I wanted to talk about some of that “love” I mentioned in my byline. Dating can be fun, scary, frustrating, and a host of other things on the path to love. And love is… love is awful, too, but in a good way… I think. So I wanted to share my long and weird and crazy and magical and frustrating and honest quest for real love.
It isn’t always pretty. I am not always the hero of my own story because it is real. Some days I was a dick. Period. No excuses. Sometimes I did everything I could and nothing worked. Those days sucked. I took a long hard look in the mirror before starting this, and after getting my fiancee’s permission, I decided to write everything as truthfully as possible… and I will soon. I don’t want to start in the deep end. Today I wanted to write about my most successful dating profile ever!!!
Spoiler alert: I didn’t meet my fiancee with this post.
After grad school, my dating system went almost exclusively online for a lot of reasons. I was living in St. Louis, then Denver, then back to Chicago briefly for the first time in 10 years, then down to Bloomington, then back to Chicago. I only knew one or two people in any of those cities and most of those people were dudes. I was also working a lot and didn’t have time to network. I had decided a long time ago that I probably wouldn’t meet the love of my life in a bar because bar meetings were, largely, superficial and fleeting, and I was looking for more… mostly.
Over those few years, I learned that I could write a pretty compelling dating profile — a few friends even asked to copy me. (I’ll share some of these in later posts.) At some point, I found myself more interested in writing the profiles than in actually going on dates. I was going on lots of dates, but I wasn’t finding the chemistry I was looking for and I was spending a ton of money in the process. Fortunately, a friend convinced me to start saving some of my profiles. So here’s my most successful profile ever (Sorry, it’s long):
I have been dying to talk to you, but I haven’t found you yet. I made this profile hoping that maybe you are on here, and somehow you will see this and know that this letter was written just for you.
I can’t wait to laugh at your stories, tell you the semi-embarrassing epic that made me who I am, and create thousands of memories with you while we have our own adventures.
I can’t wait to trade recipes, learn to make your favorite foods, and hang out in the kitchen like other couples hang out in front of the television. I’ll even pretend to like kale for you…because I don’t.
I look forward to the days when you read quietly to yourself, while tolerating my mediocre guitar playing and occasional song. You know I’m bad, but you still enjoy listening. And, I look forward to the days when I can steal you from your books and projects to dance with me in the living room.
I can’t wait to fall in love with your laugh, knowing that sometimes you are just laughing at me because I did or said something goofy, but it was endearing and uniquely me.
This won’t make sense to you yet, but your friendship is crazy important to me. I respect the crap out of you. I want to be the kind of man that deserves you, everyday.
I look forward to deleting this stupid account, knowing that I will never need it again, but until then, just know that I am glad you exist.
Your heart in waiting,
First, everything I said in there was true. I love cooking, I suck at playing guitar, and I love dancing in the living room. I am lucky enough to have found someone who does all of these things with me. My parents danced in the living room to classic soul when I was a child and that was the first I knew of love.
Second, my inbox blew up! I was getting messages from women across the country and one random message from a girl in Sweden or something. Half of the messages started with, “I think you wrote that letter to me,” naturally. There were so many responses that I stopped responding to all of them. Before, I had a standing policy of replying to every message regardless of my interest level. I hated not knowing if they saw my message; if they were going to respond; if they deleted it without reading it; if they were even still active, so I decided not to do that to others, but it was too much.
I went on a number of dates. I went on weekday dates that I used to be completely against. (Side note: if the possibility of finding love isn’t worth one night of your weekend, is love what you’re really looking for or are you just looking for a distraction?) I went on coffee dates, drinking dates, dinner dates, and I once talked to a girl at a bar who was reading my profile at the time. It was fun for about a week. Then it was frustrating.
Here’s the problem: anyone can write an interesting profile. It doesn’t mean that they are anything like that profile. I’m sure some of my dates felt the same about me. The more dates I went on, the less I cared about any given date and the more I wanted to give up, so I did. I took my profile down and decided to go on a dating hiatus until I cared again. I also decided that I would go back to meeting women in real life and taking it from there. That lasted for about a month. It ended when I realized that the only places I had to meet people were at bars, at work (a huge no-no), and hitting on strangers in random public settings, which I was never particularly good at.
Alas, the search for love would continue.