If you’ve ever attempted to enter the shark-infested waters of online dating, you understand the feeling of disappointment that can somehow arise from an encounter with a complete stranger. This, I believe, is due to the fact that many people online are liars. In some way, they misrepresent who they are.
The most common of these is the married individual, who, for whatever reason, finds they are in a ” loveless” marriage. “We haven’t had sex for years!” these types lament. “But I can’t leave. I’m the beneficiary on a multimillion dollar inheritance and the doctors have only given her six weeks to live.” Okay, so I haven’t gotten that line exactly, but I’ve gotten some version of it. It’s always the same: loveless marriage but I’m hanging in there for the money or kids. I personally suspect neither is true. These people are trolls. These, though, are the obvious disappointments because, if you are even a little bit savvy, you can pick up the clues that indicate the dude’s looking for sex with no commitment.
The tough ones are the ones who appear decent and real. They, in fact, anywhere else but online, may even be decent and real. But in digital world, they connect with you, first in a message on the stupid dating site, then later via email, and eventually through text or phone calls. You sense a liking, at first, an attraction, which grows with each contact until you’re very nearly ready to marry the guy without ever having met him.
Then you meet him.
It would be one thing if he didn’t look anything like his photos. It would be another if he was far too short, too tall, too overweight, too bald if you hate bald.
But you meet him and he is exactly the person he conveyed himself to be digitally. He looks exactly like you thought he would. He sounds, acts, looks, is, the person you grew to be so interested and intrigued with online.
But in an instant, in a microsecond of time, upon meeting, you somehow sense his reaction to your physical self: this meeting isn’t the same for him. He is disappointed. What he could have been expecting you don’t know. You didn’t lie about your age, your pictures were accurate, and you had an accurate and recent full-body shot included. Yet, something, somewhere, between his digital fantasy and your present reality got lost in translation.
He’s a great guy. He’s intelligent, thoughtful, sensitive, decent. But you could tell immediately that you were not quite what he was expecting…for whatever reason. But you both forge ahead through the meet up, finding quite a bit to discuss, making nice until an appropriate time when you can part ways without it being too obvious that you can’t wait to get out of there.
You go your way, he goes his. There might be a smattering of polite after-meetup discourse, but soon all you hear is silence. While he might not unfriend you on Facebook, he’s suddenly stopped liking or commenting on your posts. The emails stop cold. The texts disappear. You get the picture pretty quickly, after all, you sensed he was disappointed almost immediately, and you’ve traveled this path before. The feelings weren’t mutual…for whatever reason. For whatever reason, though you were as honest as you could be, he was disappointed about how you looked.
This is the maddening thing about online dating. Men who don’t look any more fantastic than you, what with their short stature, gray hair, beer gut, and wrinkled visage, dare to sit in judgement on you, and by their behavior pronounce you unworthy, or worse, unattractive. They would never say it to your face, but they tell you by disappearing just as quickly as they came.
It makes one want to scream at the top of their voice, “WHO THE FUCKING HELL ARE YOU??! You’re fat, short, wrinkled have gray hair. I’m none of these and you spurn me? What exactly did you expect of someone my age? What the hell? I thought, and you indicated, that you were about something more authentic than the surface view. I guess I was wrong.”
But instead, you say nothing, and all your anger and disappointment dissipate into a tiny, muffled sob that you quickly stuff deep down, as you realize once again you’ve been rejected.
You realize it is part of the game. You realize you shouldn’t take it personally, that this isn’t about you. You don’t care. You don’t like this game.