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I made an OKCupid profile once. And as it turns out, I am the worst kind of chicken when it comes to online dating. My week-long excursion on the site went a little something like this:
1. Register without filling out a profile so that I can spy on area singles without commitment. Realize that there are a lot of people that I know with profiles, none of which have ever asked me out. Feel bad about myself for a while. Log out.
2. Return to browsing. Realize 3 days after visiting a few promising profiles several times that my privacy settings allow people to see that I have visited their profile SEVERAL TIMES. Log out.
3. The damage is done, log back in. Realize that I spelled my username wrong. Look like an idiot AND a stalker. Log out.
4. My username is tainted and I have nothing left to lose. It’s time to fill out a profile. Spend several hours trying to cleverly describe “What I’m doing with my life”. Realize that the answer is “nothing that doesn’t make me sounds like kind of a dick”. Discard cleverness for earnestness. Settle for sounding a little stupid.
5. Spend several more hours looking for a picture where I don’t have a double chin or look like a slut. Give up. Send cute but sincere message to guy I find most promising, apologizing for my terrible and incomplete profile. Never hear back. Realize later that he is the roommate of a friend and that now I can never ever go over to his house. Delete account in humiliation and defeat.
It’s not that I don’t think that online dating is a totally valid and respectable way to meet people, but clearly, I’m just not adult enough to handle it. Thus, I’m going to need to figure out some sort of alternative plans. My best ideas may not have a percentage based compatibility matching system, but at least THIS will never happen to me.
Twitter: I’ve lived in Portland for almost 15 years, and there came a point in my tenure here where I genuinely felt like I had met every single person of interest within 20 miles of the peninsula. Then, I found Twitter. I just randomly started following anyone who listed Portland as their location and then brazenly responded to anything in my stream that seemed of interest. I elbowed my way in, and eventually, people started talking to me (some of which turned out to be awesome).
What’s great about Portland is that we have a super tight/connected Twitter population that actually meets IN PERSON on a regular basis. Maine Tweetup holds a monthly get together (there’s one next Thursday, 2/28) where you can slap on a name tag emblazoned with your Twitter handle and interact clumsily with the people you spar with so gracefully online. But seriously, it may have yet to produce a love connection for me, but I have met some of the best people I know on Twitter. No foolin.
PortSports: I have been hit in the face with every kind of athletic equipment you can possibly think of. I was that asthmatic, flailing, confused gym-class loser who didn’t know the rules of any sports ever and spent more time crying than actually completing squat thrusts. So initially, when I learned about PortSports Social Club, I was very much of the “What a great idea for somebody else!” mentality.
But, what I’ve learned is that PortSports is as much about goofy team names and uncontained enthusiasm as it is about actual athletic prowess (possibly moreso). And nothing brings strangers closer together than getting annihilated at volleyball while wearing superhero outfits. It didn’t work out for me so well in 6th grade, but maybe now is my chance to find romance on the kickball field (or maybe bowling is more my speed…).
Missed Connections: I’ve never actually put out a Craigslist Missed Connection, but I did have one put out for me once- AND IT WAS GLORIOUS. Well, the guy was probably 20 years too old for me… and very not my type… but it made me feel special- famous special. Ask almost anyone, they’ve always wanted to be a Missed Connection. So why not start making these people’s dreams come true?
Instead of letting Missed Connections be cluttered up with gross Planet Fitness ass oglings and poorly spelled depressive poetry, it’s time to start using it as a legitimate place to connect. It’s the perfect setup: The admire-ees can bask in the warm glow and bragging rights of being a Missed Connection (without pressure to respond). And, unlike OKCupid, the admire-ers are protected from shame by Craigslist’s merciful 100% anonymity and ability to delete posts without a trace.
Don’t get the response you were hoping for? DENY THAT IT EVER HAPPENED. And if it does work out, don’t feel weird about it. Still a better love story than Bang With Friends.
As I said in the title of this post, dating is hard. Dating is hard, and filled with awkward pauses and even more awkward rejections. My real dating advice (as if I’m qualified to give it on any level) is to just get out there, do things that you enjoy with people you enjoy and maybe you’ll run into someone. Or, if you’re tired of waiting, maybe you should try OKCupid. If nothing else, you’ll definitely be better at it than I am.