As seen on XOJANE, Published 09/05/2014
I expected life after college to be a lot harder. Entering the workforce in one of the more turbulent economic times in our nation’s history would mean I would have to work harder to break into the communications industry. Moving out of my parents house would mean learning how to live on a strict budget, resulting in many Ramen dinners the week before pay day- but that’s expected. The Miranda Lambert song ‘This Ones for the Girls’ told me that at age 25 I would be living in a tiny apartment eating spagehettos trying to survive. However, I did not expect that my dating life would be summarized in one word: clusterfuck. Excuse my language but there really is not any other word in the English dictionary that describes my dating life right now.
For the life of me, I cannot get a date. Just typing that sentence stung. As a single, straight female living in a metropolitan neighborhood, one would think that it would be fairly simple to meet men. I’m not a huge drinker, so the bar scene has never really been my thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I’m not into one-night stands either. Although I am an introvert and would rather spend time with my cat while watching Netflix, I ventured out of my comfort zone and joined a co-ed softball league and registered for a comedy class. That was a bust. Most of the guys were taken, while the others showed zero interest in my lame attempt to flirt. When that didn’t pan out, I turned to the one avenue that has never let me down: the Internet.
Online dating seemed ideal, and was surely going to be the gateway to widen my dating horizons. As a writer and a marketer, it should have been almost effortless to create a dazzling dating profile. No awkward pick up lines, or reading between the lines. In this digital dating landscape, I was able to put my best self first.
Similar to online shopping for shoes, I perused the catalog of men ‘selected specifically for me. What could be better than having tailored dates sent in my inbox every day?
Over a span of a week, I reached out to 10 different guys, crafting short but thoughtful messages. Radio silence followed. Determined, I scoped out more matches, reached out and waited for a bite. Nope- it ended up being another round of rejections. So really, it was like being shot down by 20 consecutive times. 20 men that were perfect for me based on my personality and interests- were not interested in me even though I ‘looked’ and ‘sounded’ my best. Internally, this translated that I was a defect- that even at my best I was not desirable. To someone who struggles with self-esteem issues on an hourly basis, this was a kick in the gut.
After a month of only getting two messages from men that were not my type, and receiving no response from any of my ‘matches’ (there had to be over 40 at that point), I enlisted feedback from my friends.
I was positive switching out profile photos, having my best friend pen a wittier ‘about me’ summary and broadening my ‘match’ settings would make a world of difference to potential suitors. It was a digital makeover, and just like in the movies where the girl turns heads after her makeover transformation, my new profile would gain traction.
Nothing happened. My inbox remained empty, and my insecurities were increasing with each click. This platform was presenting myself in the most flattering way possible- and it was not good enough. What was turning them away? Was it my looks- which was based on the best photos of me? Or was it my personality, my being? Something has to be turning them off, and the speculation of what it could be has rattled my confidence.
Imagine if there was a survey to hand out to a person who has rejected you. It would solve many sleepless nights of women across the world knowing what exactly wasn’t jiving. If I am being myself and it hasn’t attracting anyone- then perhaps I have way bigger fish to fry than trying to get a date.
Online dating has made me feel more alone and rejected than ever. Because it has been such a draining experience, I made the decision to delete all of my online dating profiles, five profiles altogether.
Has anyone else ever experienced a similar situation in online dating? Instead of lifting you up, has it shaken up the stability your self-image? They say love hurts, but being rejected before your even acknowledged may be the ultimate sucker punch.