Writing about your dating life isn’t necessarily easy. And yet, it’s still easier than actually dating. I’ve been a little slow writing this sequel to Plenty of Fish in the Sea, but a recent article in the Buffalo News was so sympathetic to my plight, I knew it was time for an update. (Mom and Dad, do NOT panic.
And maybe don’t keep reading along.)
I can’t JUST include the link– I must SHOW you the article for complete and thorough understanding of this bizarro world of online dating:
A new study lists Buffalo as the nation’s most dangerous city for online dating.
The study, conducted by security review company SafeWise and HighSpeedInternet.com, ranked 56 U.S. cities based on two risk factors that researchers said were key to online dating safety: STD cases and violent crime rates, both adjusted for population. Using these metrics, researchers produced safety scores for each city.
With the highest STD rate in the study and the 11th highest violent crime rate, Buffalo was found to be twice as dangerous for online dating as the study’s next most dangerous city, Riverside, Calif.
“Buffalo residents may not have a lot to do while cooped up indoors for those long Buffalo winters, but clearly some people could use more precaution,” one of the researchers, John Dilley, wrote in a summary of the findings.
STDs and violent crime? So basically Gonorrhea and stabbings? Is that all you got, Online Dating? Psssh. Buffalonians are a hearty bunch. You’re going to have to do better than that!
(And yet. This article still says nothing of the other real danger out there: The Heartbreak.)
I must point out– the few people I met and went on actual dates with were TOTAL gentlemen. Total. (No STDs or violent crimes, thank the sweet baby Jesus) It was weeding out the crazies to actually get to the first date part that was the toughest. But still, I was in near tears before every first date. My girlfriend would say to me EVERY SINGLE TIME, “For F*#&s sake, Bean– it’s a DRINK. Not a proposal.” And I would whine back, “I knoowwwww. But I don’t wanna goooooo.” Super attractive, right? And I get it- you’re thinking, wait- I thought you wanted to meet people and date…?
Well I do. But I just want to skip ahead to the part where we’re happy and it’s a match. Are you saying that’s not realistic?
So I started corresponding with a few people and emailing back and forth and getting to know each other a little bit, because that’s how this gig works. And I did go on a few first dates.
Here is a very abridged version of my experience:
#1 was married and still living with his wife. This was a touch confusing. I thought- well- I thought we were all gonna be single and available. “We” weren’t. Not a match.
#2 was not a match from the second we met— and when he said he didn’t believe in God, I told him that was a deal breaker for me. Later in the week he messaged me to say he was going to attend church that weekend and “give it a try.” (I make the boys believe in God! It’s like magic! ) Ultimately I told him I would’ve had more respect for someone who stayed true to their beliefs (or lack thereof) than someone who was so willing to jump the atheist ship for a girl– ‘cuz we’re not just talking about switching from Protestant to Episcopalian. We’re talking about THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. It’s not a match.
I can’t even remember #3. I was too jacked up from #1 and #2
On Date #4, I distinctly recall waiting and wishing he would swear first so we could just sort of relax a little. And also order a third drink. It was not a match.
There was also one in there that- I’m not exaggerating- spent THE ENTIRE date talking about his ex and repeatedly and emphatically convincing me just how over her he is. Even the bartender was rolling his eyes. Check please. Not a match.
On the last date, I knew from the second we met it was not a match. His online persona and his real life persona were… incongruous. And that’s being polite about it.
And then I quit Match. I cried and quit and shut down my profile. Match could go match itself.
And then I tried one more time because I only learn from my mistakes after I make them approximately 437 times. (On the low end.) And whaddya know? I met a match. I fell in love. And then it turned out to just..not be a match. No matter how much I wish it were or wanted it to be. Love is a complicated thing. Not everyone is for everyone.
500 times once I’ve said, “As soon as I saw him, I knew we were not a match”, and I’m not just talking about someone being attractive. Each of us has a very unique and specific vibe that is made up of so much more than just physical appearance: Body language, mannerisms, energy, spirit… So much of our chemistry and attraction with another person is about everything that’s unspoken. Within minutes of meeting someone, your subconscious is already deciding if this person feels good to be around and is someone you’d want in your space. (So to speak. Ahem.)
There are three general immediate responses:
“This is okay.”
“No. This just doesn’t feel like me”
Or “THIS! THIS! THIS! ALL DAY LONG THIS!”
The last one is like a unicorn–rare and extremely hard to find.
The heart wants what the heart wants. The heart is not always schooled in reality. Sometimes the heart is a drunken fool that won’t shut up. That’s the problem. You think you know exactly what you want and you think you know exactly what you don’t want. Getting those things to collide, well, that’s another story.
Stay tuned. And if you live in Buffalo, stay safe my friends. Love is a dangerous game.