Like many of us, I keep online dating, even though it is clearly the seventh circle of hell.
I used to justify it by saying, “But my job keeps me from meeting people, so it’s really all I have at my disposal. It’s better than nothing” (Don’t get me started on how many stupid ideas keep running on the strength of that line).
However, since that’s not true anymore in the last year and change, and I do meet some intriguing men out and about, I’ve had to find another purpose for this system, or officially ditch it and thus risk falling asleep at late night jobs when I am not awake enough for anything else. Plus, I have more than one single friend whose self esteem is in jeopardy if one more person gives up on the Internet. My solution is brilliant–online dating as a mirror to self, almost a meditation of sorts. Let me explain.
I have gotten to the point that I can tell what’s going on with me, based on how I react to men’s dating profiles. Now, I’m decently self aware to begin with, but I find this to be a fabulous tap-tap-tap on the shoulder when I need it. Examples, give us examples! Okay, since you asked with such enthusiasm.
Some nights I will find myself staring at the dogs and cats in guys pictures. I will notice which ones look trapped, and counsel them on how to run away and get to the nearest no-kill shelter. Some nights, when I’m really feeling my duty, I’ll ask every dog or cat in every picture, “Are you sure about him? I think you can do better.” That’s when I stop and wonder, what part of me feels unguarded or unprotected lately? Do I need to stand up and be my own advocate, and not the theoretical advocate to pictures of animals? The answer is probably yes.
Other nights, I find myself staging whole conversations between the assorted buddies and family members in some of these fine gentleman’s photos. I wonder how he made these friends, what his family is like, and before you know it, I’m shutting the computer down to call my Mom or check up on a friend I haven’t heard from in a while. The brilliance of storytelling is that it is often easier to process your own web using stand ins. The bummer of storytelling is when you never get to the self processing piece.
I’ve also been known to take on a defense attorney like conversation with some of the items in these men’s profiles. “Alright, Jake of Menlo Park. You say you are into hiking, so when was the last time you hiked? Oh, you’re the strong silent type? That won’t help you now Jake, you’re in my courtroom. What is the closest hiking trail to your house? What is the difference between a sneaker and a hiking boot? ANSWER ME JACOB!!!!!” This is usually when I look up to the cat/dog/goldfish I’ve just scared the shit out of–yes, I do have some of these conversations out loud–and wonder who I feel is lying to me right now. What part of my life is currently out of integrity and trying to snap back into line?
Even tonight, as I plodded through profiles, I couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous everyone’s hair was. Many of them also seemed one dimensional or douche-y, but other than that it was like Vidal Sassoon and Fabio had gotten together and built a master race of good haired robots. I wanted to play with all the hair so badly!! Like life sized Ken dolls, boinging curls, bristling flattops, braiding long shiny manes like I used to with My Little Ponies in the bathtub. “Why are you so pretty, goddamnit!!” was uttered more than once, I won’t lie (what would be the point at this juncture, I’ve already thrown all my weirdo cards at the Internet). So, tomorrow, I will pick up my paints, or pick up some produce from the Mexican market that sells iguanas (even though I have never seen one), and give my fingers a chance to create and play.
In closing, if my next love, great or small, is somehow reading this, I know it sounds jaded as fuck. It’s not really that as much as my frustration at how technology flattens and hides your story from me. Get your ass in gear and let’s start this adventure! My Romantic Smush Monster (RSM for short) has been sequestered too long 😉 Until then, the RSM and I will keep trying to tell me what I need, if I’ll listen. Instead of beating myself up for not disconnecting from the technology deluge more often, what if I use it to listen differently?