Something came over me a couple of Thursdays ago and I found myself posting my picture on a dating site. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but in this case, it is. I went cold turkey after ten years of what I think I can now say was an internet dating addiction. Since that time, I dipped my toe in the digital dating pool only twice and ran away screaming within days of joining.
The picture I used this time is sort of bright and hazy and I said little about myself outside of my statistics and that I wanted to meet men within 5 km of me. I was astonished to find that within two days, I had 100 “likes” and over a dozen emails from men all over the western world. I felt overwhelmed – this is not what I expected.
Sometimes men will tell me about their time on dating sites and complain that most women don’t answer their emails. I ask them what they write. “Hi,” they often say. A good start, but Hi for what reason? What inspired you to write to her? A girl needs something to go on, fellas!
I got a lot of email and admittedly I didn’t open all of it (including the ones that just said “hi”), but I did respond to the ones I opened and I’m always polite in my exchanges. The very first message was from a gorgeous creature with tattoo sleeves, but he was looking for casual sex—I passed. Later, I had conversations with a couple of interesting artistic types, a guy with cool style and a fun attitude, and brief exchanges with two men from the UK and two from the U.S.
I wrote back to the foreigners to say thanks for the email but they were too far away (sometimes efficiency is more important than romance). The one in Liverpool wrote back to say how much he wanted to express himself to me and all men voiced their disagreement with my choice and said we should get to know each other over email first. I’m flattered, but I’m also practical.
After looking at so many men`s pictures and profiles, I started to feel their loneliness, their anger, and their desire to be wanted. Some of the emails I opened begged for attention (I imagined one man literally on his knees), and some men wrote long emails to try to convince me to get involved with them. It made me feel sad; it made me realize just how socially isolated we are from each other.
One man in particular embodied the emotional desolation of modern dating and romance. In his first message to me, this American man sent his phone number and says he’s willing to relocate after one exchange:
HE: Gooday [sic] dear….good to read your profile… you look adorable and down to earth. Would love to know more about you and maybe have a longer conversation with you, to see if we have something in common and to also see if we are going to be compatible…You can send me a text anytime and I’ll be glad to hear from you. (XXX) XXX-XXXX Much love, _____
ME: _____, it’s good of you to get in touch but I’m looking to meet men within 5 km of me in Toronto. Best wishes to you!
HE: Am ready to relocate, if i get the one my heart beats for…and i believe since am attracted to you am ready to do anything just to make the one my heart beats for happy
ME: _____, you won’t believe this, but a guy from Maryland just sent me the same email. I’m afraid I’m not the romantic type and I want to find someone near me. Good luck.
HE: am mostly attracted to you …please don’t do this to me…just give me a chance into your life and see the little love that can make you believe am for real.
HE: just send me your number so i can call or text you as to enable us know each other the better.
It would seem that in the world of online dating, women suffer from the noise while men suffer from the silence.
– My friend, Andy
After only five days, I took down my profile. At the risk of sounding conceited, I had trouble with the amount of attention I received: by the time I deleted my profile, I received 220 likes and there were 27 emails in my box.
Irony of ironies, three of the men I was in conversation with on the website sent their email addresses to me, so I contacted them and guess what? To date, I’ve not heard from one. Reminds me of the last time I attempted internet dating: I met a man, chatted a bit, then set up a date for a Sunday afternoon. He cancelled only an hour before we were to meet. Humans, eh? I guess some people don’t believe they deserve happiness.