Dating While Bipolar: Internet dating is for lunatics

That’s it, folks, I’m quitting the Internet. Not for social media or interracial porn, but for dating.

Yes, I’ve said before that dating websites have given me all manner of losers along the spectra of social competency and appropriateness. However, on of my subscriptions auto-renewed before I could cancel it, so I decided to use the extra months to edit my profile and take some social chances. Hell, I’d paid for it, right?

Wrong. If someone ever uses the phrase “social chances” within earshot, scream and run. If you even think it at some desperate point in your existence, stick a sharp pencil into your ear in an attempt to scrub your brain of ill-fated ideas. Trust me, I know.

Unfortunately, I had no Internet Dating Fairy Godmother to warn me about making stupid choices just to get some male companionship. Therefore, I posted new pictures on Chemistry.com. Yes, I’m naming names, because the public should be made aware of the dating mishegas (look it up) that gets perpetrated when people look for love online. Yeah, I know that everyone has a story about how their neighbor’s coworker’s niece met her husband online. My business school roommate met her husband on Match.com; 2 kids, 2 moves and a few home renovations later, they’re incredibly happy. Another friend met his live-in girlfriend through random digital means. They’ve been together for about 5 years, and he’s dutifully requested a family ring for the engagement; I predict a wedding within 18 months. So it does happen, and those couples on the TV commercials aren’t lying. However, there’s a seedy – or at least unseemly – underbelly to Internet dating, and I’m exposing yet another facet.

Dig if you will a picture of a young(ish), attractive, smart, wicked funny, gainfully-employed woman seated at the Mac Book, perusing photos and profiles. I came across a not unattractive guy with all his teeth, a job (apparently) and a decent command of the English language. I did what any 35+ woman would do in a similar situation. I sent him a message expressing my interest.

Don’t judge me!

As is wont to happen in the world of 1’s and 0’s, dude – let’s call him “Anthony” – didn’t respond. I forgot about him and moved to the next round of losers until a month later, Anthony responded with a plausible explanation for his silence. He hadn’t paid for the full subscription (read: I’m either to broke/cheap to spare $20 or you’re not hot enough for me to pay for a conversation with you). No matter, I was still heartened by the response and I rationalized: just because folks don’t commit to paying for dating on the innanets doesn’t mean they’re horrible people. Uh, actually it means you should run away from them if you’re the paying kind, but I was being all hopeful and optimistic with Anthony, so I wrote back.

Don’t judge me!

Later that same day, Anthony asked me for my email address to communicate outside the parameters of the paid Chemistry subscription.  I sent it to him, or rather I sent him my anonymous email address, the one I only use for internet dating and not for work or my friends or even for this blog.  The next time I checked my email, I had an email from Anthony asking a series of questions about my upbringing.  There was something a bit odd about the flow, the syntax of Anthony’s message.  It wasn’t necessarily grammatically incorrect or misspelled, but I felt like if he’d been talking to me in a manner similar to his writing style, I’d be plotting a way to walk away from him.  Also, he’d cc’d another woman on the email.  That’s right.  This creep sent me and another woman the same email!

Of course, I wasn’t offended that Anthony was communicating with someone else. Certainly you have to cast your net rather wide in the dating pond to catch a fish you actually want to keep (see what I did there?).  However, I was annoyed that dude wasn’t at least conscientious enough to bcc me and “Cathy”, Ms. Carbon Copy, so we didn’t know about each other.  Anthony’s sloppiness made me dislike him even more, so I sent him the following note, copying Cathy as well:

“Hi Anthony,
Thanks for getting back to me, though this email was addressed to someone else. Perhaps you’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, which is cool, but I can only pursue one person at a time; it’s just less confusing that way.
Good luck to you and Cathy Smith.
Deltra”
I’m a bad-ass like that.  Of course, Cathy emailed me right away, thanking me for putting Anthony on blast, and admitting that she thought he was a little weird as well and had broken off communication separately.  Apparently both Cathy and I know that things look kind of weird when a dude copies a bunch of chicks on the same email, and we rightly want to actually be with someone who’s at least interested enough in getting to know us and not just playing the numbers.  She and I exchanged a few emails about the perils of internet dating and had a few laughs.  In the back of my mind, and out loud, I laughed about the situation and got on the phone to share with my girlfriends. Then Alex emailed me back, apologizing for the mix-up and asking if I “would like to continue this great relationship that we are about to build?”
*spit take*
Um, since when is a 2-email communication a “relationship”, especially when one of those emails consists of one party blowing the other off?  I decided to have some fun and forward the latest response to Cathy.  Guess what?  ANTHONY SENT CATHY THE SAME EMAIL HE SENT ME!!!  AGAIN!!!!  Complete with inappropriate relationship-level-jumping, awkward language, and lies about what each of us had told him.  Once again, I wasn’t offended at being two-timed, rather confused and dumbfounded that an adult would comport themselves as Anthony had.  There I was, thinking that people everywhere have standards similar to mine, and expecting people to be intelligent and think the same of me.  Call me optimistic that way.
In case there are any men reading this blog, I have a piece of advice:  assume that women talk about you behind your back because you’re not as cool as you think you are.  Assume twice the amount of gossip if you’re a dork, have no game and are trying to date two women at the same time.  Even if you do have game, trust that the world is small and that the females you juggle will meet each other – in real life or in virtual life.  These days, you cannot try to run some yang on multiple women – especially when you know they know about each other, stupid ass Anthony – and think that they won’t compare notes even if they’re both in love with you.  When the two women you’re trying to game barely know you, expect even more female bonding about your sorry ass and the dumb shit you do.
A tangent – I mistakenly dated a man who was newly single, or so he said.  I knew his “ex”, actually liked her, and we all lived in the same state.  Turns out the woman was less “ex” than I though and we both expected we were dating this man exclusively.  Eventually he told us both the truth.  We both cussed him out and stopped seeing him.  I ran into the woman a few months later, in another state, at a convention attended by thousands of other people.  We compared notes.  We both hate the man who tried to date us both at once, but like each other a whole lot.
As for Anthony, he sent me a few more emails that I sent to Cathy, which she shared with a few of her friends and we had many a disbelieving laugh.  Cathy is seeing a few other people, though none seriously.  And I’m swearing off internet dating at least until I’m 60 and desperate enough to believe all the shit I read.

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