In July 2011, I went to San Diego Comic Con for the first time. This is also (currently) the only time I've been, but I have every intention of returning once a trip like that is financially available to me. I spent about half a year preparing for SDCC. It was a big fucking deal. I lost weight for it and everything. It became a running joke between my friend and I that we were going husband hunting. Of course, after the fact, this is an even bigger joke to us, but at the time she and I had some rocky relationships under our collective belt and it seemed like hanging out at Nerdvana would at least give us a level playing field of knowing a guy would reciprocate on our interests.
We didn't find any husbands.
This was for the best.
But it did mark the turning point of a mental corner for me. I spent a good deal of my time in college avoiding guys for a plethora of bad touch reasons. After I graduated, I rationalized that by living at home with my parents and working full time as a preschool teacher I had no opportunity to meet men. Not that I was continuing a prosperous tradition at that point.
Going to Comic Con made me feel more confident and comfortable with myself, which is the most unexpected side effect of that event. Between having guys approach me at the convention to having off duty military personnel offer to by me drinks at night, it was like having an out of body experience.
When I got home I had this moment of zen where I thought, yes. Yes. I am ready for internet dating.
I'll let you draw conclusions about what site I ultimately chose. Going by context clues you know I a) Don't have any money to throw around on something like this b) Am probably socially awkward and c) The title of this post.
I have been on many dates now. I have seen and heard things. Things you would not believe, because you have to reassure yourself that not only can people like this NOT exist, but there would have had to have been warning signs before I agreed to give them my phone number. You would be so wrong. Granted not all my dates were awkward, gross, terrifying or a combination of the three. But a significant portion of them were.
When I first joined the site I made the fatal mistake of being so very earnest in my profile. Every little idiosyncratic interest was put on display. I made a total of seven Legend of Zelda references in the "About Me" section. There was nothing left to the imagination. I let my freak flag fly.
I got about twelve messages within the first hour of being on the site. This is pretty standard for women, as I understand it now. In fact, I could have filled out my profile using nothing but meaningless stream of consciousness, so long as I had a picture up. Dudes do not really care what you write. Sure, most of them would quickly scan the body of my profile and point out things I said. Many of them got excited, even, over my nerd girling. Too excited. But I wouldn't come to realize this until I began frequently running into a particular personality type over and over again.
Internet dating has the kind of mental highs and lows that come from having a stranger decide to "date" you based on a series of preconceived notions. Its chaotic, absurd, awkward as hell, and sometimes scary, but oh so necessary as a modern tool for meeting people and, in my case, pushing forward into adulthood. Because it causes you to think about what you really want and how to graciously tell people to never call you again. And, again in my case, being okay with being called a bitch when you realize after meeting in person that you aren't interested in someone. It toughened me up and gave me perspective, something I frequently need more of. More than anything though, it gave me so much to laugh about.