The Pros and Cons of Online Dating

logoSo, it’s been a while since I wrote something personal here and I’m sure many of you (some of you? One of you?) have likely been wondering what’s going on with Mike’s love life.  Okay, maybe you weren’t, but I’m going to write about it anyway.

The last time I wrote a post like this was shortly after I’d started dating Tara, a woman I’d met online using the OK Cupid dating site and who I was an item with for just over a year.  Sadly, things didn’t really work out for Tara and I and that’s all I really want to say about that here. We broke up in early June (in fact, I think it may have been June first) and pretty much went our separate ways at that time.  She’s a great girl and our break-up was my doing (read: my fault).  I wish her all the best and that’s really all anyone needs to know.

Since Tara and I split, I suppose it could be said that I’ve had a bit of a revolving door where it comes to female companions. I’m not bragging here or trying to up any sort of “player-cred,” but I’ve been out with quite a few girls in the last six months, most of them also met online via OK Cupid or the equally popular free site “Plenty of Fish” (see what they did there? It’s a clever name).

Women in Las Vegas... they're kinda like that.

Women in Las Vegas… they’re kinda like that.

Needless to say, none of these “relationships” lasted very long at all.  I’m going to avoid using the ladies’ names here as I’m not trying to embarrass anyone.  I will say this though: there are some crazy fucking women in this town.  In the past six months I’ve been with women who assumed I must be cheating because I asked to change plans for a Friday evening early on Friday morning and because I wasn’t prepared to carry a large number of belongings on the city bus during a surprise rainstorm, a woman

And a few are like this...

And a few are like this…

who couldn’t sit in a different diner than she was accustomed to without sufferring a panic attack because she felt she “didn’t belong” there, and one who told me with all seriousness that she’d had a dream a few days before September 11, 2001 about airplanes crashing into buildings but was “talked out of reporting it to anyone” by her spouse at the time (and, no lie, she did not at all understand why I felt the FBI or NSA might not have taken a person’s dream seriously as a “lead” to thwart a terrorist plot). I also had one date with a woman who had no idea who I meant when I told her that my roommate and I were going to see the new Woody Allen movie (Blue Jasmine, starring Cate Blanchett… it’s fantastic, by the way) together the following day. After thinking about it for a few minutes she said, “Oh, wait… I think he was in that movie I saw the other day about the magicians who rob the bank.” For the record, that was Woody Harrelson,love, and Woody Allen is a pretty famous guy. His films may not be for everyone, but you really ought to know who he is. Really.

These are the ones I actually went out with. There were a few I’d initiated conversations with that seemed to be leading toward promising dates who either stopped conversing with me inexplicably or for seemingly the flimsiest of reasons. One, for example, who I felt I was getting along with famously, suddenly backed out upon learning I was perhaps too passionate about my atheism (the fact that my profile clearly stated, “I am an atheist and take it pretty seriously” and that her’s described her as “non-religious” apparently didn’t enter into the equation) and one was a high school teacher who took offense to my statement that the public schools here in Nevada are rather abysmal (two of my kids went through them. Trust me, they are awful).

Are you a Carrie? A Charlotte? A Samantha? A... who the fuck was the skinny redhead again?

Are you a Carrie? A Charlotte? A Samantha? A… who the fuck was the skinny redhead again?

I’ve had my ups and downs is what I’m saying, perhaps not enough for me to create a male-centric version of Sex and the City (but I am such a Samantha!), but certainly enough to have left me at least a little jaded about the whole online dating thing.

I do have to say I’ve been faring better than Shannon, my ex. You remember Shannon, right? She’s the mother of two of my boys who I was in a relationship with for nearly half of my life (seventeen years! We moved in together in June of 1996 and I moved out in June of 2012)? Yeah, her. She and I are still very good friends (I know that seems weird, but it feels pretty natural for us) and sort of report to each other on the day-to-day happenings in our respective lives. She is trying online dating as well and has not been having much luck the last I heard.  Her OKC profile is brilliantly written, however (I wrote it for her), and she has managed to get a couple of dates for her efforts, but has also attracted a lot of weirdos who just want to send her photographs of their genitalia (I hear this happens a lot and can’t help but wonder just how often that works in catching a woman’s interest… probably not often at all) or hit her with lines that basically equate to, “So, you wanna fuck?”

I don’t envy women having to field communications like that one bit.

So far I’ve covered the “cons” of online dating that I’ve experienced fairly well, I think. What are the “pros?” Sometimes, not often, but sometimes you do stand a chance of meeting someone who is, for lack of a better term, just perfect for you. This is exactly what happened to me when I came across the OKC profile of a lovely woman named Lisa.

Lisa’s profile was skillfully written; it was snarky and slightly self-deprecating while using healthy doses of humor in just the right places. For example, under “my self-summary” she’d written, “I’m told I’m a gawddamn joy, that my tits are fantastic, and that I’m a hot mess, so I’ve got all that going for me.”  That’s it. That’s all it said, but it was more than enough to pique my interest.  I continued to read.

