I had nothing but the best of intentions when I sat down to write this post. I was even going to write about something important (i.e., five new shark species being included in CITES). Then I remembered a conversation I had with some homies last Friday in which they pestered me to write an entry about online dating. So, because I would do anything for my loyal fan base (all five of you), I figured I could accommodate their wishes. And this means that the sharks—which (needless to say) reign far supreme to my non-existent love life—will be the topic of my next post instead, once I’ve had a bit of time to go over some of the finer points regarding last week’s listing.
One of my closest friends, Caitlin—whose judgment and advice I would trust with my life (seriously)—recommended that I give online dating a shot after she’d had some success. I was incredibly skeptical. Mostly because, despite the fact that Cait and I do see eye to eye on most things, we are very different people when it comes to our views on men and relationships. Thus I assured her that I would have absolutely zero success in the realm of online dating.
My main reasoning was as follows:
- I prefer to meet people in a natural setting, under spontaneous circumstances, without any preconceived notion of how the evening is supposed to turn out;
- I’m actually quite content with the benefits and freedoms of being single and don’t feel remotely desperate to be in a relationship just for the sake of being in a relationship;
- I don’t have a normal work schedule and this can be difficult for people to understand. I also have absolutely no idea where I’ll be in a year (both geographically and career-wise) and don’t want to get involved with someone only to tell them I’m moving to Scandinavia in six months to do my PhD;
- While unsuccessful thus far, I tend to only get into relationships that I can see lasting indefinitely (i.e., I’m about as far from a serial dater if ever there was one);
- Although very easy going in many aspects of my life, I’m incredibly picky when it comes to men.
She said I was just making excuses. And also something about my personal mantra of not judging things before trying them…
So, in September 2011, I joined POF. What an experience. Let’s just say that it didn’t last long. But, after some prompting from Cait, and her suggestion that I join something more legit, I signed up for eHarmony last November. I will say that this site takes its shit seriously. 582 personality questions and a Cohen Commission Report’s worth of character traits later and it seemed satisfied that I was taking things seriously too. And I was ready for whatever it could throw at me. For six months. (I honestly figured that if I couldn’t meet someone through online dating in half a year then, really, I could say that I’d given it my best. And I knew it would give me some excellent conversation pieces as well…)
Although my attitude toward the whole process may seem somewhat flippant, I guarantee that I am totally genuine and open-minded when I go on dates. I feel that’s only fair. I get a lot of messages, but trust that if it gets to the “let’s have coffee/ dinner/ movie” stage, I actually do want to meet these guys. All told, I’ve probably gone out with a dozen different ‘matches’ from POF and eHarmony combined; which I think is pretty impressive, especially given any of my aforementioned points and my general skepticism regarding searching for a partner in the same way I would search for a discontinued pair of running shoes. Alas, the following are my three medalists in the e-Dating Olympics. (Names have been changed, experiences are legit, scoring is based 100% on overall performance).
This guy pretty much wouldn’t leave me alone until I agreed to go on a date with him. My rather generic profile answers had somehow convinced him that were soulmates, which I found absolutely fascinating. Anyway, he thought it would be fun if we met up for sushi and then hit up the sauna at YYoga. (For anyone who read my first post, you’ll know that these are pretty much my two favourite things in the entire world, so I was practically giddy at the thought of having them both in one evening. With a complete stranger. Who accidentally drunk dialled me the night before our date.) More concerning however, is that his strange suggestion essentially led to two days of me trying to figure out who in their right mind would choose to spend a first date eating heaping rice rolls and then go sit in a sweltering room surrounded by yogis to digest. And what should I wear? Was it a naked sauna? Do those even exist in Canada? Would they at least give me a towel? Was a bikini appropriate? Who the fuck wants to wear a bikini after dinner at The Eatery? Anyway, despite my intention to just cancel the whole thing, my curiosity won out (as usual). So I packed my one and only lululemon yoga bra and shorts combo and headed off to hell dinner.
I now know that if a guy ever invites me to sushi and then a sauna, he’s either gay or gay. OK, maybe not true, but River was absolutely not my type. Mistake #1: he ordered dinner for me. Not ordered with my input, but actually chose what I was going to eat. For the record, this is not cool for me (or probably for any post-Elizabethan woman) in any restaurant, much less a sushi bar. Mistake #2: instead of trying to carry on an actual conversation, he proceeded to spend the majority of our meal analyzing and critiquing my mannerisms: e.g., “the way that you’re holding your hand by your face to hide that you’re blushing indicates that you sense a mutual attraction but are too shy to admit it.” He interspersed these delightful philosophic interludes with bites of spicy tuna roll and painfully overdone compliments: e.g. “You’re very adorable.”/ “You have gorgeous teeth”/ “Your eyes have mine mesmerized.” I wish I was kidding. (And, just in case someone who doesn’t know me reads this, know that there’s not a shy bone in my body. In all likelihood, whatever he interpreted as shyness was probably just my attempt at covering my mouth to suppress the projectile vomiting that his ridiculous running commentary was threatening to induce.)
The sauna experience was as awkward as anticipated and constitutes Mistakes #3 through #47. The lovely girl at the YYoga counter asked if I wanted a towel. Oh, thank God. Yes, please. (I pretty much got a facecloth, so I’m glad I went with the lululemon combo.) As luck would have it, there were people already in the sauna. However they somehow missed my looks of desperation and left about five minutes after we went in. Things got even more awkward when River started to try and get…intimate…and I honestly couldn’t get out of there fast enough. As mentioned previously, yoga isn’t my thing, so when he further suggested that we join one of the upcoming classes, I pretty much bolted like Seabiscuit in the Santa Anita.
