No, I don’t want to send you a selfie, so you can stop asking now.
SERIOUSLY. Don’t ask me again.
Navigating the single scene is tough for a newly single parent. Especially when you’re suddenly thrust into the electronic dating world without a paddle or a prayer. E-dating seems to have taken its place in our society as a social norm, which just seems strange to me. I remember knowing a few people who got together through the net when I was younger (in the late 90’s and early 00’s). A few of them made it work and are still happily married or cohabitating today. But, that was in the early days of the web when this kind of relationship was rare and obscure, long before social media and Skyping became common forms of social interaction. This online dating phenomenon is all new to me and I have no idea what the rules are or how to even begin to figure it all out (as if dating isn’t already hard enough, we had to go and complicate it with modern technology).
The biggest problem I’m having is that, at least conceptually, e-dating has begun to take over my daily life and I can’t run or hide from it. Since my breakup at the end of February, about three months ago, I have had literally dozens of men approach me in some way, all online, all with one goal: to make me theirs (or, something like that, anyway). The count just bypassed 190 and is sliding into home base at nearly 200 now… TWO HUNDRED DIFFERENT MEN. In less than three months. How does this happen?!
Well, starting a blog, getting things going on a few social media sites and posting an online resume at about.me is a good start, I suppose. Though, I haven’t registered with a single dating site, not one. Yet, all these guys want to talk/flirt with me, ask me for my number (which I’ve made the mistake of giving out a few times now… can’t take that one back), send me gifts, take me (and the bunnies, of course) on exotic vacations and, the big one… move in with them someplace far away in another state and, in some instances, another country altogether.
Many of these men I manage to just ignore. Others, are more persistent. And, it seems, I am often unable to get the message across, even when I clearly write things like, “I don’t want any kind of relationship or to date or whatever you think you want from me. I’m sorry.” This is a message I use so often that I actually copy and paste it to send it to different guys. I even accidentally sent it to the Corporal recently when I thought I was texting another fella who I shouldn’t have given my phone number to… yeah, that went over well. :/
I suppose the thing that bothers me the most is that not a single man has approached me for my phone number or for a date in REAL LIFE since my breakup. NOT ONE. This leads me to believe that there are one of two things happening in real-life vs. e-life: 1. Anytime that I’m out in the real world, the bunnies are with me and I suspect that they are a bit of a dating deterrent (though, I’ve made it perfectly clear online too that they are a major part of my life), or 2. The fear of rejection online is significantly less than that of a real-life, in-person rejection.
Think about it, there’s something to be said for having the ability to hide behind our technology as a form of protection. A buffer, if you will. Maybe it’s easier to accept rejection when it happens through the screen than it is to accept when you get turned down in person. I can understand this, REALLY, I can. But, I don’t really like it. Not really at all…
Call me crazy but, I need to know if a guy’s breath smells bad or if he has horrible B.O. before I get too involved. I don’t want to find out that I’m actually attracted to a Photoshopped version of someone who has filled in their thinning hair, slimmed down their beer belly or softened the lighting on their otherwise freaky face. OK, yes, I’m being a bit facetious about the physical condition here, but it’s just as easy to cover character flaws online as it is to cover the physical ones.
How many times have you heard about someone talking to somebody amazing online only to find out that the person on the other end of the router was full of it? Have you seen the 20/20 News stories? Pedophiles, scammers, fakes… How can we know who we’re really talking to? And even if we’re not actually talking to the Jeffrey Dahmer of the Twitter-sphere, chances are pretty good that the seemingly great guy or gal we’re having so much fun talking to isn’t really as great as their on-line persona makes them out to be.
The problem that I’m finding is that e-dating doesn’t let us get a good, solid ‘vibe’ about a person. You know what I mean, that initial gut feeling that lets us know if we want to get to know someone better or if we should run and hide. Missing out on this critical contact leaves us open to opportunists who would cleverly con us into buying their well-crafted back story. Thank goodness for Google and the ability to look somebody’s history up online, but even this can be conned by the right person. Besides, it’s hardly romantic and not at all what I want right now.
