I’m one of those people. You know; the ones who totally make fun of online dating and consider it a meet-and-greet for social pariahs only. I’ve laughed at it. I’ve raised my eyebrow toward it. And, I labeled it a “never” activity. As in, I’ll never resort to doing that. It’s for losers, you know.
I know, I know. But really, this a good story, so you should keep reading. [For real.]
One of my girlfriend’s dads used to say, “Girls, there are plenty of fish in the sea.” This was usually spoken following one of our always tragic breakups. I agreed, but began to wonder what happened if one lived in a fishbowl. A very small fishbowl with a very small amount of similar-looking goldfish. None of which seemed interesting. I didn’t want a goldfish. EVERYONE has a goldfish. I wanted something cool, like a neon tetra. Or maybe something exotic. Like a clownfish.
Preferably less orange and white, more humorous and fun. Oooh, a shark! OK, I digress.
Anyway, I had friends who dabbled in online dating, and had nothing but positive things to say about it. However, the very thought of it made me grimace. In an “are-you-KIDDING-me?-that’s-way-too-weird-for-me” sort of way. Why would I want to have a conversation with a completely random stranger, whom I had never met? And, even if I did have a conversation with a completely random stranger, how would I know if he was telling me all truths, mostly truths or no truths?
But then, one of my girlfriends said, “Who says all of the people online are strange or lying? I figure I’m pretty normal and truthful, and I’m online. Who’s to say there aren’t just as many normal guys online as well?”
She—whom I affirm to be quite normal—had a point. And, in the end, my curiosity got the best of me.
I gave online dating a shot. Just for fun, of course. “I’ll test the waters,” I thought. I answered a hundred kabillion questions about myself. And, interestingly enough, I received a pile of matches. Maybe my answers weren’t as specific as I thought. Or, maybe, just maybe, there were guys with interests similar to mine.
I traded e-mails and phone conversations. And, I went out on a date or three. And, strangely enough, it was all rather, well, normal. In fact, in a way, it was easier than normal. By the time I met someone in person, I’d already had many a conversation about life. Mine and his. Including a story about me running an Allis Chalmers straight into a barn during my youth. I don’t think the accident impressed a certain someone so much as me knowing the type of tractor I was driving at the time.
Apparently that story wasn’t the only thing that impressed him, because he’s still by my side. And I am very blessed.
And, yes, I still think the idea of online dating is ridiculous. And the worst way to go about meeting someone. And the best way to go about meeting someone. It’s scary, quite-a-bit exciting and mostly entertaining. It’s plain weird. But, it’s not for me to judge. I have friends who met the loves of their lives online and are happily married to them. I have friends who met people they thought were the loves of their lives in a more traditional manner, and they aren’t quite as happily married.
Moral of this story? There’s no right way to meet a person. The point, is eventually meeting one. The method—a coffee shop glance, a sidewalk pass or in an e-mail in-box—doesn’t really matter.
Did I ever think I’d meet a terribly wonderful guy whom I love dearly? Absolutely! I’ve only been praying for him for, oh, a while. Did I ever think I’d meet a terribly wonderful guy whom I love dearly online? Uh, no. Because I was born cynical. But, then I did. And, well, he’s super-fantastic. Really. Truly. So, if meeting him online makes me a social pariah, then so be it.
Because he’s worth it. True story. Good story. That’s the end of my story.
Or—if you’re sitting where I’m sitting—just the beginning.