Though I, like all good Millenials, know that I am a special snowflake, I have not allowed this obvious truth to delude me into believing that I excel at all things. I know where my talents lie–writing, editing, passive aggression–but I also know areas in which I have little to no talent: organized team sports, basic (and not-so-basic) math, putting together fashionable outfits.
But if there is any area of life in which I have shocking lack of talent, it is getting dates.
To make things simple (see: lack of math talent), let’s assume I have encountered 1000 boys/men I would consider, in the most inclusive sense, dateable (i.e., single and interested in women) during my dating years (which we will say started in sixth grade). That was September of 2001, meaning I am 13.5 “dating years” old at this point.
I dare you to guess how many people I encountered in real life in those 13.5 years asked me out on a date.
(No cheating. Keep your eyes on your own papers.)
ONE. One person–one. person.–in thirteen and a half Godforsaken years met me in a normal, not-meant-to-find-romantic-partners setting, saw me, and thought, “Yes, I would like to take that girl out on a date, and I shall ask her accordingly.”
That is not an impressive batting percentage, team. I really think 1000 is probably an underestimate of the number of potential guys I could have dated–again, operating just under the “must be single and interested in women” premise–but even if 1000 is accurate, that one person represents .1% of the population. POINT one percent. Woof.
I have spent approximately 13.5 years analyzing this situation (is it my face? My hair color? My body? My personality? My interests? Do I just the crappiest luck out of literally everyone, ever, in the history of humanity? Am I not actually a special snowflake?! 😦 ), but no one likes self-deprecating navel gazing in Blogland or elsewhere, and in my experience (of which I have plenty), engaging in self-deprecating navel gazing has yet to lead to anyone beating down my door, professing their hidden love for me, never mind, you know, a date.
But you know what has led to dates? The Internet.
Oh, the Internet! My best friend! See, the nice thing about the Internet is that it lets me get through my awkward stage without having other people around to witness said awkward stage. For as long as I can remember, I have always taken a very long time to get comfortable in a new setting. It usually takes a few go-arounds for me to get my bearings, and then–only then–do I feel confident enough to contribute to the conversation. In real life, this makes things weird for everyone, because you know what’s super uncomfortable? Having this new girl sit in the corner by herself and not say one word. It’s awkward for the people there and it’s awkward for the new girl (that would be me). But the nice thing about being online is that I (or anyone else like me) can get through that let-me-lurk-around-and-get-my-bearings stage without everyone else having to witness it. ALSO, the Internet lets me write, which is just fab. Writing I can do, no problem. Talking? Not so much, unless I’m really comfortable (or tipsy 😛 That’s not exactly a normal state of being for me, however.).
I’ve been online dating, in one capacity or another, since November 2012, and while initially this was insanely embarrassing, I have definitely gotten over it by this point. Here’s the thing: despite the fact that I am an Independent Woman who can take care of herself and doesn’t need a man, that certainly doesn’t change the fact that I want a man. I want a boyfriend who will turn into a husband who will turn into the father of my future kids, and I’m not ashamed to acknowledge that, nor do I think I lose any feminist points for acknowledging it.
My life circumstances, however, are not exactly ideal for meeting just a dateable boy, period, never mind any a boy who could progress through those various levels of Bethany’s ideals. There are exactly two single men in my office, neither of which I have any interest in even seeing outside of the office, never mind dating. They function well as work buddies, and that’s exactly where I’d like to keep our relationship forever. Though I’m straight, I found a church I very much like in a predominantly gay area of Chicago, which means that the VAST majority of boys at church are themselves in the market for a boyfriend, if they don’t already have a boyfriend. I literally know of one non-married straight guy in our entire congregation, and though I know he’s straight, I don’t know if he’s single or if he even has any interest in dating ANYONE, never mind me specifically. My hip hop class is almost all girls (and one gay guy, who obviously is not future boyfriend material for me), and while there are guys in my breakdance classes, it strikes me as incredibly unlikely that any of them have any interest in asking me out, since, you know, I’ve known all of them for anywhere between eight months and two and a half years, and not one has in ANY way expressed ANY sort of romantic interest whatsoever. There are four guys in my running group, all of which are married. When I’m not doing one of those above things (working, churching, dancing, or running), I am generally 1) commuting 2) sleeping or 3) reveling in the few hours of my week where I can be at home and just chill. Not exactly conducive to finding a boyfriend in real life, even if I DID have a better track record in that department.
So I took to the Internet, as one does. Whether or not I’ve been successful at online dating I suppose depends on your definition of success. If you define “success” as going out on dates, overall I have been wildly successful. Since starting, I’ve gone out on real life, meet-in-person dates with 15 different guys, which, assuming all things are similar, is 14 more than I would’ve gone out with had I stuck to my previous method of “continue existing and hope for the best.” If you define “success” as “ever speaking to any of these people ever again,” I have been…far less successful. Haha. I *almost* went out on a second date with one guy, went out on two real dates and one fake date with another guy (more on that later), and too many dates to count with a third guy, that third guy being the infamous now-ex-boyfriend who launched a thousand (or, you know, three) angsty blog posts. But again, that’s more than I ever got out of real life.
As the responsible blogger I am, I know it is my duty to publish my obviously-not-biased-or-tainted-by-my-own-personal-experience review of everything I do, as that was part of the contract I signed (and, as we all know, I’m all about following Good Blogger Rules, like utilizing a 1:10 picture:word ratio in every post, keeping any and all personal problems off my blog, and never rambling. Oh wait…). To that end, I’m launching a brand new series so I have something to write when I don’t run races or have anything to say about my weekend: Adventures in Online Dating. It will last…all of three posts, so don’t get too excited 😛 (Or do?!). Originally I planned to start it with this post, but then this introduction turned into a 1300 word missive, so here we are. Haha. But get SO STOKED. There are inspired metaphors, witty commentary, and general lamentation coming soon to a computer near you!