October 4, 2009

Online Dating Isn't for Everyone

Online dating is what about 10-12 years old now. Right? Maybe more. Before then blind dates consisted of being set up by friends, parents, co-workers, etc. Perhaps answering ads in the back of sketchy magazines, but I'm sure most normal people stayed away from that. Anyways so my mom really couldn't warn me about online dating. I'm going to share with you my one and only experience with it. I'll tell you the punch line now, it was not with my husband. I met him the old fashioned way. At church!

This happened shortly after college though I can't remember the exact year. Maybe 2002 or 2003. So I was playing around online with a dating sight and I don't exactly remember how but signed up for the 2 week free trial as a joke. So we started trolling through profiles in spite of not setting one up for me. So I ran across a guy that struck my fancy. He had a full head of hair, and confident demeanor about him which instantly attracted me. He lived about 5 states away or so. Just for fun I sent a flirty little message, figuring with a picture like that, he's probably busy with chicks that were more geographically desirable and in his own league.

Low and behold he wrote be back and seemed all flirty and interested. I can't remember the circumstances by my free trial was about to expire and it was going to cost $5 to extend it for 2 weeks or a month or something like that and I was just going to let it go, but a lady I worked with insisted I not drop this, since they'd gone through all my failed guy drama up to that point. So she paid the $5 to extend it. So I kept corresponding with him exchanging emails before my term expired.

I should have seen the writing on the wall when he was so eager to correspond with me and when flowers and candy showed up at my place of business. No guy ever sent me flowers and candy, and I was always concerned about my friends that did shower girls with gifts like that. (Flash forward to dating my husband, I told him never ever to pay to send me flowers at work, if he wanted to give me flowers he could buy the $5 bunch at the grocery store and deliver them himself or wait until he saw me later) This is because it's sign of what to expect post marriage and to a girl like me, I see this as a bottomless pit of wasted money. $5 no, but $30-$40 a pop, way too wasteful. And they don't last nearly as long as the flowers from the store do.

Red flag number 3 or perhaps 4(I believe I've covered 2 now, maybe more), the day he sent me the flowers and candy, he tracked down how to call me at work. Granted I did work customer service so he called the 800#, but still, perhaps a little to stalkerish. Though I will admit had the rest of the story gone differently, I'd look back at that as romantic rather than red flagish. At the time, I didn't see it as a red flag, but I should have. Several of my friends had gotten married right out of college or were engaged and I had no prospects on the horizon, so I though what the hell. Why not take a chance. I generally learn my lesson after one time.

So anyways after that we exchanged phone numbers and began talking on the phone on top of emailing. After some time we were curious enough to meet, but I was never going to go meet a stranger by myself. He offered to come visit me. My friends were well aware of this and were on standby for the weekend in case it didn't go well. So I go to the airport to pick him up and what I had pictured in my head and what I picked up didn't quite match up. Do you remember how I said full head of hair and confident demeanor? The picture was clearly several years old, which I can deal with thinning hair, when someone carries them self with confidence. I knew in the first instance I saw him that I wasn't attracted to him. He looked as if he was 30lbs lighter than me dripping wet, which I've hung out with plenty guys my height or shorter, and they still weren't that lite. His shoulders were hunched over and he carried himself as if he was going to get rejected. Why did he even come?!?!

So I knew from that moment it was going to be a LONG weekend. Thank God for my friends! So that I didn't have to be alone with him much. And he stayed in a hotel, because I'm not an idiot. So it started off awkward and it just got worse from there. Want to know why? He kept fishing for complements! I'm happy to give a complement unsolicited if I believe it's deserved, but when someone is fishing for one, I won't even throw the fisher a bone. Perhaps that's how I added to the awkwardness that weekend. But I refused to give some BS "you're so great" when I didn't believe it. That's not to say he wasn't a nice guy. He really was, we just weren't a match and I knew it, I just felt bad for him and me both that we had to make it through the weekend. And I didn't know how to let him down easily. Perhaps it was because of immaturity, perhaps I was just chicken. Either way, the awkwardness still wasn't over.

This was because rather than accept it wasn't a match, he had to call me out on not biting while he was fishing. I think also on my friends being around the whole time. I suppose if that's what he was expecting, he deserved an explanation. But I didn't know how to be nice about it. Again either immaturity or chicken or both.

Anyways the weekend finally ended and I was glad to drop him off at the airport and send him on his way. I do remember feeling a little guilt because it wasn't cheap to fly out to see me and stay in a hotel etc. But, it was as much a risk on his part as it was on mine. And one shouldn't start a relationship based on guilt. I do hope he found a good match for him. My friends and I had a laugh about it for years. I hope he was able to laugh about it to. I never saw or spoke to him again after that. And I never ever ever was tempted to try online dating sites ever again. Though I know of people that it's worked for. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

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