Using online dating websites as a source for meeting eligible singles is, in theory, one of the best conveniences of modern time. Shopping for a potential date can now occur in the convenience of your home, or perhaps on the train as you commute into Manhattan. Online dating websites allow us to flirt while in our pajamas or in between meetings during the workday. Looking at profiles is really no different than looking at what color shorts are the must have summer fashion item from Lordandtaylor.com.
Online dating is as easy as buying a pair of shorts from Lordandtaylor.com, but what exactly is on the shopping list of the other online shoppers?
According to Match.com, Joel and I were a 100% match. After reading his profile, Joel reading mine, and the three-day marathon of texting and phone conversations we totally agreed. We really had only one difference- our favorite cardio activity. Joel was a runner. He runs almost daily, and participates in four marathons yearly. Whereas I, the man who saves running for train catching, am much more of a Spin Class guy. Joel would rather die than take a Spin Class. We agreed that our gym habits and physical training initiatives were not a deal breaker (and we each were grateful that we both saw importance in staying fit).
We met in Manhattan on a warm spring Saturday evening for dinner. So warm that when offered an outdoor table at one of my favorite French bistros, we jumped at it. Being with Joel was very refreshing. There was a level of excitement in the air because we were finally meeting, but overall the vibe was calm. The conversation flowed perfectly, much like the flow of people that turn off their computers opting to flow through the doors of Lord and Taylor on a Shopper’s Day sale.
From my favorite gougeres (cheesy poofs, but French!) to the perfectly cooked filet burger, the date was fantastic. As the date came to an end, there seemed to be a strange uneasiness that came over Joel. It was almost like he was laughing and having fun one moment, and then it was as if the gun fired to signal the beginning of a marathon and he was ready to hit the pavement. The end was abrupt, and not one bit reflective of the date. I was totally baffled by my goodbye with Joel- did I do something off-putting? Say something offensive?
The next morning I checked email, and there was a message from Joel…
Craig- I really had a great time with you last night. You’re everything I though you’d be and more. I haven’t been honest with you. I’m not available to be in a relationship because I’m already in one. I thought I was ready to leave, but I’m not. You’re going to make some very lucky man a fantastic partner- Joel
At least I know it wasn’t my breath.
I’ve given a lot of thought to what dating really is. Dating is part discovery, part fun and all interview. We’re spending time with someone to see if it’s a mutual fit that could have the durability to last a lifetime, like a good pair of Wellies. We use online dating as a tool because it’s easy, but there are many risks that come with it.
Your intention may be to see if you can find the one that’s a perfect fit. Their intention may be something totally different.
Joel wasn’t trying me on for a potential relationship. Joel was trying on what it would be like to be single again. From our conversations, he talked about his “Ex” in a rather unflattering way, providing many examples from chemical dependency to lack of affection. The descriptions alone were definitely reasons to end a relationship, which is what I thought Joel did quite some time ago. Unfortunately, Joel had not reached that point where he wanted to sever the cord that ties him to his partner.
On paper and in theory, Joel was a pretty perfect fit for me, but to him I was an experiment to see if being on the dating scene would be a fit.
Before the Joel-Bashing begins, we need to acknowledge that he did have the courage to come clean regarding the deception. It would have been nice if he would have done that prior to sharing a basket of gougeres, but at least he explained why he acted the way he did at the end of the date. He could have simply said that he didn’t feel a connection or that he downright didn’t like me. In the end, he chose the truth and I respect that. Knowing the truth certainly doesn’t diminish the sad feeling of “damn… and he was a good one too!”.
It does serve as a reminder to those of us that partake in online dating. Sure it’s easy, but sometimes what we order online doesn’t arrive on our doorstep in the right style, the right cut or the right fit. If those shorts from LordandTaylor.com don’t work for us, we simply return them, look online until we find something we like as much or better, and take our chances and click “pay”. We don’t take it personally; we just keep shopping.
We need to remember that the same rule applies to online dating.