You’ve done it!
You made it through the laborious communication process. For weeks, you passed back and forth the internet’s equivalent of high school paper football notes. Your heart gets that little flutter when you see their name pop into your inbox, telling you the Mr. Match.com sent you a new message.
You’ve spent hours carefully crafting communication, diligently detailing the deepest depths of your desires. You know all about his favorite movies and music. You’ve compared notes on your educational backgrounds, family values, political and religious beliefs. This guy is checking off the boxes one by one. And then he asks you out!!! Oh em gee.
So usually this is the part where I say yes to the date, but actually dread the whole thing and spend the hours before the date calling my sisters saying, “I don’t want to go. Do I have to go? Can I not go? I should go. But I don’t want to go!” Probably not the best sign.
But let’s set that piece of information aside for a minute and instead assume I’m excited to go on this date in the way that I assume most normal people are excited to go on dates. I primp my hair, drive to the location and standing before me is…
A guy I’ve never met before. Let’s call a spade a spade here, people. I’ve read this person’s online profile, I’ve seen their profile pictures and we’ve exchanged e-mails. But this person is a stranger. Do you know how I know he’s a stranger? Because I’ve never heard the sound of his voice before. I couldn’t tell you anything about him other than what my computer monitor has showed me. Literally, if someone said, “hey, do you know Joe? Isn’t it funny how he laughs?” I’d say, “I have no idea how he laughs.” Because I don’t. I’ve never heard it. Because I don’t know him.
It’s kind of like looking at a puppy on the SPCA website and seeing he’s super adorable and the volunteers write that he’s sweet and will bring you the newspaper, but when you actually go see the puppy he’s a little devil who chews everything and vomits all over the carpet. Is my analogy falling apart? Moving on…
Now here’s where it gets really confusing. You actually do know this person. You know all about his little brother or his favorite pizza place and what he got for Christmas this year. You know he hates his job and wants to do something else, and his degree has nothing to do with his actual career. You know he secretly likes listening to “Wrecking Ball” and his big sister once painted his finger nails.
And this is why first dates after online dating are the. most. awkward. thing. ever.
This is the first time you’re looking him in the eye, but he knows how you order your coffee. What am I meant to do with this? My mind is screaming “stranger danger!! RUN AWAY!!”
And here’s where it gets 100 times worse. You sit down across from each other and stare dreamily into each other’s eyes and talk about… what? First date conversations generally cover basic idle chit chat. And this is a first date. But the problem is, you’ve already covered all of that idle chit chat online. So now you’re sitting across from someone you’ve never met and you start with….., “how’s your mom’s cold? Is she feeling better?”
It’s like you can either re-discuss everything you already covered online and just both pretend you forgot everything about each other. Or you have to sit across from a total stranger and talk about fourth-date material with someone you’ve never laid eyes on.
Which makes my mind want to do this:
And to add insult to injury, I am not by nature a flirtatious person. I must have missed that week in health class. I literally do not understand how to do it. I’ve had people explain it to me. I’ve had friends try to teach me. (I should probably be embarrassed admitting this, but I’m really not.) I’ve always been jealous of my friends who can flirt with boys, but I just don’t really get how it works. And the handful of times when I’ve tried, I’ve just become really awkward and probably end up hitting him really hard in the arm. Because apparently the flirting abilities I do have capped themselves at the fourth grade.
I once had a guy tell me how much I was flirting with him on our first date and I just had to laugh. I would have had the exact same conversation I had with him, with my best friends. If you read my blog (which was a stupid way to start a sentence on my blog…) this is actually how I am in real life. I’m not putting on airs or working really hard to make a guy laugh on a date. I’m not being flirtatious. I’m just being an idiot.
So in the end, if I actually happen to make it past all the oddities of online dating, it just goes to show that things only seem to get worse once we enter the third dimension.