Monday, August 11, 2014

The Misery of Online Dating Today

Recently, I went on a horrible date.  I've never talked about dating here because I have always tried to respect the people I've gone out with and not put them on blast if it didn't work out.  Even the super weirdos.  Because generally the guys are really nice and genuine and it just isn't a match between us.  Don't get me wrong, I have LOTS of entertaining dating stories.  But they are entertaining not because the guy was a loser, but because we did not mesh well.  So when I share these stories with my friends, we all have a good chuckle about how wrong the person was for me- not that the person was wrong.  I also respect the fact that all of these men probably have similar stories about me.  It's not that I'm an un-dateable weirdo, it's just that I wasn't right for them (and sometimes this results in a terrific story).  At least this is how I try to be grown up and handle the dating world.

But this horrible date changed things for me and made me feel like I have to speak out.  I emailed "Gerald" initially and asked what he had been up to that weekend. We emailed a few times and decided to get coffee on a Saturday afternoon. Yet "Gerald" emailed me the name of a bar.  Whatever- I've got nothing against a beer on a Saturday afternoon. Just strange he made that decision without me.  When I arrived, I peeked my head inside and saw three or four tables full of men who looked to be regulars.  I decided to stand outside to wait.  After a bit, I texted my date to let him know I was there, and he responded that he was inside.  He was already working on a beer.  I sat for a moment on the sticky bar booth seat, then decided I was going to need a beer as well.

He was cute- nice blue eyes, clean-cut blond hair.  We talked about his hobbies for a while (for a long while) and he told me about a lot of things I didn't know. I always enjoy learning new things, so I was enjoying myself.  I was a little off-put by how little he seemed to want to know about me, but sometimes people get nervous, so I excused it.  After a pause in the conversation, he asked about my experience online dating (the first and only question he asked about me during the date).  He told me about how he had been on hundreds of dates this year.  He mentioned how awkward it was when one of his dates asked what he had done that weekend or what he was planning to do, "because you can't just say, well I went on five dates." (Note from above, that's exactly what I had asked him in our first emails.) He then proceeded to tell me story after story of all the "crazy" women he had met online.  Every story he told was totally unfair to the woman he had dated. I would try to toss out a possible excuse, and he would shoot the idea down.  Not once did he take any responsibility for his role in the events. It wasn't him- the woman was clearly crazy.  I thought about heading for the bathroom and not coming back.

However, I did what I always do: I decided to wait it out, out of respect for him. I wouldn't want someone to ditch out on a date with me, so I stuck it out. (Looking back, I'm not sure he deserved this.)  I mentioned some of the outrageous messages I've received and how I didn't understand why guys thought it was okay to start a conversation with their sexual desires (and how I could fit into their wants and needs). He tried to reason with me and excuse the guys by saying that they probably weren't getting much attention, and this was the only way to get my attention.  My thoughts on that:
    1. These messages are totally disrespectful to me.  I am more than just my body.
    2. My messages are often ignored, and I have never sent a crude message to get a guy's attention.
    3. This isn't a successful method- I've never responded to a message like this, nor has any other women I know. 
Again, whatever response I gave him, he totally disregarded.  The guys were normal.  He wasn't at all horrified by their actions.  I was the weird one for calling them out.

I left the date feeling really sad. I left feeling insecure, wondering if the men I've dated have told stories like Gerald was telling me, which leave me 100% at fault for the failed date.  I left that bar, drove the 30 minutes home, and felt really angry. I felt angry and hopeless.  Later that night, I shared the story with some of my friends and conveyed my rage.  But they didn't feel the same outrage that I did.  They humored me as I let the story spill out like a broken dam, but they didn't seem that mad.  I think they just accepted that this is what dating looks like.  I think I used to do that too, but I don't think I can anymore.    

