Readers, I must announce that this is the end of the Oknever column. Surprisingly, it’s not because of messages like this that I am quitting the online dating scene:
And surprisingly, not even this one:
Instead, I have simply had too many bad dates. I can’t do it anymore. I cannot get my hopes up that this time it will work. I can’t keep swallowing my anxiety and driving to Cambridge in the hopes of a spark. I can’t put on lipstick for people who suck.
Last night was the last (of many) straws. I had a date that may have been one of the worst ones in recent memory. As I sat in my car sobbing, I realized the time had come to say goodbye to all that overrated dating stuff — the digital flirting, the pre-date anxiety, the inevitable letdown with the person sitting in front of you is different than the face who smiled at you online.
After reading my tales of bad luck, you may be wondering why I even decided to embark on the search for love online in the first place. Well, the truth is that everyone knows someone who is an Internet romance success story. I hoped to be among those lucky someones.”My brother met his wife on OkCupid,” says my co-worker. “My cousin found the love of his life on Christian Mingle!” says another. And truthfully, a friend of mine did meet her current boyfriend on Tinder. Their relationship took off just as my fledgling online romance — the only person who I’ve met online and really felt something for — went down in flames. As my friend went to Thanksgiving at her new Tinder boyfriend’s house, I licked my wounds and decided I wouldn’t give up the search.
After all, I’m a go-getter. I’m an overachiever. I am the type of person who refuses to feel sorry for herself without acting. I have always solved my problems by doing something about it. Furthermore, I take pride in the fact that I have good taste as well as an impeccable nose for bullshit. Surely, I reasoned, I could find my good-looking, well-educated, literary man of my dreams with a little help from the interwebs.
And so far, I’ve failed.
There’s so many things that go through your mind when you’re trying to rationalize your singledom. I berated myself for putting my nose into so many books in college. I obsessed over the one guy with whom it worked (and then it didn’t). I called my best friend after my failed date and took it out on her because at my worst I can be jealous, petty, and blunt.
Then, I wondered if perhaps I was going about it entirely the wrong way. Other than the old adage that love will come to you when you least expect it, I realized that I was never going to be able to find someone by seeing if they looked good on paper. I’ve liked and had flings with people who I never would have swiped right on. In fact, I’m the product of an unlikely relationship. I bet when my mother was young and pictured her future, she didn’t have in mind a white guy five years her senior, who didn’t speak her language and lived a continent away from everyone she knew.
Even if I carefully perused the online profiles of educated single men of the Boston area, looking for some buzzwords (“reading,” “feminist,” “music,” “not a serial killer”) I would never be able to pick out my perfect man. Also, I needed to be open to learning from everyone — not just the ones who looked good on paper. I’ve learned lessons on love from unlikely people, even those who have hurt my heart in some way. So, goodbye for now to snobbery, and to opening my heart to all of the lessons that it can receive.
Moreover, it’s super unethical to mock a failed suitor because they looked good on paper and then turned out to have some quirks that just didn’t agree with me. At the end of the day, the guy who called his English teacher a c***, the guy who was into cuttlefish, and the awkward astrophysicist* were not that different from me. They were also being brave by meeting a stranger in the hopes that it would go well. I couldn’t go on comically recounting tales of failed dates to my friends, even if it made them gasp with laughter. At the end of the day, it just made me a mean person. Goodbye to spreading negative energy through mockery.
*These are real men whom I have met in public to drink alcohol. Spoiler alert: the dates went badly, for various hilarious reasons.
Also, there’s no beating around the bush: dating sucks. Dating means pumping yourself up and putting on makeup and ignoring your fears to meet a strange man in a public place. Dating can be expensive. Finally, it’s better to spend my limited free time doing things that are guaranteed to make me happy, like visiting dear friends and making new ones through work or through my choir. Goodbye to not living in the moment and not loving who’s already in my life.**
**I really mean this:
Truly, goodbye. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, adios, adieu, and goodbye to all that.