A few months ago, I decided to rejoin OkCupid, almost on a lark. Something about more efficiently meeting people with the aid of algorithms and compatibility scores really appealed to the engineer part of my brain. Little did I know how absolutely wrong I was when I thought to myself, "This will be a great idea!"
All that aside, this is the only positive experience I've had so far. Before we plunge into the bad, let's start with something good.
As I mentioned in my SnapChat post, one layer of initial attraction is physical. So even though these compatibility percentages were listed for every potential boyfriend on the site, I knew I wasn't in any kind of rush to be coupled, so I could afford to be choosy. And so I started by choosing with my eyes. And I learned I only found a very small (2-3%) of available online profiles attractive.
So when I saw his face, I think I literally gasped out loud. Click.
Remember the days of sending, like, winky faces or pokes to flirt online? Now it's just on a hot-or-not dating scale. Rate this profile. Swipe left or right.
His profile was actually extremely vague. Instead of answering the prompts with poorly worded essays, he responded in poetry. The former literary-magazine-editor in me swooned. His photos included one in the great outdoors, one in a tropical travel destination, one in a very foreign travel destination, one with glasses, one hinting at a tattoo. Eyes wide, heart pounding, I say yes.
It's a match!
I feel bold.
However, incorrect city. He doesn't live in town. Not just outside of the metro Atlanta area, rather, states away. (This is easily a theme of my current dating experiences. I will expand on this in a separate post.)
But he's coming for a visit. I press on.
I quickly send him a text, inviting him to my favorite bar for drinks and dinner.
Important item to note here, is that I like to be direct and forthright in communications. I also make sure to be attentive and responsive. I am the fastest texter in all the land. If I don't respond to you, I probably hate you (unlikely!) or am asleep. Or dead. I'm probably dying.
It's immediately evident he's intelligent, witty, and has just enough bite to be interesting.
Another correct response. Immediately follows with the, "Why are you single?" conversation.
We continue to banter all night. And for the next four days.
I realized I run new people through the wringer. Never mean spiritedly, but interesting new people? I want to know everything.
Everything he says is perfect. I can't help but feel like I have a delicious secret. I'm distracted.
I'm impressed with his sense of follow-up. Every lapse in conversation, he picks back up. I'm surprised at every opportunity he has to fade away, and instead I consistently receive thinly veiled messages that are only meant to say, "I'm still interested."
He finally arrives. It's the day.
But something in the dynamic shifts, and suddenly I am drifting.
I realize we're past the tipping point for real romantic interest. He's interested.
I have cold feet.
For some reason, I loathe the idea of a real date. In my mind, I want to meet somebody, become fast friends, because there is a crackling intensity. I recoil at the idea of being wooed on a dinner date. I just want to hang out and see what happens. I explain.
We finally meet. He's absolutely everything I imagined and he promised. Tall, handsome, with a winning smile. Sarcastic, sharp, with an intense gaze.
I can't tell if I had talked myself out of it because of the high chance of failure (long distance is a thing I am actually great at, but have been disappointed by); or if I just wasn't interested, if it wasn't right; or if we had missed the window where we should have met, at the peak of our flirtation.
But I had fallen out of it somewhere along the way. I didn't know if I could get back in.
We had a fantastic meal--he did something I always do, and love doing: over-ordering for the entire table, and then slowly, efficiently, eating every dish. He is attentive, very sweet, and much more vulnerable in person. Objectively, a very dreamy gentleman; I felt like I had stolen somebody's lottery ticket.
As I walked to my car, he followed me to the driver side door. Took me by the small of my back, locked eyes with me, and gave me a movie star kiss.
I wish I saw stars, as it was so utterly romantic! But still, nothing.
He eventually went back home, up north. I couldn't help but wonder if it was meant to be, but I over-rationalized and spoiled my chances. Dreamy gentlemen don't come along very often.
But my internal conflict fizzled just as quickly as my initial interest did.
Our time together was brief, but neatly packaged: a perfect episode in a non-love story. And now I know, in another city, is one of the most eligible bachelors I have ever met.