Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Online Dating is Exhausting

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

It's been about four months now that I've tried online dating. I've received approximately 200 messages and went on five dates, one of them being a second date with the same person. And I'm over it. I don't know what it is but the mere thought of communicating with someone through OkCupid message makes me ill. Frankly, I would rather take my chances finding someone at a hotel lounge or Trader Joe's. At least then I won't be bombarded with pink, blinking instant messages asking me "how are you?" or "how's your day going?" like I've known that person for years, instead of three seconds.

When I originally decided to try out online dating, I thought that it would give me the opportunity to meet someone outside my small Hollywood circle. Besides from being a good conversation starter, dating online would also force me out of my comfort zone and introduce me to different people that I wouldn't have had thought twice about before. Given, OkCupid did do this for me.

Turns out though, it didn't turn out to be a good thing. To be fair, I did spend an entire night hanging out with Shaun White because of OkCupid (it took me half of the night to finally figure out who he was), but after the elusiveness of that wore off, I realized I didn't have much in common with my actual date.

Here's what I don't like about online dating: I don't like skipping the initial meet-cute— the chance to reach for the same box of chocolate-covered almonds at the same time at the grocery store, or spark up conversation at a unlikely place, like a waiting room or bus stop. I don't like thinking that I would have to explain to people that we met online, rather than an actual, substantial location. I felt robbed of romance.

And I guess I could have handled getting over that after time, but I also hated that once I did go on a date with someone, everything felt too rushed. Half of me contributes this to the fact that OkCupid is mostly used as a hookup website, but everything about the entire process seemed to be on fast forward. Forget the gradual ritual of getting to know a new person— a complete stranger could now turn to your lover pretty much overnight. It was almost like going up to someone and saying, "Hi, my name is Lisa, what's your name? I think you're cute, so let's go out...Awesome, now that that's over, wanna spend every weekend together and in the meantime we can text sweet nothings to each other in the meantime? I know that we've only just met, but can I call you my boyfriend now? I'm sorry, but what's your name again?"

As someone who is a notorious commitment-phobe, this terrified me. I once had a guy who managed to introduce himself, get my number, schedule a date, and explain his expectations all within a day. It was too much. I know that it's online dating, but does that mean we have to sacrifice the natural chemistry? Finding out how a person works— their individual quirks, pet peeves, likes and dislikes is my favorite part of any relationship, and it most certainly doesn't happen after a few hours and a couple of drinks at a bar. Instead of getting to know someone and then developing feelings for them, I felt like it was reversed in online dating. It wasn't organic anymore, it was forced.

Not to mention that I feel like there is probably something inherently wrong with judging a person by a percentage that some Internet widget says determines how much of a match we are. If I am going to start dating someone that I didn't already know beforehand, I don't want to my first impression of him to be through a profile that is inevitably geared towards one-night stands and consistent hookups. I want it to be based on interpersonal communication, and the bare essentials— if he's physically attractive, not his photo, or whether he smells good, if he makes me laugh and laughs at my jokes in turn. I miss the days where I get butterflies in my stomach from an exchange of smiles or a cute comment. I can't get that kind of giddy feeling from some choppy compliment given to me and probably 30 other girls on the interwebs. It's not genuine or believable.

That said, I think it's about time to throw in the towel and just take my chances the old fashioned way— chance meetings. Who knows, maybe I'll get bored again and try speed dating, or some new app that sets me up on blind dates in the L.A. area. Besides, Minday Kaling didn't even start dating until senior year in college— she decided that her career in her 20's was more important, and I am inclined to agree. I'd much rather be a writer for a show like The Office by the time I'm 24 any day besides waiting around for the right man to message me on OkCupid— sorry not sorry!


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