The Spectre of Online Dating

It’s a new age of dating. I get that. I may not be all that comfortable with it, but I get it.

We’re in an era where I could Skype with that special someone over many, many miles. I’m horrible (mildly put) at long-distance relationships (LDRs) though. People need to be physically present in my life, or I have a tendency to… misplace… their existence. That’s not meant in a malicious way, rather I can focus on subjects so intensely I get distracted from the world around me.

Truth be told, making an online profile is the worst part of the ordeal. It’s a real chore, too. I have a hard enough time writing stories, let alone non-fiction. The non-fiction is just as odd. I’m odd, and my base model personality makes women nervous. There’s an American saying that goes along with my bad luck: shit happens. At least, that’s what Americans tend to think.

The bigger problem is that I’m way too honest. With dating, I’ve noticed over the years, there’s an element of deception. An overstated job title here, a stuffed bra there, and we’ve got two people who are now the romantic equivalent of used car salesmen. I’d only wish they’d dress the part. I haven’t seen a seersucker suit in years. What’s it gonna take to get you in this car today, gorgeous? *finger guns*

A few years ago, I braved OK Cupid for a valiant 6-month effort, until I found out all the people interested were simply looking for a male nanny to help raise their kid(s). Yes, I’m no longer 20 years old, but you’re transparent madam. I know you’d undermine me every step of the way. There was also the epiphany of me maintaining the account solely for the quizzes and questions. Hey! I like knowing I would be an oak, if I were a tree or my spirit animal’s a three-toed sloth. It’s entertaining. Thank you.

So, I ditched that.

On a particularly emotionally-wrenching Tuesday night, I tried putting myself through eHarmony. It was half-hearted, and I hate the use of children in their commercials*, but I wasn’t going to have hilarity and hijinks with Tinder. I went through the sliding scale of personality questions, and before I finished I got to the “about me” section. The part I dread. I always feel obligated to write this phony-baloney spiel about how I like long walks at dinner and candle-lit beaches. Then my mind spat out the description as only a love-weary Nate could:

Hey, I’m Nate. I’m not rich, nor do I look good in spandex. I’m a 34 year-old single guy who is going on 85. I’m sure you’re the model of poise, too. I hold lengthy conversations with myself, because it’s the best conversation I can find on most days. The small town I live in doesn’t hold academics or pop culture in the same regard as I do. Thus I’m often left reading in bars or coffee shops, instead of discussing riveting topics such as NASCAR or college football. I’ve taken to calling it handegg, after seeing an online argument for such, but many people aren’t on the handegg train yet. Also, sometimes I act like a New York City cabbie on the road and think Frisky Dingo was a better grown-up cartoon than Archer.

I’m not looking for a super heroine. Although, if you wanted to dress up for Comicon, I’d help you find the costume. I’m sure you have as many flaws as I do, but are probably too embarrassed to be forthright with them. I understand. However, I know it was you who farted when you tried blaming it on your pets. Liar, liar, pants on fire. After scarfing a bowl of chili like that, mine would be too.

I’m looking for a woman who doesn’t feel like society requires her to shave her legs. I know I don’t. You shave your legs, if it makes you feel better. I shave my face because I like it. If you want to walk around like Alice the Goon, I’m happy to aid and abet that too.

I stopped to reread what I had wrote in a stream of consciousness. It was riddled with so much genuine feeling, it felt good to get it out. However, after so many years of watching people date, I knew it wouldn’t get the time of day. I stopped typing and exited the window. That’s still way too heavy for me.

I don’t know. I’m probably better off being single.


* – The latest commercial stars the founder and his granddaughter. The whole commercial is forced, and gives off a feel of exploitation that I was never fond of. It’s the same feeling when school children are roped into selling magazine subscriptions. It all reeks of pandering.

