these days, but it’s definitely not the most ideal, or the most romantic. Call me old fashioned, but I miss the days before dick pics were the norm in the dating world. And the more that I think about it, online dating can be so bleak that the stages of finding love on the internet bears an uncanny resemblance to the 5 stages of loss and grief.
5 Stages of Online Dating
You sign up for a dating site “just to check out what all the fuss is about,” but not to seriously date. You log on fairly steadily though and talk to lots of people you would consider dating, but you still don’t think of yourself as an “online dater.” When people ask if you are seeing anyone, you always say no, because you aren’t really seeing anyone, you just happen to be meeting a lot of different people for coffee, and well, anyone would agree that that isn’t really dating. Besides, if you did tell them you were seeing someone (which you aren’t) you’d have to answer a bunch of questions about who this person is, and what they do for a living, and the worst question, where did you meet. And as we all know, the first rule of Online Dating Club is that you don’t talk about Online Dating Club.
At a certain point you will be very angry with online dating. “Tittysprinkles? Really?! I have to sit here and look through messages from guys with screen names like motherfucking Tittysprinkles? Oh, yeah, I am soooo sure that you have a nine inch penis, that doesn’t sound like a lie at all. It’s nice to see that you are unemployed though, and living in your mom’s basement rent free, having money these days is so overrated and really, who wouldn’t want to live off a diet of mac and cheese and Ramen noodles? Oh, that’s nice, I see that you have a bunch of kids all by different women; this means there is a good chance that you have met Maury. Oh, but I guess that’s all ok, seeing as though you don’t want a relationship anyways, you just want to have lots of random sex, and HOW IN THE FUCK AM I EVER GOING TO FIND A DECENT PERSON IN THIS RIDICULOUS EXCUSE FOR A DATING MECHANISM?????” *Turns into the Hulk, starts incoherently screaming, flips a table, and punches a baby* Anger is a very important step to online dating and will also lead to no less than five instances of looking at the computer monitor or your phone screen and going, “Fuck this shit, I’m done!” while looking for the “Delete Account” option.
“I will just meet this one last guy and see what happens. If it’s bad, then I will give this whole online dating thing up forever, I swear to God.” Or another popular thought here is: “Please God, just let me meet one great guy online, let this seemingly awesome guy I’ve been talking to for a few weeks now be an actual awesome guy, and let us live happily ever after. If you do this for me, I promise that I will be nicer to people. I will give up my seat on the bus to all the old ladies and pregnant chicks, I swear. And I will call my mom more often. And give all the dollah billz to homeless people. And I will stop laughing at Kim Kardashian when she cries. Actually, I will just stop watching Kim and all the other Kardashians altogether. I will just radiate sunshine and shit rainbows, just please, for the love of you, let this guy be amazing enough to be the last guy I meet online.” Incidentally, for those of you who were wondering, this step is the step that directly led to me meeting my boyfriend.
Before I met Boyfriend, I spent close to seven years logging on and off the dating site, and spent countless hours meeting many, many non-contenders. During these seven years, I spent a great amount of time hating myself. And hating everyone else. I felt like there was something wrong with me. There had to be. Why hadn’t I found anyone worth dating yet, and why had the few guys I actually had liked when I met them turned into nothing? Why was it so hard for me to find love, when everywhere I looked around me, people were in love. How could a person not be depressed after a certain point? How could you go on that many awful dates with awful people and still walk away feeling good about yourself, and your life? This is the worst stage of online dating by far. Because unlike in real life, where yes, you see countless men everyday walk right by you, you don’t get to actively see just how many of these men would openly reject you or see just how many aren’t right for you in any conceivable way. The knowledge you get online is not the greatest self-esteem tool at your disposal, trust me.
At a certain point, all that anger, and depression and denial will fade away, and you will accept online dating as the reality you are in. Yes, it’s definitely not ideal, and it for sure can lack the excitement and magic of the old fashioned way of dating, but online dating has its perks too. For the most part, you can find out a lot of information about a person before you even talk to them. This gives you one big advantage over in person dating. You can weed out some of the guys who you want nothing to do with, without having to actually meet them first. You can tell if a guy wants a relationship or not, if he wants kids or not, or if he’s smart enough to know the difference between there, their, and they’re. You know, the important things. Sure, people can lie online, but people do that in person, too. If anything, being relatively anonymous behind a computer screen usually gives people the balls to be more honest with others, and say things that they might not be able to say out loud. (Which, if you read my blog, you would know that this is what it is entirely based on.)
And hell, after a certain point, you may even find online dating fun. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. After a while you may find your groove online, and start enjoying it. I know I sure did. There was a good year not long ago where I enjoyed getting messages on the dating site. I even enjoyed getting these messages from the weirdos. Once I learned not to take things so seriously, I got entertainment out of it, and had it not been for all those idiots who once messaged me, I wouldn’t have any material whatsoever for my blog. I felt the same way about the dates. For every bad date I went on, I got a great story out of it. And every once in a while, I’d meet a new guy who gave me butterflies, or go on a first date that would give me hope that someone decent was still out there, and worth looking for. I’m not the kind of person to believe that things last forever, but had it not been for online dating, I probably would have never met my boyfriend, and I consider him to be the absolute cream of the online dating crop. Every once in a while, you never know, you might accidentally hit the jackpot.
So there you have it. The stages of grief/stages of online dating. I’m glad that for now I don’t have to deal with all that, and that I can now sit back and listen to everybody else’s online dating horror stories. What I enjoy even more than that is discussing which guys to stay away from with a friend of mine who has recently rejoined the online dating world, and is now looking to me to make sure she doesn’t date someone awful. The circle of life is complete.
I’m glad that my dating douchebags wasn’t in vain.
[Editor’s Note: I find that I am in a constant flux between Anger and Depression. Both lend themselves to mass quantities of tater tots and alcohol. Which is not, as luck would have it, helping me in my search.]
[Editor’s Note II: I fucking love Olivia.]