Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lessons Learned

I've decided that probably sometime in the early spring, I'm going to try online dating again. "Why not now?" you might ask. One reason is that this time of the school year is especially busy, so that I often wake up with my hands moving in the air because I've been dreaming about grading papers (even in my dreams I'm working). Also, I'm pretty broke right now, so I need to save up some money first; hopefully I'll have enough by February or early March.

Another reason is that I'd rather not get lumps of coal in my Christmas stocking this year because Santa found out about the revenge spells I cast on bad dates where I danced around a fire chanting guys' names and calling upon the forces of nature to keep them single forever and...well. Maybe it's best if I didn't finish that sentence.

I'm thinking of trying zoosk.com or chemistry.com. Either way, it will be the fourth online dating site I've tried. I already tried match.com, okcupid.com, and eharmony with varying rates of success. I did go on dates with guys I met on all three sites, but I'd like to try something different this time.

I also tried speed dating, but I like online dating better because you get more than three minutes to get to know someone. (On the other hand, sometimes three minutes is all you need to know that you NEVER want to see this person again, not even if you were the last two people left on Earth, in which case you would have to relocate to another planet and see if any aliens are available.)

I did recently discover that eharmony kept my profile up on the site months after my account expired, which would explain why I was still getting e-mails from random guys who requested communication. I sent an angry e-mail to eharmony to demand that they take my profile down, but they said they kept it up in case I wanted to renew my membership; that way, I wouldn't have to retake the 45-minute questionnaire. But I thought that was misleading, because who knows how many other profiles are up on that site of people whose accounts already expired? They finally agreed to make sure that no one could see my profile anymore. But still. (Maybe I should go dance around a fire again.)

I didn't find the right guy on the other sites. But I don't regret all the dates I went on, even though on some of those dates I made up excuses about why I had to leave early, such as how I was going on a top-secret government mission the next day that prevented me from using the phone or e-mail so the guy could NEVER CALL ME AGAIN, drank extra caffeine so that I wouldn't fall asleep even though my date was that boring, or thought within the first three minutes, "Yeah. This is NEVER going to happen. I wonder if that girl over there would be willing to switch dates with me."

I don't regret the dates because I learned something from all of them. I learned what I'm looking for in a guy, and I learned about how I want to be treated. For one thing, I want a guy who calls when he says he will, and doesn't lead me on or play games. I want someone who isn't condescending and won't put me down just because I don't make as much money as he does or just because I'm not interested in all the same things that he is. I want someone who listens when I talk, makes me laugh, and doesn't go on and on about the same topic for hours. I want someone who isn't going to flirt with other girls when he's still on a date with me. I want someone who doesn't think it's okay to wait more than a month before calling me after the first date.

I also learned about how to treat guys with respect even if I occasionally had the urge to spit ice cubes from my drinks at their faces so that they'd shut up. (I didn't actually spit ice cubes at them. And that is progress.) I learned that it's important to give everyone a chance, but that you don't have to go on a second date if you really don't want to; you don't have to settle for less than what you're looking for just so you won't be alone.

I've also learned that even if I never meet a guy and end up being single for the rest of my life, at least I can say that I tried. It's like with writing. Even if you never get published, you still accomplished something just by writing regularly and sending your work out. And anyway, how do you expect anyone to read your work if you don't put it out there? By a similar token, I probably won't meet anyone unless I put myself out there.

Check out this Second City sketch comedy special titled "Dates of Future Past", starring a younger Steve Carell and Sherry Bilsing (who I think was one of the producers on Friends). It's a good example of how sometimes it's worth it to make mistakes because you can still gain something from them in the end.

What about you? When you look back on the mistakes that you've made, can you think of anything that you learned or gained from them?


  1. Sure. Never again will I wear platform shoes with rocker soles and then walk down a steep hill. I couldn't stop, catapulted forwards as I was by the momentum.

    Sorry - did you want serious, worthy comments?