Mitch showed up over forty minutes late. I really only stayed because I was enjoying my book and it was absolutely pouring outside. (I also kind of hoped he’d just bailed altogether.) Still, the amusement I continue to retain from the subsequent nine and a half minutes was well worth the wait.
8:43- Mitch shows up.
8:43 to 8:51- Mitch and I partake in the most boring conversation about Vancouver weather over the most rapidly consumed lattès in the history of Starbucks.
8:51- Mitch offers to drive me home.
8:51:10- I politely decline.
8:51:15- Mitch suggests we go back to his place.
8:51:20- I politely decline.
8:51:25- Mitch tells me he has a buddy who works at the Motor Hotel on Main. He can get us a room for half price. Would I rather go there?
8:51:30- I politely decline and get up to leave.
8:52- We exit Starbucks and Mitch pulls me into a dramatic embrace and sticks his tongue in my mouth.
8:52:30- I tell Mitch to fuck off.
All in all, I’m sure Mitch was a nice guy. We just had two very different expectations on how the evening was going to go. There was no second date.
Gold: Matt (incidentally, my first ever date with someone I met online so I think it’s nothing short of miraculous that I even bothered to give the process another shot.)
Matt and I went rollerblading. I thought this was a pretty nice activity choice since I’m very good at rollerblading. In fact, I was substantially better than he was. But I didn’t judge; you have to start somewhere. We skated all around Kits for probably close to two hours. And, although we really didn’t have a lot in common (he was in the construction/ home refurbishing business), our conversation was decent. Well, I did seriously question his intelligence when he asked me if I saw jaguars and giraffes in Morocco, but aside from that, no glaring issues. He even showed interest in my fisheries research. When we got back to my house he used some lame building structure excuse to see the inside, which I indulged, but it went no farther than that and ended on a positive note. Or so I thought.
Because I was raised properly, I always try to show appreciation when someone spends their time with me or does something nice for me. This holds true even for good friends and people I already know (e.g. Caitlin, my fisheries colleagues, &c.). So, before I went to bed, I sent Matt a very nice text thanking him for a good evening. I don’t even think I mentioned anything about wanting to see him again, but that’s beside the point. The following morning I got this response:
I woulve responded last nite but u lied about ur weight. u aren’t as skinny as in ur profile pix.
I won’t really go into all the thoughts that ran through my head at that moment, but for the record, let me just say that they weren’t exactly diplomatic. And, while I don’t feel like I remotely need to justify it, for people who believe that numbers are the Holy Grail in determining a person’s acceptability as a human, know that I’m just under 5’9” and I weigh 142 lbs. So, I’m definitely not fat. Not even overweight. However, for some reason, I actually felt like I had to explain myself to this fucktard. I replied:
I listed my body type as ‘average’ on my profile and all my pics have dates on them.
I quickly got back: Yeah well howd u like it if i said i was 6’3” and showed up and i was really only 5’4”. thats flase advertising.
Oh, so we’re going to continue this are we? Fine then. I’ll stoop to your level. While simultaneously maintaining respect for proper English grammar and punctuation. Thus I quipped:
Well I’m sorry that I am not the super model you were anticipating.
No, actually I’m not sorry. Because you’re the reason teenage girls have eating disorders, and why beautiful, smart, kind, funny women of all ages have self-confidence issues, and the reason that good guys get a bad rep. And, just a little personal FYI: you’re wearing a hat in all your profile pics. And you wore a hat last night. That’s because, like it or not, you’re going bald. And trying to hide it. And you know what? That’s actual false advertising. But, if you were a nice guy, I wouldn’t have cared. Unfortunately, you’re not. On the bright side, I can lose weight if I want, but you can’t change your genetics. So you should probably buy some more hats cause you’re gonna need them.
And, just because it had been bothering me, I added: Oh, and by the way, there are no fucking jaguars in Morocco.
I didn’t hear back. But needless to say, despite my somewhat whippy retorts, I was actually quite hurt by this encounter.
Of course I know that not all guys (in fact, not many that I have met) are cruel, shallow dickheads. And I feel incredibly lucky to have several awesome guy friends in Vancouver (and around the world) who treat me like gold, and whose company never lets me down. But I am human, and given certain life experiences, this one asshole probably affected me more than he should have. Anyway, that’s that, and (as mentioned previously) it took some solid convincing to get me back into the online dating scene. And naturally, I went in with a much more skeptical approach, which likely made things harder for both myself and the guys I encountered. Nonetheless, the above experiences and pretty much all my experiences from eHarmony (although they weren’t all bad) have made me realize that online dating is definitely not for me. And, while I have several more thoughts on the matter, I won’t get into any additional commentary on love and men and relationships right now, because that’s all probably quite boring to everyone else, and also quite personal. So it will have to wait for another time.
On a cheerful note: sharks, CITES, sun, weekend! Oh, and hopefully someone else will enjoy this fantastic “How To” film on asking a girl on a date. In fact, it’s unfortunate that none of the aforementioned guys saw it.
Bikes, weenie roasts, sports…women’s rights and all that aside, I actually think I’d do pretty great with a guy from the ’50s. Now, where to get a DeLorean…