Tuesday, November 03, 2009

OkCupid, Draw Back Your Bo-oo-ow

In lieu of having game, I’m trying to be game for things I would normally spout so many excuses to get out of I’d sound like a round of Family Feud: Avoidant Personality Edition.

Case in point: meeting a dude from OkCupid in person, which I did on Sunday night. After a series of good messages and excellent texts (and in the name of “putting myself out there,” a phrase that I hate with every angry molecule of my heart) I agreed to meet this guy for a drink and a Connect-4 showdown.

It didn’t go particularly badly. I had a good time, given my intense fear of awkward pauses in conversation, making small talk in general, even successful small talk, with someone I don’t know, meeting someone who only knows me from photos and text messages, and the loathsome possibility of being attracted to a guy who is not attracted to me because I am convinced that the guy can tell. But I was brave (not, you know, going to war brave, but brave for me). I wore a new dress and I think looked good: a group of drunk middle-aged women stopped me outside the bar and made me take off my iPod to tell me I looked “presh,” to which I responded “What?” and they repeated, “Presh! Precious! Cute! So presh.” I was hit on twice while waiting for the guy (three times if you count the old man who tried to sniff my hair on the way to the shuttle bus near my house). All signs pointed to being at least somewhat alluring to the cosmos at large. And, I’d like to repeat, I had a good time.

This is why it took me a while to figure out why I felt a little bit like crying when I left.

I’ve narrowed it down to three things. Number one, sheer exhaustion. Worrying for three straight days beforehand takes a toll. We parted ways with a one-armed hug and no further plans and, for the degree of nervous I feel before I do something like this, a plain old decent night feels like I failed.

Number two, this particular guy was dreamy. Like, the kind of dreamy guy that I am constantly hoping will get in line behind me at the grocery store so I can stand there and think about striking up a conversation about our shared penchant for the Luscious Lemon flavor of hummus, but not, because, you know, look at him. The kind that I imagine dates suitably dreamy tall girls in high-waisted skirts with long dark brown hair and bangs that lay flat. (I’m not sure how Charlotte Gainsbourg became my mental foil, but she is.) If it wasn’t for the internet acting as a friendly interloper on my behalf, this guy and I would never have spoken. I know I’m good written down. I’m can be awesome via text. But in person, these dreamy guys—well, let’s just say that most of the time it’s easier to watch them from the other end of the bar and imagine magic than try to make it happen.

Magic in general is number three, and that’s the big one. I don’t consider myself to be much of a romantic at all until I try something like meeting someone from the internet, the most logical of all possible interactions, and then spend the night psychically willing fireworks to explode. It’s like doodling hearts and flowers around the Periodic Table of Elements and calling it a valentine. I don’t want a guy to buy my drinks or pay my way into the movies. I can hardly take a compliment. I truly do not want to be dote upon or sweet nothinged. I thought this meant that I was the kind of person who could get into the mathematical matchmaking of online dating, you know, take comfort in algorithms and percentages that reduce the chance that you’ll hate each other.

As it turns out, chance is the one thing I love more than anything about love. I know that I live in a world where less than three signifies affection, not two, and I’m willing to text right along with everyone else into our technologically bizarre future--right up until the point where it takes away the promise that the next train car holds a meeting that can change my life. I’m not gonna give up flirtations I’ve imagined taking place over unripe avocados in the produce aisle, or in elevators descending from a floor high enough to permit conversation and a meaningful exchange of glances.

I guess it just boils down to the fact that I haven't ever done much of the love stuff, and I'm willing to swallow unattended dances and a dateless prom night and a decidedly single four years of college and twenty-six years of valentines from my mom and my friends if I can just not date like I'm taking a standardized test.

And I know, I know, it’s dumb and cheesy and a lot to ask and idiotic to wait around for and I feel like a vagina for even talking about it, but it’s the one stupid thing I want, to be surprised, to come back from the bodega with my two-liter of Diet Coke and a date with a guy I’ll come to find out liked the Smashing Pumpkins back when I liked the Smashing Pumpkins, a fact I’ll learn while drinking a beer together and not because I read it in his likes and dislikes.

And yes, maybe he continues to like Rage Against The Machine, which is a drawback, but means far more than being told we are 4% enemies.


Blogger Mr. Kit said...

More please! Love your work.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Thanks! I'm not sure what to write about though. Requests? Ideas? I'm stumped.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Mr. Kit said...

