Character Flaws

by anna on July 19, 2008

For those of you who are reading the online dating chronicles, you may have noticed a few gaps in the narrative, as well as a few Dickensian dead-end characters that show up and then are never heard from again. Unlike Dickens, I am not being paid per word; however, the chronicles were written in installments, and I certainly had no kind of plot trajectory in mind. Except maybe the hope that the ultimate plot resolution would involve finding Mr. Right(-Click).

Online dating presents you with a sea of faces that you will probably never meet, or never meet again. I am still piecing together my records from that time from emails, various Word documents, and the archives of online messaging boards. I am uploading the date reports as I find them, so there will be some gaps. The reality blog is an imperfect science, and relies heavily upon hyperlinking if you want to understand everything–and by the time you find yourself realizing this you have probably already closed your browser and given up.

At any rate, my online dating chronicles are going to be continuously updated and patched together in the coming months, and hopefully by the end there will be something like a linear narrative and a lack of unanswered questions (e.g. what ever happened to AbsurdlyTall? and who is GrecoMorgan, anyway?). Maybe by then I will have figured out enough about SQL and CSS to allow you to read them in chronological order, too.

This kind of narrative cohesion is more than you can expect, really, from online dating itself, by the way.

But the real reason I bring this up today is that, in trying to copy and paste all of these old entries to this blog, I am rereading my date reports from four years ago, and realizing what a fucktard I must seem like to all of you. I’m really not a very sympathetic character. Oh sure, there are a few dates where the guy’s behavior makes me look better, and there are those times where I manage to get in a few good lines alongside the snottiness. But as I was reading the Mr. Rogers episodes last night, I realized that why so many of these men would come into my life and then disappear was not so mysterious, after all.

In short, I am discovering just how big of a pain in the ass I must have been to date.

What you have to understand is that I did online dating, off and on, for about four years, in two different locales, and with two different hair lengths (this is a significant distinction, believe it or not, because of the discrepancy in the number of responses a woman with short hair gets). I used five different sites, and was rejected from membership in one.

I went on many, many dates–too many to even know a number, but by the time I finished, it was approaching 100. Most of these men never called me again. At least two of them were already in relationships when they contacted me (as I figured out later), and wanted to meet me in out-of-the-way locales. I had men who were visibly disappointed when I showed up, and men declared my dissertation topic to be “mental masturbation.” Which maybe it is.

After a while you start to get a little frustrated and negative. You start to view men as commodities, and only think in terms of what they can do for you. This is evident from my writing. But at least it’s kind of funny to look back, in a sort of Dennis Leary anti-hero kind of way. Except packaged in a late twenty-something girl from Los Angeles.

My life is very different now, and though I still get frustrated it is about different things altogether. Boring things. I’m still not patient, but I have restored at least some of my faith in mankind. So I offer these stories not as cautionary tales, but rather as light hearted entertainment and inspiration for those of my readers who are in the trenches as we speak. Semper Fi, ladies!

{ 2 comments }

Elizabeth July 20, 2008 at 4:21 pm

I like your dating stories! They are funny.

Coasty July 20, 2008 at 8:30 pm

I think your dating recaps are hilarious. And by the way you do not come off as a “fucktard” in any of them (do you have a copyright on that word, by the way?). The fact you eventually met Mr. Right-Click and had a kid from it all means it was a happy ending. I think your writings about this topic would be a great, great book I would buy and read. I even think Oprah would like it. Please write this book!

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