In a city of 12 million souls, I find it difficult to meet men. That seems somewhat ironic to me. How can my life intersect with hundreds of people in a day, from the subway, to the sidewalk, to the supermarket, and yet I never CONNECT with any of them? But NYC is like that. People aren’t friendly and, in fact, are rather surly and suspicious of one another. When I first arrived in town, my semi-Southern sensibilities had me smiling at and saying hello to strangers on the street and even thanking bus drivers as they dropped me off at my stop. These pleasantries were met with blank stares of confusion. And so, those habits stopped (although I still thank bus drivers… and cabbies, too).
It seems to me that many people in this city build their social circles around three things: work, school, and church/temple/place of worship. Well, I work in a industry rife with women and gay men, which makes for fun times but, since I’m a straight woman, doesn’t leave me with many dating options. Also, I went to school in a different city. There are people from my undergrad who live in NYC, but I wouldn’t consider them “friends” and they wouldn’t call me a friend either, and so there goes that option. I haven’t found a church in NYC (although I fully admit that I haven’t really looked very hard for one either). That said, I do have friends from my church back home who are living in the City. They are also women and also experiencing the same dating struggles I’m facing, so when we do get together, we just commiserate and validate each other’s time spent in the dating trenches.
You may be asking why I’m giving you a rundown of my situation; some of this you already know and some of it you may have assumed. But I guess I’m telling you all this to justify the fact that I have resorted to online dating. I shouldn’t use the word “resorted” because it gives off the (false) impression that I was somehow resistant to the idea. I wasn’t. To me, online dating makes perfect sense. Recently, I was talking to a guy I met online and I asked him the standard set of conversation-starter questions (I’ll get to that later), which includes a version of “why are you doing this?” He gave the best answer yet. He explained that online dating allows him “to filter through the crazy, the stupid, the gold-diggers” et al. He also said that for him, online dating allows him to focus more on quality than quantity. This makes sense to me, and if you look at it this way, it makes online dating seem like less of a less resort and more a savvy strategy for finding worthy candidates.
I opened an account on eHarmony the first week I moved to NYC. I was single and ready to mingle and open to meeting and connecting with new people. In the last four and a half years, I’ve tried nearly all of the online dating sites from eHarmony, to OkCupid, to Match.com, to BlackPeopleMeet, to ChristianMingle. I’ve had different experiences with them all, and clearly haven’t made a love connection (or else I would be writing about a completely different topic). But along the way, I have been highly entertained, challenged, stimulated, and ultimately have learned so much about myself, my deal breakers, my must-haves, etc. And I have stories for days. One day I’ll write a book about this stuff. But for now, I’ll attempt to capture some of my triumphs and disappointments in a few blog posts here for your reading pleasure. Hopefully, they’ll culminate in a happy ending… *fingers crossed*