online hating

vdayIt was only a month after the end of my relationship, but I said yes when the dude asked me out. Maybe because I was astonished—people DO that? It’s a thing that happens? A real thing? Where one person asks the other if they’d like to have an awkward meal together and then you both eat painfully slowly and save up bits of awful conversation to call up a friend and yell about as soon as you go your own ways? Weird.

No, I’m pretty sure I said yes because I don’t think I had ever been on a real first date, complete with real what-do-I-wear anxiety and a serious, considered decision about whether or not to shave my legs. And because I had just broken up with someone and felt wretched, wrecked, lonely, alone, uncharming and possibly alone forever and you can’t tell me different you don’t understand how I am more sad than anyone else on earth okay?

He was not my type, and I was so clearly not ready to date, with the dark under my eyes and the churning in my gut but I said yes anyway because I wanted to spend some time inside the idea that someone wanted me and wanted to spend time with me. I wanted drinks and food and a conversation. I wanted him to make me laugh.

He did. We were supposed to just have a drink and then go eat but we sat at the bar and we talked for two hours, maybe, and there were no lulls and it was one of those conversations that just go, straight-ahead and full-on and breathless and hilarious. He thought I was hilarious; we talked about Star Wars and—I don’t even remember. He had been in Brazil, maybe? He liked books or music. One of those. Possibly filmmaking.

He kept laughing at my jokes, anyway, and maybe that’s why when we stood up and he leaned down to kiss me, even though he wasn’t what I wanted to or who I wanted and this was nothing I had any business doing, I let him. I kissed him back, in the middle of the bar, and people slipped around us and I thought, what the hell am I doing?

But he kissed me and then he kissed me again it was nice to be kissed and his hands tightened around my waist and I thought, he wants me. So I let him kiss me in the middle of the bar like an asshole. I’ve always wanted to punch those douchebags in the kidneys, the ones who have Special Moments in the most egregiously awkward and visible place in the whole room, as if they have specially staked out the place and put down tape so they could make their marks for the most epic romance drama moment of all times. No one punched me in the kidneys but they ought to have.

We ate dinner slowly and closed down the place and when we left the restaurant it was misting and he started kissing me again. Oh romance! Oh drama! Oh, lack of kidney punching. What good are disapproving bystanders if they only stand by while they disapprove?

In the gentle rain and the soft glow of the Romance Streetlights we drifted down the sidewalk, tucked ourselves to the overhang of the building. I honest to god didn’t remember the last time I had made out with someone. I like making out. I think everyone should make out, all the time. All over the place. Everywhere, like bunnies if bunnies made out instead of reproduced madly. But it still wasn’t what I wanted so I kept my eyes closed and then I realized he was saying, “why don’t we go back to my car?” and then I realized that dating sucks because really dude? Yes, please lets go back to your car so I can what, clean out your glove compartment? I can do that. That’s not a euphemism. Get your hands off my ass.

I didn’t go back to his car, and later he texted me a few times and then he drifted away and it wrecked me. It wrecked me completely because—no, I didn’t want him. I just didn’t want to have fucked up, I guess. I didn’t want to have gone on a date and then have it end like some terrible romantic comedy where I sit in bed and eat a pint of Strawberry Lonely Chunks (call me, Ben and Jerry’s) with a spoon and cry on my unmade bed to my best girlfriend. I am not that girl. It is unpleasant to get even a little bit close to feeling like that girl.

Dating sucks. It has not gotten very much better. I didn’t go out with anyone until months later, and then I tried online dating. An extreme sports guy who kept his hat on during dinner and did all the talking; the blank-stare, acting-deaf guy who couldn’t seem to hear what I was saying and didn’t care, but spent a lot of time scanning my body up and down—and who, when I said automatically, “Talk to you soon!” as we were saying good bye, replied “You want to HANG OUT?” with an ears-ringing sting of incredulity.

The Bro with the baseball cap and the inability to make small talk—the guy who had texted me on February 14 and said he’d kiss me on the lips next year because I’d be his valentine then, and then got in a fight with me about women in sports. The beautiful guy who seemed perfect in really a ridiculous number of ways, who I saw a few times, who I had started to develop a crush on, who disappeared entirely. Who never explained exactly what happened. The guy who liked me so much, who I ought to have felt the same about but didn’t. I guess I was his disappearing act.

