There’s a million ways you can meet new people these days. There are the old ways, meeting a friend-of-a-friend, falling in “love” at a bar, or catching the eye of the smart and slightly condescending guy that sits across the room in your first year Torts class. And there are also the new ways: Match.com, eHarmony, and Grouper.
Lesson #1: They Say the Smartest People Learn from the Lessons of Others, So Listen Up
When the old ways weren’t working, I turned to eHarmony. If you’re going to give eHarmony a try, you have to really try. Get out your credit card and pay for the monthly subscription. I didn’t pay. I still went through the initial questions, got matched up with people, gave my email to the guys I found interesting and continued talking until eventually we made plans to meet. That all sounds great except that I used the system to set up the ultimate blind date. Because I was too cheap to pay $15 a month for a real membership, I never got to see any pictures of the wonderful men I was talking to. My first date turned out to be an inch over five feet. Not a problem, unless he had a major short man complex. Which he did. Needless to say, we didn’t go on a second date.
Don’t get me wrong, I could’ve cared less about his height if he could have carried on a conversation or even looked me in the eye when he talked. But he didn’t. He also picked to meet up a sushi restaurant. Turns out he didn’t like sushi, so while I was awkwardly stuffing my face with Philly and Lobster rolls, he sat silently across the table from me. He did like to brag about his career as naval pilot. Maybe that’s enough for some people, but I can only handle so much chatter about planes and flight plans.
Lesson #2: Sometimes Good First Dates Should End There
People are always on their best behavior in the beginning stages of dating but eventually the annoying personality traits come out. Another one of my attempts at an eHarmony date went incredibly well. He picked me up, took me to a decent Mexican restaurant, and we talked for hours. He dropped me off at home, gave me a hug, and we made tentative plans to meet again. Two hours later, I got a really nice text message from him saying that he had a great time. Too bad it didn’t end there. Next he proceeded to try and sext with me. Nope, not kidding. A guy I barely knew, who seemed very nice, wanted to dirty text after our first date. Never do this. Wait until at least after the fourth date to try to get some text action. That will still probably be too soon, but maybe she’ll forgive you. A decent girl will completely ignore you if you try after the first date. Just ask the fine gentleman that took me to the Mexican restaurant.
Lesson #3: Don’t Bother with a FWB
The third lesson I learned has nothing to do with online dating; it has everything to do with bad life decisions. Friends-with-benefits relationships don’t work in your mid-twenties. I’m not entirely sure they ever really work; someone always gets feelings when they aren’t supposed to and their feelings always get hurt. But for some reason the hurt feelings hurt just a little more when you’re older. I don’t know if it’s because it’s harder to meet someone when you’re dating in your mid-twenties, but the point is, it hurts more. So if you’ve got an itch that just can’t be scratched on your own, stick to meaningless one-time things with a sexy ginger that you’ll never see again. You can even make him breakfast in the morning if that makes you feel better. But leave it at that. It’s easier and way less complicated. Life at this age is complicated enough.
Last Lesson: Figure Out When to Stop Trying So Hard
I tried online dating because I was lonely and tired of being the third wheel. I figured out that feeling like the last single girl in the world can be a better option than dealing with the shit that comes with trying to find Mr. Right. So I’m over it and taking a break for a hot second. Maybe he’ll find me. Fingers crossed.