Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Online Dating: The Good, the Bad, and the Obscene

Remember how exciting it was the day that marriage equality was legalized here in Minnesota? I was in tears most of the day following the minute by minute updates on Twitter, giving me a reputation at work as the guy that cries at his desk. The feeling of validation that came with finally being recognized as equal by the law was nearly overwhelming. Unfortunately, there was another (only slightly less) overwhelming feeling that came shortly afterwards...

F#%!, I'm going to have to get married.

It's not that I wasn't planning on finding a long term partner to share my life with, but marriage itself was always such an abstract concept in my mind. The realization that I could now legally be married made it real. I was no longer exempt from the stresses that my straight friends had been dealing with for years. I started actually thinking about my timeline and figured out that if I wanted to still be young and hot at my wedding, I needed to get on the stick!

That means dating, and dating is the worst. Not only that, but meeting people is hard, especially trying to meet gay guys in a relatively small town. It's not even like my standards are all that high. Are you 25-35, out of the closet, and not a grad student? If so, odds are I'll agree to meet up for coffee. What have I got to lose? If not...I'll probably still say yes, I've broken these rules twice in the last month alone (with predictable results).

So I've started online dating.

I've swam these murky waters before, but I was never all that serious about it. Years ago, I put up a profile on two gay "dating" sites. It doesn't appear that a lot of dating actually goes on on these sites. It's more or less just fielding lots of pictures of genitalia with messages like, "u intrstd?"

Now, not everyone is bad on these sites. Many people use it as a tool to meet other gay guys in an area where, outside of the college campus, there's not really a gathering place for us. I've gone out with a few really nice guys (one of whom became one of my best friends). I'm a firm believer that you get out of it what you put into it.

Every now and again I'm proven wrong though. Like with this guy, for instance, whose screen name and profile picture both prominently featured balls.

I stared at this one for awhile trying to figure out just exactly what was happening. I mean, first of all, grammar is obviously not this gentleman's strong suit. Secondly, is he trying to ask me if I'm a daddy's boy? Is he trying to tell me that I'm a daddy's boy (quite a bold assumption to make about someone you've never met)? And lastly, incest? Not sexy.

Then there was this guy...

I hope I'm not putting out some sort of vibe that this is the kind of thing I'm looking for. I mean, Dan Savage taught me well. I know that in a relationship we should all be "GGG" (Good, Giving, and Game) and willing to do things that make our partner happy even if they don't necessarily turn our cranks, but I'm not sure that really applies here. At least say "Hello" and compliment my smile before getting to the weird shit.

His use of the right form of "your" (unlike most of my suitors) was almost enough for me to give him a chance.

Obviously the passive, putting a profile out there and waiting for my husband to come to me, approach wasn't working, so I signed up for OK Cupid. The members are classier (most of them even have faces), and they even have the personality matching program that tells you how likely it is that you'll be a well as how likely it is that you'll be enemies.

The unintended effect of this is that I've become obsessed with people that OK Cupid is telling me that I'll hate. In fact, it's helped me find my nemesis. I hate him, but I really don't know a ton about him (like his name for instance). What I do know is that OK Cupid says that there's a 12% chance that we'll be a match and a 72% chance that we'll be enemies.

That's reason enough for Drunk Chris to shoot him withering glares every time I see him at the bar.

Even with the added distraction of finding new people to hate (as if I've ever needed help with that), I've managed to do a fair amount of dating recently. I've had coffee, I've had drinks, I've had dinners, and I've had more chit chat than I ever thought I'd be able to stomach. So much so that I've begun to fancy myself a bit of an expert on dates.

On first dates. The subsequent ones have eluded me. 

A few of my rules for a first date:

1. Don't clean your apartment.

Cleaning your apartment before a date means one thing, and this is a first date. You're classier than that. He's not coming over, so why invite trouble?

2. Look cute, but not too cute.

This is the first time you're meeting this person. You're setting the bar for future meetings. Don't set it too high.

3. Meet there.

Meeting there means you can leave whenever the hell you feel like it. You find out he's a Nickelback fan? Nice to meet you. Deuces. 

4. Ensure that you're the first to arrive.

I always like to place myself in a power position (even if it's an entirely imagined position of power), and nothing makes me feel more in control than choosing where we'll be sitting. Not only that, but when they arrive and have to apologize for being late it basically gives you permission to be late for every other time you go out (which I will be). 

5. Hide your crazy.

This one's a tough one since all of my best stories are about me doing something stupid or incredibly irresponsible. I've started to avoid adding people to Facebook before a first date, lest they find their way to this very blog to find stories of me not opening my bills for nearly a year, almost dying of smoke inhalation while making cheese filled biscuits, or getting drunk and singing Hopelessly Devoted to You alone in my apartment. 

Plus if they don't know about my blog, I get to write about them without feeling bad. 

Like the last date I went on. He was educated, successful, sweet, a few years older than me, and he used punctuation while texting. On paper he was perfect. I agreed to meet him for drinks, and I actually had high hopes. 

He showed up 10 minutes late (so things started out according to plan). He seemed pretty nervous, and I'm usually willing to forgive some awkwardness, but to say conversation was strained would be an understatement. It was as if he didn't know how getting to know each other works. I would ask him how many siblings he had, he would tell me, and then we'd sit there in awkward silence. I would ask him where he grew up, he would tell me, and then we'd sit there in awkward silence. I would ask him what he did for a living, he would tell me, and then we'd sit in awkward silence.

Bitch, it's your turn.

As the night went on he got more comfortable, and the conversation got significantly worse. He was apparently not at all interested in talking about me (and talking about me is my favorite), but he did seem to be interested in purchasing me. 

He talked about always having a case of Grey Goose on hand, drinking bottles of wine that cost more than people's mortgage payments, renting limos for weekends out on the town, and at one point he even tried to nonchalantly show me his American Express Diamond card...and somehow I was still paying for my own drinks (a lot of them at this point). 

I called it quits after about an hour when he started listing the people in my social circle that he'd slept with. 

So, I've yet to find the one, but I'm definitely starting to figure out what it is that I'm not looking for. I'm leaving myself open to opportunities. I'm not shutting down anything without at least giving it a chance, but I'm also not trying to force something that's not going to work. Dating may suck, but it's a necessary evil.

And in the meantime...

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