The guy with the black straw fedora, who chewed gum during dinner and snapped his fingers at the waitress. The guy who said all the right things but never bothered to make a move. The way too young guys who made me feel too old. The guy who said he was 5’9 but was actually some kind of elf. With whom I ended up in bed, unfortunately, because I am nothing if not the world’s greatest decision maker. Nothing was supposed to happen—he was just staying over. And nothing particularly happened, especially after he put his fingers where fingers DO NOT GO on a FIRST DATE. Especially unexpectedly and in the dark, for fuck’s sake. We texted briefly and then I realized I kind of hated him and his ass face.

I do not like dating. I hate online dating—which sucks because I thought it would be ideal. I like shopping online! I like writing! Online dating should be awesome! It is not awesome. I did not even get to make out with anyone really and I need to ask the universe where the fuck is the fairness in that? I get some kissy face and then boom fingers where there oughtn’t be any. I meet them and know them just a little bit, and they know me just a little bit or not at all, and it always ends up sadness.

That doesn’t seem right. Connection should be lovely, and important, and transformational. It shouldn’t make you go home and throw things around and stomp up the stairs and swear you’re never talking to anyone ever again.

I keep forgetting to deactivate my profile, and I keep getting messages that make me sorrow for the human race. From guys who see I’ve logged onto the site to look at them and without messaging them back. Who are angry that I’m ignoring them. Who, if I’m going to be really honest with you, I sometimes want to die in a fire. Okay, always. Always dead, always in a fire.

Right now, right now what I want to do is step back. I want to let things happen. I want things to happen, and I want to have hope, instead of anxiety, and happiness instead of worry that I’m doing things right, and know and be known instead of hoping having a drink together now means maybe someday we will totally have love babies. I want to believe and I’m going to say yes to things for the right reasons, and only to things that don’t suck, and figure that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. Because I am, in the end, probably not actually more sad than anyone else ever on earth.

  20 comments for “online hating

  1. Plin
    March 17, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    As someone who’s been doing the online dating thing on and off for eight years (!!!!), I totally agree. I hate everything about the whole process, which usually just makes me sad and leaves me feeling like a terrible, stuck-up elitist bitch.

    And I’ve also never made out with someone I met online.

  2. March 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    People have asked me, “Do you have an online dating profile,” and my answer is always a slightly nicer version of, “Dear god, no!” While I do have friends who’ve met their spouses on dating sites, nothing about the process appeals to me. Even though I have lovely friend types I’ve met online, I honestly would never consider online dating. Maybe it’s an old person’s fist-shaking dismissal/prejudice of kids today with their Internets, maybe it’s a huge laziness (I hear from the aforementioned kids it takes a lot of time and effort to do the online dating thing), perhaps it’s the knowledge that 99% of dudes I’m likely to meet would be uninteresting to me (much like a similar percentage of those I meet in real life). But, really, I do just think some things, for me, should be done the ye olde tyme way, and that includes dating. I think of it sort of how I met you, Jen–you’re in a place, you see someone who looks cool, you start chatting, you realize they’re kind of awesome… I like that process. Weeding through douchbags’ messages to me online to try and find a non-douche-y one, I don’t think I’d care for.

  3. Mia
    March 20, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Reading this brought me heartache & solace…I feel you one millionthousandhundred percent. Online dating sucks. The End.

  4. Scott
    March 20, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Dating in anyway shape or form SUCKS.

  5. Charlie Willey
    March 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I met my spouse online, dated for about two years, got married and I’m very happy. So it can work out, just like meeting someone anywhere else.

  6. Amy
    March 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Just keep writing!!!!! I haven’t loved anyone’s writing in so long. I thought something was wrong with me. Thank you!!!! Keep writing!!!!

  7. March 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I just discovered you and LOVE your writing! Can’t wait to read more!

  8. Riley
    March 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    I saw your article on Yahoo! and found your blog. Amazing writer. Loved every word! I have never read a blog I liked fully and completely before, and you are it. You are saying everything everyone else wants to say and feels, and you do it so well.

