Only the lonely...
July 9, 2009 11:06 PM   Subscribe

Having difficulties with online a guy out! Just had one of the most frustrating, disappointing dates ever. I've changed names, but that's it.

I met K through OKCupid. Don't laugh; if anyone can come up with a better way to meet people, do tell. It's my experience that people in our age bracket don't date; what we do is we gather together at parties or bars, proceed to get drunk, pair off, then around 2 or 3 AM, we decide whether to snog with the person we've paired off.

I'm fairly extroverted, but I've always been shy about approaching women, and given my personal experiences, I'm fairly clueless about when to move in to make out. Essentially, I'm one of those guys you have to hit over the head - sorry!

Anyway, the date.

We met for light drinks (coffee), then decided to eat, as I'd not had a chance to eat and she was hungry as well. That's as good as things got, because the minute we took our seats...

she got on the Blackberry.

Now, I work in communications - my position essentially dictates that I be on call at all times. Still, there's a balance to be struck - if something needs to be done NOW NOW NOW, people call me. Otherwise, they email me, and stuff gets done.

If I'm on a date, or on a social engagement, I'll periodically break away - once or twice - to check & make sure things are OK, and nothing semi-important has come up.

This wasn't that. K was absolutely lost in her Blackberry, constantly tapping on it under the table. Ten minutes in:

"Is everything OK?"
"(distractedly)What? Oh, yes, sure, yes."
(goes back to tapping)

Well, 25 minutes in, after two or three desultory questions that failed to arouse her from her intense fascination with the Blackberry, I excused myself from the table, then came back and said:

"Look, obviously you're not having a good time with me. I know I'm not having a good time. I've paid for dinner, so you don't have to worry about that. I hope you continue to have as good a time with your Blackberry as you've had so far. Have a good night - take care!"

Now, obviously, I hemmed & hawed a little bit - it wasn't as smooth a delivery as I wrote down, but that's what I said.

Now, the questions:

1. Was I wrong for doing that? I paid for dinner, after all.

2. It's not my first bad experience with OKCupid. I've written a few women from there, and it's not turned out well - the first one, we just didn't click, and agreed not to see each other again; in another, we dated for a few weeks, then I never heard back from her ever again - as in, she cut off all contact, without any reason. The others? Nothing more than desultory emails.

As for other online services, bupkis. Plentyoffish resulted in no matches, & were the same way.

Ideally, I'd *love* to try out something like Crazy Blind Date, but I don't live in one of their cities, so, no dice.

As I stated above, I'm a bit shy & clueless around women, so our generation's standard pattern of dating/hooking up doesn't work for me, unless the woman makes the first move (and how often does that happen? Not very often, in my experience).

Anyway, I'd like to think I'm a decent catch: I'm divorced, I have a decent relationship with my ex-wife, I like women (a majority of my friends are women, and I support women's causes), I have a decent, secure job working in a field that I love (politics), I'm a veteran.

I'm in my early 30s, and I'm concerned that I'm destined for an extended bachelor-hood. Which isn't the worst thing ever, but I'd really like to share my awesome experiences in life with someone other than my friends - at the end of the night, I go home to my apartment and my cat. It's getting old.

Care to help?
posted by arkhangel to Human Relations (45 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Your over analyzing and obsessing.

Okcupid is generally great, but you need to give it more than a few tries.

That said, are you coming on too strong? You sound pretty desperate, as evidenced by this rambling askme (which doesn't seem to have a firm question.)

Relax. Deep breath. Remember that you're making casual dates and contacts not pre-arranged marriages. The vast majority of them will NOT workout. Go into each encounter with that mindset and you'll come away better off.

Also, screw dinner. In this economy? Are you kidding? If you're not meeting for drinks to size up your date you're doing it wrong.
posted by wfrgms at 11:11 PM on July 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

Nah, you weren't wrong. As long as you asked if things were OK before leaving (ie, maybe there was some sort of legit emergency going on). That girl's a douche, and you didn't even need to pay for dinner to get out of there- it's a bonus for her that you did. Most people don't act like that on dates.

