Love in the Age of the Internet

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Photo by markemark at Morguefile.com

I was not intent on producing a second post, primarily because I wanted to make sure that all of my schoolwork was done and that I didn’t push myself too hard.

 

However, my previous article was hastily written due to the fact that I had a packed schedule. All of my homework is currently finished, though. Not that the article turned out particularly poorly, but it wasn’t up to my personal standards.

Additionally, sharing it on social media didn’t give me an influx of readers that I expected. Somewhere along the line, my article got clogged in the proverbial series of tubes. When I attempted to post it to Flipboard, it did not show up in the relevant topic section. At first I believed it was due to the original headline, but even after changing it I had no luck. I am left to believe it was technical, rather than an act of censorship on Flipboard’s part. If this process repeats, I’ll be in touch with their support staff.

But the final reason is because something happened, and perhaps it’s time I began discussing it. As I have previously implied, I am in the online dating scene, and I want to share my most recent experience.

I must start by stating what this will not feature. It will not be a story about my bitter frustration towards the woman I dated, since she did nothing wrong. Nor am I asking anyone to take pity on me, because I believe I’ll be just fine. I just want to provide a human experience.

An Arrangement of Sorts

Our conversation on OkCupid was brief, but pleasant. At her suggestion, we met up at a local cafe in downtown Baltimore. I used this opportunity to introduce myself to the cafe, in question, Red Emma’s. The cafe itself is a home to not only coffee, but all sorts of leftist literature. From mainstream liberal politics to far-left ideologies, there was indeed a bevy of books that would make Donald Trump’s head explode upon entry. Indeed, Red Emma’s is a reference to Emma Goldman, the notable anarchist activist.

Her background was in science, which although I did not share I did appreciate.We discussed Frankenstein, and that lead to vampire literature. Inevitably, Twilight was brought up, but she was more well-versed in the classical vampire fiction.

We were somewhat distant, however, and didn’t share many common interests. I was a bit surprised when she suggested a second date. I decided to go along because I figured a second date wouldn’t hurt, though I had not expected it to go further.

My enthusiasm was tempered by previous experience. Additionally, I noticed the lack of smiley faces or emojis in her texts from that point onward. Usually when that happens it’s a sign that things aren’t going so well.

Got a Bad Feeling About This

Before I went downtown, I remember noticing a knot in my stomach. I attributed it to the chips I snacked on beforehand, but there was doubt lingering in the back of my mind.

What if it doesn’t go well?

I had buried that doubt in my mind. I feared the creation of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I perceived it as not going well, my actions would match that perception.

Go in thinking it’s going to turn out well.

But, try as I might, it remained inescapable. I remembered the awkward feeling setting in as soon as I sat in the booth. The TV placed behind her didn’t help either.

I fired off topics, but they were shot down. Some of them were innocuous but uninteresting to her, others hit a little close to home for her comfort. I apologized, but that became a subject of contention.

I didn’t want to come across as inconsiderate, but in the end I likely appeared to apologize too much. I pointed out to her that mentioning this was likely going to prompt me to apologize again, though I ignored that impulse.

We didn’t share hobbies or interests. While I was constantly plugged in to what was going on around me, she remained cloistered in her own enclave within the laboratory. This was not something I objected to, but it did not bode well for any prospective relationship.

My words were carefully crafted, built with hesitation in fear that any time the whole date would come crashing down like a wobbly Jenga tower. I took on the role of my own editor, if I were to use journalistic terms.

But, she picked up on it. I was not intent on deception, but she preferred direct and blunt. In my past experience, that was what I was. It never ended well.

She remarked that this was not going to work, upon which I agreed. It was too laborious for our tastes, we were handling this like work and not a comfortable experience like a relationship is supposed to be.

I expressed my gratitude for the expedient resolution. It was far more preferable that we parted ways in that moment than it would have been had we attempted to foster a relationship built on nothing.

Performance Grading

Dating is occasionally a confusing experience. Sometimes communication gets muddy, and people don’t necessarily if they did something wrong, and if so, what that wrong was. You can’t exactly hand someone a survey card that companies often routinely employ. I’d imagine it’d be awkward at best, and an invitation for harshness at worst given the emotional nature of relationships.

However, due to my recent string of previous encounters, I did manage to ask some questions about my dating “performance”. I was fortunate in that I didn’t do anything specifically objectionable, though I’m certain my exes would probably disagree with that sentiment.

After it was over, the knot in my stomach returned. It was a sinking feeling, and the occasional self-flagellating thought entered my mind.

Maybe it was you.

But thankfully, it went as quickly as it came. As I left I took comfort in the fact that I was participating in the process of elimination. I was one step closer to finding the right woman for me, having checked off an incompatible partner from the list.

I also took comfort in knowing that I wasn’t a man who asked questions that were far too sexual, or sent unsolicited pictures of my genitals. That experience was all too common for women online, it seemed.

Always Another Chance

I’m certain that to at least one woman I carry desirable traits. I don’t believe in the concept of “soulmates”, I believe that people can find fulfilling relationships with multiple people throughout their lives. I’ve seen it happen before.

It may not be the most alluring of viewpoints. I’m sure we’d all like to believe that our current partner was destined to be the one for us. But life gets complicated. People get sick, they move away, they die, the world around us changes. When it does happen, I believe that adherence to the idea that there is one person destined for us does more harm than good. You can always start again, and that gives me hope.

There remains one woman I spoke to many months ago, we’re still friends on Facebook. Truth be told, I would date her in a hearbeat, despite the physical distance between us. Like me, she is a journalist, and enjoys many of the niche hobbies that I do. However, upon asking, she stated she was busy.

I interpreted this as a sign of disinterest, though I’m not sure if that was her intent. She did like my Facebook page after all.

However, even if my initial suspicions do turn out to be true, I do not see myself as doomed to a life of solitude for eternity. After all, anything can happen. There’s always another chance.

2 thoughts on “Love in the Age of the Internet

  1. Keep on keeping on. Chalk it up to being part of your journey. You simply haven’t arrived where you’re meant to be yet, or who you’re meant to be with yet. I like using the word: “yet.” Think of the possibilities that remain. In my experience, we meet the people we are meant to meet for a reason. Usually we learn and we teach. Many times, we simply move on from there all the wiser. Then we begin again. Sounds like you are on the road aptly named: Adventure. Very exciting!

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