My So-Called (Online) Life

Even when I’m not blogging, I’m on Teh Innernets at least 17 hours a day, save for the occasional meeting and even then I’m watching my e-mails on my iPhone.

Living this plugged-in life is a real eye-opener when it comes to human nature, even though you lack the sensory experiences that go with person-to-person interaction. I haven’t yet succumbed to the video conference realm, although we do record other people for professional usage on a regular basis and I’m even wading into the world of Camtasia. Which involves recording my voice. Which, yeah. A real record that I was actually in this world. Weird.

Anyway, living this online life has meant actually living that life online and interacting both in the written form and in real-time conversations. And while “they” say there’s only one chance to make that first impression, I get the feeling that a lot of people who choose to present themselves poorly in the written form will never quite get that chance to make a good, better impression in person.

Tiff suggested I start a list of my laws of online dating, and it’s really based on that premise. As a newfound expert on the subject (ha), I’m having a hard time coming up with more “dos” than “don’ts.” And believe me, I’m flawed at best at it myself. But in this ongoing quest to find my next soulmate, I’m learning, and I hope I can help some others along the way.

My list is rather incomplete at this time. A major “don’t” I’ve encountered are the people who live hundreds or thousands of miles away who want to strike up a conversation but who clearly have no intention of doing anything other than phone/IM sex. Um, well. Yeah.

I mean, thanks for putting it out there right away. I know that you’re not my type already. Look, I’m a fan of the long-distance relationship. I do like my freedom and all. 😉 And believe me, back in the day when cell phone plans came with a mere 60 minutes a month and even that cost $100, I am sure I racked up a few grand in charges that way. And even the old-fashioned long-distance plans, from “real” home phones, put me into some serious debt. But it gets old after a very quick while.

I’ve received more “dick pix” from more random strangers than I care to count, and it’s really hard to have “relations” over instant messenger when you still have to type. 😉 But not to say I’m a prude, because one site I was on listed me as kinkier and greedier than other women with similar profiles. Which, OK. Whatever. But keep it in your pants unless it’s in person, mmmkay?

That’s the thing — I want to meet someone locally and if they have to go away or even move somewhere else, it’s another issue to figure out how to reach out and touch someone. (Ahem.) But I’m in it for the real-life experiences, not the other crap. My computer is no virgin, but even it insists I get a real dinner date at some point. 😉 I want real dates, not phone/IM trysts.

But the bigger grievance I have at this point are the idiots who put “69” in their username (or XXX or DD — thanks, Lee!). Look, I know all the good names are taken. We all have to make up digits to ensure we get some sort of name we actually like. But dudes, BigHeavingStud69 tells me you’re not looking for short- or long-term dating like you claim.

The only possible exception, and that’s stretching it to say the least, is if you’re born in that particular year. And that’s entirely possible, given the age ranges that I’m searching. But for God’s sake, say that you’re 38 years old, then. And it’s in your profile anyway, so I’m left to assume that this dud thinks he’s a stud. And I’m clearly not the girl you’re searching for, so kindly don’t message me. Because it sounds like you’ll also fall into the first category of douchebag that I mentioned.

I know it’s difficult to make your profile interesting, especially to a woman as a lot of us would much rather be contacted than doing the contacting. Not saying I wouldn’t and I haven’t initiated contact, but some of us are really trying to be as “old-fashioned” as we can while using this newfangled technology thingie called Teh Interwebs.

It’s like reading the profile is the first date, the first e-mail exchange is the second date and by the time you get around to meeting, it’s like date No. 10. And that’s only if your typing/grammar skills have impressed me enough to get you to second base before we’ve even met!

I think dating sites are passe and the real way to meet online is in some area where you’re meeting people with similar interests and with other people around as, I don’t know, witnesses or something. The most successful relationships I’ve seen that have started on the Net have been those kinds, where folks who have a lot in common and who have others who can vouch that they aren’t psycho killers can start a conversation that has no real endpoint in mind — i.e., those where it’s not totally obvious that you wouldn’t mind scoring a date out of them.

