Aug 10, 2010, 07:27AM

Stalking the Mighty She-Beast

Misadventures in online dating.

There are many reasons why I’ve chosen to remain single for the past year, many of them directly relating to my inability to trust another boob-bearing human after the epic disaster we’ll call “Amberly”, because that’s her name. The rest of these reasons have everything to do with my need to focus on rediscovering art without the presence of a female muse - something which has always been a fairly standard fixture for me.

Around the middle of July, I started to dip my toes back into the awkward cesspool that is dating. There’s not much to choose from in my neck of the woods, unless you’re really into furry quadripedal mammals or pink, camo-print spandex stretched tight across epic mounds of misplaced buttocks. I’m sure there are websites dedicated to both proclivities. They are not ones which I visit.

I poked through the detritus of OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, the multifarious forest of genitals that is CraigsList, and even weasled my way through eHarmony’s “free weekend," which is free up until you can actually use your own words to woo the invisible lady you’ve been violently romancing with your carefully selected stock questions. A hint to the lonely bastards out there: you can slip your e-mail address into a few clever spots throughout the ‘question’ phase without being filtered out. Screw the man and every one of his 49 levels of compatibility.

The best approach to finding people online to potentially date is to start out by finding people you’d genuinely like to be friends with, and out of my few weeks of exploration, I found at least two local girls who are just as disillusioned with humanity as myself, and if we know anything, it’s that misery loves company. Of course, you don’t want to form a relationship based on a solid foundation of bitching about how everyone else sucks or there’s little room to grow. Eventually, you run out of other people to accuse of sucking, and you discover how much the both of you suck as well. You feign a fair amount of optimism in the hopes that if you say something enough that it will come true, you leave out all but the very worst details of your day and you try to relay these story in a humorous manner, and you hope to form some kind of intellectual or emotional connection. If you set out looking only to date, you’re going to be disappointed by nearly every first impression you get, but if you set out to connect with humans as humans, the results are infinitely more rewarding.

Of course, great personalities also come attached to really unfortunate faces, and I’m an unrepentant Googlestalker. If you’ve put something about yourself on the Internet, it’s fair game. I will piece together the weird puzzle of your identity within an hour. I’ll know the romance “novels” you’ve purchased on Amazon, that your overbearing mother leaves insulting comments on your Facebook profile, and that you dress your dogs in people clothes.

After a brief conversation with a person we’ll call “Amilyn," because I’m still not interested in protecting any identities, I discovered the aforementioned litany of crimes against humanity, in addition to three chins which were neatly lined up next to one another. Here’s where the universe folds in upon itself and babies start eating one another.

I’m a “nice guy." It’s not what I set out to be, but I don’t kill spiders, I don’t fuck vulnerable girls, and I don’t fist pump. I see an unattractive face, and I actually seek out the personality beneath it. Even if this girl is one zit away from being sent away to live in a bell tower, my genuine interest in humanity propelled my exploration deeper. I provided a photo, as per her request. I did not ask for one, but I got a response.

“Please don't take offense but I am not attracted to you. Have a great day!”

I’ve long ago reconciled myself with the fact that thinning hair and a writers’ gut aren’t a winning combination, but my misplaced faith in humanity could never have prepared me for rejection from The Land Monster. After many years of clinical and untreated agoraphobia, I’ve learned to face the world and proceed without fear of rejection in most aspects of my life - go forth as yourself and the world will sculpt itself around what you put into it. Still, every once in a while, the universal flow is kind of an asshole, and an ugly face will match a truly irredeemable personality.

Countless people have explored the “nice guy” paradox when it comes to dating, and they’ve done it rather well, so I’m not going to repeat it here. The “nice guy” curse, aside from never getting to stick your junk in anything, is that no matter how many times you tell yourself that your steadfast adherence to moral acuity is not worth it and you’re going to start treating women like “everyone else” does, you’ll always revert back to your “nice” ways. Because you’re a total sucker.

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that it is easier to make friends under the pretense of dating than it is to make dates under the pretense of friendship. I’m now a few amazing friends later and I don’t regret a thing.


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