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 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.”