I want love.
There, I said it. I am putting it out in the universe and broadcasting it on the world wide web. I want can’t live without you, cuckoo for cocoa puffs, lost my fool head love. I want, as my favorite author Cheryl Strayed has called it, “hot monkey love.” I am very clear on what I want and what I deserve, and I’ll settle for nothing less. I’ll be honest, though, I am not as clear on how to get it.
But I am getting clearer on how not to get it, and that, my friends, is online dating. Not for the faint of heart, online dating is a beast all its own. I know, I know. Thousands of couples have met online and they are so very happy with their fairytale ending. So I am not entirely excluding it, but I must tell you with all sincerity, it is kind of ridiculous. Let me tell you why.
Online dating attracts an unusually large number of socially inept people (author of this essay excluded). The normal social expectations do not apply, because there is a layer of protection (a computer screen and accompanying virtual anonymity) between the two interested parties. Therefore, it seems to be perfectly acceptable to declare your every thought without reservation. While this sounds freeing, it can actually be quite appalling. It’s like everyone online has a frontal lobe injury.
The other noteworthy phenomenon of online dating is that it is almost entirely visual. It’s like paging through the Sears catalog of desperate human beings, and even the most intellectually sophisticated browser (author of this essay, for example) succumbs to the two-second assessment of someone’s relationship worthiness. For someone like myself – attractive enough in my own right, but so much more appealing in person when I can add charm, wit and intellect to my physical self – it all falls short. I’m so much better in person. I haven’t figured out how to bring my sassy, most beautiful self to life online.
Outside of all of this, the final truth remains: There are a bunch of sad, lonely weirdos out there and the pickins seem slim. Don’t believe me? Here are a few of my favorite online dating stories. I swear to you with every fiber of my being, they are all true.
Exhibit A: “I have one children.” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, someone actually declared this on their online profile. Let’s say it again, just to let it all sink in: “I have one children.” Now, I know I am a grammar, punctuation and spelling snob. I’m an aspiring writer, what do you expect? But come on. I cannot, for the life of me, fathom how this sentence came to be. My best guess is that this person originally wrote something along the lines of “I have ten children,” decided ten children would scare away any quality woman, changed “ten” to “one” and forgot about the rest of the sentence. There is no other plausible explanation.
Exhibit B: “The Pussinator.” The Pussinator has almost become folklore among my group of friends. When setting up an online profile, everyone picks a screen name. Most people pick something silly or benign or uninspired. But this man – a man who is apparently not afraid to boast of his superhero bedroom talents – decided his screen name would be The Pussinator. Needless to say, I did not “like” his profile. I read it, though, because I wanted to know who on earth would give himself this name. I tried to imagine introducing The Pussinator to my family. I tried to imagine writing out a heartfelt Valentine’s Day card to The Pussinator. I tried to imagine waking up next to The Pussinator on a lazy Sunday morning and getting up to make him eggs. While I ultimately concluded The Pussinator and I weren’t right for each other, I will say this: We never even met, but he gave me a great story. No, dear Pussinator…it was never meant to be. Your crass ways forced me to move on to Raininmymouth and Lovetofuck69.
Exhibit C: “D*** Pic Guy.” D*** Pic Guy has one glaring problem, and it’s not what you think. D*** Pic Guy is lacking in patience. He doesn’t know how to play the game, or if he does, he doesn’t care to. It is noteworthy that D*** Pic Guy isn’t just one guy – he’s everywhere. A precursory clue you might have encountered D*** Pic Guy is by the “abdomen-only” or “dude in a hot tub” or “naked save for a towel selfie in the bathroom mirror” photos. A second clue D*** Pic Guy is lurking around is his instantaneous suggestion to move the conversation off of the online dating profile to an Instant Message chat forum like Yahoo. The final, most telling clue you are chatting with D*** Pic Guy is when – you guessed it – he sends you a photo of his junk. I don’t mean the junk in his garage or the junk in his basement. I mean his junk. The first (and proudly, only) time this happened to me, I believe my response was something like this: “Gah! What the???!!!” And with that, I promptly slammed shut my laptop screen. But then I opened it and looked again, because I’m human. But here’s the thing, D*** Pic Guy: I don’t want to see that until we’ve at least shared some lettuce wraps at P.F. Chang’s. Please make a note of it.
It’s not so easy out there for a single girl like me. There is much to overcome. So until I find what I am looking for – a steaming hot, hilarious, unpretentious but possibly independently wealthy Mensa member (who furthermore understands when it is necessary to use the Oxford comma), I will be patiently waiting. And looking online for more material.