  9. Joan rich
    March 20, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Tell about the vomiting and limiting some of the things your eat.

  10. Rhiannon
    March 20, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Thank you for being just like me.

  11. Trudi
    March 21, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I just want to say, you’ve got to keep hoping, keep doing, keep loving.
    I met my husband on a website, but I really got to know him because he knew my best friend.
    He is the most amazing person ever, and I would not be with him if I hadn’t been through all the heartbreak first. I mean this. Truly, In my diary after our first meeting, I called him a “troll”
    But I look at him now and I see how handsome he is.

  12. March 21, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Ugh Online dating! First I have to define who I am and then what I want in a man. These are moving targets for me. Should I wait until I have it all figured out? Much better to meet on the street and they see something in you and you see something in them and I guess magic happens. Works for me but then I talk to everybody I meet so my odds are good.

  13. Paula
    March 21, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Thank you Jen!

  14. Paloma
    March 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Keep the faith. I met my spouse online & so did my brother. The first word I thought on our first date was “Maybe.” PS: Finished your book today. You are so brave. I wish I had the friends you have and the courage you display.

  15. March 22, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Being different then being thrust into the painfully normal crowd where the currents that not only push the many people around you into acting or behaving a certain way, forces you to do the same thing basically by indirect association just for social interaction. But you know this, most of the things that the people are going to say to you is very cliche, most times vexxing and problematic because its been said, its that they think other people would be expected to say, fuck that. Mouth Breathers…
    Anyway enough with that, Um, i hear Finland is awesome.

  16. hitxga
    March 22, 2013 at 4:48 am

    Dear skinny, pretty hipster girl who probably wouldn’t date me,

    Please stop whining. Just stop it. Stop it with the ironic anchor tattoos, stop it with the ironic oversized glasses, stop it with the ironic fake mustache, stop it with the ironic smirks … please just stop it.

    One reason why you could be finding interpersonal relationships so challenging is because the men you meet see a caricature and not a real person. Moreover, no one, no matter his body type, has a “perfect” life. The best any of us can hope for is a life that doesn’t suck as hard.

    yours,
    hitxga

  17. Vickie
    March 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Reading your book right now.

    Dating sucks in whatever form, either someone is ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’ of something or more often it is I who is. :-(

  18. March 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Dear everyone: Thank you! Maybe someday I’ll go back to online dating? So many people have success, like so many of you guys. But right now either Finland or hiding in bed sound like awesome options.

    Dear joan rich: here is the website for the surgery I got: http://www.duodenalswitch.com/

    Dear dude who thinks I probably wouldn’t date him: well NOW I certainly wouldn’t.

  19. Kitty
    March 25, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I used to suck at dating/online dating/whatever.. until I realized that it wasn’t them, it was me. They weren’t the problem, I WAS THE PROBLEM. The problem wasn’t that I was smarter, more intelligent, more fun, more caustic, more guarded, more wary, more pessimistic — it was that I walked in with rejection already in mind.

    When I decided to change my life, completely. Do fun things for me, take risks, see the world through childs eyes, and never take ANYTHING personally, my dating life changed. I walked into a date with happiness, joy, peace in my mind, and new eyes to everyone I met — the world and dates opened up in ways I could never have imagined. Each new person — a box to be unlocked, learned from and dare I say, cherished. Then every single date was a mystery, a fun event, an exciting opportunity. And then the world changed because I changed.

  20. Jon
    April 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I’ve tried on-line dating also with results ranging from all out weird (wtf) to an ok relationship that lasted over a year but ended with us still being friends. Since then I’ve had far more fun with a site called meetup.com its not a dating site but a site for people of similar interests to connect online and then do things off-line. Its from book clubs, sports groups to knitting and many like our local group that is a social meetup group. We do about anything as a group. From dinner out, sports and music events to coffee on a weekend. Sometimes 10-15 people show up other times its 2-3. Sometimes friendship or more develop out of the meetups.

    By the way I like reading blogs and think yours might be a new favorite. Its been awhile since I’ve found one so well written with a range of emotions.

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