You’ve got mail…

My first week on this online dating app I find myself a bit overwhelmed. I’m getting a bunch of messages and it dawns on me that behind each of these messages is another human being searching for a connection. I have a brief moment of panic, fast forwarding to the future, into conversations and situations where I have to reject someone or get rejected, decide that this was a bad decision, I can just live on my own forever right? At least I have my cat, that won’t be so bad, will it? It’s better than getting hurt again… Why am I even trying?

And then I take a freaking breath and realise this is only online dating, I CTFD and I’m reminded of the words of Bill Hicks, “Oh sorry, I was taking life seriously”.

I decide to just take it all at my own pace, and try to convince the people-pleasing side of myself that it’s okay, I don’t have to reply to every single message and fix whoever is on the other side. So I do, I go through the messages, read through the profiles (and okay yes, look at the pictures) and start talking to some people.

One guy, let’s call him animallover, seems to tick all the imaginary boxes I have arbitrarily decided I need ticked, and he seems normal so I reply to his message and, as just like that, I have officially started my online dating journey.

We exchange pleasantries, talk about the weather, work, xmas holidays, pets, studying etc. At some point I mention that I have an adopted cat and that I love her to bits. This was enough information for him to come to the conclusion that I “seem like a nice person, if you have heart for animals in my opinion” and then goes on a quick rant about animals are equal to humans and he doesn’t understand people who believe any differently. Which is fine, I’m no PETA protester, but I love animals as much as the next person.

I quickly realise that I’m the only one keeping the conversation flowing… It’s more like an interview than a conversation, where I ask a bunch of questions and he just gives a bunch of answers, perhaps he’s holding his questions till the end? Next minute, he sends me this:

I’d really like to catch up with you, I think we would have a lot to talk about.

Then continues to say that he hates awkward silences and is super shy when meeting new people. So this makes sense, but I am a firm believer in fake it till you make it. I think few people are truly super confident and anxiety-free when it comes to dating, but the thought of spending time with animallover in person – trying to hold the conversation together – fills me with a feeling of dread and I realise that this is probably not going anywhere. I decide to overlook the fact that all his answers are statements and that he asks no questions for now and chalk it up to him being shy and having poor social skills, and I try to continue the conversation a bit longer. But in the end, it’s too painful and I just stop replying. Sorry animallover, I’m sure you’ll find a girl who is happy to be the only one talking, but that girl isn’t me…

I’m sure throughout this process I’ll learn a lot about myself – what I’m willing to deal with, where my boundaries are, what it is I’m actually looking for. I’m excited to see where this journey will take me…

 

About Me

 

So you might be wondering, who are you random person on the internet? And this is the same question staring me in the face when I create my first profile on a popular online dating site.

Gender – Female
Age – 28
Location – Australia (okay, I was more specific, but let’s keep a bit of mystery here for now…)
Intent – Is looking for a relationship
Education – Bachelors Degree
Body Type – A few extra pounds
Personality – Free Thinker

After answering so many questions you wonder if you really should have so much information about yourself on the internet, but then you remember that you finally gave in and everything on your phone is saved to iCloud, so nothing is safe anyway.

Then you’re asked to provide a Tagline for yourself… And fill in the About Me section – at least 100 words. Now obviously a 100 words isn’t a lot when writing about almost anything, but when it comes to yourself, how you want others to see you it’s a pretty big ask. First impressions are everything, in real life someone might approach you based on your looks or a book you’ve chosen to look at at a book store – here, online, it’s all about what you write about yourself. I manage to scrape together a few details and finally (after what felt like hours of finding myself again), I click on Submit and voilà!, I have my very own profile.

Now I won’t name any names, but the mobile app for this site has soooo many options, it takes a while to figure our what and where everything is. But most importantly is the message inbox. I click on a few profiles, reading what others have to say about themselves and after browsing for a while I realise that I already have some criteria for who I will message back:

Age – between 27 & 35
Profession/Ambitions/Education Level – I quickly realise that if I percieve someone to be less ambitious than I am, it’s a no. I don’t care so much about where they work or what the education level is, as long as I can see that they are at least motivated to succeed in whatever they are doing. I love my job and I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I need someone who has a career of their own to focus on.
Do you want children? – If it’s a solid “Yes, want children”, I won’t go there. It actually scares me a little bit that there is already an expectation there that I need to carry a living being in my body for 9 months and then painfully give birth to said miracle and then teach it things about life. It’s overwhelming and I don’t really want to deal with that kind of pressure straight off the bat.
Religious Beliefs – Ideally, my match will be non-religious. Now before you click away, hear me out. I believe that all religion has it’s place, and if you are a believer, I’m happy for you, I know the joy and comfort it can bring, and I wouldn’t want to take that away from anyone. Over the past 5 years, my personal beliefs have changed from devout evnagelical Christian to atheist, and it’s been a long and arduous journey. So I’m not here to change anyone’s mind, or looking for anyone to try and change mine, I’m just telling you about my experience. I think that religious beliefs need to be a match because what you believe dictates so much of what you do in your everyday life.
Drugs – No drugs please
Drinks – A few drinks every once in a while is fine, of course, but if you put on there that you drink >3+ times/week, we aren’t going to have fun.
Do you have a car? – When filling out my profile I thought this was a weird question. I thought, surely, someone around their 30’s will have a car or some mode of transportation in their possession. I quickly learned that this is not the case, a lot of people answered “No”. How do these people get to work? How can they live without the freedom of just getting in your car on a whim and going somewhere? I assume they use public transport, which just seems like a never ending cycle of planning when you need to be somewhere, what time the bus will be there and hoping that it will be on time. I guess you could get an uber or a taxi everywhere, but then you might as well spend all that money on a car…? It’s a mystery to me.
About Me – I’m curious to see what people write about themselves, and most people actually do a pretty good job. This part is just a bonus for me and if they can make me laugh, even better. It might sound disingenious, but I am actually reading the profiles before looking at all their pictures. I have decided from the get go that I won’t be too picky on looks, because some people just don’t take a good picture but in real life they look fine (the opposite, of course, is also true). Also, I am aware that I am no model, so if I hope that people won’t judge me too harshly, surely I have to at least try and do the same.

So now that I have a baseline to figure out who I’m looking for, it’s time to go read some messages, get to know some people and perhaps arrange some face-to-face time with someone. Let’s see what happens…

Introduction

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. I think we all are at least familiar with the premise of How I Met Your Mother, and even though I don’t neccessarily want kids, society tells me that I will change my mind when my body clock kicks in, so here I am, chronocling my year in dating, my search for the one (or other such cliches).

I’ve decided to take action and actively seek a relationship this year. All other aspects of my life are pretty stable at the moment – job, apartment, friends, family, physical and mental health – so why not dive into the unknown world of dating?

My goal is to be honest here. I haven’t dated in a long time, so I’m sure I’ll make a tonne of mistakes, but the point is to learn from them and in the process maybe provide some entertainment to people reading about it. Fair warning, this is no dating advice site, so follow my lead at your perril 😉