“I don’t know about this guy, he looks like he is shorter than he claims.”
My response, accompanied by a hesitant giggle, “How can you be so sure?”
“Trust me, his legs and torso look like they belong to a man of average height, not to a six footer.” Another hesitant giggle, followed by my usual response to her, “Why is height so important to you? How about giving someone a chance especially if you find his other qualities appeasing?”
Her usual reply, “I am not dating someone under six feet, my future BF needs to be two inches taller than me when I am in three inch heals.”
Are the numbers confusing you yet? They sure are driving me nuts. Its not just the numbers that are rubbing me the wrong way, it’s the fact that my smart, beautiful, multitalented friend is circling the online dating drain and she doesn’t even realize it. It’s been years since she’s been ‘trying’ to find Mr. Perfect, Mr. Right, and, eventually, Mr. Husband Material. Years!! The problem with online dating, or anything online for that matter, is that you are always anxious for that ‘next best thing, ’ even when what you have is doing the job, hook line and sinker. She has tenaciously convinced herself that there is someone smarter, taller, funnier, and hunkier than this very honest and interesting guy. After that one date, she will not follow-up with because she wants to hit that search button on ‘whatever’ online dating website she has most recently signed up for. It’s brutal to watch. I have tried many times to upsell the Mr. Right Now, especially if it is someone she says she had a ‘good time’ with. Every single time, I am met with various versions of superficial excuse-height, weight, job titile, and bank balance. She, along with other online dating users, are looking for spark and charm, when she should really be searching for heart and soul. Over time, spark fades and charm is replaced with laziness. On the other hand, time serves as a greenhouse for heart and soul.
It is my strong belief that the online dating scene eliminates the concept of respect altogether. When one meets a person, in person, there is this general kindness that is present. We smile, we ask questions, we bypass social shortcomings, we allow character to shine. The online scenario is a reverse, messy opposite. We size another person up with ludicrous expectations, we check boxes, and scrutinize two-dimensional images of an individual. Some people are just not photogenic, others have trouble asking someone to take a ‘nice’ photo of them, and lets face it, selfies are fun but are not very accurate depictions of our fabulous selves. When you are online you are judging the size of the nose against the distance between the eyes, the rise of cheekbone with the shape of eyebrows, or like my friend, trying to visually measure elongation of torso in relation to leg length. You have already made illegitimate assumptions about that person before meeting them. It’s simply ridiculous.
With the introduction of a new dating website every so often, and the hundreds of “potentials” on board, human beings become dispensable and replaceable. It used to take real effort to go out on that first date. Remember the giddy excitement of dating a couple years ago? You met someone, locked eyes, flirted a bit, exchanged phone numbers, had multiple lengthy conversations, and then asked or got asked on that first date. You thought about that person with flushed cheeks, and an extra beat of the heart as you shopped for that “perfect” outfit, dragging your besties along for help. You spent hours that day doing your hair and makeup and then redoing hair and makeup. You were gleaming and glowing and looking forward to a great evening. The online scheduling of the first meet, I refuse to give it the honor of calling it a date, involves an exchange of text messages! Does anyone else have a problem with an initial conversation between two possibly interested parties attempting to converse via text messaging? Oh and don’t get me started on the millions of emoticons invented to replace actual emotional exchanges on top of the abhorrent increase in limited physical encounters. When attempting to set up a first meet, instead of looking forward to a great evening, you are expecting a great evening to be produced by the other party. There is a great, big difference in attitude when one is “looking forward” and when one is “expecting.” In the former, you are allowing yourself to melt, in the latter you are holding back. It is extremely difficult to make a connection with someone new while resistance holds the reigns.
Not so long ago, the much-anticipated date may have involved subtle touches, holding of hands, and even an affectionate kiss. There was a promise to see each other again. You rushed indoors knowing your besties were up waiting for that full report. I honestly can’t even keep up with who my friend is “meeting” next, and when I ask her how it went I get an “eh.” Not even a substantial word, just a sound in reply, “eh.” As I press on, she says she didn’t feel the chemistry. However, what I don’t understand is how you can expect chemistry during a rushed hour on a first meet in a crowded coffee shop where both parties are there to brag about themselves, looking for a quick fix, or worse, when its only about temporarily subduing this lonely feeling they are currently experiencing. I am weary of the success rate of really finding a long-term match, as the only success stories I am familiar with are the ones I see on tv- commercials which are paid for and endorsed by that specific online dating website.
“Second meet?” I ask her.
“Nah,” she replies calmly as she flips open her MacBook, signs into and begins browsing ‘soulmateoncall.com (FYI, this website does not exist….yet).’
Women Editor for THE DEMUREIST. A city gal, born and raised in Chicago. She enjoys reading, writing, and listening to your story. Nazhah is currently working on a novel, she has written essays and poems and enjoys sharing her work at various writers’ collectives.
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