I don’t usually write about online dating or dating in general. It’s because I’m not-so-secretly saving all of my dating stories for when my book option arrives. The truth is, I don’t know what “book option” really means, it just sounds right. And trust me, one day my book option will happen. Just like one day my person will arrive as well.This is how I refer to my imaginary boyfriend/husband- my person – he is out there, somewhere in this universe. I often say, ‘Well, it’s hard for me to meet my person when I’m walking my dog in Queens and he’s eating a baguette in France.” This line of reasoning started years ago when a co-worker asked me a few simple questions at a very loud bar.
> Co-worker: “Hi Vanessa! Hi?! Can you hear me? How are you? (looks around) Where’s your husband?”
Me: “I’m good, thanks. (leaning in) My husband? Oh I don’t know. He could be anywhere. Maybe he’s in Vermont doing some wood-working right now.”
> Co-worker: (moving closer to make sure she heard me right) “You don’t know where he is?” (voice rising)
Me: “Maybe he’s in Italy. I don’t have a husband. I’m not married. He could be anywhere.” (cue uncomfortable laughing)
At that time it was summer, we were sweating and shouting and something stuck. My person could be anywhere. Anywhere! And this is why I frequently repeat, “No, I’m still single. I don’t know where my next boyfriend is – he could be anywhere right now.”
In order to meet someone though, you need to be dating, which is an active verb. You are DOING this dating, not thinking about it or talking about it. You ARE dating, present progressive tense. That is one of the things I find so appealing about online dating. I’ve always liked the idea of me being home, in my bed with my pants off, eating popcorn, while my online dating photos make the rounds out there in cyberspace. I pictured my online profile charming men, or at the very least, attracting their attention.
Well, I’ve gotten some attention and even real dates. I’ve been on and off online dating for 10 years now. Yup, one decade with online dating. I used to joke on first dates (and there have been many) that I was in a long term relationship with online dating. Nobody found this funny but me. I learned to stop saying that, along with a few other online dating lessons. Here’s some insights from the land of online dating:
Men don’t like Oprah. When you are online dating, you DO NOT use your real name. Your (hopefully) real+ current photos and your hopes/dreams/height/hair color are all there to be viewed. Your name however, is not. You are creating an air of mystery. You are not revealing essential details like your credit card # or street address because there are some real cuckoo birds out there and you don’t want them to find your home or your real identity.
This all sounds scary and you should be locking your doors right now. But here comes the fun part. You get to make up your own name! Most people are just “mike1555” or “hotgirlqueenz.” Surprisingly, there are a lot of guys with the word taco in their name (“taco1976”) and some other names I’d rather not type here. My favorite screen name of all time: “Therewillbedates.” When I first joined in 2006 , I decided upon “OprahWinfrey.’ This didn’t last more than a week or so, because men were not having it. They did not like Oprah and they were not shy about it. If I wanted to meet straight men, using the name Oprah Winfrey was not going to help. Lesson learned: screen names should be chosen somewhat carefully AND humor/sarcasm/wit should be dialed down in the first few email exchanges. Side note: some of my other names have been vkauai + scrollscrollstop.
No one really wants to be in there. There are an endless amount of dating profiles that start with “I’m not sure how I got here…” or “I never expected to be online dating” and/or “My friends are making me do this since it worked for them.” The truth is, no one wants to be in there. You have to sit down with yourself and have a good hard look at the fact that you’re single and perhaps want more. Online dating might be an outlet. It’s best to just admit that we are all in this together and move on.
That’s how I tend to see it. I mean, you’ve already signed up and turned into “nycyogaguy” so it might be time to accept that you are indeed online dating. One guy last summer said to me, “I want to ask you out again but I feel like I keep failing at dating, so I’m not going to, sorry” (this was via email of course) and I wanted to type back WE ARE ALL FAILING buddy!!! Online dating is not for people that are successful in the relationship department. We are all in here for a reason. And that reason is the free drinks. Just kidding.
Online dating boils down to how you see yourself and how you want others to see you. This is educational. Think about how you define yourself. Not only your race, height, size and hair color but additional, personal details such as what you’re striving for, if you want children, what might turn you on and what role religion plays in your life. I am serious, this is all in there. It also includes mundane things (but telling things) such as what your favorite books/movies/music might be and ultimately what you’re looking for in relationships (friends, casual hooks ups, serious relationship) and life. Overwhelming, right? This is why some people just look at the photos – is there an attraction or not? Let’s start there. Side note: many guys read Charles Bukowski and are into whisky. Who knew?
I also never knew that the majority of guys in online dating in NYC are both VERY laid back and incredibly wealthy. This is an amazing combination. I know this is NYC and there’s lots of money being made around this small island. But how can so many guys be making $150,000 to $200,000 a year AND be so laid back and easy going? So carefree! I want to know more. What’s the secret? It’s all in the presentation.
And online dating is just that – one person presenting themselves to another. I’m always aiming for a “Look how much fun you could be having with me” vibe. Of course, not too needy or TOO MUCH fun, all within reason. Or so I think.
There are many more layers to online dating such as: the email messages alone, the revealing of your actual name, the initial meeting up in real life, the payment line on your credit card statement (I am too cheap to pay for bad dates now and only do free sites) and the travel. Oh the travel! I can’t believe people have time to date in NYC, because they are always getting their passport stamped. These stories are for another post (if people are interested). And I haven’t even gotten to the actual dates.
I figured I’d better stop typing here. Or you’ll just move along and look at the next thing online, which is EXACTLY how online dating works.
Special Thanks: to anyone who has ever checked out my profile and/or gone out with me and to all my friends and family who have heard these stories and then some. Thanks for being my people.
- Time is a concept.
- Shout, Shout, Let it All Out!