Chalk this up to her being a lame person, not online dating being a lame way to meet people. It's totally not. Keep at the online dating, there are cool people to meet out there. Expect to meet someone awesome every 30 dates or so (just as you might meet a single cool person at a mixed-sex party of 60 people)... I look at it this way: the odds of finding love online are rather like the odds of meeting an amazing person at a giant party, except you meet the partygoers one at a time.
Good luck!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:11 PM on July 9, 2009 [9 favorites]

At least she didn't pull it out in bed. I did exactly what you did: Find out if there's an emergency or if she's just being rude, then leave because she was just being rude.
posted by clorox at 11:16 PM on July 9, 2009

She was exceptionally rude to be focused on her blackberry during dinner. Don't email or call her. Unless she calls/writes you back and apologizes for her behavior (and has a good explanation), don't contact her again.

To your more general question- it has been asked and answered millions of times before. That doesn't make your particular situation any easier, but try interest/activity groups. You're in your early 30's.

Don't worry about being a bachelor, enjoy the extra time you have to focus on your passions such as politics and having such a great network of friends. It's a frustrating thing to hear, but if you stop obsessing about not being able to find/date nice women, you'll eventually meet one.

Also, given that you like politics- if you're of a liberal bent, why not I found the population there to be more interesting than other dating sites I'd sampled. YMMV, obv.
posted by arnicae at 11:16 PM on July 9, 2009

Two points:

1. You did the right thing. She wasn't interested and she was rude about it. You were right to be clear and to cut it short.

2. Online dating can take time, just like any other method of trying to meet people and create a relationship. I did it myself off and on for a couple of years, during which I went on on a ton of OK dates, a couple of really awful dates, and exactly one AMAZING date. Said amazing date was with the guy who's been my partner for a little over four years now. But if I'd given up after my first date -- which was nearly as disappointing as yours -- we would have never met.
posted by scody at 11:16 PM on July 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

No, you did the right thing. If she couldn't break herself away from the Blackberry long enough to engage in standard date conversation, she didn't deserve much more than what you gave her.

Look, online dating is exhausting and frustrating at times ... but so is offline dating. I'm in the process of ending something with someone I met online who came on strong but who I've quickly realized just isn't the man I'm seeking for a variety of reasons.

I've had a laughable year with men I've met online but I know he's out there somewhere and furthermore, I live in an area where everyone's stuck in a car all day so meeting online is about the only way to do it unless I want to hole myself up in a bar .... which actually didn't work when I tried that either.

Just hang in there. Be yourself. A woman who is interested will not be hard to read. She'll listen to your conversation. She'll engage you back. It'll all be wonderful. I wish I had something more to tell you but like I said, I'm in the same boat ... and from what I've heard from my friends both male and female, it's a pretty crowded vessel.

Good luck! You sound like a catch.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 11:25 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @wfrgms: It started as drinks, but I was hungry (long day at work!). As for the rest: maybe I'm coming on too strong, but it's been my experience that usually the opposite is the case when it comes to me. Again, maybe I'm coming across as "desperate", but how would I know? That's not an objective assessment, it's subjective.

I want to learn from folks - I got married and divorced early (in my 20s), I went to an all-boys school. I missed out on whatever alchemy people learn in their teens to deal with dating then, but that doesn't mean I can't learn. I'm also *not* looking to get married; what I'd like is more than a series of dates or one-night stands, which is what I'm getting now.

I'm leading a cool life right now; my life's been a cool story, but as the song goes, it means little without someone to tell it to. That's what I'm feeling right now. I'm not feeling desperate; I'm feeling wistful.
posted by arkhangel at 11:28 PM on July 9, 2009

Her constant Blackberrying under the table was as rude as if you were masturbating under the table. You did the right thing.
posted by Sully at 11:35 PM on July 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

Your best bet is to do things with groups of people who have similar interests.

I used to sell drugs, and I found the person I'm still with that way.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 11:35 PM on July 9, 2009 [18 favorites]

I probably would have been less polite than you were.

Your date's behavior was awful, and you did the right thing.
posted by rokusan at 11:42 PM on July 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

Best answer: You were totally right to leave. Kudos to you for having the guts to do it!

That said, can I suggest something about the internet dating thing, based on my own experiences a couple years back? Stop looking at it as an activity that results in either failure or success. I started enjoying it MUCH more (and met some very lovely people) once I decided that my main aim during dates was simply to have good conversations with people I'd never have met otherwise.

This attitude kept me from feeling down or frustrated after dates with people for whom I felt nothing on the chemistry front. It also allowed me to *enjoy* dates that I realized, almost immediately, wouldn't be going anywhere in the future. Finally, it enabled me to meet some very cool people doing things I knew nothing about, and have some very lovely and educational conversations with them about stuff I'd never thought about before.

