Monday, December 30, 2019

2019: The Year that Proved Me Wrong. And Also Right...

It's all about rockets and me
2018 was the year my friendship with Bestie Boy really developed and I experienced (platonic) male friendship of an unprecedented level. I seriously enjoyed it. Often, though, I caught myself seeing (or should I say "using"?) him as a surrogate partner for hanging out with after work, dinner, weekend breakfasts, weekend trips, attending after work events name it. It worried me that I might not only become too emotionally dependant on him (a few arguments that left me very upset heavily hinted at that) but also that I had become very complacent and was not even looking for a real partner at all anymore.
At the beginning of 2019, I decided to change that and I remembered a colleague telling me about her "serious empirical research" comparing various online dating platforms and ultimately deciding that one of them (not surprisingly the one where she ended up finding her current partner) was the best. It was free and did not require a Facebook login or giving away questionable personal information so I decided to give it a go and sign up.
In the past, I had already had subscription to the usual suspects of those premium platforms were you allegedly find "serious" partner material (...mehp) and the few dates that came out of it were mostly disappointing and less pleasant than your average job interview. Waste of time, mostly. The only positive by-product was one decent man I am still friends with. I call him my "culture friend" as we sometimes go to classical concerts or the opera and he really is a very nice guy. I didn't fancy him and told him so immediately after our one official date, but he was fine with just hanging out as friends. Other than that: nothing to write home about and I kept telling everyone that I was an "offline person" and the whole online dating thing just wasn't for me as I found it too artificial and random: you set a filter and yet somebody just outside that age-bracket, for example, might be the very person you would have fallen in love with had you spotted him at a bar. Online, however, he would not have made it through your rigidly woven net of sometimes random criteria. And me, I had plenty of criteria back in the days! Not considerably older than me (wouldn't mind younger) ... noticeably taller than me ... preferably without children ... non-smoker, no tattoos or piercings...grammar skills non-negotiable. Over the years, experience taught me that it was pretty unrealistic to expect to have childless eligible bachelors beyond the age of 35 presented to me on a tray, so I was more lenient on the "comes with child(ren)" front. Other than that, see above, give or take.
When I signed up to that recommended platform, I decided to remain passive and let myself be chatted up, so no active "liking" on my part at all. For the first few months(!) the main/sole purpose of my subscription was to take screenshots of the rather interesting specimen who liked me and send them to Bestie Boy and Chiquita in our WhatsApp group. There really were not any serious leads at all. Writing on their part never seemed to go beyond "What's up?  or Where do you live?" I never replied to those as the latter question in particular made me rather uneasy. At some stage in summer, I changed my user name to something a little more original, if you so will and it increased the rate of more "literate" sounding contacts. One in particular immediately caught my attention with his witty and intelligent lines and as you may have guessed it was Highflyer, the man I am madly in love with. Even though I was immediately hooked by his "chat up line" I almost dismissed him as his profile details were not too convincing: rather unflattering headshot with bike helmet (does he even have hair? If so, what colour? I hope he's not blonde?) and, much worse, marginally shorter than me. My finger hovered over the "not interested" button. I was torn. Past experience had taught me that men were very "creative" with their online profiles, thinking nothing of making themselves considerably younger, taller, slimmer and uploading pictures of their prime that did not resemble their present selves even remotely. What if this guy was actually a head shorter than me IRL and had "rounded up" his height generously to increase his chances? Bestie Boy turned out to be the best wingman ever by telling me to "see for myself", i.e. first meet him in person. Had it not been for this initial nudge, I might well have proved my prejudices right and clicked him away because he did not meet my criteria.
What can I say, by the time I finally met him in person, I would not even have minded if he had lied a little (he had not) anymore and I did actually tell him a little later that he would almost have slipped through my net.
So, it turned out online dating actually is for me after all even though I almost fell victim to my own prejudices...


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