So I think there’s enough literature out there about how awful dating is and how online dating especially is worse than getting root canal and getting your eyes clawed out by a tiger while your great Aunt Sue comments on how chubby you’ve gotten.

So this may come as a shock to you…I actually enjoy dating. I even like online dating.

Hell, I didn’t even realize until recently that I’m in the minority.

I was driving home talking to my ex on the phone chatting away about how I didn’t understand why my best friend wouldn’t give OKCupid a try. And suddenly he erupted at me:

“MAYBE SHE JUST DOESN’T LIKE DATING, RENATA!”

Nonsensical, I thought. What could be bad about dating?

Now, I do want to take a moment to point out that there is actually a dangerous side to dating, especially for women, and I understand anyone would be hesitant given the risks. Dating can be scary, especially online dating where catfishing is a thing. People make jokes about women being social media detectives, but like, when you’re smaller and weaker, you definitely have to be careful.

But inherent risk to personal safety aside (ha), I literally couldn’t comprehend the words coming out of his mouth.

“You know how you keep pressuring me to make a dating profile? Yeah, I keep dodging you because I’m an introvert and I. Don’t. Enjoy. Dating.”

That’s when it hit me. Wow, I wonder if I’m the only person like this…

“Am I the only person who actually enj-”

“Yes.” He answered before I could even get the question out of my mouth.

Well damn.

As a natural-born extrovert, I genuinely enjoy meeting new people. Seriously, nothing gives me a buzz like the exchange of new ideas from a fresh perspective. The caveat being: I function best in 1-on-1 or small group situations.

As you might imagine, this makes dating one of my favorite activities — you talk to people, hear their unique values and beliefs, and evaluate if these beliefs coincide with yours. I super dig it. If they do coincide, there are plenty of directions for your relationship to go! And if they don’t, you let this one go and get back to fishin’.

I find that one of the main things that I enjoy about dating that others do not is getting to know someone. I find a lot of people make the complaint that they’d prefer to skip the getting-to-know-you portion and jump right into a solid relationship. Starting from scratch with someone can be really hard and exhausting, but it’s also pretty cool — you get to talk unlimited amounts about yourself! And you get those new-person butterflies.

When will they text me? Do they want to see me again? Will they get sick of me? Maybe I should stop calling them randomly just to yodel loudly over everything they say and hang up…

As many people as I’ve talked to online, I’ve really only gone on a handful of dates. One of the reasons being that: I always texted the person long enough to know that I could hold an in-person conversation with them, and then by the end of the first date I would know if it was going to actually go anywhere.

So I’m not going to preach “you need to know yourself before you can date someone else,” but honestly, it helps.

I’m not saying that you should have a ridiculous laundry list of things (in fact, I recommend not doing that, because you could actually miss out on some great people), but having an idea of qualities you like in others and also qualities that make you want to tear off your skin and scream can help to narrow the list down.

For example, back when I was dating, my OKC profile said straight out:

You should message me if you’re an open-minded, emotionally mature, optimistically cynical feminist with a sense of humor.

Not too incredibly specific, but if you’re an optimist who also doesn’t hate humanity, you can get to stepping. I couldn’t imagine being with someone who doesn’t like to complain at least half as much as I do. Conversely, if you’re a cynical Debbie Downer, that’s going to get annoying really quickly.

See? Not overly specific at all…

What I like about it is that people who aren’t in it for the long haul read that and they say “woah, she’s a lot to handle.”

And they’re right.

And they don’t talk to me. It’s that simple!

The nice thing about online dating in particular is that you don’t actually have to be attractive to participate. I get a few good pictures with nice angles and good lighting, and I’m all set. Then I start conversations with my unique brand of awkward, quirky, feminist self-awareness, and it’s hook, line, and sinker.

When they meet up with me and want to run the other direction, they think “well, I liked her personality well enough, I guess I should just brave this one.”

I’ve found the trick, people! Show them some nice pictures that are actually of you, give them a real slice of your personality, and make them fall madly in love with you before they see your face in person.

For people like me who didn’t start dating until their twenties because they were an awkward and unattractive middle- and high-schooler and were very much forced into having at least somewhat-decent personalities, online dating is where we clean up.

It is our time, guys! And it came in the form of swiping and wading through mountains of dick pics.

I actually think that it might be important to mention that while I was dating, I was polyamorous, so the risk was much lower as far as finding new partners. I would go out on fun dates, only to drive home calling my then-partner to tell him all about it. I’d imagine that dating poly versus dating mono are completely different, but all things considered, I think I would enjoy it as a monogamous person too. But I could be wrong…

As of right now, I don’t have to worry about dating, however, and instead spend my days going on dates (read as: sitting on the couch, watching The Office, and making fun of each other) with my monogamous partner.

Am I the crazy one here? Does anyone else enjoy dating? No, just me? Well, okay then.

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