In short, if you go into it with no expectations save the simple, optimistic willingness to be entertained and entertaining by people who are willing to spend a night of their lives having drinks or dinner with you, I think you'll have a lot more fun, and you won't feel so shitty when you encounter the rare bad seed. (And this chick, she definitely sounds like a bad seed!)
posted by artemisia at 11:47 PM on July 9, 2009 [49 favorites]

I don't know if you're coming off as desperate, but this question makes you sound very insecure. You start off by telling us not to laugh because you went on an online date. You give an extremely long description of a crappy date, and to what end? So people can agree with you that this girl was lame? Or tell you that online dating is crappy and it's not your fault? Then you list your positive qualities, including that you "support women's causes."

Anyway, I really can't figure out what you're asking. There's nothing wrong with OKCupid. There are lots of crappy people on there, and some good ones. That's how it goes. But my advice would be to stop trying to convince people you're cool, and just be cool.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:51 PM on July 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

arkhangel: what I'd like is more than a series of dates or one-night stands, which is what I'm getting now.

I think your mindset is wrong for online dating. You're missing the part where this is a numbers game. It is exactly what you've said you don't want: a very long series of first dates.

I really think online dating works best when you embrace that and just try to enjoy the Fifty First Dates ride. Yes, you may well meet someone you really click with along the way, but I think the whole thing is more fun if you don't go into it with that specific expectation.

My other suggestion, since you seem to actively want a girlfriend and not just to date, is to try a good old fashioned matchmaking service. The personal touch can make a difference and a professional can help you find a pool of people who have the same expectations you do.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:53 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

(Or what artemisia said, much better than I did.)
posted by DarlingBri at 11:55 PM on July 9, 2009

You were right to bail. A first date is fairly low involvement and she was rude. You're free to move along to someone who's not having a monogamous relationship with her Blackberry.

I get that lots of folks do the online dating thing, but it never interested me at all. I know plenty of people who met their partners online, but also plenty who met through in person activities. My first suggestion is don't rely on online dating exclusively...go out and meet women at parties or museums or coffee shops. Being shy, it'll be a little challenging to do the flirting in person. Do it anyway.

Here's a bucket of questions for you -
● How long have you been divorced?
● Why did you not find matches on so many sites?
● What do you consider an "extended bachelorhood"
posted by 26.2 at 12:34 AM on July 10, 2009

1. No, you weren't wrong. I'd have been tempted to toss out a few one-liners on the way out the door, you showed admirable restraint.

2. Okcupid is crap, as I said here before. It's totally worthless for guys, percentage-wise, because there are many, many more men (looking for dating, rather than quizzes) than women on there and all other free dating sites. (And now some guy who met some great woman on okstupid will chime in and tell me I'm wrong, without realizing that even if there are 10 times as many men as women, that means that the lucky 10% of men will be convinced, convinced I'm wrong based on their crappy anecdotal evidence.)
posted by paultopia at 1:48 AM on July 10, 2009

Everyone above is correct - she sucks, you don't, online dating is a numbers game.


I tried online dating for awhile back in the day, got fed up with it, complained to my fling/friend about it after a laboriously disappointing online date with a woman who couldn't answer the time of day and had broken piano teeth, as she and I were kind of each others' "dating sucks and you're totally not right for me, but you're decent company" option, and lo and behold, she began introducing me to her friends as someone who was earnestly looking for something serious. Now, she was in a unique position to do this, because she was a semi-retired entertainment journalist who knew loads and loads of people, and had the dirt on all of them. She also, for some reason, thought I was a really nice guy who wasn't like all those other jerks out there. I try to be nice, right? I think everyone but sociopaths do. At any rate she believed me, and it worked. I was shuttled around to her women friends and introduced as a fantastic guy just trying to meet the right woman. (I make no claim to be this guy, really. I'm the world's most unremarkable specimen of masculinity ever. The embellishment was hers alone, but it stuck with a lot of her friends.) After 3 degrees of separation and 2 years and a lot of dates, and meeting a lot of very cool people, I met my wife.

So that's something you might try. Ask a woman who knows you well, cares about your happiness, and knows a lot of people to help you in your search. You never know.
posted by saysthis at 2:13 AM on July 10, 2009 [4 favorites]

Everyone I know who has done online dating -- including people who met their current spouses online -- has a whole repository of bad date anecdotes to go along with their success stories and happy endings.

