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Tuesday, December 12

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Dating Thu Dec 22 2011

Chicago Dating 2.011: Lessons Learned

Previous Entry: Making Yourself Happy
Next Entry: My Chicago Bucket List

I have officially been online dating and writing about it for three months now. THREE MONTHS! A QUARTER OF A YEAR! It seems like an impossibly long time and yet in retrospect, I feel like a "agreed to the terms" of Match and possibly sold my soul just moments ago. But going back over my carefully documented journey on Gapers Block, I realized I've learned quite a bit of occasionally unflattering and often extremely useful things about myself, dating and life. Also I realized many things I thought to be truth three months ago have disappeared, new truths have appeared in their place. I have a feeling none of this is permanent.

Below is a list of "lessons learned" over the past three months. I think more appropriately these are actually temporary truths believed to make me feel better about my aimless existence on Match and in life; no doubt I will have a whole new belief system next year.

But the one epitome of all truths learned the past three months seems to be I am a giant confused ball of dating, kitschy metaphors and calorie-heavy beers and that is a lovely mess.

25 Online Dating "Truths"

1. Online Dating CAN be fun; operative word being CAN. It CAN also be frustrating, exasperating, awkward and painful. But mainly it is amusing and makes good material for a future sitcom pilot hopefully starring Kristen Wiig. Coming to the CW in 2016.
2. You should not write texts, Match messages or Gapers Block articles while drunk or angry.
3. Sometimes when you think you want a relationship, you really just want sex. Sometimes when you think you just want sex, you really want a relationship. You probably want both, don't you Cinderella, you greedy bitch.
4. Uncomfortable awkward things are good and necessary in life. We should really do more things that terrify us.
5. You really should not read the god-awful 90's book "The Rules," or learn love lessons from censored episodes of Sex and the City. Rules ruin love.
6. You cannot find everything you want and need in one person. Partners are not build-a-bears. In general I would like the following in a man: wit, creativity, common goals, ability to write me really good love poems (but I would settle for a detailed sext), full head of hair, someone that holds hands with fingers intertwined, desire to have 3 children, 2 dogs, and one horse on a farm in Wisconsin, physical ability to commit, common sense, desire to live in Chicago in house we rehab next door to our gay best friends, fantastic sex. I have found you usually get around three of these things. If you find someone with five, that is called a soul mate.
7. A man who says he loves feminists really loves a woman who will boss him around. I want access to reproductive health for all women, not to decide whether you should get a side salad or fries with your sandwich.
8. Online dating is hard. I know I know. #firstworldproblems. I have a feeling this entire column could be classified #firstworldproblems.
9. Sometimes you just have to say fuck it and give it your all. Even if you end up getting fucked over at least you got fucked. Not exactly something to stitch into a pillow for your grandma but a good life lesson.
10. I apparently look like either Drew Barrymore or Kirsten Dunst. I only consider one of these a compliment.
11. Everyone goes to Match for something: everlasting love, best lay ever, validation of their own worth, a date, to get over an ex, a temporary cuddle buddy for winter, an adventure. I'm pretty sure I want all of this but really what I need is to learn to love myself.
12. I am not a graceful dancer or dater.
13. If a profile only has one picture it means he only has one good picture and thus not such an attractive face.
14. If Barbie were real, she would be unable to support the weight of her head on her abnormally skinny neck. If Carrie Bradshaw were real she would be working a $12/hour temp job, writing on the side and buying shoes at the thrift store. You do not really get paid to write. But you do it anyway. It is worth it.
15. Online dating takes much more time than you think it would. There should really be fellowships or grants dedicated to paying people to be part-time daters.
16. I have more courage than I give myself credit for.
17. You do not find yourself; you create yourself. You do not find love; you create it. You cannot find a partner online. You can find a person and together you can create a relationship. I think this is even lovelier than fate.
18. Fate is silly. But I will probably continue to be obsessed with it for at least the next three years. Fucking fairy tales.
19. Writing about dating online can be damaging to your own dating life. This is obvious to everyone but me who can't understand why one wouldn't want the entire world to hear about our drunken make out in a dive bar.
19 a. I really enjoy making out in dive bars.
20. If you date a heterosexual man in Chicago he will love, LOVE, Wilco. It is wisest to just agree that this is the best band ever.
21. We all have the capacity to be commitment-phobic, passive aggressive, immature and hurtful. Therefore you should forgive people these transgressions, as you probably are just as guilty.
22. We want people to immediately show us they are trust worthy, caring, willing to sacrifice and commit. This is insanity. You need time to create these things. Patience, Luke Date Walker, Patience.
23. Cheeky underwear is a girl's best friend....I will probably never write anything my grandma will be able to read. I'm okay with this.
24. There is no proof that someone won't break your heart...ever.
25. 2011 was one of the best years of my life, and, for the majority of it, I was single. I'm not saying single corresponds with happy. I'm saying happy has nothing to do with single or any relationships status. I'm saying it was a fantastic year thanks to a brilliant group of new friends who occasionally make me feel like I'm in a Upper-style sitcom, more making out than my senior year of college, drunken Sundays losing with the Alchoballics kickball team or winning with the Packers, some heart ache and heart make, writing this ridiculousness and finding I do it well.

My three-month subscription to Match expired last month; my online dating venture is officially over. I have to say I have never been happier for something I paid for to end. Still I'm glad to have gone through the torture, if nothing else to discover I hate online dating and all the rules that go with it.

There is a lot of dating advice out there in there in the world, and all of it seems to be bullshit. There are no "rules," sometimes he is into you when the book says he's not, sometimes waiting three days to call back means missing out on love, sometimes you shouldn't have sex on the third date, sometimes it's okay to have sex on the first date.

But I do think online dating is something every single person should try at least once if nothing else just to learn something about themselves and have a potential story for their grand kids.

My grand discovery: Season Four is definitely the best season of the Wire. Totally worth the $20 a month.

This may be the end of online dating but not this column. I've got quite a bit more to say about dating, life and Chicago. Stay tuned for next year's column: My Chicago Bucket List.

Previous Entry: Making Yourself Happy
Next Entry: My Chicago Bucket List


 
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Ross / January 12, 2012 3:20 PM

match is awful - although I wouldn't be on this site reading this story unless I was directed to it off of match. howaboutwe seems slightly better... or cleaner (in a sense). Also, Season 4 is indeed the best season of The Wire.
Good read.

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