  2. You do not make dating sound any fun - you make it sound like something you've survived! I don't blame you for wanting to wait until spring. (How nice of you to make progress by not spitting!)

    I just did 5-minute conferences at school (over 40 parents in 4 hours). We all joked it was like speed dating.

    When Talli Roland's ebook The Dating Game comes out on 12/1 (paperback comes out in March), you should get it. Each chapter has these dating stats that made me think of you. It's amazing that couples find one another at all.

  3. Oh I totally feel this entry. I date like nobody's business mostly for the learning experiences. (Don't tell my boy du jour that.) I even once went on a date I got through Craigslist just to see what all would happen. (My ad went along the lines of "Tomorrow I want someone to go see this movie with me and I want him to buy me peanut M&Ms." We talked online for a bit, and met the next day and got coffee and saw the movie. He was nice, but not really my type. But I learned how Criagslist ads work (yes there are unsolicited penis photos) and that boys find it funny how much I react while I'm watching movies.) I think moreso than knowing what I want in the other person, I've also learned how I'm mistreating men. Not that I, like, beat them or anything, but just like... I don't know how to explain it. I never make any initiative, is the problem. And I've realized that initiative thing is extremely trying for men, after a while. It's just not fair how much I put on them, you know? So that's what I'm currently working on. (There was a lot more to the process before this, but it would take awhile to detail it, haha. Perhaps I'll blog about it one day...)

  4. Hi Fran,
    I like your comment! :) And that's actually good advice. That's why I don't wear high shoes. There aren't really any hills in Chicago (that I know of), but I have fallen down more than once.

    Hi Theresa,
    In a way, I did "survive" the dates. And that's the thing. Some of the guys were nice. But I didn't have a lot of fun with any of them. And that's the thing. I think a guy that I'd actually want to go on a date (and more dates) with is someone I have fun with. Sounds obvious, but it's true; it'd be someone I could have fun with despite my constant anxieties about everything. :)

    Hi gem,
    I like your ad; it's original. And I like peanut M&Ms. :) And oh my gosh! I can't believe people post photos like that! It can be hard to make the initiative; that's been an issue for me in the past too. I'd be interested in reading your blog post about that, because if you have any advice I'm all ears. Or should I say eyes since I'd be reading it? :)

  5. Oh, I love Second City! Thanks for the clip.

    I agree - dating can be so disheartening. Really. I've never tried speed dating, but that sounds like my idea of hell. I'm impressed you had the guts to do it!

    Good luck with your next round in the spring...

  6. Lol I love that you dance around fires cursing the sub-par men you've encountered. I've felt like doing that countless times. Also, props for not actually spitting ice cubes at men. I too have the desire to throw things at men sometimes, just to get them to shut up.

    You have such a great approach to dating too! I think I've almost given up on the idea of finding the right person, but I'm ok with it. Like you said even if you don't end up with someone, at least you know you tried. That's how I'm starting to feel. I've given it a go, I've put myself out there, and now God or fate or whatever else is out there is just going to have to give me a little help if I'm ever going to find the right guy. Dating is challenging, good luck out there!


  7. Hi Talli,
    The only good thing about speed dating was that it gave me the courage to try online dating. But I don't think I'll be trying it again; it's too hard to make a good first impression 20 times in one hour.

    Hi Delilah,
    Hopefully it will all be worth it in the end. I think you have a great approach to dating too. I hope that you find the right guy, and who knows? Like you said, maybe God or fate will step in. :)

  8. You really have tried hard to find some1 from those online dating sites. It's a shame that you didn't at least find some1 who's a good friend & you can still communicate with. I really hope you find a guy that has all the qualities you're attracted to.

    Speed dating sounds challenging!

  9. Hi notesfromnadir,
    I don't communicate with any of the guys I dated, though a few of them kept trying to communicate with me until I told them to stop. It would be nice to make a friend through one of those sites, because then he could be my wingman. :)