Being A Wallflower In The Digital Age

Let me begin this by stating that I have friends that have done their absolute best to help me navigate getting back into the dating world. They have set me up on blind dates. They have introduced me to interesting people. They have refrained from putting the pressure on me to commit to something I haven’t been ready for, or that I’m not interested in. For that care and concern, I thank them.

That being said, I have just not been able to get into the swing of things. After two years of single living, during which I spent a great deal of time trying (and I feel succeeding) to recover from a long term relationship breakdown, I’m looking forward to a new relationship, BUT, I’m awkward, I get nervous, and my timing is atrocious. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it now, timing and location are important and both seem to work against me. I recognize most of this is my doing – mentally and physically – and I’m okay with that….for now. Still, this is not how I want to spend my life: unable to find someone and using timing and location as a reason for that loneliness.

While I am willing to travel and work for a relationship, it’s difficult to get to know someone when you live over 3hrs away from them. Technology allows for easier connection through Skype, Facebook, text messaging, actual calls via cellphones that are almost always at our hips, but that doesn’t replace – in my opinion – actual, physical, face time. There is a lot to be said about proximity. For example, I believe I come off better in this virtual space than I may do in person. Intellectually, I’m the same, but mannerisms, quirks, things that can be endearing or annoying, are hidden in this online world where I have time to think out my response. I mean, you can’t see me in my UK Alumni work out shirt, TARDIS house shoes, and ESPN short pants (seriously, they aren’t shorts and they aren’t pants…they are short pants) as I type these musings, so I don’t have to worry about a physical judgement. Hopefully my sense of humor will come across, but you’ll miss out on my lip biting and popping knuckles. I have become accustomed to this safe haven where all you can really judge me on are my opinions, my writing style (and grammar – thought not too harshly, I hope), and whether or not I’m writing on a topic that relates to you in some form or fashion – which I hope, sincerely, it does. That’s why I like writing about my awkward adventures: there is something comforting in believing you are not alone in this mess. I digress…

The last two days, during what some have called the Snowmageddon 2014, I have made baby steps into the online dating world. This means that I have looked up various sites, including OKCupid and, read several reviews, made initial profiles, then promptly deleted those profiles as I answered their intense list of questions.

Yeah, a bit of effort then I completely chickened out.

Could it be because I read a poor review? Could it be because I was a bit overwhelmed by the questionnaire? Did it matter that I think a more intense questionnaire is a good thing because it will probably allow for better matches to be shown? No. It did not matter, because all I wanted to do was look at the pictures of possible men to date. I didn’t want myself to be put out there for anyone to look at me. I just wanted to have a look around with zero pressure. What’s wrong with that, anyways?! Why can’t I peek my head in and look around before wowing the crowd with the fact I wore a dress and not slacks and a better than average shirt?!

I wanted to be a wallflower at the dance, looking at all the other wallflowers before getting up the nerve to ask one to dance, and those sites weren’t giving me that option. They were like your outgoing, attractive friend who has no problem finding a dance partner, forcing you to come to the school dance and then leaving you standing outside, looking in. Or that’s the flashback I had anyways….

That is my problem. I want to look, see what’s available, without putting myself in a place to be rejected or hurt. On some level, I’m still a little stung by my previous rejection. These dating sites, while a distinct possibility and a more common place to look for dates than ever before, are a bit overwhelming to me at the moment. You have to put all this information out there, and I have a hard time describing myself to the void. You don’t want to sell yourself short, but you don’t want to make it sound like you are too perfect. People quesiton too perfect – I would! In addition to yourself, you have to make decisions on who you would like to see as possible matches. It is even requested that you don’t be too picky, because you will limit yourself. Well, if you don’t want me to limit myself, why give me options as to what I would like in an IDEAL mate. Do you not want me to name Benedict Cumberbatch or Tom Hiddleston?! 

That would probably be easier, in fact. Let me name you someone that I think is ideal and let’s go from there.

That would never work, I know that. Actually, I’d probably name Paul McGann first, then Cumberbatch and Hiddleston as super close seconds, more like 1, 1.5, and 1.75…..sorry, I’m off topic….

The differences between the ideal and the reality are ones that I recognize. Contrary to popular belief, I am very much grounded in my reality. I know where I live plays a factor in possible dating options. I know my personality is a factor as well. It’s strange, I can introduce a couple to Chris Hardwick as if I knew the man, but when it comes to going up to an attractive man at trivia night I get nervous and just don’t bother. I’ll promise myself that next week, if he’s there, I’ll introduce myself, after all what’s the worst that can happen? I’ll promptly wuss out…again. To be honest, I’d have a better shot with McGann/Cumberbatch/Hilddleston because, in my mind, there is nothing to fear in approaching someone so far out of your perceived league. It’s someone that there is a possible chance with, that is when the nerves come out and everything goes to crap.

Another problem I have, which I fear has translated to my foray into the digital dating world, is that I don’t know what to do when I’m not interested in someone as a potential date. My knee jerk reaction is to shut down in the hopes that I’m off-putting enough to deflect attention, but not so much that I’ve alienated someone that I genuinely feel is interesting and nice. This is problem that, while I had yet to face it at any of the dating sites I almost joined, I know may come up. My anxiety is in response to a potential issue that has let to arise! I’m going to have to work that out before jumping full into the online dating pool as well.

I have had such little experience in just casual dating, that I do not know what to do. All I’ve ever been involved in are relationships. The one, brief, I guess you’d call it an affair, I’ve ever had didn’t end poorly, but it did end in a way which I did not particularly enjoy. That was all on me too. As with most things, one thought more about it than the other. Such is life, but oh what a life it is!

Anyways, I’ve deleted those dating site accounts….for now. Since I’ve put my toe back in the water, it’s not as scary, and I anticipate coming back to the proverbial dance sooner than later. As my personality dictates, I will do some more research, read more articles and reviews, and work up the nerve to talk to the cute guy at trivia night.

Eventually someone and all of their weird, will be attractive/attracted to me and all of my weird, and the whole process will start again. Until then, just let me enjoy Benedict Cumbercatch’s photobombs at the Oscars, Image

Tom Hiddleston as Loki Image

and Paul McGann…well, I just absolutely adore you!



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