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14 thoughts on “The Spectre of Online Dating

  1. laurasmess says:

    Internet dating. The whole idea is quite frightening. Even though I personally know a few people who have had success with such endeavours (three acquaintances who have found life partners through RSVP and eHarmony and one colleague who is in a relationship with someone I call ‘eHarmony guy’. I will reserve opinions on him) I still automatically feel apprehensive about the potentials for deception in an online profile. Like, people who upload photos taken 20 years ago (yep, I know one). People who, as you say, slightly tweak their job titles or descriptors in a self-important, dishonest manner. If I was in the dating game I’d much prefer a refreshing, oddball write-up like you created to the ridiculous ‘sunsets and walks on the beach’ garb. Plus, I think I know a girl who’d suit you perfectly… the only trouble is that she’s over here in Australia. Darn it. LDR? 😉

    • If you’ve ever heard the term “padding your resume,” then you’d follow why I call it such. Old photos, wordsmithing, all of that becomes a game of cloak and dagger. I understand completely why Hollywood does it, but everyday life? It’s the reason I don’t have a higher-paying job, too. I’m not a snake oil salesman. It pays to be one in love and money.

      Yeah, LDRs are just the roughest for me to maintain. Australian girls are very cool, but wow, that’s a lot of ground to cover. That is unless you were being waggish and this girl is a bit of a problem child?

  2. nicjor79 says:

    Back when eHarmony first started out I completed the personality profile, just out of curiosity more than anything. Their selling point at the time was that they wouldn’t suggest anyone for you if they weren’t a perfect match. Well, they had nobody for me. Nobody at all. I thought that was very honest of them, until I met several people who did find matches there that were a more than a little less than perfect. So I guess the jury’s out on that one.

    • That happened to my friend Devin about five years ago. He tried to laugh it off, but I knew that put a hole in his boat. I’m not entirely sure how eHarmony’s logarithm works, but I often wonder how they code things. Just how reliable IS that thing?

  3. Internet dating sucks.

    Dating sucks.

    It is like writing words that are rejected and rejected and rejected. If I give up, no one will ever say yes.

    Remember that and post your write-up. It’s very good, Nate, and written to suss out the kind of lady you seek.

    • Does this mean I include the part where I pretend my car’s a fighter plane in a traffic jam and gun down all of the MiGs in front of me? It helps if Kenny Loggins’s “Danger Zone” is playing on the radio.

  4. I’m not an expert, but my guess is that honesty is not an intrinsic part of on line dating, Nate.:-)

  5. Irini says:

    So I can find you here again my friend! It is so great!
    So here is my comment about lone riders.
    After being married for 21 years I can say for sure that even in a marriage you “need” to be a lone rider sometimes (if you want to keep your identity alive, otherwise your identity is lost).
    So, it is so nice to find you again my friend. I have missed your straight forward writing you know 🙂
    Best regards,

    • Greetings from America, Irini! I needed to leave the forum, as it no longer fit me. I’m glad you were able to find this place. I have plenty of stories in my archives. Please, take a look around. 🙂

      Often times I wonder how conducive to a romantic relationship I am, after all I’ve been through. I’ve been single for so many years, I get concerned that it’s a fool’s errand or otherwise waste of time.

  6. kerbey says:

    I thought the write-up was fine; it’s more honest than “making love at midnight in the dunes of a cape.” It’s a shame “frisky dingo” is taken bc that would be a great online name for you. I jumped through all the eharmony hoops over 8 yrs ago, but also did not find someone there. Not even close. But then again, we went to a party on Sunday, and there was a couple there who met online, now expecting their 2nd child together. I found mine at church only bc I was ready to be a church wife instead of a bar wife, which is where I met my ex. Will your future date need to be able to tolerate the fumes of stain and varnish?

  7. angela says:

    wish more of the profiles were honest…last go round I did match and posted the most horrific, red flag bitchy post I could think of with ALL flaws (well, couple left out) – can you believe there were takers even without a picture? oy! I never did go through with one meet-up – too much drama in the unveil of what is not real. Personally, don’t think geography matters that much – I’m in small city, and it is still tough to find cerebral hook-ups (well, that, and I’m older than you are) good luck!

    • I think many men run online dating operations for the wrong reason. It’s way too focused on self-gratification, and that’s why I think you still got responses even though your profile was meant to scare people away. The whole concept of dating is for a more permanent relationship. Otherwise, it’s mere party and play. I’m inclined to think many people would just like someone to call their own rather than sample the entire buffet.

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