I want to learn from folks - I got married and divorced early (in my 20s), I went to an all-boys school. I missed out on whatever alchemy people learn in their teens to deal with dating then, but that doesn't mean I can't learn. I'm also *not* looking to get married; what I'd like is more than a series of dates or one-night stands, which is what I'm getting now.

I think following this sentiment is the best way to proceed. Online dating is a great way to do exactly this. You're dating in part to learn -- learn what you line, what you don't, what your bottom lines are (no Blackberrying during dinner). Experiences like the one you had can actually be instructive and helpful. In the end, it doesn't matter if the women you were with thought it was rude or unfair of you to end the date. What matters is that you think whipping out one's phone and constantly texting while having a conversation with a live human being is unacceptable, and you need to be with someone who doesn't do things like that.

Online dating has its inevitable frustrations, and I think framing it as a learning experience -- rather than using it as a cudgel to beat yourself over the head or to make you anxious that you haven't found the right person yet -- can be quite useful. It will let you lower the stakes a bit, allowing you not to be so anxious and obsessive, and placing less pressure on yourself and the person your with.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 2:35 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Send her this link -- I suspect that she can find her match here, someone with some type of personality disorder maybe.

As for you, sorry you're having the troubles with the whole dating scene. I've got my beady little eyes fixed on my massage therapist just now; she's super-cool, she starts each day with her yoga practice and then 50 minutes of meditation, she's really grounded, her eyes peaceful, she seems very happy, who knows, maybe she'd like to hang with me for a while so's she could ruin all that. I've been thinking of marrying her, though probably it'd be best to see if we could go on a date or something...

Which is to say -- I don't know how to do this either, I stagger around somewhat blindly and just keep my eyes open, seems that usually someone comes along. Thank god I'm past all that tremendous NEED that I had younger, that ACHE to be with someone, to HAVE someone, slide my hand into someones drawers RIGHT NOW -- when I had that going on, I chased all kinds of blind leads and did all sorts of foolish things I ought not to have done. I do admire that guy that I was then, that I'd just walk on up and say "Hey" to most anyone I found interesting, and I of course still have that capability, but experience has led me to know that most things just don't work out for one reason or another, I do lots less chasing, a lot more watching...
posted by dancestoblue at 3:01 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hey, if you do not have that capability, that of walking on up and saying "Hey" to most anyone you find interesting, get it. It's excruciatingly painful to learn -- it was harder for me than even accounting -- but it's better to know than accounting. (Um, the debits are on the side where the windows are...)

I don't know of any classes you can take to learn it, I had one mentor when I was real young, an amazingly gutsy guy who just walked on up to anyone anytime, I met him on vacation and hung with him for just a short time, we got on real well, and he was glad to tell me all about it. He almost always got shot down but everyone admired his jam, even as they were shooting him down. He told me -- showed me -- that it's not going to kill me to get out there. Sales at it's hardest, cold calling at it's most elemental level.
posted by dancestoblue at 3:19 AM on July 10, 2009

I don't think you sound desperate or insecure. I think you sound awesome, and I know exactly what you mean. I, too, find this discouraging.

My current working theory is this: We live in an age where we are more connected than ever (internet, cell phones), and can do amazing things like talk with people around the world instantly, constantly, spontaneously, and free. But, we are becoming a bit broken. We "friend" people, but have a hard time being friends IRL. We love and applaud snarky comments, but IRL those are cruel remarks that hurt more than add to the atmosphere. We swap virtual drinks, but are uncomfortable or bored enjoying a drink with a person IRL. We are available 24/7 on our gadgets, but never available to those standing in front of us. We blast out our thoughts to everyone in 140 characters or less, but don't enjoy a long conversation IRL.

I don't have advice, but I give you support. I don't think this is about online dating, as much as it's a symptom of the times we live in.
posted by Houstonian at 3:57 AM on July 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

I just want to applaud you for leaving. She knew she was being rude, and she was doing it for a reason, and it's GREAT that you called her on it.

Even if she wasn't that into you, she could have easily had a nice chat with you and enjoyed dinner, it's totally possible to have light conversation with someone you're not interested in.

And just by your reaction, I don't think you are as clueless as you think. Clueless would have been staying there and letting her ignore you.

About having a cool life story - you have to pull away from that mentality of "it means little unless you have someone to tell it to". Yeah, I know, I'm lonely, too, we all understand, but you can 't think like that.

