Meet Megan, Our New York Date Reporterby Megan E. Baldwin on August 03, 2012
Introducing HowAboutWe’s Date Reporters, a new series featuring real, live singles from all over the country who are giving you a peek into their personal experiences as they try HowAboutWe for the first time. To catch up on all the action, go here.
I just turned 28 years old. I wish I wasn’t freaking out about it. But I totally am. Two weeks after I have a mental breakdown and blow out my candles, I have a best friend’s wedding. I am freaking out about that too. She was my nerdy, didn’t get asked to prom, friend. I was the one that the boys wanted. She is the one with the ring on her finger. I don’t even have a date to her wedding. I haven’t heard from the one that usually calls me after 3 a.m. in a few weeks. It was my choice. The last time, I decided I couldn’t, I put my clothes back on, got out of his bed and kissed him goodbye. He wasn’t my boyfriend. They never are. In fact, in my entire history, I’ve never had one of those. I’ve had text messages, dates, good sex, bad sex, better sex, but never the conversation where we decide that we should just do this, and nothing else. So yeah, that’s about where I am. At two years shy of 30. Scared shitless that I’m on the fast train to cat lady land. And I’m allergic to cats. I’ll have to get shots.
Truth is I’m not 100 percent sold on the whole deal. Online dating still feels more like a meat market than a place to find your happily ever after. I grew up snorting fairy dust. When I played M.A.S.H. at my sleepovers, I really, truly believed I was going to marry J.T.T. Now that I’m not seven, I get it — J.T.T.’s way too short for me.
Though I’ve let go of a bit of fantasy, I still think there has to be something magical that connects you to someone. It doesn’t have to be a glass slipper, but something has to click, and I just haven’t found it yet. I’m not the type who settles for “almost” or “sort of.” I’m realistic: I’ve learned that it might not look like what I’d picked out from the J.Crew catalogue. I also know anything real will also take real work to sustain. But I’m ready for real. I want more than a text message at 3 am. But does that have to mean logging on and filtering out the uncertainty? If that’s even how it works.
About a year ago I tried OKCupid.com. Everyone — including all the hot, “normal” people I knew — told it me it was cool. I was busy, and I bought into it. It was like when I bought that pot was cool. Or baby tees. So I dutifully filled out a profile. “This was going to be fun,” I thought, “I love talking about myself.” I tried to sound cute. Fun. Smart. I chose some snazzy (non boob-baring) photos. Done; I’d thrown out the line.
I sat back and waited for my dream fish to swim up. There were a few promising prospects. Nibbles. It was entertaining, I guess.
But in truth, my experience wasn’t that different from my dating experiences offline. Actually, it was almost worse. I got a lot of visitors. A lot of automated messages when someone “winked” or “rated me a 4 or 5.” But few were willing to come out from behind the screen. It was frustrating, I’d joined this thing in the first place was because I would thought it would make me easier to approach. Did my profile scream ice queen?
So I began e-hitting on anyone I found remotely attractive. I sent nice messages. I went on a few dates. I never felt any sort of connection. The guys were cute enough. They had the sort of things I was interested in: jobs, degrees, athletic hobbies, non-smokers, correct height to weight ratio. But sitting across from every single one of them, I could sense that they would have never been the type to just come up to me and say…hey, I think I would like to buy you a drink. More than anything that is what I am looking for…someone willing to take a risk. And go for it. I do. I need that in my other half.
The more time I spent looking, the more frustrated I got. I was busy, wasn’t that why I couldn’t date in the real world? It wasn’t working. We wanted different things. I wanted to break up with OKCupid. I didn’t want an avatar, I wanted something that surprised me in the morning and made me laugh at night.
But the grass is always greener. And after a year spent in the world of early morning text messages and dates arranged via Facebook, I’ve decided that maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Or at the very least find a good allergist. Kidding.
I’ve learned that I don’t want a relationship that feels like I ordered it from Amazon. But alternatively, I find myself at the point where I would like someone who genuinely wants to be in something — and not just when it’s convenient for one of us. I want to stop having to be my own plus one. And for better or for better or for worse, I think online dating is a space where we wave the white flag. We admit at least a little that we might not want to get drunk and go home with someone who is cute … enough. We enter our email addresses and accept the terms.
So that’s why I’m here. I’m joining HowAboutWe.com to give it another shot. After all, I let technology aide pretty much every other aspect of my life, why not employ it to help me find someone who I actually want to hear from during the daylight hours?
By joining HowAboutWe, I don’t feel like I’m surrendering. It’s saying, “I want someone”. I don’t know where to find them. But when I do, I would rather not sit on the computer and chat about how MFEO we are. We’re still taking risks with people, not just sitting behind a computer and playing it safe. It just makes finding someone to take them with a bit easier. So this is my white flag, which if it doesn’t work, will become the white tissue that I sneeze into because I have horrendous cat lady allergies.
COMING UP NEXT: Creating my Profile.
Megan E. Baldwin is a writer and casual DJ who lives in Brooklyn with her little sister. Someday she’d like to find someone with a very good heart and better smile who likes honey and cereal.