Online dating

I’m out! I’m out about everything and enjoying life and feeling like it’s finally time to consider romance. So I signed up with Oasis Active to try it out. Once I figured out how to stop creepy guys from contacting me my experience improved a lot. I had to write a profile about myself and what I’m looking for in someone else, which was an interesting experience. I resisted the impulse to describe myself as having ‘lots of personality’. 🙂 Ahem. I did however decide to upload a small collection of photos to show some of us – muddy and dressed down on a camping trip, gothed up, young and silly, social worker-y. A bit of the range that make up Sarah.

I’ve really never understood why people lie about themselves when dating, the idea of winding up in a relationship with someone I’m not very compatible with isn’t at all appealing to me. I’ve been in relationships that didn’t work, I know how unbearably painful, lonely, and harmful that can be. I lead a very content single life. I don’t need someone to sweep me off my feet and save me from loneliness or misery. I am very committed to the idea that it is far better to stay single than be in an unhappy relationship. If I never find someone I will be okay.

But, I’ve been single for awhile now. I’ve done a lot of processing, I’ve come out, I’ve rebuilt my friendship networks and my life is now full of art and groups and some really amazing people. I’m not denying the desire for a romantic connection, and I feel ready to cope with the ups and downs of dating and relationships. I’m still nervous, I don’t want to hurt anyone or be hurt. But I’m strong and I’ve got a lot sorted out in my life now. It’s time to be open to new possibilities.

Back down to earth, so far online dating has been…. hmmm, different to how I expected! I’ve politely turned down a few requests from couples and married women. I’ve chatted to a few straight women which has been kind of a relief, just to have a simple friendly conversation. A surprising number of conversations don’t go anywhere, the other person barely responds and at some point drops offline randomly. I have had friendlier and more connected conversations waiting for the bus! The other profiles are actually really interesting to read. The next time I need characters for a book I know where to find some! In some the spelling and grammar are so appalling it’s painful. I’m no grammar nazi and I’m happy to talk in text here and there but wow. Most of the profiles start the same way and involve the words ‘happy go lucky’ ‘easy going’ and ‘laid back’. Are they all writing from some manual I missed? Baffled! I realise this is a fairly specific data set, but I am deeply suspicious that not ALL of the women on oasis are temperamentally happy go lucky. On the other hand I’ve also had a couple of really nice conversations with people.

Writing my own profile is something I do a lot – everytime I’m in an exhibition I have to do one, for talks, for this blog, you name it. It’s always a little tricky and I never run with a stock one. Here’s what I decided to go with:

I’m a passionate person, with many hobbies and interests. I am very creative, currently studying visual art and then planning to finish my psychology degree. I love books and writing and read voraciously. I’m an alternative kind of person with coloured hair, ink on my hands, and a bit of a goth streak. I’m into British comedy, gardening in storms, writing poems at night, and good chocolate. 

I work hard, care about people, and volunteer a couple of days a week with the not for profit mental health organisation I helped found. Life is great and I’d love to share it with someone special. 

Then I had to write what I’m looking for in someone else. That I don’t do very often. It was sad how many people wrote versions of ‘I’m not sure’. I went with:

Compassionate, intelligent, sensitive, and strong, with a keen sense of humour and a love of life. You’re not perfect but you are caring and thoughtful and communicate really well. It will help if you’re a bit mad yourself. 🙂 

No couples or married women please, and for me ‘casual dating’ means dinner or a trip to the beach, not a one night stand. 🙂

Funnily enough the vast majority of my contact requests are turned down. I could take that to mean I am scaring people away, but I’ve decided to interpret that as meaning the profile is doing its job and weeding out those who are really not going to get along with me. It’s still weird to make a contact request and have it knocked back, it’s like going up to someone in the street to say hello and having them walk off. Still, I can live with it.

The other part I find a bit tough is that I have quite an online presence. Between facebook, this blog, and other social media, there’s plenty of information about me out on the net now. So when a new friend and I connect on some other social media, there’s suddenly a very inverse degree of information sharing. They can find out a lot about me, but not often the reverse. That’s a bit nerve wracking!

All in all though, I feel pretty good about it. It’s certainly an interesting experience. 🙂

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