I've begun to chat with a girl from an internet dating website. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on it?
When I think of the time and effort I put into my profile, though, it upsets me a little that she messaged me out of the blue, but then I realize that I'm talking to a new person who isn't a scam bot, is around my age, and wishes to go out on a date. Nice!
Her name is Erin, and she's from Pittsburgh. As a newcomer to the East Coast, I don't really know much about Pittsburgh, except that it's north and very cold. She's in Baltimore teaching and dislikes her job. Hopefully, she says, she'll return to school and get a masters in sociology.
While we chatted, I tried to stick to a few simple rules. 1) Do not ask anything personal. I get very interested in the people I meet, and sometimes I might broach a little too hard. I didn't want to come off as creepy right off the bat, so I pretended to be a little aloof. 2) Do not mention sex. Seriously, this is super important. It takes all my energy not to start joking about body parts and intercourse, but I realized that's not pleasant from a stranger. I had to stop myself more than once from replying with a quick "That's what she said." No! That's not what she said! She said goodbye, before I could even make that joke about the two nuns!
This brings me to my last and most important rule of online chatting. 3) Be normal. I was constantly tempted to give her way too much crazy information about myself. I wanted to tell her about my difficult break-up, just a month ago. I wanted to let her know how crappy I was feeling, how low my self esteem was. I wanted to tell her that I still thought of my ex, and that I couldn't imagine that any girl was going to be half as beautiful as Caitlin was. But I left those topics alone.
It's difficult, talking to new people. Especially people you might be interested in. I have to pretend to be some sanitary version of myself. I have to scrub down my personality and history to just the aspects that I want to impress. In this way, I think that dating is a dance of half people. We hide ourselves until the last possible moment, when it's too late for them to dance away and reject us.
We'll see, Erin. I'm going to continue to talk to her, and maybe we'll hit it off. I hope this goes in good directions. It's at least a first step.