I lost my cool a few days ago. I had a “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment, which in retrospect probably shouldn’t have been enough to really upset me, but was, as my buddy Nikki put it, another negative experience with the opposite sex to add to my growing list of horror stories. So I snapped and made accusations. I became upset and went on one of my famous ginger rampages in the presence of my amused friends, one of which sat me down and asked why I continuously find myself swimming in romantic mishaps and, to quote Florence Welch, “living on such sweet nothing.”
“I think a part of you enjoys being unhappy,” one of the girls chimed in.
A while back, I would have agreed, but that’s not the case anymore. Really. Believe it or not, I don’t like being blown off and treated like garbage by anybody. I keep meeting people who are totally pleasant upfront and merciless later on. Not everyone is a complete douchebag though, and I’m ready to truly see that for myself and have an excuse to gush, not commiserate, for once. Because I’m sick of me and these ridiculous stories.
“Decide right here and now that you’re not going to let these guys who don’t call you back get to you ever again,” one of my friends said. “You may not be better tomorrow or even in a year from now, but each day is another day you’ve spent away from them.”
Though I do like laughing at the audacity of some of the candid assholes I’ve had the misfortune of meeting over the past few years, sometimes I want more than just a funny story to share about guys who go months without speaking to me only to pop up when they think I’ve forgotten them, reel me back in, and say in so many words, “Well now that I’ve got you here, just thought I’d say JK! I don’t really want to date you. I was just trying to see whether I could still get with you, and now that I know I totes could, I’m moving on for reals. Peace.” Of course, no one has actually said this to me, because that’s not what men do when they want to cut you off. They don’t.do.anything.
As Joan Hollaway says on Mad Men, “Men don’t take time to end things. They ignore you until you insist on a declaration of hate.” And you know what? I don’t have time to declare war on anyone. It’s silly and petty and draining, and I shouldn’t be spending my non-work hours wondering why, why, why I wasn’t worthy of this person’s time anymore.
I know what you’re thinking. Drama Queen. Oh, I know. That doesn’t invalidate my frustrations, though. Nikki said the minor incident this weekend seemed so unbelievably disastrous and outrageous to me because I only have negative dating experiences to draw from, so while some told me I should have just taken the apathetic route and not cared, this was just one more burn I really didn’t need. I keep piling on the bad stories and toxic relationships, and though I’m supposedly going to “learn from them” someday, it doesn’t do me any good to have nothing happy to look back on prior to 2007, the last time I said I love you and really felt loved by a member of the opposite sex, not to mention worth fighting for.
Joan’s quote pretty much encapsulates every bad dating experience I’ve had since college. Sure I’ve been the one to turn guys down before, but there’s a difference between stringing folks along when you’re not interested and saying this simply isn’t for you. I’m tired of coasting off the short-lived, deceptive thrill of hearing from someone (usually via text) once a week if that. I’m exhausted from jumping through hoops to get a guy to actually respond to my occasional attempts at conversation. I’m tired of feeling like I have to make these encounters all about the other person and get nothing in return. I may not be a model, but I’m also not an ogre with puss oozing out my ears. I don’t think I’m asking for much by wanting somebody responsive or at least aware of the fact that I’m a person with needs and not some on-call entity to be carelessly jerked around. Better yet, I need someone who takes initiative and asks me to do something fun, and that does not include late night hooking up. I’m not opposed to that, but you don’t have a right to contact me after midnight if you’ve never once tried chatting with me during the day. Or, ya know, blatantly ignored me. Don’t be that fucking guy.
Now that I’ve successfully ranted about the plight of the 20-something dating scene, I may as well address the headline of this post. Recent events have influenced me to finally start an online dating account. The stigma against online dating is mostly gone, as young people in big cities often work too much to meet like-minded folks on a regular basis. There’s always the bar circuit, but look where that got me. One could argue online dating sites are full of creepers, but I live in NYC: I bump into creepers all the time, whether on the subway, at a bar, in a grocery store aisle, or walking home. No matter where I go, weirdos abound, so I may as well weed them out online, where I actually have the tools to be selective.
I went with HowAboutWe because it fosters activities among users for a reasonable fee. You post a date idea (i.e., going to a stand-up comedy show in the east village, playing cards in Central Park), and if someone thinks you might be a cool person to spend time with, he/she will message you. You don’t have to respond to all inquiries, of course, and the beauty of it all is that there are hundreds of people listed. You won’t take rejection on the site personally. I’m taking it slow, but I also like the fact that someone is inviting me to do something cool. There aren’t any games, just plans. If it works out, great. If not, HowAboutWe has plenty of others who could work for you. It’s awesome.
So wish me luck this year, because I’m actually making an effort to pick better and keep trouble out of my life. I’m not saying there aren’t any bad seeds on this site, but to paraphrase the great Serena Van Der Woodsen, they can’t be worse than the guys I do know (cue to 2:00).