by: Mariann Devlin
This week, I realized that I’ve been dishonestly commiserating with my friends about the woes of being single. “Why can’t I find a guy I’m mutually interested in? I want a boyfriend already!” I’ve been saying it for a while; two years to be exact.
The factors involved in my singledom are many. I’m picky. Maybe I’m still shedding some romantic baggage. Because of how busy I was, I didn’t know how to start dating from scratch, outside of online dating websites. Yet I’m beginning to happily accept the fact that I’m not attached, and most importantly, I’m not so desperate anymore to use online dating as a means of meeting potential partners.
I’m not saying that people who use OKCupid or Match.com (I’ve used both) are desperate. A lot of people are secure enough in their lives to go online without high expectations for finding the perfect partner, which only leads to disappointment. A lot of people have enough confidence to not use these quick-and-easy dating tactics, the joys of being deemed interesting to tons of random people, to secure their self-esteem.
The truth is, I’ve been guilty of using online dating for both–but not anymore. I’m resting comfortably as a single woman, so much that I can shed myself of the expectation that I will meet someone on OKCupid. (I’m going to pretend I never even paid for an account on Match.com.)
A couple years ago, when I started using the site, I was one of those annoying OKCupid “manic pixie dream girls.” Attractive, interesting, chatty and whimsical. I filled my free time with lots of suitors, who all fell short for reasons I’ll explain. I’m not going to judge myself too harshly for that time period, because I was in my dating prime. I was, and still am young. People liked me, and I had only just discovered the possibilities of meeting cute guys online too. But I’m not that person anymore.
All those dates were clearly unsuccessful in landing me a boyfriend. For one thing, the guys I had a lot in common with, who were into literature and philosophy and indie music, and had really kind hearts, didn’t look like their profile photos. I’m also horribly picky, and I’ve only just started to figure out what my type is. I’ve made some really great friends on OKCupid, that’s for sure, but I can make friends just about anywhere as long as I put myself out there.
And that’s what I’ve decided to do. I’m tired of meeting really smart, interesting, sweet guys online only to not be attracted to them. (I get the reason why average-looking or unattractive men post pictures that look nothing like themselves. But first impressions are the most important thing on a first date, and when the first feeling that washes over someone when they meet you is disappointment, then you probably won’t be very successful online.) I’m also tired of said men being romantically interested in me, when the feeling is never mutual. It makes me feel like a shallow asshole.
There’s just no good reason for me to keep going on OKCupid, unless I want the attention- which I hear is true of many people on the site.
I’ll pass. I’d rather be scoping out dudes in the world. I’d rather approach men who I’m naturally attracted to, instead of travelling all the way from Rogers Park to Wicker Park to meet up with a guy who just doesn’t match up to his fascinating and clever profile and his handsome pics.
Basically, I’d just like to stop wasting my time and everyone else’s. I’m okay with taking it slow now, letting the universe work its magic. That’s how I met my previous boyfriends, isn’t it? And to prove the goofiness of the whole online-dating endeavor, the one guy from OKCupid who I grew closer to than anyone else, I initially rejected. That’s right, folks. I stopped responding to his online messages because I figured we probably didn’t have much in common. Funny thing is, I met the same person in real life and wanted to jump him.
Profiles have rarely indicated to me how well I’ll get on with a person. Besides, I don’t need a boyfriend. The feminist in me is ashamed of the conversations I’ve had with people about being single: I’m afraid I’m going to be a spinster. My life is incomplete because I don’t have a man. I’m lying when I say those things, because although I do have some issues to work out in my life–mainly the woes of finding a reporting job in a failing industry–landing a boyfriend is just not one of those problems. I have so many wonderful, beautiful friends who provide me with all the things my ideal boyfriend would, minus the sex and cuddling (I have a vibrator and my roommate’s cat for that, RESPECTIVELY). Unconditional love and acceptance, thought-provoking discussions about books and philosophy, mutual sharing of life’s ups and downs. Laughter. Hugs. My social life is pretty damn awesome.
So, here I sit, in a cute, independently-owned bakery and coffee shop in Evanston, typing this out and scanning the room for cuties. Maybe I’ll find one and make googly eyes at him, or maybe he will first. But in the meantime, I’ll be living my life–preparing a graduate school application, reading my first Murakami novel on my Kindle, writing an essay, and sipping peppermint tea to settle the spicy Indian food I ate before I got here. Living without expectation.
Mariann Devlin is a journalism school graduate from Loyola University. She’s a reporter for Patch.com, and a volunteer contributor to Streetwise magazine, a publication dedicated to ending homelessness. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Mariann moved to Chicago four years ago and still complains incessantly about the cold winters.