Sitting in my blue fuzzy robe, drinking a glass of my favorite Chilean Cabernet, I chuckled as I deactivated every last dating profile I have.
Delete. Delete. Delete.
Writing about love for a living comes with its perks, one of the best being free access to online dating sites. I’ve never actively forked over cash to flirt with anyone but I have spent countless hours exchanging and browsing for men. It’s a lot like searching for an apartment — it’s not only hard to find one that meets your criteria but it’s exhausting, too.
Some guys cut straight to the chase and get to what they’re after (an extra martial affair, a threesome, hooking up) or others are so obviously searching for a wife that they ask you rather personal questions on date #1 (where do you see yourself in a year? What do you seek most in a lifelong partner? What size wedding band do you wear?). Kidding.
For a girl who is somewhere in between wanting a fun buddy and a long-term (and maybe forever) relationship — online dating has been too messy and too time consuming to deal with.
So I decided to get it out of my life — it’s complicated and demanding enough without throwing in a pool full of men that I have no desire to dip my toe in, much less take a dive with. I’m a big supporter of getting online to find love — it can be effective and helpful, and at the very least, a great place to meet friends or people you’d otherwise never cross paths with. It’s a simple way to quickly land a drink date within a few hours if you’re bored and a casual way to investigate a new scene.
But for me, it started to become anther box in my weekly check list: buy groceries, get dog food, go for a jog, get dinner with the girls, find a guy to go out with Friday night on OkCupid or HowAboutWe, get my eyebrows waxed…
I blame myself completely — because I really sucked the fun out of it all. The suitors were probably perfectly good men and a handful might have had the capacity to be the next big thing but with my interest and commitment to the whole interweb game waning, it felt like a big waste of space in my Google Chrome bookmarks.
I don’t really care how or when or where I meet the next possibility. I wouldn’t be embarrassed to say we met online or at a trashy bar on the Lower East Side. How we meet is far less important than how we fall in love — but if I’m to do the latter, I have to out myself out there physically.
And at the same time, give myself a break.
It’s as easy as looking up on the subway or making eye contact more often. It’s looking past my glass of wine to see the men lurking at the bar. Maybe it’s not being ashamed of my rosy cheeks while running and smiling back at the guy who smiles at me. Or it’s letting friends pair me up with someone who is a tad shorter than I prefer. Or someone a little younger than the 30-something dudes I find myself attracted to.
Or it’s just going with it and being okay about it. Dare I say — forgive myself and freeing myself — from F.O.M.O. I might not go to a happy hour and I could skip cocktails. Maybe I don’t stay out late at all or I keep my latte as my coffee date instead of a man who likes espresso.
The point is, I think anyway, is to relax about it all. I’m good at obsessing and over-analyzing (and ahem, writing about it), and I’m even better at tying everything with a sweet bow and putting a happy ending at the end.
But that’s not how dating works — it just figures itself out somehow. You work at it, you take a break. You fall in love, you fall out of it, you get your heart broken, you recover. You retreat, you rebound, you cry, you get horny. You make lots of mistakes. You date those mistakes a long time. You break up again. You sleep with them for a while. You rebound again. You dye your hair. You cry really hard. You spend a lot of time alone. You’ll get online. You’ll delete, delete, delete. You’ll meet someone new.
Then you do it all over again and again.
Until you don’t. And then you start a new cycle of marital challenges and experiences, ones that might not be like dating but are most likely, equally as frustrating and at times, exhilarating.
I may not be scouring bachelors online or totally one hundred percent out there offline. But I’m open to love. I’ll let it come if it wants to. I’ll let it find me.
It just may not find me via a search engine. For now, anyway.