I've been struggling to capture my feelings in words.  That night at dinner, I don't think I had the right words.  I still don't, but fortunately, I watch TV and there are a lot of good writers out there that nail it.  I flew through 3 seasons of the TV show, Scandal, recently, and the writer, Shonda Rimes (of Grey's Anatomy fame) has written this inspiring female character, Olivia Pope.  Olivia is the President's mistress (as well as the head of a successful firm that "fixes" political scandals) and she goes back and forth between trying to be with the President as the other woman, and letting him go because she gets no respect in that role.  In one of their fights, she yells at him,
"I am NOT a toy you can play with when you're bored or lonely or horny.  I am NOT the girl the guy gets at the end of the movie.  I am NOT a fantasy.  If you want me, EARN ME."
YES! That's exactly what I've been trying to say to these men! I just want to knock on their heads and say, "excuse me, I'm a human being too, and I will not let you treat me like that."  I hope we, as women, can all channel our inner Olivia Pope and not allow ourselves to be treated as toys. This article nails the issue as well.

On our trip to Ireland, my sister declared, "love isn't real." This sparked my anger again.  She's dated some bad guys, and as a result, she's quit (at least for now).  While I stopped believing in fairytales in high school and have my cynical days on occasion, I still genuinely believe that things will work out. For me, for my sister, and for my friends, who are good people and deserve to find someone to spend their lives with.  But the guys and girls out there need to shape up and remember this world of dating is not just about you- men need to respect women, and women need to stand up and demand to be respected. 

Now to lighten things up, I thought I'd share some of the hilarious and horrifying messages I have received in just the last few months, and the snarky replies I wish I had sent.  

Dear Mr. Panties-Strapon Man,

Usually I wait until the second date to tell people about my desire to wear their clothes and to sleep with them.  But ya know what? I love how you're so open. Way to get out there and go straight for what you want.  Unfortunately, I have some desires too.  For example, I'd love for a guy to show me that he has good conversations skills before he tries to get in my pants.  I'd like to meet a guy and spend some time with him in public before I determine that he's not a serial killer or planning to sell me into a prostitute chain. (One sketchy email is probably not going to cut it.)  I'd like to be in a relationship where I am valued for who I am (what I do, what I think, and how I act) before I am valued for my body. So, Mr. Panties-Strapon Man, I just don't think it's going to work out.  And don't worry, it's not me, it's you.

But thanks for your message!

If your user name is supposed to be your first impression of a person, and your picture your second (or visa versa), I'm gonna go ahead and guess this isn't going to work out (yes, that's a side butt).

This is my favorite for SO many reasons.

You no longer have this account? yes!!!

Dear Mr. Strapon Man #2,

You're right.  Walking up to a woman in a coffee shop and asking her to wear a strapon so you can be her "B_tch" is probably not a good idea.  However, I think emailing a stranger is sort of like doing the same thing, but more cowardly.  If this is your secret desire, who am I to judge? (I'm judging) But as a tip, maybe try getting to know someone first and then suggesting your ideas.  Perhaps the problem is that your number one requirement in a woman is that she would be open to this, in which case, maybe your method isn't so bad.  But then maybe you should read my response to Mr. Strapon Man #1 about me wanting to be valued for who I am, not what I am.


P.S. I am pretty open minded, but RESPECT, man.

Uh, heelsofmagic, if you're just looking for someone to sleep with, then a prostitute seems like exactly the type of women you should be talking to.  Or do you just want it for free, is that it?  Ugh.

This is the current status of the dating world.  It's sad and pathetic, but if I'm still hanging in there, I have hope that other great people are still hanging in as well.  If you want to read some more on this topic, check out this article and enjoy this.

To the ladies out there, has this been your experience as well? Men, does this seem typical, or are you shocked?


  1. Ugh. That sounds like an awful, awful date, and I'm not sure why your friends weren't more sympathetic. Gerald definitely doesn't sound normal! In fact, he sounds pathetic and awful. Online dating can be so it really too much to ask for a first date without 15 awkward silences? As you can tell, my experiences have been similar. My looking-for-sex guys seem to be less focused on strapons, though.

    Love the fantasy message responses!

  2. Thanks Alex! Good to know I'm not alone in the horrible first dates (but sad to hear I am with the strap-ons?) hehe

  3. Thank you for sharing. I have felt the pain of on line dating. At this point I love my life too much to stick a man in it.

    1. That's a great point! Sorry you've gone through the misery as well!