Meeting someone you’ve been chatting to online is just like going to the cinema. Here you are believing the film you’re about to see is going to live up to your expectations, only to find they put all the good bits in the trailer or in this case, their profile.
If the app exists, I’ve been on it. OkCupid, Plenty Of Fish, Gaydar Girls, Pink Sofa, Brenda/Wapa, HER and the mother of all dating apps – Tinder. I’ve also been on my fair share of dates and met/never met up with an abundance of weirdos. Surprisingly, I have also formed some pretty incredible friendships/relationships with other babes who just like me, were searching for someone to spoon. Let me be clear though, it is a jungle out there and the animals are rarely interested in playing nice.
Now, it seems only fair that since I have had to endure this reality that I should be able to share it with you. At times this will be graphic, hopefully hilarious and a tiny bit sad. You’re welcome.
Catfish. When you’ve been trawling through dating profiles for as long as I have, you come to expect the unexpected. When I was 18 and fresh on the dating scene however, I never would have even thought of pretending to be someone else in order to form a romantic relationship with someone online. This has happened to me though, twice.
‘Charlie’ popped up out of nowhere on Facebook and suggested that I looked familiar and that we must have met before. We hadn’t. ‘Charlie’ was 34, lived in Sydney and was a well-known photographer. I was 18, managing a record store in Cairns and hadn’t been to Sydney since I was 10. We had mutual friends though and it seemed possible so, we started communicating (very innocently at first) via messenger and eventually phone calls. It didn’t take long before a mutual attraction was formed and I found myself in a relationship with my phone.
During the next 6 months ‘Charlie’ became seriously ill and eventually died – not before insisting that I meet with her best friend who coincidentally also lived in Cairns and had previously dated my ex. Her friend who we shall refer to as ‘A’ (A for asshole, alcoholic and Ali – actually her real name, because what do I care about her anonymity). ‘A’ was there to pick up the pieces of my broken heart and to convince me that moving to Darwin was the only thing that could heal my hurt. So, I quit my job, packed all of my belongings into a Suzuki Swift and drove across the country with the person who I later found out was pretending to be ‘Charlie’ the entire time.
You would think after having such a terrible first experience with online dating that I would have stuck to a more traditional route since then. You would be wrong. I’ll break some of my more memorable experiences down to numbers.
3: The number of girls that have flown interstate/overseas to meet me. One of these silly humans planned their trip while ridiculously high on pills, 3 hours before needing to fly. During her visit she was in the middle of the mother of all come downs and we both knew that the attraction formed over the phone was not present in reality. So, she slept off her big night and I dropped her back at the airport the next morning to go home to her cats.
69: The number of strawberry tattoos that I had the chance to discover all over the body of a total babe I met on Tinder. The attraction was as real as the fact that she was moving to Perth 4 weeks later, not to mention that I was still in major feels with the person I was seeing before and then again after my vacation to Strawberry Fields forever.
10: The total number of seconds I was able to continue being intimate with someone after they managed to morph from a fully grown adult vegan activist into a child like persona complete with thumb sucking and cooing.
27: The unconfirmed total slices of Coffee Club Banana bread that were personally delivered to me with Pine Lime frappes after I told TinderPsycho #17 how much I enjoyed them.
1: The number of babes I have been on a date with, awkwardly kissed and had a door slammed in my face by, only to discover myself in full on friendship love with the woman who is now my bestie.
0: The total amount of times that I agreed to put a Tinder date in a box under her bed or walk her around at midnight on a leash – at the dog park.
4: The number of past online/tinder flames that continue to tell me about how they would do anything to have another chance; while in bed with their current girlfriend/partner.
200+: Just an estimate of the number of unsolicited dick pics I have received over the years, all in the name of research.
400+: Probably an under-estimate of the total amount of people who I have ghosted over the years for some weird and wonderful reasons including but not limited to… Individuals who are looking to spice up their relationship by adding me as a 3rd player into the bedroom. Those who don’t know the difference between there, their, they’re or your and you’re and anyone who doesn’t respond to my selfies with the admiration they so rightly deserve.
It recently occurred to me that my search for connection online isn’t creating anything other than superficial connections in real life. I’ve spent years messaging hundreds of different people who never actually want to meet up or live 1000 km’s way. Sadly, feeling validated by a voice on the other end of the phone or a picture of an actual real life person who you haven’t even met yet. After watching Nicole Arbour describe how bizarre it is that we are dating our phones, it certainly put things into perspective. I’m sick of texting, calling and Face-timing, I just want to make out already. I don’t want to talk about the things we’ll do, shows we could see or things we could eat (including each other), I want to just do it and hope for the best!
So, after years of disappointment with online dating I have officially deleted all the apps and I’m taking my love/sex life offline.
I will talk to the cute babe at the bar instead of hoping she’ll show up within my radius on HER. I will leave my phone in my pocket and instead, wear my heart on my sleeve. I will get back to finding the joy in discovering human traits instead of reading the perfectly thought out profile that only includes pictures from the right angle and quotes from movies. I will bask in the beauty of real, raw connections with people who are tangible and present and don’t just exist in cyber space, my inbox or my totally used up data allowance.
I will probably also download Tinder again at a later stage for lols and spoons if this real life thing doesn’t work out but for now, I’ve made a commitment. So let’s see how this goes.