- Which current hipster trend do you find douchiest?
- Adventures in publishing.
- Whatever happened to that book you were writing that takes place all in one night?
- I personally miss Hot Dad... so maybe you could track him down and engage in some kind of torrid affair which you would then blog about in graphic detail. I like this idea best.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous stupidboy said...

Yes to all the ideas above please. I'm always wondering about your book and Hot Dad. I miss your train commute stories.
Some book recommendations? How about "Books I loved when I was 12"? Did you have Point Horror and all those Christopher Pike books? It seemed incredible to me that students would drive to school. In their own cars!

6:05 AM  
Blogger snarkyandy said...

I would also like to hear about Thanks/Friendsgiving.
Also, K, I know I'm slipping into Lawn Guyland mom territory here, but I'd like to see you give this guy a chance. Maybe it's just because I'm trying to validate the fact that my own dating life happens entirely on the internet, but I also feel like you can't really argue with dreamy. You just can't.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've only read about a dozen of your posts, so I don't know too much of your history. I did read that you used to be overweight, and didn't date in high school.

I like your writing and find it enjoyable. And I want to wish you good luck in your pursuits on the dating front.

I didn't see anywhere in your blog that you were asking for any advice, but nonetheless I want to offer some anyway. Understand that I know that this based on limited information and could be way off base.

I have a few guidelines in my life that help me, and I view them as truths because they are, yet you might not find them to be. One rule that has helped me a lot is:

"In life you can get what you want, or you can bitch about not getting what you want, but not both."

I think that what you are doing is like looking for a job when you first graduate from college and expecting to be hired as the president of a company, and being disappointed when you aren't.

It sounds like you didn't date much growing up. Now your expectations probably seem reasonable to you. There's a problem with that. Because you don't have the dating experience, you have probably missed out on your share of bad dating experiences. I know that may seem strange, but think about it. Do you think most people reach the age of 27 without a substantial base of bad dating experiences. No, most people have had a ton of bad dating experiences by that age. I think you are trying too hard to avoid those bad experiences. The five year old daughter of a good friend of mine learned to ski and skied fearlessly down the slope because she was unaware of how badly she could be hurt. Just like a teenager dating. I learned to ski as an adult, and because I was hypersensetive to the risk, I skied slowly and timidly. I think your dating is too much like that. I would know that, because my situation was somewhat like yours for a different reason. I dated little in high school, got married at age 18 to the first woman I dated, and stayed married to her until I was age 36. When I started dating at that age, without experience, it was very tough.

It's not that you need to seek out bad dating experiences, but you need more bad dating experiences. For that you need to be receptive to signs of interest from almost any male, even though he might be far below your expectations, as long as he does not appear to represent some type of danger. Think of it as building up your dating muscles.

If you try to only date reasonably qualified candidates, you will really delay your process. I'm not suggesting that you marry, or even long-term date people who do not meet your expectations, but you need to go on dates with them. Only then will you learn what you really want in a relationship, and what's really important or not. Without that bad experience you simply don't know what's really important versus things you only think are important. You may think you've had enough bad experience already, and perhaps you have, but probably not.

In any case, I wish you the best of luck.

1:11 AM  
Blogger Mr. Kit said...

What sage advice... blerg.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Rachel CJ said...

Um...I think I heart you. :)

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Esoteric Articles said...

No offence, but the main reason you probably do poorly in regards to dating is that your dream is an unfair dream. Not every man can be a dreamy, successful, powerful Mr. Darcy type and if a man like that comes along, he is going to date dreamy, successful, powerful model type women.

Why do you expect that these 'great' men should want you when you dont want men who likely have similiar qualities as you do? If they merely behave like you, they won't be particularly interested in you.

I know you probably will not like hearing this, but it seems obviously true to me after reading your post.

6:01 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Instead of arguing with you about you being an asshat, I'm going to say thank you! You're my first official hater.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Esoteric Articles said...

While you did not necessarily argue, you did essentially call me an Asshat in a sneaky sort of way.

Anyway, I was just saying what you needed to hear so you should be thanking me. If I hated you, I would have just been quiet and let you continue failing or just made a post laughing at you.

2:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my best friend met his wife online after a 16 year-long relationship exploded. i met my husband by chance and got to know him online and on the phone. both my amigo and i struggled with the fact that the first step, the hardest part of first finding and then being with someone new, is being willing to open your heart. i'm still dreamy in what sound like many of the same ways you are. i believe in magically falling in love with someone who isn't perfect, but is perfect for you. yes, life is harder for smart, funny women than it ought to be, but i hope you can stay strong and stay hopeful

12:48 AM  

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