Monday, January 19, 2009

Online MATCHmaking

I wrote this entry a few days ago, but didn't post it immediately because I wanted to think about it a bit first. Then something happened and I got really angry. I'm still angry about the situation, but I've calmed down. I just wish people would stop telling me what I need. These people aren't my family, friends who know me very well, or even other bloggers who've read this blog for years and know my deepest, darkest secrets. I've just gotten a lot of unsolicited advice lately. Even though they don't know about the existence of this blog, I'm going to direct this to them:
You don't know what the fuck you're talking about. You don't know me, and you don't have Clue 1 what I need. You've confused what you want with what you think I need. The next time you catch yourself saying, "You need to..." I want you to stop. Change that sentence to, "I want for you to..." That's almost like asking me what I want. It's almost listening to me when I'm speaking. It's close enough for me right now and the best I can expect from you.

It looks so easy on TV, doesn't it? You just log into a website, answer a few questions, and beautiful people come streaming down the intarwebs at you faster than you ever imagined. They all love you right away and can't wait to begin a lifelong, trusting relationship with you. And even if you don't fork over your credit card details, it's okay to look.

Well it ain't that easy, I tells ya. Especially if you're like me, an average guy with average looks (like hell, you say!), who suffers from seasonal depression and social anxiety. The social anxiety is relatively new, but if you've ever met me in person, count yourself among the lucky. (Ed. note: Clearly the ego is not affected) I'm not an agoraphobe because I enjoy going out, either alone or with known associates. It's interacting with less-well-known people that makes me extremely uncomfortable. I've been to a couple of blog/internet group meets and it's always the same: I have this uncontrollable urge NOT to go, starting in my gut and making me nauseated. Feeling gassy is not the best way to start a date, let me tell you. But I tell myself to suck it up, be a man, and go through with it, which I usually do and I usually manage to have a good time. Whether or not my companions have a good time is hardly in question. I cannot imagine that they do not.

In September and October of last year, I threw caution to the wind and was a paying member of a dating site. I had created a profile on this site YEARS ago, with the intent of just looking, but I felt like I needed to do something proactive. I rewrote my profile and refined my search parameters, but was still nervous about taking the next step. I took a leap, entered my credit card number, and began sending emails to strangers. I got very few responses, however. Of the roughly dozen emails I sent to prospective young ladies, I got two responses. (I'll tell you about those later.) Online matchmaking is a bit of a numbers game, and one can't always wait for one connection to fail before making another potential connection. For one thing, you're paying for this service, regardless of how much or how little you use it. On the bright side, I was also receiving unsolicited emails initiated by other women. To tell the truth, the majority of them weren't people that I felt fit my criteria for being a good match. But just as I wanted a personal response for the emails I sent, I felt I owed personal responses for those sent to me. Two of the emails sent to me were from women worth considering, so I struck up conversations and eventually met them. (I'll tell you about those later, as well.)

I guess I'm giving away the endings to those stories to say that it's a new year and I've just re-activated my profile. I rewrote my "ad" again, making it much shorter and more concentrated on me, and I've already made for myself a couple of introductions. I'll have to get back to you, but I'll let you know how it goes.


At 11:54 PM, Blogger Jammie J. said...

I often have the same feeling before going to meet people. Admittedly, not dating, because that would be very, very bad for my marriage. But, yeah, putting an introvert in public with people without a computer? That's tough. Why do you think I bring along my camera? It's not for the photo ops, it's because it's a mini-computer that I can hide behind. :P

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Zelda said...

I don't envy you the current dating scene. I always imagine what it would be like to have to do it again if I were unfortunately widowed (I try to have a contingency plan for everything - at least in my head) and I always end up taking the veil and a vow of silence but not chastity. Hmmmmmm.

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Network Geek said...

You need to get laid.

Please, apply your opening paragraph to that.

Also, I totally feel your pain, as I'm in about the same boat. Only, those people behind the search results e-mails from the dating service I used to subscribe to haven't broken my will. Yet. Those bastards.

At 10:08 AM, Blogger tinyhands said...

J- Excellent implied suggestion, by the way. On my next first date, I'll bring a camera and just take pictures of her all night instead of making conversation. THANKS!

Z- Your contingency plan could always include just cruising the art school for young studs and then tying them up with your veil.

NG- Why Jim, I had no idea you felt that way about me. Am I blushing? :)

(I'm going to chronicle as much as I safely/anonymously can. We should compare notes sometime.)

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Zelda said...

Not many studs at art school, young or otherwise.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger mellancollyeyes said...

I feel you on the social anxiety issue. That's basically my entire life for the last 5 years or so and it's only gotten worse as time has gone on. I always think that I'd just rather not go and try to figure out some plausible excuse to get out of whatever it is that I am supposed to be attending. I've even gotten to the point now where I don't like talking to the pizza delivery guy on the phone. And like you, I'm not agoraphobic--I just have a select circle of people w/ whom I care to interact.


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