Last year, I engaged in a little activity known as “online dating”. It only lasted about two weeks due to the horrific nature of the experience. I was recently in the process of writing a blog about dating and reactivated my account in order to collect some information. My intention was to delete it the same day except that the lovely okcupid professionals won’t let you do so for 7 days, seemingly to coerce people into staying.
The following day, I was needing to get out of the house. Being unemployed is rather boring and the cabin fever was definitely setting in. Unfortunately, everyone was either working, staying in or had other plans. So at about 8 pm, when I was notified that I had a new message, I did something spontaneous and dangerous. I asked this person if they wanted to meet me for wine. He accepted.
I showed up at Bin36 where my dear friend Josh bartends. I told him about what I had done and he responded, “If he sucks can I make fun of him?” to which I replied, “But of course”. I anxiously awaited his arrival while drowning myself in my glass of wine thinking that perhaps I shouldn’t have such a negative attitude about it. I mean, sometimes in life, the best experiences are those you don’t anticipate or happen in an unexpected way.
He walked in and looks wise, he wasn’t bad. Josh offered him a drink which he refused. Intypical CC style, I tried to convince (read: badger) him to enjoy a frosty beverage with me. This is when I learned that he is a recovering alcoholic. Now let me say that there is nothing inherently wrong with that. I think that it takes a lot of personal strength to identify that you have a problem and then take the steps to fix it. That said, I think that on a first date, this is probably oversharing. Especially in the first few minutes. I was still willing to be open-minded at this point though.
Another couple of minutes later, he divulged that he has a severe case of ADD. To be honest, he didn’t really need to tell me this as it was clearly apparent. He talked about a million miles a minute and switched topics so quickly that I gave up trying to pay attention. Through the jumble of words, here are some things I learned: he lives in an “apartment” that is actually zoned for a business use which means that he has no heat because you need a business license in order to have that utility; he went to school for fashion; he makes mixtapes; and he is a self-proclaimed highly talented DJ and believes that he has to “make it big” because he has so much talent.
My head was spinning from the sheer speed of which he delivered information, so after about an hour, I feigned sleepiness and got the fuck out of there. He popped some gum in his mouth as we were getting up, so in order to protect myself from an attempted kiss, I grabbed one of the highly garlicky breadsticks from the bar and chomped on it as we walked out and left it in my mouth as I gave him an awkward hug outside.
While this story is laughable and definitely not the worst one I have in my arsenal, the point is ultimately that there was no connection. Not even on a friendship level. The problem I had last year with on-line dating is that there is no way to tell if you are able to “click” with someone through the interwebs. And in order to find out if a person might be someone you would even be interested in hanging out with, you have to, well, hang out with them. Aaaaand based on my previous experience, there is a damn good chance that you won’t enjoy the company of this random person and in the process, waste valuable time. That’s time I could be spending with my amazing friends that are a guaranteed great evening. I don’t care about dating enough to waste my life with crappy people.
Now, in fairness, I have come to realize something about myself. I am a cynical hopeless romantic. I am often of the opinion that I have consistently bad experiences in dating and have even referred to myself as the female “Good Luck Chuck” and have coined a specific dating curse as the “CC Hype”. I tend to be guarded and will immediately list all of the negative traits of a person I meet in order to mentally prepare myself for the worst. In fairness, I don’t necessarily dwell on those aspects of a person, I just like to look at all sides of a situation. On the other hand, there is a part of me that remembers a time when I got excited about dating and it’s possibilities (which is somewhat uncomfortable for me to publicly admit. Ha). However, when relationships are good, they are really good.
When I think about the happiest day of my life, the first thing that comes to mind is a day, not so long ago when I was dating someone rather special. It was July 3rd to be exact and we were meeting some people at Hotel 71 downtown. In the lobby, which was playing music, we began to dance and it was probably one of the most romantic things that has ever happened to me. It wasn’t even just simply the impromtu dancing. It was that in that moment, we felt as though we were the only people in the world (if I can be so cliché). There was an emotional and mental connection that happened then that I know I had never experienced at that level before. After we met up with who we were waiting for, we went for drinks and food. About 30 minutes in, one of his friends turned to us and said, “You guys are kind of like the greatest couple ever. You are perfect together.” This was a completely random comment to make as we were just engaging in general conversation with the entire group, but as he said it, I felt really proud and exhilarated and perhaps even allowed myself to be open to the possibility of love again for the first time in years.
Nothing that exciting happened that night and we even missed the fireworks, but none of it mattered. What made it special was the connection that happened that evening through the smallest of acts, which didn’t seem apparent to anyone else besides us, except that it was. When I start getting too cynical, this is the day I think about.
Romance isn’t flowers, or candy or jewelry. Real romance consists of moments that have meaning and inscribe themselves to your memory. These things can’t be bought at a store. While the aforementioned relationship ended, the authenticity of it was what real connections are made of. It happens spontaneously, when you least expect it. I find it hard to believe that you can find this level of “realness” on the internet. I’m sure it has happened, but I prefer for it to find me. In the meantime, I will do my best to not be overly negative. Sometimes I find it unlikely that the connection I felt that summer day can be matched or exceeded, but here’s to hoping that deep down, I believe it can.