It works for me to think about how cool my life is, how much I enjoy it, me and my friends, and when I meet someone I'm attracted to, to think about how fortunate they are to be able to share my cool experiences with me (and vice versa). Not how fortunate I am to have some to share things with...
posted by Locochona at 3:57 AM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Okcupid is crap, as I said here before. It's totally worthless for guys, percentage-wise, because there are many, many more men (looking for dating, rather than quizzes) than women on there and all other free dating sites. (And now some guy who met some great woman on okstupid will chime in and tell me I'm wrong, without realizing that even if there are 10 times as many men as women, that means that the lucky 10% of men will be convinced, convinced I'm wrong based on their crappy anecdotal evidence.)

How about a woman on OkCupid chiming in to say "if that's so, how come none of those copious guys on OkCupid are giving me the time of day?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:01 AM on July 10, 2009 [6 favorites]

Duh, sorry -- to the OP; I think you did exactly the right thing. In fact, you did something I wish I'd had had the guts to do on similar dates myself.

And artemesia has the right idea. I read once that you should regard every first date as just sort of like "practice" -- you are practicing dating. If you go into it with that attitude, then even if you two don't click, you'll have had practice. if you DO click, well, that's a bonus.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:03 AM on July 10, 2009

Prepare for the best, expect the worst.

Don't ever go to dinner on a first date. Too much pressure, too much money.

Don't ever do more than make out on a first date. At the end. At least, if you are me. First date sex after meeting someone for the first time, it always turns out badly.

Seriously dude, suck it up. This stuff is to be expected. Don't think it's going to be easy. You'll find your limits in the process. Just try to think how fascinating it is to see people describe themselves and then meet them in person. You'll learn a lot about people, most of it bad but it's all interesting.
posted by sully75 at 4:19 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

artemisia totally has the right idea. Also, it's just a numbers game. You have to shake it off and do it again and again.* I went out with tons of weirdos on okcupid before I met my current, amazing girlfriend.

*Very quickly you get better at writing a good profile, reading between the lines on other profiles, chatting people up first on IM and email so they'll go on a date with you. You just have to put the time in, but also treat the whole thing very lightly and have as much interesting fun as you possibly can.
posted by zeek321 at 4:21 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

1. Was I wrong for doing that? I paid for dinner, after all.
the first has nothing to do with the second. she was a dick for crackberrying away and you were a dick for leaving. that said I would have left as well unless there was a damn good reason. I'm surprised she didn't explain this at all.

now get on and do something where you just happen to run into women. try a wine tasting.
posted by krautland at 5:03 AM on July 10, 2009

nthing the numbers thing, but there's another side to that worth bearing in mind.

You're probably going out on way more dates via net dating than most people would go on without it. So there's going to be a larger number of duff ones - without the "groundwork" that might go before an offline date (meeting in a club and dancing, meeting at work and talking, meeting in a swingers party and well, yeah) there is a little less chance that you'll find chemistry, or whatever.

So basically I guess you have to take into account the (probably, this is only my theory) lower "success" rate of online dating. I guess that is part of what makes it interesting though. You don't have to get so worked up about them cause you know another one will come along sooner or later. Offline dating... well, anyone older than their teens knows how long you can go between dates without teh internets!
posted by greenish at 5:06 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've written a few women from there, and it's not turned out well - the first one, we just didn't click, and agreed not to see each other again; in another, we dated for a few weeks, then I never heard back from her ever again - as in, she cut off all contact, without any reason. The others? Nothing more than desultory emails.

The first situation sounds... not bad at all. Just because you're both single and OKCupid thinks you match doesn't mean she's going to be your girlfriend.

Same for the second - dating is getting to know someone and deciding if they're for you. She doesn't owe you an explanation if she decides not. How would that have been helpful, anyway? "I thought you were okay looking and was hoping an attraction would grow, then realized it wouldn't?" "I liked you all right but then I met this guy who really turned me on?"

This IS online dating. It's probably dating in general. You have too many expectations. I've felt that with some dates. Just because I'm single and looking doesn't mean I'll want *you, now tonight!*
posted by Salamandrous at 5:27 AM on July 10, 2009

I think it would have been fair to *tell her* (calmly) how rude you found her behavior and give her a chance to explain/change her actions, then, if that didn't work out, do what you did. It's always possible that she was impressively clueless. Even if it didn't save your "date", it would have been nice to give that extra bit of information to the dating universe (in the form of her).
posted by amtho at 5:58 AM on July 10, 2009

Good advice here I think. I'd say you should have stuck with just the drinks/coffee. It doesn't excuse her behavior, but extending it into the meal might have meant that she had to change plans and communicate that to people.

