OK. I get it. I’m online dating, you’re online dating, he’s definitely online dating, everybody is online dating. On every possible app. Yep. Got the memo.
But here’s the thing. Dating in this era, especially for an insecurely attached introvert such as myself, is – let’s see, there’s a word for it – oh yes: HELL. It is unmitigated torture. Like a slow drip from a faucet while you’re trying to sleep and wanting to think thoughts of anything other than the slow drip of the damned faucet.
Or like those monks who believe self-flagellation is an integral part of their spiritual practice, flogging the fragile skin of their naked backs with those heavy, prickly ropes, over and over and over and over in a ritual shaming of the flesh, that will leave its mark only UNTIL the END of TIME .
Or like getting all settled into your seat on the plane on an overseas 12 hour flight, only to find the guy next to you wants to spend the entire time alternately snoring into your ear and creeping into your shoulder space, or chewing on some dry pretzels, little bits of which spew this way and that, as he explains to you his ten year plan, while exuding what must be some kind of protest against capitalism via his utter disregard for the hygiene products it peddles.
Or like ordering this amazing dress you’ve been eyeing for a while on Amazon (on sale! great reviews! pics so cute!) only to have it arrive at your door looking nothing like the dress you imagined flitting prettily about in, not even looking – in pure point of fact – like a dress at all, but rather more like the shriveled aftermath of a party of polyester and cardboard left out in the rain, for a few years, then put in the dryer with a hamster. (Not to put too fine a point on it.)
Or like going to the mechanic with your car that’s been making this noise for a while, and then suddenly, now that you’re telling him about it, it’s not making a noise at all, it actually goes ghostly quiet, even though you KNOW something real happened and you’re NOT imagining it – but the mechanic just looks at you, like, Whatever, lady! NEXT!
Or that awful dream you wake up sweating from where you’re at a party where you just can’t quite figure out what the hell people are talking about – is it another language they are speaking? Why can’t I understand what is going on? Wait, I was supposed to bring a gift? Is that why they are looking at me that way? Cue looking down: OH MY GOD I FORGOT MY PANTS.
You get the drift? Yes, I think you do. This, my friends, is online dating in 2019. As a 40 something straight lady. In a city. With lots of dudes. And lots and lots and lots of beautiful young women.
So here’s what I find to be the most excruciating facet of this whole maddening enterprise, for me anyway: that f*cking green dot. ONLINE NOW! Or the green dot equivalent. On Bumble, it’s the mysteriously rapid-changing locations of the person you just had some you-thought-fabulous-dates-and-hot-chemistry with. But there he is 3.6 miles away, now 4.7 miles away, now 8.2 – which means he is SWIPING NOW!, wherever he is, he is MESSAGING SOMEONE NOW…. or so you have heard (or, let’s be real, so you have *read,* after some obsession-fueled googling with a glass of wine to calm your nerves).
But it is OKCupid that is the origin story of my Green Dot Blues. Somehow this is made all the more devastating by the fact that OKC has, no offense, evolved into what feels a graveyard of gray faces, mine included (so I can say it, y’all!). In other words, OKC is like Facebook. Once upon a time it was KOOL. Now it’s where daters go to die. But even there, he’s ONLINE NOW, checking out all the other, better gray faces than yours.
Well, carry on, shall we?
Nah, I’m being harsh. There are nice guys out there. For sure. Really nice. It’s just hard not to feel like we are all the picked-over garments after a massive end-of-summer sale at TJ Maxx. This sweater is good, but bummer, it only comes in xxxl or xxss. This blazer has a stain that’s been there since the 70s. Wait, are these pants wearing a wedding ring? There’ve got to be other clothes stored somewhere in the back? No? So… this is it? Then you look down and realize there’s a hole where there’s not supposed to be a hole in your own damned t-shirt.
Yeah. Here we all are, god help us, we have *that* in common. And that, I guess, is a start.
Also, an update: recall Mr. Cutiepants from the horrific mistaken hand-holding incident post? I remembered just now that that was not the first time my subconscious pulled that stunt with this guy. On our second date, after he kissed me for the first time, and it was raining and we were looking for a little shelter where we could make out on the sidewalk in the rain LIKE TEENAGERS, PEOPLE… And I might have just grabbed his hand and held it, grinning madly. In my mind, I was skipping with him hand in hand down the sidewalk, onlookers turning their wet heads to watch these two new lovebirds go by, love story blooming as they watched. In reality, my reverie evaporated soon as I found myself holding hands with this guy I’d just met, who, for all I know is a PLAYAH. I had said, “Oh My Gosh! I’m holding your hand – is that weird? I think that’s weird! I mean, it’s weird for a second date! Sorry if this is weird! IS it weird?” He said, as gamely as he could, “Only if you make it weird!”
So, that about sums up online dating for me thus far: Only If You Make It Weird (i.e., Yes, You’ve Now Made It Weird, You Weirdo) and, perhaps not unrelatedly, the post-date Green Dot Blues.
I do have one final thing to say on the matter, on this lovely Friday evening, where I am – you may note – NOT out on the town. And that is:
F-U WHEN HARRY MET SALLY.
F-U JOHN CUSACK and YOUR GIANT BOOMBOX.
F-U JUDD NELSON and THE STUD EARRING YOU GIVE MOLLY RINGWALD AT THE END OF MOVIE.
That is all.