I first gave online dating a stab a year and a half ago. Took a break for a while, gave it another go, then gave it up again. A few months ago I picked it up again, figuring the third time might be the charm. Maybe online dating’s like riding a bike: something you get better at the more you do it.
The first time I’d tried it was doomed from the start. I wasn’t ready; my breakup was still too fresh. Ironically, the first person to “like” me on the website (because online dating is like eighth grade: a “win” is when someone “likes” you) was my ex. As a favor. As if throwing someone a bone after you’ve ripped out their heart is fair trade. Then again, egocentrics by definition have warped worldviews. If an ass grows wings and flies, you can’t really blame it when it crash lands.
In round two, I went out with a lawyer. We met for dinner, where she mentioned her ex. Then mentioned him again. And again. And again. And again. This was annoying–especially when the check came and I, the professor, opened it up to see the total and she – the lawyer – said “Thanks!” We went to a bar after, where I thought a change of scenery and some drinks might move us into new conversation. Nope. Now, I’m a mellow dude in general. But my pride burns deep inside me like the hot Caribbean sun. I have quite the subterranean ego. I didn’t like feeling like I was just some stand-in. I was going to let her have it, but after we left the bar she let me have it. In a good way. Sometimes being a stand-in’s pretty good.
Round three has seen its share of WTFs—specifically, seven distinct classes of girls:
1. Fetish Girl
Not as fun as it sounds. Fetish Girl only wants one thing from a man. Also not as fun as it sounds—that one thing is always something really specific. Like, creepily specific. A truck. A firefighter’s uniform. A beard. One arm. No arms. One girl was rrrreally into tattoos and rrrreally talkative, then disappeared without a trace once I told her I didn’t have any and wasn’t sure I wanted one. It reminded me of girls I’ve dated who’ve gushed about their excitement at telling Mommy and Daddy that they’re dating a real live Puerto Rican. One reported that her mother was disappointed when we met because she’d been expecting “Ricky Ricardo.” Ricky Ricardo is Cuban, idiota. I’m not your ethnic amusement park ride. Don’t play me like I’m Tony.
–Serial Texter Girl
Serial Texter Girl (STG) doesn’t really want a boyfriend. She says she does. She even thinks she does. But what STG really wants is the impression of a boyfriend. She gives you her number right away, says it’s easier than emailing…which I never understand. Is my species going extinct? Does anybody really type faster on a phone than a computer?
One girl, over two months, sent messages every day, all day. Nothing I did was too trivial for her to ask about. How had I slept? What had I had for breakfast? How was it? What about the drive to work? Lunch? The walk to my car at the end of the day? The drive home? The eight minutes since her last text? It was like dating the NSA.
Having dated a number of black holes, I appreciate a girl who can actually pay attention to someone that’s not her. I asked STG if she wanted to finally meet over dinner Friday night. She said yes. A couple hours beforehand, she canceled. Something work-related. She apologized furiously (over text, natch), and the next week was back to texting as prolifically as ever. We made another date. She canceled again. Then kept on texting and texting. By the end I felt like her phantom boyfriend, like a phantom limb. It was like being on The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling would be spinning in his grave if Rod Serling wasn’t too classy to spin. Rod Serling smolders. And not in his grave. Someone else’s. ‘Cuz Rod Serling’s so smooth, even after death, he’s getting laid.
The total opposite of STG. 0-100 Girl wants to meet right now. NOW. What are you doing right now? She can come over immediately. Right off the bat she wants to know the most intimate things about you (not “intimate” like that, ya perv) and tell you the most intimate things about herself. She’ll send you her number before she’s even told you her name. What do you want to serve at your wedding reception: chicken or fish? 0-100 Girl wants to have your baby, and she wants to have it yesterday.
–Throneless Queen Girl
TQG is willing to meet, so long as you obey some initial command she has for you. It’s like you have to earn a merit badge to be worthy of her presence. Some balls TQG has.
One girl said she’d meet me if I shaved my “serial killer” beard. Um…have you met my beard? My beard is a national treasure. You want the truth? My beard saves people’s lives. My beard’s existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want my beard on that wall. You need it on that wall. The beard stays. You go.
–Artificial Intelligence Girl
A.I. Girl bothers me more than any of the others because A.I. Girl reminds me of my worst exes, who remind me of my worst past selves. A.I. Girl is myopically self-absorbed. When you write to A.I. Girl, you ask her questions about herself. This is on-line dating 101: you contact someone. If they’re interested, they respond. If they’re not, they don’t. A.I. Girl always responds to you. But not because she’s interested. She responds because she can’t pass up the chance to talk about herself. It’s like a bodily reflex. She never expands the conversation to include you, never asks you anything about yourself. She honestly thinks she’s so important that the world exists so she’ll have a mirror. But mirrors flatter to deceive.
Solstice Girl writes every couple of months. The first time, she’s totally interested, full of questions, flirty, etc. Then she disappears—she doesn’t quit the site. She just suddenly stops responding or contacting you. Months later, she will write back full of apologies and pick up right where she left off, as if no time has passed. Then, a week later, poof—gone again. If you’re Thor and you’ve got to disappear to Asgard to deal with some dastardly Loki mischief, you can disappear for months. If you’re in the Navy SEALS and get called away on missions with no prior warning, you can disappear for months. If you’re one of the 88% of girls on OK Cupid who describes yourself as “fun” and “laid back” and “loyal to a fault” (“loyal to a fault” sounds suspiciously similar to “too lazy to think things out”; apparently everyone on OKC’s on oxycontin 24/7), confuses “you” with “you’re,” and thinks you’re the first clever duckie to list “oxygen” under “things you can’t live without,” then I don’t co-sign your right to flake out like that.
–Pretty Cool Girl (PCG)
Despite all the weirdos, there are actually some cool girls out there too. When the universe smiles down on me, I even get to meet them.