I remember meeting a woman once living in Wales that was originally brought up in Idaho Falls. I wondered what strange course of events had brought her so far from home and it turns out she had met her Welsh husband online and eventually made the big move to be with him. I’m sure they are insanely happy together, though it would take a lot of faith to jump into that kind of situation. You know that it was likely logistically difficult to spend the kind of extended time with each other that usually leads to matrimonial bliss.
Though I don’t advocate the existence of some minimal time requirement to know you’re meant to be with someone. I had a close friend that would always come to me after breakups throughout our years of college. His search just felt fruitless and each failed relationship seemed to mock that. Then he moved to California and was engaged within a few weeks to a girl who I really think is perfect for him.
But dating online? I have a brother that, though he would meet people online, was always afraid of pursuing a relationship with them solely because he didn’t want their “meet-cute” moment forever and ever to be “we met online.” I sort of identify with that notion. What happened to the days where you’d each reach for the same weird flavor of muffin at a bakery and your hands touched and the rest was history? Or you started seeing each other in the same part of the library at the same time each week until it almost became a joke and then next thing you know you’re together forever?
Looking it over, I’m realizing those days may never have existed.
My parents met when my Mom brought a film into a studio partially owned by my Dad. My grandparents met when my Nana was bringing her little brother to register for school and she caught the eye of a tall, charming teacher that would later become my Papa.
In all the confusion and chaos, it’s a miracle people manage to find each other, but somehow it happens.
I guess what I’m trying to sheepishly admit, is that I’ve officially begun a foray into the wonderful world of online dating. If it turns no other profit for me than the fascination of a social experiment, it will have been worth it.
One benefit of being a performer is that, because you have professional portraiture done on a regular basis for work, you’re already set up to have a killer profile picture for dating sites. But then what? Filling in the rest of the profile with interests and priorities and favorite films just seems sort of silly and exhausting. (Though I’ll freely admit that if a man had Jurassic Park’ or Clue’ under his favorite films, I’d probably be more likely to talk to him). It’s a classic sitcom scenario to fill in all the details of an ideal, but fake profile and then having to own up to the truth in some embarrassing and farcical way.
Not having interesting enough stuff to plug into those categories has never much been my problem though. In fact, I was on a date recently (someone I did not meet online) with someone who knew very little about me and the more I introduced myself over the course of the night, the more I realized that my life sounds like a joke. I have a very eclectic set of interests and experiences and because I know myself, I understand the common denominator and none of it seems random. But people that don’t know me well enough to know my motivation just see a ridiculous montage of disconnected images and sunsets in foreign places.
I wish dating profiles could tell more of the truth so presenting yourself didn’t feel like such a game. Not that saying I like Thomas Hardy novels isn’t the truth, but it immediately begs the question of whether I’m choosing to disclose that information just because it makes me sound smart (or more likely, cynical). Of course, if dating profiles actually dealt in truth, mine would have to say “has a crippling fear of rejection” or “tends to fall in love with her best friends.”
Yes, perhaps it’s better to make somebody earn the kind of trust that comes with sharing that kind of information. As a result of this dilemma, I have nearly no information on my profile. Despite such, I got a note the other day that said “your profile reads like a great novel and I just keep coming back to it and getting something different every time.” I don’t know if that’s just his go-to icebreaker or if he really reads three-sentence novels, but I hope it’s the former.
Online dating seems to be an excellent and chronologically unique-to-us way to meet people you might not otherwise be exposed to. I know it has been the means of creating a lot of happy and successful couples. Putting myself out there in an environment of pure artifice, however, has made me grateful for all of the relationships in my life that have sprung from organic etiology.
Not just relationships with boys, but friendships born of late-night chats and spontaneity. Born of crying together and laughing together and only feeling comfortable to do so because of all the quality time that preceded it. I’m grateful for all the people that have done thoughtful things for me without first knowing how many bones I’ve broken or if I’d rather live on the ocean or in the mountains (one-my arm on a trampoline—and in the mountains).
I don’t have a problem with the Internet facilitating new and exciting interactions for people (though jury’s out on whether it’ll be any good for me). But it sure leaves me awe-struck and grateful for the people that, in their divine wanderings, have stumbled across my path and become a part of my life. It’s insane that of all the gin joints in all towns in all the world.’ I know the people that I know and have the privilege of loving the people that I love, that I really love.