Before I had decided to give it up completely I went on one, final online date.
It was unexpectedly set up; that is, he approached me out of nowhere, sent a message to the account I thought I had deleted. The message said something along the lines of, “Were you at IKEA yesterday? I noticed you and kept thinking about how pretty you were.” It was like a Craigslist ‘Missed Connection’ – anyone who knows me well will tell you how much I love, for one reason or another, ‘Missed Connection’ ads on Craigslist. People who know me will also tell you that I love serendipity. I don’t necessarily believe that there is just one person out there for everyone, nor do I necessarily believe that fates the universe and place you in specific places at specific times. But sometimes you are in a place that feels ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and certainly, I felt reading the message, I was in the right place when I was at IKEA the previous Saturday and had caught the attention of someone who happened to see my photo on an inactive dating account when he happened to be browsing through dozens of profiles.
When I met up with him, it was after a few weeks of extensive email-type conversation; back and forth, about two messages per day. He seemed friendly albeit a bit awkward, and he didn’t reveal too much about himself, more of what he was looking for in a woman and more what he was hoping to find. He presented me with an orchid which I had told him previously was my favourite flower (because he had asked, not because I was dropping passive-aggressive hints). It was bundled up like an infant in swaddling clothes and I thanked him; he responded, “I wasn’t a fan of the way it was wrapped. It kind of looks like a diaper filled with meat.” Charming. And the rest of the date was not much better. This gentleman was not someone who had obviously taken care of himself, a fact which he hid behind a barrage of above-the-waist photos on his profile. He also questioned and judged my taste in television shows and books and movies. He used an iPod Shuffle as his tie clip and asked me if I wanted to touch it(?). And to top it all off, he asked what music I had been listening to lately and when I told him, he said, “I’ll be sure to illegally pirate those songs later.” I had to save the eye rolling for later on when I was regaling my friends with the story of IKEA Guy.
Few circumstances make you feel more dejected and frustrated and lonely and bitter than a really terrible date. Dates are something that demonstrate tremendous pressure, expectation and the implication that you’re both looking for something that’s meaningful or even long-lasting. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take a chance on dating (I did, obviously) but that after so much build-up only to be so sorely let down, it proves what I’ve always suspected about dating online: People only put their best foot forward. They type to you like ‘better’ versions of themselves. I did it to him and he surely did it to me and in that façade, there was suddenly only room for letdown; a lack of chemistry; a forced compatibility. But there was suddenly no room for a real relationship. I was reminded why I had stopped this online dating business to begin with. It’s too much frustrating BS for me.