I find that a lot of people I meet online, we either do 90 rounds of e-mails (at which time we know all there is to know and see no need to further it in person) or we skip the small talk and meet up for coffee or something, whereupon it’s almost like a job interview. You’re lonely, horny and single? Terrific. Me, too! You move on to the real date and well, que sera sera.

The sites like eHarmony and Match and Chemistry and the ilk are interesting, particularly eHarmony’s approach to asking you a million questions and hooking you up with someone based on your answers. It’s the whole nature-versus-nurture debate, whether science can find you a better mate than just laying eyes on someone and knowing innately that they are “the one.” Not to say you can’t have both, of course, but the bell curve of these questions is what fascinates me.

Like I said, I get labels from these sites, trying to determine who or what I am. But I can be a 100% match for someone “on paper,” but why didn’t you tell me he burps and farts in public? I can’t be seen with loverboy if he can’t stop scratching his ass for the duration of a movie!

I get frustrated with the sites that require you to pay for access. I came across in my searches, and boy if that site doesn’t make you cringe, I don’t know what does. A bunch of vacant-looking blonde women with their purchased flotation devices searching for a sugar daddy. Although I admit, you get what you want on that site, so bully for them.

But I think dating sites should be like your alumni fundraising office. They let you go out into the world with the person you met, and if it works out, you can consider making a donation to thank them for what they did to help you reach your goals.

I did come across two interesting things on one of my forays into the online dating world, so I actually do have a couple of “dos” for the adventure. You know how you get e-mails informing you of new people coming to the site? Someone e-mailed me to welcome me and give me a tip on getting the most out of my experience there. He was cute, he’s local and well, his profile is by far the most interesting one I’ve read in perhaps forever. I may have to ask him out, because even though he may welcome everybody like that, it’s a gesture that made sure I approached the experience positively.

Another neat thing I saw was when a guy wrote to me as a “wingman.” He saw my profile and saw I was way too young for him, but he has a friend whom he thought I might be a decent match for. I checked out both profiles and realized both were too politically conservative for my tastes, so I haven’t really replied to either one. But that speaks to the quality of people you’re dealing with, that attitude of “there’s a lid for every pot.” And I’m cobalt-blue glassware to someone’s cranberry cooking set, so we won’t mix but maybe the good karma generated will help everyone down the road.

The best relationships and friendships I’ve formed have been through my blog. These guys know exactly what they’re getting when they meet me in person. And I’m at my most emotional state in this space, so people end up being surprised that I end up being somewhat reserved and even controlled in person. And I talk a LOT less than I type!

The problem with the blog, however, is that I talk about stuff. I keep the secret stuff, well, secret, of course. But people get very confused as to who or what I’m talking about sometimes. My rule is to talk about “old” stuff to help me process what’s going on in the here and now, but people tend to think you’re sniping at them. At least, that’s what I believe they’re thinking, but with some you’ll never actually know.

So, alas, while the online world is the reason any of us have any real exposure to what’s “out there,” it can bite us in the ass immeasurably as well. But this is who I am and what I do, and I can’t apologize for that. I am so much more than what you see here, and maybe yet not quite what you pictured me to be after all.

To that, maybe I need to ease up on some of my expectations and prepare to be wowed by someone who might not turn my head at first in person. And all I ask is the same in return, that maybe I might not be the supermodel you might have dreamed of being with, but I can give you a run for your money intellectually and be a warm body next to you when you need one.

I think we all think we’re more than we are on some levels, and less than we are on others. I guess what I want right now is someone’s name to look forward to seeing in my inbox. All any of us wants is a little bit of joy, and maybe a lot of joy if the universe would be so kind. I don’t believe in searching for my “other” or even “better” half, but rather the other whole person to complement mine to make life twice as good.

But how do you write that in a limited-character profile or read all of it between the lines? That remains my next step in this quest to add some level of “play” to the existing “all work” imbalanced equation.