Under “What I am Doing With My Life,” she’d written, “Attempting to not self-destruct… or self destruct. I can never remember which.”  The girl clearly has a sense of humor. “I’m Really Good At” listed, “inspiring people, being honest, and making people laugh.” Fairly simple and straight-forward, which I appreciated.  The next section was “The First Thing People Usually Notice About Me” where she had put “My large tracks of land.” Okay so a small snafu using “tracks” where she meant “tracts,” but I was hooked as this was not only a Monty Python reference (from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, look it up), but another allusion to the size of her breasts, cleverly disguised in geek-speak. “Favorite Books, Movies , Shows, Music, and Food” listed, in this order, Bukowski (I can only assume she means Charles), Ginsberg (clearly Allen, writer of “Howl,” see my recent post for details), Gaiman (Neil… if you don’t know who he is, shame on you), Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan, directors of films such as Raising Arizona, No Country for Old Men, and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?), Wes Anderson (writer of The Royal Tenenbaums, I’m ashamed to admit I had to look him up), Kubrick (Stanley, of course… is there another who mattered?), Ben Folds, Pantera, Nina Simone, Veal, Sushi, Mac & Cheese.  The girl was hip, without being a douchebag hipster. She was coming across as clever without being overly intimidating about it (I will admit I was slightly intimidated, however, more on that in a moment) and she seemed to dig a lot of the same things I did. The fact that she not only knew who people like Ginsberg and Gaiman were but appreciated their work was an instant plus for me, naturally. Ginsberg was a poet of the “beat” generation, so surely anyone who appreciates poetry is going to know him and Kerouac and people of that ilk, but Gaiman? Neil Gaiman writes primarily comics. I’d discovered a comic lover and a real reader and I was pretty happy about it. “The Six Things I could Never Go Without” listed passion (sounds good), caffeine (I liked this as I also drink enough coffee and Diet Pepsi to flood a small nation), my phone (hello, telephone tech support geek, at your service here), hockey (okay, I’m not a huge sports fan of any kind, but played enough Sega Genesis hockey in the 90’s to have a good understanding of the rules and knew most of the middle part of that decade’s Chicago Blackhawks starting line), comics (SCORE!!), art & music (works for me as I love both as well.) “I Spend A Lot Of Time Thinking About” said just, “Life, the universe, and everything.” Douglas Adams AND Monty Python coming from one woman? Marry me now!

I was plenty excited by Lisa’s profile, so much so that I went back to it and re-read it several times, each time pushing the button that would let her know I’d visited. OKC includes an arbitrary rating system that lets you assign a number of “stars” to a person’s profile. On a scale of one to five stars if you rate someone four stars or higher, the site will let them know that you “like” them. I rated her five stars and not much later found that she had rated me as well, because I got a notification that she “likes” me and I had probably ought to send her a message.  I opened the app again a bit later with the intention of doing exactly that and suddenly, for the first time in a long time, was stumped as to what I should say.  From the way her profile was written, this was a pretty smart woman. Likely a good deal smarter than me, I feared, and I found that rather intimidating.

“Come on,” I told myself, “You WANT a smart woman. Send her a message.” But what to say? What could I say that wouldn’t make me look like a blitering idiot? I decided to mull it over for a while. So, I mulled.This went on for a few days. I could not think of a single thing to say to this person to break the ice with her and get a conversation going. You have to understand that this has never really been a problem for me. I’m usually able to talk to people with no problem, especially in written communication, gender notwithstanding. I can be a little fumbly in person and for that reason have never been good at “picking up” women in bars or other social settings, but when writing, textung, IM-ing, etc, I’m a goddamn Cassanova. For some reason, however, this girl who clearly had a ton of things in common with me was in danger of slipping through my fingers because I was too terrified to say hello. What was wrong with me?

Fortunately for me, she messaged me first. On a Monday evening while I was at work, my phone suddenly buzzed and I had a message from her. I eagerly looked and it said, “I’ve been meaning to tell you I really liked your blog,” or something to that effect. “As a fellow-Tee shirt fanatic I found it quite entertaining.” I was instantly hit by two thoughts, “She read my blog!” and, “Oh, shit. She read my blog…” The door, however, had been opened and we started conversing and discovered that not only did we have a lot of things in common, we got along rather well. We were both instantly excited that we “got” each other. She was impressed that I recognized the Monty Python and Douglas Adams references on her profile, and I was happy to learn that she was about as big a Batman fan as I was. In one conversation I’d referenced The Killing Joke and Mad Love and not only did she know what they were, she cited them as some of her favorite Batman stories. When we did get together in person the discoveries extended to music (“You know Mary’s Danish!? No WAY!!”), movies (“American Splendor was BRILLIANT!!”), and various other topics that we delightfully had in common. We also introduced each other to a few things we had previously been unaware of. I downloaded an album from a band called Spark which I had never heard of (and which has been around since the mid seventies, apparently… how did I not know about them before?) and she started watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix (I’d recently gotten into the show at the urging of another friend and absolutely love it).

This is Lisa. She's awesome and beautiful and beautiful and awesome.

This is Lisa. She’s awesome and beautiful and beautiful and awesome.

We’ve since been spending as much time together as humanly possible and, fortunately, she doesn’t seem to be getting tired of me yet. We played the Xbox 360 version of Trivial Pursuit together multiple times (I won a few, she won a few), we also played Injustice: Gods Among Us and Beautiful Katamari together. I showed her The World’s End and both versions of Dawn of the Dead as well as the remake of Evil Dead and she thought they were all pretty groovy.

Are you catching on to what I’m saying here? This is a woman who likes comic books and video games, is actually a challenge to me at trivia (and that rarely happens), and is not just willing to watch horror movies with me, but actually enjoys them!  She also reads this blog and eagerly flipped through a back issue of Pulse, the community magazine I used to write for and edit. Even Shannon, who I was with for so many years, rarely took the time to read much of anything I ever wrote.

So that’s the coin toss that is online dating. You might get someone who thinks dreams are clues to be followed up on by the NSA or you might find someone amazing.  I really feel I’ve hit the proverbial jackpot with this one.  It may be too early to say for sure at this point, but I think I’m going to do everything I can to keep her around for a long time.

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One comment

  1. drgnwatcher · December 23, 2013

    For someone who rarely says a word in person… you are absolutely eloquent with the written word. Oh and I’m happy for you man. When you find a person that fits in your grooves, do everything you can to keep them there.

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