Meet Prescott, Our Newest Date Reporterby Prescott Reynolds on August 15, 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’m a New Yorker. I’m also a Midwesterner, a Southerner, a Tar Heel, a sailor, a biker, a handful, and currently, a newbie to the West. I’ve always left town before the dust ever had a chance to settle, but recently I felt the unfamiliar urge to drop anchor. I wanted to grow metaphorical roots — in actual soil. So, at the still-quite-young age of 26, I ditched the subway for a mountain bike and took a great job in a small city out west, fingers crossed that a mountain range meant mountain men — and a change of pace from the capitalistic dating scene that is New York’s.
For all its faults, New York City does have a leg up in some aspects of dating. Anonymity, a convenience I treasured out east, might not exist here. If there was no spark, I had the cruel luxury of simply not replying to a text requesting a second date. We’d never see each other again, and my reputation and I would get away scot-free. I’d been an off-and-on user of OkCupid for two years, and it might as well have been the menu at the Cheesecake Factory. There were seemingly endless options. And with endless options came endless indecision. Hundreds of messages unanswered, countless profile visits resulting in nothing… it was like New York in general: minimal eye contact and a lot of attitude.
A quick perusal on dating sites of candidates in my area showed many of the same people, some of whom I’d even met within a month of living here… just by living here. Small town, small selection. You can’t click around haphazardly when you risk being recognized at the market. What’s the etiquette when a friend-of-a-friend messages you? What do you do when you run into someone in town whose message you never replied to? With such a high likelihood of crossing paths, does that influence how I answer my questions and what dates I might suggest? And the real question I’ll need to tackle no matter where I am: when you’re pointedly independent but looking for love, how do you balance the two?
In the past, I was looking for lightning: three-month love affairs that could occupy my down-time, and then dwindle when life picked up again. All it really took was a lip-biting glance across the bar and a head nod in return. But lust at first sight never delivered afternoons in the park, early rides to the airport, or company when ill. Once I’d proven to everyone I’d ever met that I didn’t need anybody, I was ready to admit that I did. I want inside jokes, a biking partner, and someone to gchat when I’m bored. To be perfectly honest, I’m ready to love the shit out of someone. Figuratively. So I got online, and I made a profile.
It’s time to explore how to show a little respect online, a little more regard for selection, and a little more class when it doesn’t work out. But first things first; how on Earth am I supposed to pick a handful of photos that capture what I look like, the essence of who I am, and the image I want to project? We’ll have to tackle that next time.
Prescott Reynolds just traded in her big city heels for hiking boots and is learning to navigate dating in a small mountain town. Karaoke hustler, ad junky, and novice road biker, you can check out her other adventures at DateByNumbers.