Sunday, February 21, 2010

Online dating

A friend of mine signed up with OK Cupid not too long ago. I decided to give it a try. Partly in solidarity with her, and partly to meet people outside of the improv scene. I did eHarmony when I was in LA. There were several reasons. First, eHarmony costs money. None of my friends had any kind of disposable income. I've been the breadwinner in most of my relationships. I lent a few thousand dollars to one to pay off his bad debt. I thought, if I marry this guy (and we were in a relationship where that was a possibility), I don't want his bad credit to affect our home-buying ability. It took him a couple of years--after we broke up--for him to pay me back. I'm not looking for a rich guy. Just someone who can support himself. Most of the guys I knew in LA were barely scraping by. Mainly, I didn't want to be the one to pay every single time we went out. And I wouldn't expect him to--I'm all for going dutch. Anyway, I figured if guy has expendable cash to do eHarmony, that's one requirement out of the way.

Another reason I tried a dating site was that I was looking for an actual relationship. There were plenty of guys in my circle of friends I could've hooked up with, but I wanted an actual boyfriend who had actual feelings for me.

I went out on 2 dates during my 3 month trial of eHarmony. The guys were nice enough, but when we met there was an awkwardness about them that went beyond the I'm-meeting-an-internet-date-for-the-first-time weirdness. Neither date went past that initial meeting. I'm a very outgoing person. I'm not on an internet dating site because I have a hard time meeting people. I was in it because I wanted to go outside my circle of friends. These guys, clearly, had a hard time talking to girls. They were on an internet dating site b/c that's where they felt the most comfortable.

I already had a bad taste in my mouth when I tried OK Cupid. Or, perhaps it was more of a trepidation towards the site, and towards the whole idea of internet dating. But in Austin, I'm always at the theater. My only friends are improvisers. I wanted to stay away from that pool because it can be so incestuous. Also, they're all really young. I was pretty much against dating someone younger than 30, but the more I'm here, the more I realize I need to get over that prejudice. There are some really amazing guys in their twenties. Plus, the older you get, the fewer options you have. If I want to be in a relationship, I need to be less picky. Ugh, I hate that sentence. It makes me sound desperate. I guess what I mean is I need to be more open-minded to the possibility that a younger guy can meet my expectations, and the older you get the less age is of importance. It's more life experience. I know a few 35 year olds I wouldn't think twice about b/c they're just not at the maturity level I can deal with.

Internet dating is just as hard as real dating. It's difficult to write a summary about yourself so you don't sound like a tool. Basically, you are judged by your photos, which, let's be honest, is pretty close to real life. On OK Cupid, you can instant message people who are also online. I liked this feature when Emma and I were on together. But I do not like this feature when random people try to start up a conversation. I don't know you. I'm not interested in chatting with you. On the other hand, I don't want to be rude. The not wanting to be rude aspect is odd when you think about it. These people have never met me. They are not a part of my daily life. If they send me a message and I don't answer, it doesn't matter. But, for some reason, I feel inclined to answer every email, even for people I'm not interested in. There's one guy who keeps emailing me. I take at least a week in between answering, and I never ask questions back. If you had any social skills whatsoever, you would take the hint. The guy has gone as far as sending a second message prior to my answering the first one mentioning it was taking a while for me to respond. I ignored that message, answered his questions, and did nothing to further the conversation. I need to get over this being nice crap.

I've met one person from this site. We had drinks last week. We'd been messaging for over 2 weeks, pretty much every day. By that point, I figured it was (pardon the expression) time to shit or get off the pot. I asked to meet him for drinks. He accepted. I almost asked why he was trying a dating site, just to satisfy my own curiosity. We met. He was pleasant. I enjoyed our conversation. But I felt like I carried it. There were down times in the conversation and I sort of waited for him to pick up the queue and start a new topic. Mostly, that didn't happen and after awkwardly staring at our drinks for a few seconds I started talking again. So much that I got on my own damn nerves. I'm sure that guy walked away from the evening thinking, man, she never shuts up. But he wasn't doing anything to make it easier, and I'd rather talk than sit uncomfortably. Needless to say, we aren't going out on another date. Again, he was really nice. That wasn't the problem at all. We're just very different. I'm a performer, he hates public speaking. My personality would've eclipsed his. I need someone who can be just as loud and obnoxious as me.

This made me reconsider my ban against dating improvisers. The guys who are on stage are much more similar to me than someone I can meet on a website. I'm still checking OK Cupid when new matches are sent to me, because maybe there is someone fabulous I could potentially meet that I wouldn't otherwise. I'm not discounting that. But I'm not really going to look at it as my source of potential dates. It'll happen when it does. I just need to be patient.


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