This is a modern dating experiment. One girl. Five dating sites. Hundreds of chats. Thirty days. Thirty dates. Eighteen guys. One boyfriend. To start at the beginning, click here -- or jump right in at the conclusion below.
If you're reading this, you're most likely aware that I once decided to go on 30 online dates in 30 days and (over)share my experiences with complete and total strangers. (And yes, you too, Mom.) The actual 30-day period took place in the fall of 2013. Why did it take me a full year to begin writing about it? Let's just say it was a rough and bumpy road to recovery.
This brings me to the warning I should have placed at the beginning of this experiment. If you cherish your soul, do not try this in your own small-but-full-of-character studio apartment. Am I glad I did it? Absolutely. Are there things I'd do differently? Probably not, because I don't believe in learning from my mistakes. Are there things I should have done differently? Indubitably, but I try to avoid admitting when I'm wrong, so we'll go with... nope again. (Yes, I can play this game all day.)
Here is a brief, self-asked/answered Q&A to wrap this sucker up:
So wait, what happened with Tinder Oliver*?!
Remember that Tame Impala concert we were supposed to go to? We never made it because we ended up attempting to grab a "quick bite" before at Alma. That quick bite turned into an intimate** three-hour dinner followed by a scary movie back at TO's place. Where there was a toothbrush. For me. Like, my own toothbrush. This was a big step up from the last time I had a toothbrush at a guy's place (purchased/placed there by me) and he later texted me, asking if I could come pick it up/remove it. In short, I took this super-romantic dental implement as a sign that we were exclusive. (I think I was actually right this time.)
Fast-forward four days to us at another dinner. TO tells me his parents are "quite curious" about me and then jumps into a big reveal about a super personal family situation. I decide that this is probably the appropriate time to come clean/tell him he was part of an experiment. Words cannot describe the awkwardness of this conversation. (Well, there are probably a few that could, but I'm pretty sure they're medieval/or German.) I decide to start by telling him that my mom calls him "Tinder Oliver," Tinder included. When he shifts somewhat uncomfortably at that, I know we're in for a more-than-slightly torturous tete-a-tete.
All things said (too many things, some might say) and done, he pretended to be OK with it, but I'm pretty sure he never was. Actually, I know he never was because in the midst of our nothing-if-not-memorable break-up, he used the phrase, "that's not normal" in reference to this project. That came seconds after he told me his attraction to me had most likely been Oedipal in nature, so the brusque dismissal of a fairly transformative experience barely bruised my newly battered (and utterly grossed-out) sense of self.
This answers my next few questions:
1. Are you still together? No. The first two months were magical/wonderful/easy/full of I love you's (him), meeting parents (us), and pick-ups from the local jail (me)(more on that [much] later in another, still-to-be-written post). At week eight, the relationship did a complete 180 and became confusing/weird/emotionally destructive. I apparently "ignored a lot of red flags" (another quote-pull from aforementioned break-up), and to be honest, when sh*t went south, I spent most of my time trying to figure out what I did wrong/who he wanted me to be, which wasn't great for me, my sanity, or our relationship. (Or my writing, for that matter. Turns out, not everyone pens their best sh*t at their darkest hours. There goes that heroin habit idea.)
To sum it all up, we covered a lot of emotional ground very early on/internally combusted a few days before Christmas. Unfortunately, the super cute inside joke gifts I had purchased for him were non-refundable. Fortunately, the orchid I had purchased for his mother, as I was supposed to be attending their family holiday celebrations, was also non-refundable. That indulgently pricy blossom was a true f*cking beauty/looked amazing on my vintage desk for the next four months.
2. Did you learn anything from this experience/or grow in any way(s)?
Yes! I'll expand on this with a pros/cons list:
PROS of subjecting myself to this grueling gauntlet of Internet-initiated dates:
- I no longer feel like a high-class hooker when I go to meet strangers in public places. Stare all you want, curious/judgy onlookers - zero shame over here.
THE LESS FANTASTIC THINGS:
- It's exhausting. I'm probably stating the obvious here, but a date a day is a lot. Even if you're mildly employed. Mostly because I apparently get schmammered on all of my dates. Remember that part earlier where I said I'm not 24 anymore? Social drinking now requires a very reclusive recovery - a recovery that lasts longer than 24 hours/isn't solved by a Bloody Mary brunch. Jumping right into dating a self-proclaimed functional alcoholic didn't really help the whole cringing liver/loss-of-brain-function situation either.
3. Damn it. I always forget to have a third.
(For a mini little site-specific recap, click here.)
*Not his real name
**I hate the phrase 'intimate dinner', but this one really was that cheesy/lovely/may as well have been the cover of Montecito Magazine.
***Those of you who know me might be like, "But wait, I thought making out was one of your favorite hobbies?" It is. Only I prefer mine to be with a stranger I just met in the very real corner of a very dirty bar I'm so embarrassed to be at I won't even bother to steal the matches.