After Christmas I spent a few days visiting my best friend and her daughter who live a few hours North of Sleepytown. When I woke up groggy eyed last Saturday morning, my best friend asked me:
“How did you sleep?”
“Not that great. I had this dream that I was going on all these weird dates with people I had met on Plenty of Fish”
“Simone, that’s not a dream. That’s actually been happening.”
I had to laugh because she is right.
After a year of very little male contact in this town, trying online dating for the first time was like being escorted to a giant all you can eat Man Buffet and being told “dig in!” For example, when you find yourself at any buffet there are always a few things you know to avoid based purely on instinct (the mystery jello pudding) There are also items that you wouldn’t put on your plate even if someone paid you (the devilled eggs.) However, beyond the obviously questionable “fare” there’s whole lot of middle ground of stuff that’s OK to indulge in.
Before you know it you’re digging into roast beef and Yorkshire pudding even though you know in your heart you’re way more of a tuna tataki kind of girl. The food is there, it’s warm and and gosh darnit you paid $10.95 just like everyone else, so it’s yours for the taking. Besides, every buffet has at least one thing that’s awesome, right? Maybe if you keep sampling you’ll eventually stumble across your figurative golden pot of baked brie & smoked bacon mac and cheese in the sky. Isn’t this what you’re supposed to do at a buffet?
Of course, it’s all good until you catch yourself taking a spoonful of the mystery jello pudding and cracking open your 20th crab leg of the evening. That’s when you have this moment where you’re like, “OMG I JUST ATE TWENTY CRAB LEGS AND I’M NOT EVEN HUNGRY. WHY DID I TRY THE PUDDING? WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?”
Yes, online dating is totally like this.
Also, in case it wasn’t clear – watching me eat at a buffet is kind of gross.
I think I was so relieved that my first online dating experiences weren’t total disasters, that I ignored some initial red flags. I mistook “not terrible” for “awesome”. Although I steered clear of the “devilled eggs” (which there are many on Plenty of Fish – just read this post), I came dangerously close to the “mystery pudding” table, dating a few people that I probably wouldn’t have given a chance had I met them under different circumstances.
A month into this online dating experiment, I’ve had to add some new items to my red flag & deal-breaker list.
It’s not going to work if…
1. He doesn’t have any friends or an active social life (I enjoy an active social life & love hanging out with my friends. If you don’t – this isn’t going to work. It’s all about balance.)
2. He doesn’t have close ties with his family (Although not a complete deal breaker – after all, we can’t choose our families – if a guy can’t understand that I enjoy spending time with my family, it’s not going to work.)
3. He doesn’t own a phone. Not even a landline. (Question: HOW DO YOU LIVE?)
4. He does own a rotating tie rack. (Oh hi, Patrick Bateman)
4. He had one friend but he hasn’t heard from him in a few weeks since said friend was admitted to the local mental hospital.
5. When you go over to their house to watch a movie, they take the whole sofa and make you sit in the weird puffy chair on the other side of the room.
6. You have conversations that sound like this:
“Have you heard of ______ band?”
“No, have you heard of ______ band?”
“No, but I like _____ have you heard of them?”
“No, have you seen _____ movie?”
“No, sorry. Have you seen______?”
“No, sorry I’ve never heard of it.”
Eventually you end up agreeing on some movie/band/book that you both kind of liked. Sort of like that song by Deep Blue Something except the thing that you both kind of liked isn’t anywhere as cool as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and you leave the date thinking, “WHY THE HELL DID I TELL THAT GUY I THOUGHT HOUSE BUNNY WAS A GREAT MOVIE?”
7. He used to manage an adult video store.
8. The first thing you see when you walk into their apartment is a box labelled “COSTUMES.”
9. Their best friend’s nickname is “Rape-y” because “he’s always making jokes about raping his female co-workers” but don’t worry, “He’s a hilarious guy and you’re totally going to love him!”
*This friend may or may not be currently residing in local psych ward.
Of the initial 3 dates I’ve been on, I’ve had to cut two loose, leaving only one man standing. I won’t say too much about this man except that he’s kind, considerate and no rotating tie racks have materialized during our courtship thus far.
To be continued…
PS. The second image was found here and yes, that’s my new dating mantra.