Short and light first contact. Enjoy it for what it is, not the beginning of something more. I have a similar background to you. Completely clueless with women and dating, but FWIW I met my current girlfriend on OKCupid and we started with just coffee and a defined beginning and end to the date. She was my first date that way, but she'd had some crazy (i.e. deploy the emergency text message) dates before we got together.
posted by idb at 6:55 AM on July 10, 2009

Part of online dating is that you're basically signing up for the occasional OMG-I-just-went-on-the-worst-date-ever date.

I took the approach artemisia suggests: see every date as a net plus. If it doesn't go anywhere, at least you had a fun night, got to go out for drinks, have a conversation, find out about someone new who you wouldn't normally meet in your day-to-day life, maybe get an alternate perspective on things. Oh, and there was no chemistry and that's too bad so back to the drawing board -- that's totally fine! That doesn't even need to ruin your day, let alone the entire world of dating for you.

And hey, even if it's the occasional date where you don't even have fun, you can at least find something positive about it. You can at least tell yourself, "I'm learning about what kinds of people I hit it off with." Also, getting more comfortable with dating is just good "practice" if nothing else. It might help you laugh at the whole idea of dating and feel a little more uninhibited on your next date with a better match.

So keep this thought in the back of your mind while on a date: it's always a net plus to put yourself out there, even if you're on the Worst. Date. Ever.

I'm pretty happy with the results of this approach, which made me feel fine about being persistent with online dating over a long period of time despite the inevitable bad dates. I met my girlfriend through OKCupid. And you know what? None of the bad dates matter anymore.

You aren't doomed to a life of singlehood.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:58 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Dude, I think you handled this the right way. You let her know politely that you didn't want to be second to her Blackberry.

I had a similar experience a couple of weekends ago with a girl from OKCupid. We decided to meet at a coffee shop, and she was drawing in a sketchbook the whole time we were talking. I didn't have the stones to leave like you did.

Still, I think judging OKCupid as being horrible is silly. There are going to be great people and horrible people you will encounter no matter what approach or site you use.

Hang in there.
posted by reenum at 7:15 AM on July 10, 2009

You're very focused on whether you have screwed up, and you're really lacking in confidence. See how critical that sounds? Not meant at all.

You didn't screw up. She was heinously rude, and you were kind enough to pay for dinner.

You deserve someone wonderful. You deserve to find interesting women to date, and you deserve to be treated with respect. You have to expect it. Even a coffee date requires preparation. Wash up, brush your teeth, dress nicely. Eat beforehand, even a snack. Be on time. If it's not going well, time to end the date. If it's goind well, make plans to get together again. Make dating a priority, because that's how you're going to find new friends, girlfriends, and maybe a soulmate.
posted by theora55 at 7:23 AM on July 10, 2009

Online dating is a great way to vet people who seem interesting, but a poor way to vet people with whom you have chemistry. Use it as a way to meet lots of people who you can try to have a fun conversation with, or learn a bit from, or treat as a companion with whom to explore the city you're in. Be friendly and personable, but absolutely don't consider it a success only if it ends in romance. The fact that you seem to be using it to screen people as girlfriends is setting yourself up for failure and that jumping of the gun in interest probably comes across when you meet people. What helped this, for me, was to accelerate the first meeting with someone to be after just a couple of friendly messages. I found it better to not generate any sort of flirty rapport online, because that almost never carries over into an in-person meeting. Instead, use the first message or two to establish that she's remotely friendly and open to talking with you, and then go straight for a coffee or something low-key. This reduces expectations, which I found absolutely critical.
posted by Schismatic at 7:34 AM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

if you go into it with no expectations save the simple, optimistic willingness to be entertained and entertaining by people who are willing to spend a night of their lives having drinks or dinner with you

I agree with this. I ended up married this way.
posted by desjardins at 7:38 AM on July 10, 2009

I agree with most of the advice given here. Yes, it's a numbers game. You should try to enjoy each date just on its own merits, rather than freighting it with any big expectations.

