Monday, July 18, 2011

Keeping up

I remember when I learned the meaning of the word ambivalent. I was happy that I'd learned such a useful word, but simultaneously sad that I'd spent so long thinking it meant "dizzy".

It's easy to be ambivalent about dating, especially online dating.
  • On one hand: a bazillion guys. On the other hand: too many creeps and weirdoes.
  • On one hand: in the long run, you only hit what you aim at. On the other: other people are out of your control. You may need to wait this out.
  • On one hand: Society would really like to convince you that you will only be happy if you are dating someone. On the other hand: Society can suck it. I'm awesome regardless of whether or not I'm dating someone.
  • On the hand that generally wins: I'd really like to date someone who likes me and treats me well. I'm not doing that now. I should probably try something else.

Oh, the dilemma! Be exactly who you are, but since you are trying so hard and it isn't working, be different.

I do try both. I try to be the best version of me, to be grateful for what I have, to trust that things are working out as they should. I also try to get better at things. Better at being happily single and better at being dateable.

Sigh. And then there is Kim Kardashian.

Kim Kardashian is fond of smiling at me from the cover of People magazine, proclaiming things like "I thought I'd be married by now".
"Oh, Kim," I said outloud to the cover of People, "my heart weeps for you! Yours is a tragedy for the ages! To be 30 years old and unmarried, that is a fate worse than death!" I rolled my eyes and groaned in frustration at society's relentless marketing campaign for coupledom. Perhaps what Kim needs is a little time to be her own person, with no man and no magazine cover.

On the other hand, Kim's complaints aren't that very far from what I think about myself sometimes. And you know the old adage: People in glass houses shouldn't throw People magazine across the room in a huff.

According to Facebook, I know people who know a clever woman who got sick of Facebook telling her via targeted ads that (since she was single) she must be fat, lonely, and unloveable. She made her own Facebook ads, advertising ideas of her own. Subvert the sad-making paradigm, technologically savvy sister!

I watch her Ignite talk and think, "I should totally rage against the pressures of society! Who cares what anyone thinks?!"
Except me, and I think I'd like a date for Friday night.

My ambivalence was definitely affecting my online dating personality. There were lots of evenings where I would avoid the room with my laptop, knowing that if I didn't sign in, I wouldn't have to deal with my suitors. I was drowning in online dating e-mail queries, and I couldn't even keep up with them. All perfectly fine guys, but not guys I wanted to date. But I really should, so I'd send them mail, but then I wouldn't want to reply to their mail, but that would be rude, so I'd reply, and they'd ask me for coffee, and I'd say yes, and tell myself that I should get out of the house. It would be good for me.

And then I forgot. Internet, I admit it. I stood someone up because I didn't remember that I had a date with them. Which makes me (say it together now...) a terrible person. Really!

That was the point when I decided that I needed a break from online dating. I canceled my membership and decided I'd try something else.

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