I think the biggest obstacle I face with the online dating process, is knowing what to say when I’m openly communicating with someone. I can write a mean profile to accompany my pictures, and I can answer the canned questions with reckless abandon. But how do I communicate with someone without the protection of 250 character limits?
It’s the impossible task of striking a balance between “I’m interested” and “This is a complete interruption of my very fabulous life, but here’s a bone…you’re lucky to have heard from me.”
Tell me again why can’t I go to a bar and just pick up the first guy I see? Ah yes, because I’m 41…
I’m a very expressive speaker and I’d venture to say that my personality is my strongest attribute. Therefore, when I’m writing or texting someone, I have a very deliberative delivery that they just can’t derive from an electronic medium. So how is the person on the receiving end of my messages supposed to “get” how charming and hilarious I am? The short answer is - most of the time, they don’t.
Worse yet, how embarrassing is it when you think your exchange with someone is about one thing, but the person on the other end perceives it as being about something else altogether? There is just so much that can go wrong or be misread by texting/emailing, and I think this leads to a lot of missed opportunities in the dating world.
One opportunity, however, was not so much missed as it was unintentionally hit head on, hastily batted away, smashed with the heel of my shoe and lit on fire, never to be spoken of again.
One Saturday as I was sitting in the spa chair for my bi-weekly pedicure, I received a notification that a potential suitor had contacted me. (an email alerting me to an email – very efficient) When I logged into my account, I saw a very cute guy with the subject header, “Trying to get your attention.” I clicked on his profile and found that he was currently in the military, had a doctorate, a master’s, two bachelor’s degrees and some certification I can’t remember the name of. So, you know, a bit of an underachiever, but I decided to contact him anyway.
My response to, “Trying to get your attention” was “Well, you got it.”
I discovered through our email exchanges that he was currently in Afghanistan, but would be coming home at the end of the year. The emailing was getting a little laborious, so we started IM’ing (that’s Instant Messaging, mom) since phone calls to Afghanistan were out of the question.
His name was “Tim”, his favorite ice cream flavor was vanilla, his biggest fear was heights, he’d been divorced for 3 years and he had a dog named Bo. He was nice, he made me laugh and he was smart…I knew it was early, but I kind of liked this one.
Day two of our "romance" consisted of me IM'ing Tim from the backseat of a friend’s car, which made 2 ½ hours of the 3 hour road trip I was on fly by! (the last 30 minutes dragged a bit as my phone died and I was without a charger) We IM'd questions about everything from the first job we ever held to how many siblings we had. Not only was he easy to converse with, he seemed to "get" me.
Here's the latter part of our IM conversation:
Tim – “When I come home I’m taking you out to dinner.” (awwwww!)
Karen – “When will that be? December? Hey, by the way, my phone’s about to die, so if I just stop responding to you that’s why.”
Tim – “Ok. Yes, December. Will you wear something tight?”
That seemed a bit suggestive to me and made me a little uncomfortable, I have to be honest.
Karen – “Ummm…what did you have in mind, exactly?”
Tim – “Tight jeans and heels – I bet you look great in tight jeans and heels.”
Karen – “Well, as luck would have it, I do look pretty good in my jeans.” (hey, ya gotta flirt a little!)
Tim – “Man, now you have me thinking about you…is that okay”
Karen – (awww! He’s thinking about me – how sweet!!) “Of course! What’s not flattering about someone thinking about you? ”
Ugh! Seriously!? I at least wanted to say, “Hey, my phone’s dying, I’ll IM you when I get home tonight.” Now I had to wait until the next day to talk to him because of the 9 hour time difference.
Unless….I can talk my friends into stopping at the Wal-Mart up ahead to grab a new charger! I promised the group in the car I’d be quick as I didn’t want to hold them up. Naturally, I ended up standing in line forever back in electronics due to some computer glitch. So, 20 minutes and $15.93 later I emerged with my new charger, excited to continue the sweet conversation with my military man!
Sidenote - Due to the fact that my mom reads my blog and I don’t want to offend my more sensitive readers, I’m going to use the following code to help explain Tim’s message that awaited me once my phone powered on.
Code: “Taking an exam” = "Sex"
Tim – “Look, I know your phone’s about to die, but, ‘When you’re taking an oral exam, how do you finish that exam?’ Hurry and answer because I’m about to finish my own exam right now.”
Yes, that’s the look I had on my face, too…