Love is tricky. It isn’t bought at the drugstore, sold at the flea market, or found in a trash bin. It can be easily obtained, carelessly discarded, real, false, harmful, and even fatal. It’s like money or fame: it’s dreamed about, wished for, and people can go to crazy lengths to try and get it. For many it’s as elusive as the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. And why? Why should it be so hard for two people to connect with each other? Isn’t there a better way?
I thought there was. That's when I decided to try online dating.
Being a computer geek, the idea of finding a good match by pointing and clicking was both logical and appealing. I perused ads, thought about everything that had gone wrong in my previous relationships, and wrote what I felt were some intelligent, humorous profiles. I picked what I thought were a few likely candidates, sent them brief e-mails, and congratulated myself on my cleverness. I had taken all the guesswork out of dating and meeting the right guy. Everything I needed to know would be right there under an HTML driven summary. No more bad choices, no more incorrect answers on the love game. It was “I’ll take Mr. Perfect for a thousand” all the way.
Needless to say, it wasn't that easy. All that glitters isn't gold, after all. Time and time again I felt the rush of new possibilities, the heat of attraction, the joy of mental harmony and emotional connection. And each time it ended with a phone call, an e-mail, or nothing. My hopes and dreams of finding love through the web were fading. What was wrong?
It took some time, but I figured out what the problem was. And I have to say that the blame was, indeed, only my own. I had been completely unrealistic about internet personals. They were not end-all and be-alls. They told you highlights about someone but they barely began to scratch the surface. They didn't show you the guys who were alcoholics, or emotionally unavailable, or who said they liked dance music but secretly hated it and were just trying to get points with you. In other words, when you try online dating, it's just like meeting someone in real life: it’s a gamble. There are all the same risks, the same problems. I should have realized that from the start instead of romanticizing the concept.
However, I don't think all is lost. I intend to carry on. Each time I write something or get a response I get a little smarter, I see things I might not have noticed before. Like so many other aspects of connecting with people, it’s a learning experience. And hopefully the more I know, the better my choices will be. Most importantly, I am not giving up. Somewhere out there are some guys who are not perfect but are perfect for me. Though the way I’ll meet them is modern, the outcomes will be based on some very old concepts: patience and perseverance. You can’t hurry love, no matter how fast your internet connection is.