Sunday, January 27, 2013

So Much Cooler Online

So, you may remember from previous posts that at one point in time I was writing a book. A book about how much parenting and depression sucks, and how sometimes, that's just ok. I"ve been saving up thoughts and feelings from that book because I felt like talking about stuff I'd already written would mean I was repeating myself. However, at this point I feel like the 2/3 finished manuscript has served it's purpose as a therapy project and probably won't find it's way to completion because reading and re-reading it dredges up too many feels, and the point of writing was to make the feels go away.

So anyway, now I'm free to ramble about things that I've 'previously' rambled about, just nobody's read it, and I'm adding new voice. Today: the stupidity and genius of online dating.

The brief genius of it is that, as a busy person trapped at home, it's a way to meet people. Not necessarily romantically, just in general. Some great friends have been spawned from the online world.

The stupidity of it is, 95% of potential people won't look at you twice if you have a kid (and who can blame them, really), and 4% who don't mind if you do and message you, sometimes incessantly, you have no attraction to. And then the 1% where there is mutual 'like', usually results in the person moving very far away a month later, dating someone who 'came back into their life' a month later, or they live half way around the world and you really have no hope of meeting them.

And you go through the withdrawal of having a reason the check your email, but after that passes, there's a small bit of relief.
"Good, I didn't have to turn my life upside down"
"Good, I can go to bed on time now and not be up late talking."
"Good, I don't have to deal with THAT inevitable heartbreak."
"Good, I don't have to worry about re-scheduling the third Saturday from next week."

Because the reality of my situation is, I"m not just 'seeking' someone to spend time with. I'm also approving a  'dad' for Toby. There are people who I've talked myself into talking to, only to realize, what's the point?
And in a way it's disheartening because I'm sure there's some really interesting people I've missed out on talking to, but in another way, it's good. It's a standards filter for me.
Less than 4 sentences about yourself and I find more than 2 obvious spelling errors? Pass.
The one picture of you on your page is you holding a beer and a cigarette even though you checked off "non-smoker"? Nope.
The words '4 lyfe', 420, booze, partaaaaay, sick, or similar variations of each appear in your interests or description? Hell no.
You start a conversation with me and then proceed to give two word answers with two day spaces between them? Not worth my time.
Your first message is to ask what I'm doing this weekend? Um...Creepy.

So, I'm sorry to those people with names like 2_gud_lookin or lust4u or like2laff, but does that really work on some people???

I feel like the whole thing is futile but, while I'm not actively searching, it sometimes feels like it's my only connection to people outside my facebook bubble. It forces me to deal with people that I would never normally talk to. And sometimes that's good, and sometimes it's intimidating, and sometimes I just want to put my walls up again because the whole thing suddenly scares me.
Because I know what it feels like to 'think you've met someone'. And each of those times there's been a sudden stopping point, sometimes before you even get to talk in person. So learning to not assume the best and brightest in people has become a quick lesson to learn. Which in turn makes it harder to trust anyone, or your own feelings.

I like to think I haven't been too damaged by the last 4 or so years, because I currently feel fine. But like I said in an earlier post, once those dormant little 'on' switches start clicking on in your head, the first reaction is to panic and shut them off again.

So talking to random strangers has been a good test of that and a bit of an eye opener.

My tact at this point? Open with the dullest and most complicated parts about your life, and if they carry on the conversation, you're good to go.

"Hi, I have a 4 year old who sleeps in the same room as me because I live at my parent's place because I'm divorced. I can't go out after 7pm because my son goes to bed at 8, and likewise if I'm out I have to be home by 7:30 to get him to bed. I like Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Glee, and youtube videos. When I say 'like' I mean those things basically make up my life right now. My idea of a fun friday night is sitting at home with a glass of wine and making fun of online dating profiles. I cook weird stuff, if you don't like food, don't talk to me. We have food intolerances that I take very seriously, if you mock that sort of thing, get out. Yes I want to go backpacking in Europe, but I'm not going to, because I have a 4 year old. I read for fun. I write for fun.  My family owns almost all the episodes of Star Trek. In all series. And the Star Wars saga. No I won't watch scary movies with you, not even if you think you're protecting me. No I won't drive to Toronto to see 'this awesome band'. My days mostly consist of me sitting on the floor or the grass or the couch and going along with whatever game my son comes up with. Did I mention I have a kid?"

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