When I started up this blog, I intentionally avoided a few topics. One of them was dating.
I did this for a few reasons. The first is because I know my mom reads my blog, and more than likely prints them out and puts them on the fridge…which means my grandparents will also read them. Hi, Mom.
Second, I have this weird fear that some guy I go on a date with is going to somehow find this blog, and if I say anything bad or awkward, it’ll just be a bad situation. Better safe than sorry.
But lately, for some reason, I find myself in more and more conversations about dating – specifically online dating – with people who are either in committed relationships, married, or just not planning to try it. Many conversations with these people are fascinated about the whole “concept” as they ask me in amazement about the ins and outs of an app like Tinder.
I do use online dating as a way to meet people, yes. I’m in a new city, not meeting too many “friends of friends,” and so my thought is always, “why not?”
Swipe. That’s it. Stare at someone’s picture, read a few sentences they’ve written, choose yes or no. It’s so weird. So, so, so, incredibly weird. But yet myself and other twentysomethings indulge in it, swiping and chatting, all day. My romantic relationship comes down to a guy’s ability to post decent pictures and write a compelling summary about himself.
I’m very much a “what’s meant to be will be” type person, meaning that I have no problem with friends taking hold of my phone, and swiping their hearts out. To them, it’s a game. Little fireworks go off when there’s a mutual “yes,” and they keep going. But then there’s the real challenge. The messaging.
There is no cultural guidebook for online dating with apps. And if there is one that’s written about what’s “right” or “wrong” or even “recommended,” please send it my way. As someone who is already super socially awkward, I do much worse messaging a complete stranger that I know nothing about. I also talk too much, always, so how do I answer “how was your day?” Do you, random stranger, really want to know that I worked out this morning, took a shower, headed to work, had a salad for lunch, went to the bank….? Ugh, I’m even boring myself.
Then there’s the “do you want to hang out sometime?” message that inevitably comes a few days after shallow back-and-forths. Most people call these dates. I call them meet-ups, or “meets.” I know maybe 3 things about you: where you grew up, what you do for a living, and where you live now. I also have no idea what you actually look like, and if you’re actually as tall as you say you are, which tends to be the #1 lie that guys tell on their profiles, oddly. Meets are awkward, always. Sometimes they go well, and sometimes I’m sending brainwaves to my friends to suddenly call me with an emergency. It never works.
But what’s so strange about them is that (overly-dramatic music here) my entire relationship hangs in the balance of this one “meet.” dun dun dun. Two people who know nothing about each other, either consciously or subconsciously molding their personality and responses to fit what they assume is “normal” or “correct.” Sometimes, it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Spoiler alert. For me, it doesn’t.
So then the cycle continues. More swiping, more messaging, more figuring it out.
There ARE a few books of interest on this topic!
Laurie Davis wrote a great one about the culture of online dating, as well as how-to, called “Love at First Click.” More recently, Aziz Ansari (yep, that one) wrote Modern Romance about the nature of dating in the online era. Funny, but also very smart.
I’m in this game too. It’s not the very easiest. Giving you the solidarity nod from a little north of you…enjoy(?)
oh man, I can’t wait to swap stories with you 😉 I was recommended Aziz’s book by someone, as well! I can’t wait to pick it up and read it. May the swipes be with you.