I crave eye contact. Physical touch. Exchange of energy. I want pheromones!! That inexplicable spark that you can only get by having an amazing conversation in person. That feeling of being so close to someone that you feel a connection forming and are looking for some reason to touch them; ‘accidentally’ brushing your hand up against theirs, finding a stray hair on their shoulder and softly brushing it off, crossing your legs and briefly finding their leg with your foot under the table… CHEMISTRY! How is anyone supposed to know if we’re actually experiencing something like this when we’re conversing through brightly lit screens and typing up our conversations using acronyms like LOL, JK, SMH and using (or, worse, NOT using) spell-check?
Maybe I’m old-fashioned… OK, YES! I’M OLD-FASHIONED. I’m not a generation millennial who grew up with a cell-phone as a core life staple since the 6th grade. I’m a Gen-X-er. Navigating the digital dating scene is entirely too exhausting and requires that I keep my face and fingers constantly engaged in some form of electronic medium. I don’t do well staying this ‘plugged in.’
Granted, yes, I use social medias and put myself out there through a blog, but I spend the majority of my day experiencing the real world and all the wonder around me in the physical world. I’m getting tired of feeling obligated to converse with guys who are literally hundreds of miles away and can’t even come pick me up for a date!
ENOUGH already! I don’t want to see another message come through my phone that looks anything even remotely like, “Wish I were there to give you a massage.” Because, no, I can read between the lines bub, and I don’t want anything to do with your “massage” message, so drop the act. And, while I’m at it, stop asking women to send you ‘sexts’… If a girl says NO to this once, don’t ask her again. She’ll give it up if and when she’s ready, just like the real thing. Just because you’re asking for it in the form of a written media doesn’t mean that she’s willing to just hand it out to any and every guy who asks.
Also (and especially), keep any thoughts to yourself about the fact that you’re fantasizing about a girl or using pics of her to get your rocks off. What you do behind closed doors is your business and your business alone. Would you want a chick you like to find your porn history on your tablet? Of course not, so don’t go blabbing that kind of stuff to her, especially if you really DO like her for more than just your *ahem* private parties. Ladies don’t want to be wooed by your little masters men, in real-life or e-life. So, find a better approach to tell her that you like her.
Now, there have been a few fellas who are simply keeping it real and seem to genuinely want to support me, so I don’t want to lump them into this group. But this number by comparison is small and I have been inundated with offers of all kinds and have reached a point where I kind of just want to crawl into a cave. It’s way, WAY overwhelming.
So now, after all of this, how does a girl begin to sort through all the emails, messages, texts, Tweets and such to decide if any of these guys are worth investing time and conversation? Well, lets just say, this will not be happening for me anytime soon. I may have finally taken a ring I was wearing off my finger as a symbol to myself that I am ready to move forward with my life, but I’m certainly not in any place where I’m looking to find my future husband, or whatever, in the electronic world. At least, not right now.
I am open to the idea of letting someone in at this point, but I’m not out actively looking for him (although, the State Trooper I interacted with a few times while dealing with the Corporal is often on my mind…). So, if you’re thinking about finding a way to contact me with some email that simply says, “Hi” (uh, yeah, THAT’S engaging…) or “Hey sweetie, let me get your number,”… DON’T. I may be a romantic and a bit of an optimist or a dreamer of sorts, but I’m still waiting to meet Mr. Right in a yoga class, at the farmer’s market or someplace mundane and real like that.
In my dreams, we bond over our love of asana, our children throwing temper tantrums in public or by reaching for the same jar of local raw honey. Energies are exchanged and looks are given that signal something’s going on for both of us… feelings emerge. Maybe THEN we get into texting or whatever, but we hang out, go out, and talk in person.
I understand that this isn’t for everybody, and that’s OK. We all have our own ideas about what’s important to us. And I love that we live in a diverse world where there are options that can suit everybody’s needs and tastes. But, for me, finding love in the electronic age is just the same now as it ever was in the past. It’s still about making a REAL connection, in REAL life. So, I’ll wait for now.
Namaste lovelies <3