dating, Fashion, relationships

DTRs, Time Outs and Full Frontal Breakups; What Online Dating is Teaching Me About Life

 

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I started an online profile on Ok Cupid last year, more for blog content generation purposes than romance. I put that out there, too, I am nothing if not obnoxiously honest. I went on some dismal dates and then lost interest because I had way more interesting and stress free things to write about…like beauty products and fashion shows. I pretty much forgot that it existed until I got a message from OK Cupid in January luring me back with promises of men, men, manly men, men. Oh, joy.

Except, I felt like it was time to have a boyfriend. I haven’t had a real one, a true relationship thing where you know who you’re sleeping with every night and you know who’s washing the dishes while you talk about your day, since 2010. I miss that. I miss manly man rumbling about existential shit like baseball, something I have absolutely no interest in. I miss manly man exclaiming over my cooking, or saying nice things when I get something published. I am a feminist-y sort of woman. I worry about feminist-y, womanly things. But gosh darn it, men are fun, and they always know where free food is.

So instead of just using my natural looking, everyday female type photos, I called on my blogger selfie super powers and created pictures with the sole intention of selling myself. I pawed through all of the free makeup, skincare, hair care, and clothing that has accumulated in my apartment over the last 2.5 years and sincerely thought about what men like when they look at photos of women. I was so devious. I was going to give it not just the old college try, but I was bringing weapons to the game. Red lipstick, which is like a WMD. And a cute, squiggly curled wig. And any type of top that showed cleavage. I came to play, and I was not going home without scoring.

And it worked! I got tons of emails! I got compliments! And many many photos of penises, but whatever. I decided that the penis photo was a trophy, proof of my big game man hunting. I have a folder on my phone that I live in terror of opening at some random place like the supermarket while looking for a coupon screenshot. It’s worth it, though. I know that it’s not good to encourage the peenie pic, but after not seeing any for a really long time at least now I had examples to make judgments with. Ahem. Lot of variety out there.

It took 2 months, and many many messages before I actually went on a date with someone. There were some mistakes, like that guy. And some misadventures, like that guy that was a cross-dresser. But every step was a learning experience. I didn’t hold back from raunchy phone calls, or sexting. I jumped right in and it left me feeling a. relieved that I could even do it and b. annoyed because men will give it up quickfast via text, but actually going out seems like an obstacle that they can’t get past. Like, what? Date? Uh… And he’s gone.

Funnily enough? Some man that had rejected me when I was plain old boring lip balm girl came floating up out of the woodwork now that I was curly haired, red lipped vixen lady. He did ask me out, he did not send peenie pics, he did show up, and he gave me flowers. Like a prize for my feminine duplicity, I got pretty pink tulips and a 6 hour date that involved the Highline, cookies, and ended up at Eataly eating gelato. Not bad.

And then we had more dates and then we had playtime for grownups and then, it was over. It was done. I knew in my heart of hearts that I would be seeing that man no more. Why? Fucked if I know. The ‘this is over’ feeling led to a DTR– because when in doubt, go for a DTR to clarify, identify problems, and decide to fix or destroy. DTR led to a time out, and time out led to a definitive breakup. As much breaking up as one can do after three weeks of fairy tale dating with someone you secretly resent because they didn’t like you when you were just you.

But here’s the awesome part…I jumped right back in the pool. I did not mope, I did not wait, I just opened up that profile, answered some questions, put up some new info and started over. Why? Because I can. Which is my answer to a lot of things. I’ve read pieces about men ghosting, why he didn’t he do this or that, whoa is me I’m heartbroken, and I know how that feels. But we all have the right to ghost. We all have the write to send breakup texts. We all have the right to part our hair a different way, take a brave new selfie and find someone else. That’s the gift of online dating. It’s a vast, never ending pool of men, men, manly, men looking for someone to hold onto.

It’s so easy to see it as a loss when things don’t work out. It’s so easy to get caught up and lose sight of the fact that if you could get one, you can get another one, or maybe five. I’ve been thinking about the fact that my womanly body has parts suffused with fat, so in a real pool I’m more likely to float than a man. I’m more likely to bob up and ride the waves and currents without harm. Which means that instead of thinking of myself as a forlorn, undateable creature because one man didn’t work out, I see myself as a life raft for men drowning in a sea lovelessness.

I am God’s gift to online dating! I am the Moby Dick of Ok Cupid! I am the Raft of Love! At the very least? I am a woman seeking men 40–55, living near me for short & long term dating and enjoying every minute.

(Then I spent two days crying. It so sucks when someone gives you everything you really wanted and then just takes it away. It’s even worse when you didn’t really ask for all that, just a date and possibly a relationship. How hard is that? I felt so depressed because for three weeks it was an onslaught of attention and I gave in, playing along at first but really enjoying it. I feel better today and I’m still going to look for someone, but wow… if anyone starts texting me too much or really going overboard I’ll know better with promises and stuff. I’ll know better…)

Originally published by me on Medium

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