I've never quite understood dating.
It's like I've some sort of spliced gene; I've got the quality, but not the substance.
Many times, I've pondered what it all means, and what it's meant for. Projects for school were dedicated. I tried to make a science of it, love. I watched documentaries, read books, made lists... I tried to control it.
Apparently, every body except me knows that you can't control love.
A friend signed me up for an online dating service. At first, I was completely open to the idea. After all, I live in place that barely gives me a man to look at. And the men who are there... long story short, they have more than enough problems.
It was fun, for a time. In the oddest way, I saw that I was attractive. People visited my site on a good average. I received many messages, all telling me that not only was I cute, but I had intelligence to boot. I was different.
I wasn't quite sure what to do. I responded to everything and everyone. I tried to do as the site said as well, which was search and message others; they said that females found better matches if they were just as assertive.
This has proved time and time again to be wrong in my experience. Assertiveness gives me nothing but trouble. Don't get me started on flirting.
This is mostly due to my inability to tell if people are flirting to be fun or serious. I flirt to be fun--a lot. It confuses a handful of guys, but once they see my sense of humor, they all join in. The problem with this? No one can tell when I'm seriously flirting. And it can get touchy oh-so-fast. Mostly because I can't tell if someone I start to seriously flirt with is being serious either.
Then, the bee dance commences. The godforsaken does-he-like-me-or-not bee dance from hell.
You know what I'm talking about. The part of when you can't tell whether he said he liked you in one way or another. The part of when he hugs you for longer than you expect and you think it means something. The part of when he smiles and you can tell he's genuinely happy around you.
And who can forget the part of when you act like a fool who can't stutter a word. The part when your message doesn't resound what you meant, or it could be taken both ways. When you stay up all night thinking of why he didn't message you back. The part, especially, when you realize you have no chance.
I stopped going to the website for a few weeks. It was all too much, the messages, the searching, the wondering if they're desperate--or if you are. The messages began to dissipate, but I still checked my email in hopes of finding something. Three successful marriages did occur in friends from dating online, so there had to be something to it, right?
In the science way, I came to a conclusion. It didn't matter whether I dated online or in person--I got the same response. People who I didn't like asking for dates; people who I would totally date not at all interested; people who both parties felt the connection, but something came up and nothing could come of it.
I'm fucked either way.
So, in a subdued way, I made my way back to the website. I updated my profile. I started answering questions to get better matches. I wrote back to people who had messaged me weeks ago and I hadn't responded.
Oddly, I started receiving a stream of messages, like I'd unblocked a pond that had once been a stream.
All these people, like me, were putting their hearts at risk, and thought I was worth it. They unabashedly said I was pretty and they were interested. They were doing what I couldn't: saying, "Let's go on a date." These people were doing much more than any guy in my "real life" would do--ask me out besides making me feel like I was wanted.
I'm still fucked--after all, I'm just as susceptible to the pros and cons on both internet dating and face-to-face. And, the guys all seem to be the same, no matter where I go (seriously, guys? Can you prove me wrong and be straight up for once?).
But there's a respect I have for online dating that I didn't have before. People who would never have the courage otherwise have a chance to get their word in and say something.
The bee dance has changed. And, until the guys out there are just as willing as the internet ones to come straight up and say "You're the one I want to date.", I'm apt to continue clicking away and finding what I want in life.
Fun Fact: The bee dance has always been a term I've used to explain how difficult it is for me to date. There always seems to be these steps I don't get, complicated steps that are supposed to mean the simplest of things--like "That pollen I got from that flower is right over there". I don't hate bees, but God knows I hate that dance.