Good night, my someone. I know you’re out there. I just hope we’ll know each other when we finally cross paths. …

2 Responses to My So-Called (Online) Life

  1. Sabre :

    Ha! I spit water onto my keyboard laughing. I bet you know what I was laughing at 😉

  2. Extraordinary Girl :

    Wow, very well expressed. ALL of it.

    I know what you mean about online dating sites, and issues with the somewhat questionable characters that seem to dominate the spaces.
    I signed up at a few of those sites a few years ago, and while the majority of the guys I met face to face were decent guys –Who did NOT rev my engine, and that bothered me about only ONE guy, because he was really GREAT. Turns out he was there, really, for a shoulder to cry on about the ex- who’d left him, and with whom he was still in love, he just hadn’t realized he wasn’t ready to date, yet. GEES, I was SO STELLAR at picking them when I was younger.–there were MANY MORE I DIDN’T MEET, who, like you said as well, were just looking for something else entirely. Thankfully, I’ve found mine, and although we didn’t meet online, we had a VERY long distance relationship for almost two years, finally got married earlier this year, and are now transitioning to being physically in the same place at the same time, but that’s the fun part. We were introduced by a couple who are mutual friends, and DID meet online. Of my close friends, actually, only my sister in law and younger brother didn’t meet online; she was chasing him around WAY back in gradeschool. 😉 And they are the product of how you say meeting online should be; both couples were certainly destined for each other, and, I feel, would have found each other eventually, somehow, anyway.

    It’s such an interesting thing to see unfold, the way that life has encompassed the internet in the way it has. Our generation, I think, has a rather unique way to see it, too. We didn’t have computers when we were really young, then as we got a little older, we were playing “Oregon Trail” in school, on Apple IIe’s. Not too much later than that, computers were in our homes. I was about twelve when I got my first one. There are people today, who don’t remember the rather interesting gap that we’ve lived through. There are young folks now (not that WE AREN’T young) that have NEVER seen cassette tapes, or answering machines, to randomly name a few things, and think that cd’s and voicemail have just always been here.

    And don’t let me get STARTED on vinyl vs. mp3’s.. 😉

    You SO hit the nail on the head, as well, regarding blogging. Speaking personally, my blog is a true and accurate interpretation of who I am WHEN I’M WRITING. It’s still pretty much accurate as to who I am in real life, but there are different points accentuated or downplayed, depending on what I’m blabbering about at any given time. It’s a freedom that I quite willingly embrace. 😉

    But, back to technology in general, it IS strange, and largely WE’VE had to be the generation to plow through and establish some protocol for how life without, and life depending on computers and the internet takes place. That’s a pretty cool thing to be trusted with, whether we asked for it or not.

    Some things will remain relatively the same, and just ride the wave of transition. There will ALWAYS be loser schmucks in the dating pool, whether they’re found via “traditional methods” or the internet. There will always be people who misrepresent themselves, or try and use others. As frustrating as that is, in a way, it’s almost comforting.


    I agree, too, that internet dating sites are limited in how you can express WHO you are as a unique person. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose in a way? But I guess that’s still something being hammered out in protocol. 😉

    There’s NO WAY you personally are going to end up with a loser douchebag; you’re not going to let that happen, first off, and secondly, they’d (hopefully) eventually get the picture that you’re not going to give them what they want, and bugger off. It’s definitely NOT going to come easy, though, finding someone, but then again, you’re also in the elite percentile of women who know what they like, who they are, and want the same in their “other half.” THAT right there makes it ten million times harder for you, than for someone who’s going to just “settle” for what they can get. BUT, it’s SO MUCH MORE WORTH IT, to hold out for what you know is out there for you. It’ll DEFINITELY come your way. 🙂

    That’s the idea you give across “teh intarwebs” anyway, that you’re a strong, INTELLIGENT female who knows who you are, and what you want, and I think it’s a damned fine identity.