Wednesday, February 19, 2014

single, seeking cat

I feel that there is a special level of humiliation one unlocks when they embark on the world of online dating. I have been there people, and it is not pretty.

Weeks ago, a friend suggested we try putting up profiles on an online dating site - her, to declare to the world and her ex (who keeps sniffing around) that she is officially moving on... and me, well, to imply I'm at least in the general 'moving' direction.

When I nodded enthusiastically and verbally agreed all those weeks ago - the reality seemed so very far away. But, I have been unable to put it off any longer - she declared it must happen NOW, and after a large gulp, I said "OK".

We met at a cafe after work - not sure why... it sort of felt like we were doing something naughty, and we worked on her profile first.  Debating how to answer certain questions, writing her spiel and picking a photo.  Ninety minutes passed, one chocolate muffin was hastily consumed [read: slaughtered and/or harmed] and I finally said - I'll write mine at home and email it to you.

So, I did. I wrote some God-awful thing about how great I am - using terrible puns and mixed metaphors about fruit and other airy shite.  Talking about oneself is not very easy, selling myself seemed unnatural.  In fact, the whole process felt, I don't know - against Gods plan.  That idea I had in my head, of randomly bumping into someone lovely, reaching for the same library book, peeking at handsome strangers through extravagant fish tanks, a' la Luhrmann's 1996 "Romeo & Juliet" was dying - it was on life support.

oh Leo, I love you
I had some conditions.  No real names.  Absolutely no photo.  In my head, I had made a bargain that if anyone contacted me, and got to the next stage of approval, then they might receive a photo.

My friend is a student and an eternal tightass from way back - so she was only interested in using this dodgy free site.  You know the kind, the sort of site you might expect to contract some unidentified form of hepatitis if you touched the keyboard too much.

When I did my pre-sign up checks (oh yeah, I've savvy like that. I ain't no fool!) I searched through the talent and wasn't terribly impressed.  Bad spellers, illiterates, guys proclaiming to have giant 'wangs' or "looking for a good time"... I felt ill.

But, I kept my promise, and up my profile went.  That was of course, after I completed a series of ridiculous questions that were supposed to indicate my personality and traits, and therefore assist the site in finding me my perfect match.  Most of the questions were relatively normal, the intent transparent.. but then came a bunch of questions about the internet:

  • My friends think I spend too much time on the internet.
  • I'm a different person on the internet.
  • When I'm not on the internet, I'm thinking about being on the internet.
  • I love the internet, I want to have weird sex with my modem and have wireless babies.

I. Shit. You. Not.  Ok, well, the last one I paraphrased - but the rest are completely legit!  Honestly, would a true weirdo read these questions and seriously select 'Strongly Agree'.  They may as well have had a tick-box to indicate freakish tendencies and left it at that.

As I looked over some of the profiles, my mind raced.  Statistically some of these men could be murderers, I thought! Most of them look like creeps, posers, some look like my Dad (!!), some look 'ok' but how would I really know!?  I calmed myself with the knowledge that I would take the process slowly, that I would choose to get to know any potential dates via email's, well before any face-to-face action. I grieved silently for my dignity before switching off the computer for the night.

The next morning, I'd been awake for approximately four minutes when my anxieties began to simmer over my cereal bowl. I clung desperately to my metal spoon as I realised: I might have to actually meet these men someday! Oh, the horror!  I was ready to give up, log-in and delete my profile.  Just go and buy the cat now and forget about this online rubbish I thought to myself.  I'm not sure what it was, but I managed to calm down - perhaps it was my strict morning schedule before work that snapped me from this heightened state of shitting myself.

Jokes aside, I'm still uneasy.  Sometimes in my head, I'll plan to drive myself to any dates, tell myself to choose public, well trafficked locations and never, ever let him buy the drinks - and then, I take a breath and try to remind myself that I have reasonable intuition and should be able to sniff out a creep.  I have had to say goodbye to all of my preconceived ideas about how girls are meant to meet boys.  And I can't help but feel a little sad for that.

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