Sunday, September 10, 2006

if you like pina coladas

You can't tell anything about a person from an online dating profile, maybe aside from whether or not they can spell and their aptitude for using the correct there/their/they're. Everyone thinks they're funny and intelligent and down-to-earth and rational and no game playing, please. Everyone says they want to be with someone who likes to get dressed up and go out, but also likes to wear jeans and a t-shirt and be low-key at home, all of which loosely translates to someone who owns clothes and sometimes enjoys leaving the house.

Crazy people never tell you they're crazy. They don't know they're crazy. Most of them think everyone else is crazy. Personality disorders seem to be largely undiagnosed. Hell, I'm probably rocking a couple of them myself. You can't tell much about a person by how they talk about past relationships or current relationships or family or friendships, because there's two sides to every story, and we all spin things to our advantage, even if we don't mean to.

You can usually assess physical compatability or friendability right off the bat, but of course relationshipability is harder, because foibles come out after the fact, and it's all about your, well, mutual foiblability. Some of the best couples that I know are actually quite different from each other and not people that I necessarily would've thought to fix up if they'd both been single friends of mine. There's really just no way to know. And sites like do their best, I suppose, by offering up deep dark information like whether or not your date would be open to someday owning a fish, or what their astrological sign is. You don't find out how that person communicates when they're angry, or how they interact with someone who is unkind or intolerant or less intelligent than they are. Whether they listen to you or wait for their chance to talk. Whether they think some people just have different opinions or if that means they're wrong. How they deal with stress. Whether or not they interact with you differently depending on who else is there. What they think is funny and not funny. Whether they're quirky or literal or where they fall in between. Whether they're sexually adventurous or a little more conservative (which, of course, is pretty subjective), or into things you have to Google (with maybe a couple of exceptions, run, run like the wind). How their loved ones speak of them, and not in a tribute speech at a milestone event, but in the kitchen over dirty dishes after everyone's gone home. How they speak of their loved ones, and who they love in general. Not in theory, but who they spend their time with. Who they let in and for what purpose. Who they keep out and who they keep at arm's length. What they spend the bulk of their time doing, despite what they say their interests are. What frustrates them, excites them, unnerves them, turns them on, embarrasses them, makes them pull back, makes them feel understood.

Wait, can you imagine if I sat someone down and asked them all this? I'd be reading about myself in someone else's dating blog. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to get all this detailed information about people I go out with. I'm just saying, there's no way to know right off the bat what you're dealing with or what the person's really like, which can be full of promise but also kind of sucks. They should force people to wear t-shirts that reveal their true selves, like "Will Appear Trustworthy for 3.2 Weeks But Am Actually Rotten to the Core." I'd buy them out of "Only Laughing On the Outside" and "Will Probably Write Crap About You on the Internet."

Contrary to how all this sounds, I'm actually pretty low-key (but sometimes I like to get dressed up and go out) about online dating, and dating in general. I'm just more open to random experiences right now, I guess. He's not potentially the right guy, he's my Tuesday night. Part of my Tuesday night, at that. It's the only way to date a lot without losing your mind, I think. Plus, I rarely have a bad time with someone (uh oh, now I've asked for it). I like some people more than others, obviously, but I find most people have at least a little something funny or interesting to offer.

It's been funny to be "back out there" and meeting and interacting with lots of new people, all of whom have opinions on me. You seem like the kind of person who, I get the sense that you're into, you didn't strike me as the type to. At this point it's all just theater, anecdotes, summaries. When we were kids we didn't analyze our playdates that much... I guess that's how I feel about dating. Fun and connection can exist on several levels, not just could-I-marry-him-and-when. We have plenty of emotional needs beyond that ultimate relationship. We may categorize them after the fact less crudely than "hurtin' for a squirtin,'" but no less honestly: potential, no potential, friend potential, emergency number potential. We all do/have done it, right?

And eventually I'll be interested in meeting someone outside of that last category. I swear!


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