DEPT: The Market
AUTHOR: O.D.D. Girl
ISSUE: Summer 2013
“AFTER DEALING WITH THE BIGGEST ONLINE FROG TO DATE, O.D.D. GIRL DECIDES TO TAKE A BREAK FROM THE ONLINE DATING WORLD.”
In my last column, I made a vow that I would be honest with myself, specifically about what I wanted: more of a relationship and less casual dating. I would stop going along with what the guy wanted, which always seemed to end up with me being a doormat or a best friend. With that in mind, I decided to vocalize what I was looking for (and not looking for) when the next guy came around.
Then along came Brandon (not his real name).
I met Brandon online and went on a couple of dates with him. From the beginning, I was brutally honest: 1) He wasn’t going to sleep with me right off the bat, and 2) I wasn’t going to take on the role of his therapist. With that in place, it was fun getting to know him through texts and drinks, exchanging stories about growing up in our respective hometowns, and work adventures. Then out of nowhere, he laid a stink bomb on me: He was suicidal, possibly a borderline personality, with a lot of baggage, and would make the worst boyfriend ever. He started to unpack every dark secret he’d ever harbored while I just sat there looking dumbfounded the entire time. I thought maybe we could just be friends, but he began to act possessively and it got to the point where I almost had to dial 911 while at work. Thankfully, we drifted apart before it escalated any further.
There was one thing about Brandon that stuck with me: He had asked me why I chose to continue dating online when there simply weren’t any quality men online. I realized that I had hit a slump and needed to take a break from online dating. I had grown too comfortable with how convenient it was. And as soon as I got offline, I discovered I wasn’t the same person I was nine months ago when I had started actively using an online dating profile.
In fact, one of the most important things I learned from online dating was the power of withholding information. In addition to my concealed face, I kept a bare-bones profile on the dating site — and it attracted a lot more men than I would’ve imagined. There are plenty of dating articles that tell us how men love the chase — this idea of acquiring information is just a part of that. Now, when I meet new guys, I’m social, but I don’t give out too much personal information.
Regardless, going back to the “real world” wasn’t very different. In fact, I started recognizing some of the guys who had messaged me on the dating site at actual events. While initially it was alarming to be in such close proximity to them (even though they didn’t realize it was me), I relished in the realization that some of their personalities were very different from their online profiles. Of course, all this means is that online dating has become very normal. It hasn’t replaced meeting people in real life, but it may impact our dating patterns.
I tell you, though — I wasn’t offline for very long. After three weeks, I went back to the dating site. Since Brandon, I’ll admit I’ve become numb. I’m starting to develop an attitude where I don’t care how my dating escapades turn out. A girlfriend pointed out that because I had only been in love once in my life, right after college, the online dating experience probably made me even more jaded. Which made me think about my dating style: Should I continue with the serial dating and risk becoming more jaded? Or is it better to date a lot less, but risk not developing a love life?
Until next time. — O.D.D. Girl