I have a confession to make.
I pay hard-earned money to meet virtual men.
What’s wrong with me?!
Absolutely nothing. I’m cute (I swear!), in shape, have an interesting job, have interesting hobbies and tons of friends. Yet, I’m still single.
I had a serious live-in boyfriend for several years in my early twenties, and so, while my single friends were out meeting men in bars and partying, I was picking out paint chips in Home Depot and installing new light fixtures in the house. When that relationship ended (amicably, I might add), I was 26 and my once single friends were spending weekends picking out paint chips instead of going out with me!
Being Single Again
I embraced my singleness, and went date-less for almost a year. I didn’t have time to even worry about meeting men – I was too busy doing things that got tossed by the wayside while I was in that relationship. I hung out with my girlfriends again, planned my 10-year high school reunion, tried my hand at surfing and explored the world in my kayak.
After a year, a nice guy at a State Park helped me load my kayak onto my car and asked me out. I’m a sucker for guys who are willing to carry things, so I said yes and we dated for a couple of months. There were no real sparks with the guy, but it was a nice introduction back into the world of dating. He was the only guy who would ask me out until I started Internet dating a year and a half later.
I did not start dating online because I was lonely or desperate. It was more like a dare! One fateful night, one of my still single girlfriends was in the dumps about not having a boyfriend. After several adult beverages, I convinced her to stop feeling sorry for herself, be proactive and put a profile on one of the Internet dating sites. She didn’t want to be one of “those losers” so II promised her that if she did it, I would do it too. So I too, became a “loser.”
Jumping Into Online Dating
That was two and a half years ago. Just for giggles, I ran the numbers.
I have been single for five years. I have gone on dates with 19 different men during that time. I don’t know if that’s a good number or not, but it works out to 3.8 dates a year, which sounds pretty pathetic if you ask me. But it gets worse. I met 16 of these men online. Without the Internet, my average number of dates would have been 0.6 per year. A half a date per year!
Listen, Internet dating has definitely spiced up my life. I have emailed and talked to two or three times as many men as I have actually gone on a date with. There is always a little rush of adrenaline when someone new emails you, or you email someone and they actually respond. “Shopping for boys” becomes a game and something fun to do on a boring Wednesday night. My friends and co-workers have been fascinated by the steady (if slow) stream of new guys I go out with.
Most of the men I have met in person after chatting on the internet have been nice, interesting, attractive, or some combination of all three. I’ve dated tall guys, short guys, round guys, skinny guys, a juice-maker, an accountant, a psychologist, a developer, a guy who runs his truck with vegetable oil from the Chinese place across from his house, sci-fi fans, Christians, Jews, atheists, PhDs, and pot-smokers. I developed two serious relationships, one with talk of marriage. Some, I saw only once, but most were interesting or amusing enough that we went out at least twice.
Let’s compare this to the men I met in person: the golf course manager who was a friend of a friend, the guy who carried my kayak and a guy I know from work who is much older than me and a bit lonely. Because I at least had a conversation with them all before going out with them, I did go out with all of these guys more than once. But serious relationship material, these men were not.
What’s My Point?
Meeting new people on the Internet has enriched my life. I have learned new and interesting things from most of the guys I have been out with. I have experienced new things. Because I have been able to date so many diverse men, I have learned more about myself and what I want from my life and my relationships. I think, I hope, that this will help me embrace the “real thing” if it ever comes along.