Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Perils of Internet Dating




Here’s the thing about reaching a certain age; you realize you’re going to die, and although the day might seem a little hazy and distant, the certainty is an absolute. For me, it’s raised a lot of bracing questions. Like, what am I doing with this moment? Am I just throwing it down the toilet, am I doing something towards the fulfilment of a dream? Am I having fun? Sometimes doing something towards the fulfilment of a dream means taking down-time from everything and not working at all. The fun thing isn't as simple as you'd think, either; sometimes doing what you have to do to get somewhere isn't so much fun. It's all very confusing.

Best but also worst, there isn’t a rule book. On the one hand that makes me a grand adventurer, but on the other, since time rudely marches regardless of what I do, it brings me face to face with the reality that I have to make my choices and that whether they lead to fulfilment or not isn’t something I can know in advance.

Mind you, I do know that the more I pay attention to the idea that I might end up never fulfilling anything, the more I’m like a petrified rabbit caught in the headlights. So since the future is all speculation, I’m learning real quick to give ever diminishing amounts of attention to that idea.

There was a time in my life when my sole yearning was to find a partner I could be real with, who could be real with me. In short, a soul mate. Then I went through a period of realizing that I wasn’t looking for companionship at all, I was just looking for somebody to rescue me from finding my own inner power and making my own choices. So I stopped even thinking about it. I had enough to deal with in learning to understand myself and set a course that could lead me out of the one-horse town that was in my head. I focused on that, and writing and trying to stay engaged in singing and playing piano.

Lately, that strategy has paid off. I got a job in the film industry as a head writer and script editor, I did okay at it, I got paid reasonably and was treated really well. I also wrote a film script that has been made into a film, and co-wrote 2 others that have also been made. They’ll all be screened by a local channel within the next 6 months. They’re low low-budget movies, and nothing much to write home about, but they’re done, they’re mine and they’re a stepping stone. Traction!

It’s funny, I made a bucket list, and “have a script made into a film” was at the bottom! It seemed so unachievable, for two reasons. One, I didn’t believe I could ever do it and two I didn’t believe I could ever do it.

I learned a great lesson: sometimes you know more than you think you do and you’re better at something than you realised. It’s easy to forget how much hard work you’ve done on building a foundation so you can get any kind of traction. It’s easy to forget how hard you had to work at not giving up in the face of no hint of evidence that traction is written into your future. I look back now and realize it was. Not all lessons are horrible. This one is a break out the champagne kind of lesson.

So what has any of this got to do with internet dating? Well, I feel more confident, I guess. Also, lately I’ve gotten curious and the imbalance in my life is something awful. I just don’t know any men, apart from my therapist, my brother and my brother-in-law. Actually, I was curious six months ago, and I signed up with a site. There were two guys that I wanted to at least meet. One was an American, hallo. Photos of him on a horse galloping through the snow! He’s articulate, seemed open-minded and hearted. The other was very different, barely said anything about himself. But what he said was very real. I liked that. How can you tell that somebody is articulate when they don’t say much? I don’t know, I was just pretty sure of it.

Anyway I lost courage and didn’t message them. A couple of weeks ago they came back to mind. Enough with the procrastination, I told myself, I’ll just say hi, I thought. How hard can that be?
I signed back in, and found them both. And oh. Not so easy. In short, I wanted to run again. But I didn’t. I looked at both their profiles quite a few times, trying to reassure myself they were human and ordinary like me. Am I ordinary? Then, heart thumping I messaged them both. I don’t see the point of online chatting when you can actually meet, because anybody can say anything with online chatting. I’m kind of a reality gal when I’m not fantasizing about Hollywood.

So all I said was “Hi, would you like to meet for coffee?” I was so sure they’d both say “sure thing”, because they both said they were looking for anything, which includes friendship, right? That’s where I want to start. It seemed like it would be fun to talk to both of them, and everybody I know says I’m fun to talk to.

Anyway. Neither of them replied. Ouch, that was really horrible. One of them, my second choice, is online all the time, so I know he got my message. I wanted to ask him “hey, what’s the matter with you? Why didn’t you reply?” The other – well, I don’t think he visits the site any more. But here’s the embarrassing thing. I’ve realized that I can see who’s looked at my profile. So that means they can both see I looked at their profile a gazillion times before getting up the courage to send a message. What if they think I’m a stalker?

I’ve thought about sending a short message to say I’m not one but then they could interpret that as me trying to get their attention. Which would make me more of a stalker. If only I could find a way to point them to my blog, then they’d see how clever and witty and fun and unstalky I am.

Sigh. Didn't somebody write a book about fear of flying? Or was that about sex? Not going there.