When I was in college, I exhausted every possible excuse to explain my constant state of being single: I was too busy with academics to worry about dating (false, I only attended class on exam day), I was too focused on having fun with my girlfriends to have a serious boyfriend (partly true, mainly because I was too promiscuous to render myself dateable), all the guys I met were fucking pricks (completely true), etc. Regardless of the real reasoning, I was never in want of someone to hook up with. I never had a difficult time finding a date, largely because I had an immediate circle of friends. I was
perpetually drunk socially active, and attended one of the biggest universities in the country, so I was in the proximity of thousands of somewhat eligible young men on a daily basis. I never really needed to put any effort into meeting people, because in college I was forced into doing so through group projects and nights at the bar.
I always assumed that college would be my time to get crazy and have a handful of one night stands, and that after graduating I would settle down with a doctor or a lawyer, calm the fuck down, and become a one-man woman. After finishing school, I moved back to my hometown and did a whole lot of nothing with my life before deciding to get my shit together (sort of) and go to grad school in an entirely different city and state. After relocating my entire life and spending months being unfortunately single, it dawned on me that I wasn’t going to be able to start dating because of one major setback: I don’t know how to meet new fucking people.
College is the ultimate easy setup for dating, because introductions are always necessary in all types of situations. Freshman year, you need to introduce yourself to everyone in the dorms because you’re all a bunch of strangers on your own for the first time. Everyone goes to parties and bars to meet people. In the real world, it’s fucking creepy and annoying to be approached at a bar by a random stranger. No, I don’t want to talk to you, because I don’t know you, and I think it’s fucking weird that you’re trying to strike up a conversation with me in the middle of a super crowded, noisy bar while I’m trying to flag down a bartender who refers to himself as a “mixologist” to get an overpriced vodka fucking soda.
I spent my first few months being painfully single in a new city, as anyone else would, I’m sure. I got wine drunk, by myself, on a nightly basis, while Facebook stalking my ex-boyfriend and Googling ways to curse his existence. After night #54 of chardonnay-induced self loathing, I had a harsh realization: it might be time to give online dating a try.
My mother was the first person to suggest I dip a toe into the online dating world, because I spent a vast majority of my time not doing work, and instead calling my mother to vehemently complain about my life. Of course, I told her she was a bitch for suggesting that I use the romantic introduction method favored by divorcees and middle-aged recovering alcoholics. After a few months of careful consideration, I realized online dating might not be the creepiest way to meet someone. After all, according to the commercials, millions of people do it.
My first attempt at swimming in the online dating pool happened after I drank two bottles of wine and became supremely desperate. I opted for an online dating site that required members to pay for use, because I’m fucking classy. After what felt like millions of questions geared to finding my compatibility rating, it came time to fill in my bio. This is what I came up with: “All of my friends are either in serious relationships, or getting engaged, or getting ready to get married, and I feel like I’m going to die alone. I don’t want my ex to move on before I do, but I’m mostly afraid that I’m going to have to become a cat lady, which is really fucking tragic because I’m allergic to cats.” Oddly enough, I got no responses. Weird, I know.
After sobering up, I realized that I might have been being dramatic about the entire online dating scenario: meeting people is actually really fucking hard, especially in a new city. It’s awkward to try to insert yourself into a new social circle, and half of the people I come in contact with on a daily basis are the bottom feeders of society. Have you ever interacted with a grad student? They’re the fucking worst. Also, there’s a great anonymity offered through the internet. I can reject online suitors without seeming like a huge bitch, and I can get rejected because of my fantastically mediocre appearance without having to know about it.
I realized online dating might actually be a viable resource when it came to finding a boyfriend, because it allowed me to do it on my terms. I wasn’t being set up by a co-worker, and I wasn’t meeting some random drunk dude in a bar and then failing at having a one night stand.
Of course, when I finally did go on a date with someone I met online, it was a fucking disaster. At least I tried, though, right?