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Real Stories

All The Games We Play

Online dating. I’m at the point where I’ve got a crash course in online dating and I’ve got to say it’s a damned headache. I’ve had disaster dates and people who were hot and cold so often it made me question my own sanity.

Being fresh out of a relationship and having honestly zero experience going on dates it can be a little overwhelming. I once went out with a girl on what I thought was a friend date; I ended up getting a little too buzzed and by the time she showed up, I was not myself — though I tried to hide it.

Needless to say I learned two things: clarify what you’re looking for and don’t have a drink or two because you’re trying to loosen up. It was awful and I will forever feel embarrassed. I’m certain I am on her list of online dating fails. So with that harsh lesson in mind I moved forward.

It wasn’t long untilI went on another date, and this one went way better than the last. She was nice, the conversation flowed easily. There was one draw back, but not a complete deal breaker. She dropped me off at my house and even gave me a kiss goodnight, which I thought was really sweet and it did make my heart flutter a little.

But it wasn’t meant to be. Later on that night, she dropped some news on me I couldn’t get past. We are still friends, but nothing beyond that.

So at this point, I’ve had one disaster date and one amazing one that sadly didn’t pan out. I’m feeling a bit better that things are looking up. Maybe this dating scene isn’t so bad. Then I went down the rabbit hole that is Tinder, and that’s where I met the poster child for what not to do or say ever.

I hate to be that person, but this girl had a lot of issues and by the time all the red flags were up it looked like that poppy field in “The Wizard of Oz.”

She told me everything about her ex/roommate and even her financial situation. I think the big deal breaker was when she told me that the ex was actually the one I had been talking to the first two days, and that she had no idea about me until the ex gave me her number and I texted her.

I did not need to know any of this, especially not within the first 10 or 15 minutes of meeting. Upside, I got to see my first hockey game but I never spoke to this girl again.

That was the last date I went on and I’ve decided maybe it’s best if I wait.

This whole dating game is a little hard for someone like me. Being the introvert that I am, it means I have make myself go out there. I’m not one for small talk; it’s not for me not to sound superficial, but words are important to me. In my love language, Words Of Affirmation was a nine (followed by Quality Time at eight and Physical Touch at seven).

I want deep words I suppose, which makes the start of talking to someone a bit awkward for me. I can laugh and joke, but I want to feel a connection — if that makes a bit of sense.

Anyway, finding that when you’re trying to impress someone who you hardly know is difficult. Add in all the online dating disasters and I’m about ready to stay single forever. Okay that sounds a little harsh, but you understand where I’m coming from. We’ve all had our frustrations with dating in the age of online dating. The pressure of first impressing someone enough to meet you in person, and then having to impress them again in person.

The way people tend to dance this dance is fun for some, they like the back and forth. As for me, give it to me straight-forward. Let’s talk about what your hobbies are and why you like them; where do you want your life to go; are you going with the flow; do you have a plan. These are the things to that speak to me. Perhaps not for other people, everyone has something that they look for. The trick is finding it in all the swiping and 100 words or less profiles.

The dates I have been on have been few, but each one has taught me something. And given me things to be mindful of. I never thought I’d need to learn how to date — isn’t that a strange thing to learn? It’s all a little much when you think about it.

But here I am on Bumble, Hinge, Tinder and Her doing exactly that. And let me tell you, I think Alice was able to make more sense of Wonderland than I am of this whole mess called online dating. I’m not saying it’s a complete disaster, but for someone like me it’s a learning curve.

When I started this journey or whatever the term is for it, I didn’t think it would intel learning so many things. I realize I’m not the best at meeting people and talking to them, so I knew it would be a lesson as I went through that sort of thing. But not to the extent that it’s been so far.

Besides the impressions, you’ve got to be good at reading people, seeing the good, the bad and the red flags that say ‘get out now.’ You become a bit judgmental, sizing the person up and listening to their every word. Learning about them and figuring out what you like it or don’t, and if the things you don’t like are enough to make you say no. It brings human nature into a new perspective.

We claim to be open and not judge anyone, but the moment the potential for a romantic partner, hook up or whatever arises, we pull out the magnifying glass and become Sherlock Holmes.

But what happens when you find that person that you actually vibe with? The conversation flows and you find yourself laughing more than paying attention to the way they chew their food. Is this the point where dating no longer becomes a game and becomes enjoyable? Perhaps fun?

Those are the moments we truly look for in all the red tape. When we find them, whether they pan out or not, it’s reassuring to know they still happen. That all the headache can pay off.

So happy dating, and here’s to hoping you don’t have too many dating disasters. But then again, it can make for fun conversation when you do find someone you connect with.

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by Nena Orcutt

Jessie Orcutt is a writer and blogger who is working on her debut novel “The Crow and The Butterfly”. She’s built a social media following and is breaking into freelance writing. An avid coffee drinker this lady lives on caffeine and hustle. Making her home in Music City she’s ready to conquer the writing world and leave her mark.


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