I met my wife through online dating. But the last online date I went on before I met her was so comically bad that as soon as it was over, I called a couple of friends to laugh about it. You just need to be prepared for that kind of thing.
posted by adamrice at 7:52 AM on July 10, 2009

Maybe give Craigslist a try, too? Yes, there are a lot of douchey, sleazy posts... but, I met my husband that way (not douchey or sleazy, a total prize, actually.) You have more of a chance of standing out against the background of unacceptable ads. Husband posted a picture and wrote a sincere intro to himself that was not overly formal, not an attempt to be cute or witty, but at the same time sounded casual and confident. It also was not long and did not ramble too much about what qualities he was seeking. He included a line about having gone through a divorce and being sort of out of the dating loop... trying to get his feet wet and have some fun with new people again... and this appealed to me b/c I was also divorced... And he included a bit about his work and other interests...

Just a suggestion...

And, you did the right thing by bailing out.
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 8:11 AM on July 10, 2009

It's not my first bad experience with OKCupid. I've written a few women from there, and it's not turned out well - the first one, we just didn't click, and agreed not to see each other again; in another, we dated for a few weeks, then I never heard back from her ever again - as in, she cut off all contact, without any reason. The others? Nothing more than desultory emails.

That seems exactly like the kind of experience my friends who met their spouses/long-term partners through online dating had until they met the person who would become their spouse/long-term partner.

So no, that doesn't necessarily augur ill at all. Also, that woman was an ass, and you handled it very well.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:53 AM on July 10, 2009

Yeah I had plenty of bad experiences and then one really really good experience and now we're married. You have to weed through a lot of losers, but that's dating. I like to think of it as a numbers game. You have to put in your time and go on a bunch of bad dates before the good ones happen. Like artemesia says, you can choose to enjoy the "bad" dates by thinking of them as an opportunity to chat with something and learn something about them. But I think you just have to be prepared for a lot of dates that go nowhere before you get to something good.

And thank you for leaving the rude girl behind with her Blackberry. i wish more people would take a stand on that kind of behavior and make sure that the perpetrators know that it's not acceptable.

So keep trying, it'll get better.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:01 AM on July 10, 2009

Response by poster: Sweet, thanks for all the advice! It's time to dust off my shoulders and get back up.

As for the divorce part - I've been divorced for almost 3 years now, and I've dated serially for the last 2 and a half years. Normally, I don't let stuff like this get to me, but last night was different, for some reason, and I felt the need to vent a bit.

Thanks for the support, guys. Onward! :-).
posted by arkhangel at 9:36 AM on July 10, 2009

I went to an all-girls' school, so I also felt as if I missed out on early dating etiquette, never mind actually just being around boys to figure them out. But I don't think you should be too hard on yourself about this date. It was just plain rude of her. If you went out for dinner with a friend and he or she was tapping away on a BlackBerry, you'd call them on it, yes? Just. plain.rude.
posted by vickyverky at 10:11 AM on July 10, 2009

How about a woman on OkCupid chiming in to say "if that's so, how come none of those copious guys on OkCupid are giving me the time of day?"

2nd-ing this as a 2-year female veteran of OKC.
posted by Cookbooks and Chaos at 10:57 AM on July 10, 2009

the blackberry thing was a rude thing to do, and you are right to be offended by it, but here is the context that perhaps you might not see:

1: blind dates are stressful for people, even if they go on a lot of them. Taking out her blackberry was probably a way of avoiding the situation, of trying to seem cool, because
2: Online dating sets up a great deal of expectation for both parties. It makes everything all too explicit. It is clear that you've used a number of websites and you're trying quite hard to meet someone suitable. As one of the other posters said, dating is hard. But
3: why are you using so many websites? Why not just let the magic of chemistry and intuition and friendship and pre-internet, uncontrollable, physical behaviour and body language guide you towards something with someone?

There's nothing wrong with online dating, but it really seems like you're posting this because you are recognising that it isn't working for you. That is why you're so frustrated: you're too focussed on this method as a way to meet someone. (I might have said there is nothing wrong with it, but in my experience, it tends to not let people give each other the time to get used to their mutual idiosyncrisies and is full of expectation that is a bit artificial and driven by pre-conceptions about people, and it also makes people inclined to more quickly discard potential partners and forget that relationships work in the same way friendships do - they take a lot of work and time and patience) Maybe just give the websites a break, have a chat with a therapist about your feelings of shyness around women, relax and let things happen from there. You would be surprised how much more likely you will find women, even amongst people you already know.
posted by iamnotateenagegirl at 1:54 AM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cellphones are the new smoking.
posted by 31d1 at 10:45 AM on July 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

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