So, the other night, I went on my first date since 2001.
Because I’m 34, only know married people, and am infinitely less attractive than I was 12 years ago, I turned to online dating.
I know. It’s embarrassing.
For the uninitiated, online dating is exactly like regular dating—frustrating, expensive, and rife with rejection.
I’d like to cry a river for you and tell you how unfair it is that I—a pretty good guy, all things being equal—have to deal with rejection based on my online-dating profile.
Unless you’re doing it the old-fashioned way, you don’t even have the opportunity to say or do the wrong thing during or after dinner anymore.
They reject you upfront because you’re not six feet tall. They reject you because you’re a different faith, or because you believe in a God at all.
They reject you because you don’t make enough money.
Because you don’t have a Master’s degree. Because you’re an Aries and your astrological signs aren’t “compatible.”
Because you have opposing political views. Because you have a child. Because you’ve been divorced.
But it’s bullshit for me to cry you a river. Because I do the EXACT same thing to many of the women that reach out to me.
Three kids and never married? <Insert loud fail buzz noise here>
Much heavier than the body style I prefer, even though they describe it as “curvy?” Yeah. Curvy like a manatee. <Fail buzz>
Pittsburgh Steelers fans? <Fail buzz>
Here’s the sick part: I don’t really have any business dating right now anyway.
And my first date in a dozen years totally called me out on it.
Let’s call her Megan. Because that’s her name. Cool chick, too.
Despite my very best efforts to be upfront and honest about my situation, my mere presence on an online dating site is something akin to a lie, she said.
That was her take. And she might be right.
While some women are out there looking for husbands, I’m looking for someone—anyone—to fill the loneliness void. Because it is hard being in the empty house sometimes.
But I’m not trying to sleep around. I’m not trying to mislead anyone. I’m most certainly not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings.
No matter how noble my intentions, I’m still essentially using women to try and satisfy the need for connection in my life, while offering very little in return, except pleasant company. And when I think about it in those terms, I can see the unfairness that Megan was talking about. For the husband-seekers, I’m a complete waste of time. At least for the foreseeable future.
You know what I’d really like to do? Not care.
I want to just live my life, doing what I want when I can and doing what I have to do the rest of the time.
And just. Not. Care.
About dating. About five years from now. About anything.
But I do care. Involuntarily.
I may make peace with my singleness one of these days. But in the meantime, my online-dating site subscription doesn’t end for another month and a half. And I already made plans to meet someone else for a drink or two in a few days.
I’m nothing if not predictable.