“Jason” was the third person to message me after I set up my Elite account. He immediately stood out because his profile picture wasn’t some contrived selfie which aimed to reflect how totally cool his lifestyle, friends, hobbies, car, or muscles were. He also stood out because he asked me about my day and how I was doing, and he carried on a conversation without once referring to my physical attributes, using any cheesy pickup lines, or boasting about how much money he made.
Instead, he told me about his job working for a car dealership, and he expressed how he is content with his income but dissatisfied with the monotony of the job. I spoke to him about why I chose a writing career, and we bonded over our love of fantasy novels and how they gave us sanctuary when we needed it as teenagers.
Jason first messaged me around mid-afternoon, and we were still going strong by 1 a.m. The more messages I received from other fascinating eligible bachelors on Elite, the more I came to appreciate Jason’s laid-back attitude, amiable-yet-respectful tone, and reserved flirtation. So when he said he couldn’t believe how much he liked me and asked if we could meet for dinner, I fought against my introverted, anxiety-ridden nature and said yes.
In retrospect, part of me wishes I hadn’t gone on the date with Jason. It’s not that the date was terrible. It wasn’t. And yet, I felt deeply disillusioned when it was over.
As you may have noticed, texting is far more organized than speech. Texting has clear cues. You make a statement or ask a question and give the other person the opportunity to reply. Speech, as I learned from my date with Jason, is far messier.
The date started out great. Jason greeted me just as courteously in person as he had done online, and he had a lovely, boyish smile that his profile picture didn’t do justice. The real problem didn’t present itself until after we had given our orders.
Every time I would start to answer one of Jason’s questions, he would either interrupt me with his own anecdote or talk over me to observe how my words “totally” reminded him of this one friend or colleague he had.
At one point, he even stopped me mid-sentence just to tell me how much my lisp reminded him of his sister’s. First of all, isn’t comparing your date to your sister some sort of faux pas? And second, isn’t it a little rude to comment on your date’s speech impairment after you’ve just met her for the first time?
By the end of the date, I had given up on trying to share anything about myself. As Jason droned on, I just daydreamed about getting home, taking off my makeup, and reading in the warmth of my bathtub. And while I am sure that I will not be going on a second date with Jason, I remain optimistic about the opportunities that online dating might offer me as I continue my journey.