Eleven: Lessons Learned from OKC

“After a series of guys who left me high and dry and questioning why the hell I wasn’t just a lesbian instead (though, trust me, I know ladies aren’t a cake walk either) all of my friends asked me why I continued to go out with people from OkCupid. At first my answer was just that it was fun and gave me something to do on nights I would otherwise just stay home. But as I thought about it more, and began to write about coming out of my comfort zone, I realized that the reason I keep going out on OkCupid dates is because I keep learning about myself. Every date, every awkward encounter, every rejection, and every lovely goodnight kiss – I learn something new about myself and get nudged a little more farther away from my normal.”

I wrote that paragraph over a month ago. While most of it is still applicable I have actually deleted my OkCupid profile. There are a few reasons for this. One being that I am just overall tired of getting the same, lame messages. And two being that my time as of late has been very much occupied and I don’t have the time or the desire to go out with anyone else.  (I was actually given permission to write about that on the site but for my own sanity will not be doing so as of yet!) Anyway, as I say goodbye to OkCupid for the moment, I wanted to write out what exactly I’d learned about myself from my last year of using the site…

 1.    I’m incredibly awkward but somehow it works.           
I don’t think I was ever awkward as a kid. I was always the one who talked a bunch and made friends with everyone. But for some reason as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more and more strange. I no longer know how to strike up conversations with strangers. I no longer understand that some people don’t want to hear all the randomness that comes into my head. And I don’t seem to understand that others aren’t okay with long periods of total silence. But what I do know, thanks to the world of dating, is that my awkwardness, in some strange way, works. I have been on dates where I could literally feel the awkwardness seeping out of my pours but for some reason the guys eat it up and think I’m charming and not a total freak. Thank you nerdy girls before me! Paving the way for awkwardness to be labeled as quirkiness and allowing my weirdness to not be an immediate deal breaker.

2.    I don’t care about physical attraction, but instead about physical chemistry.
I always say to people that I don’t care about appearance. If you just rolled your eyes, I get it. Nobody ever believes me. And I never really had a good way to explain it. I would just say that I didn’t really care because when a hot dude ends up being boring and dumb, he immediately transforms from Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid Love to Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber. But on the flip side of that, when I meet a guy who I’m not physically attracted to but he ends up turning my brain on and making my face hurt from laughter, he becomes so freaking handsome in my eyes. This is where people argue “but if you’re REALLY not into ____, personality can’t change it.” Fill that blank in with short guys, fat guys, black guys, whatever… What I’m here to say is that for me, that’s not true. I’ve realized that this theoretical not-so-attractive dude not only has to have a good personality, but we also have to have sexual chemistry. We have to like the same things and when we kiss there has to be something more. I need to want him in a primal way. I’m scared my dad might one day find this blog…so that’s enough about that. But in summation what I’ve learned is that my eyes are not what turn me on.

3.    I’m not as terrible of a flirt as I think I am.
I have to start this off saying one thing… THANK YOU INTERNET. Basically, I have never been a flirty girl. I’ve discussed this before on the site — I was always the friendgirl and never the girlfriend. Though I was in a really long term, serious relationship the beginning of that had almost nothing to do with flirting and almost everything to do with us both being young and looking for affection. So when I dived back into the dating scene out here, I wasn’t sure I would know how to flirt. When guys compliment me, I get pretty awkward (shocker) and don’t really know how to respond. It’s almost nearly impossible for me to give compliments. Seriously, it’s sad. The guy I’m currently seeing and I were having a talk and it took everything in me to tell him the things I like about him… The struggle was so apparent on my face. Luckily it didn’t scare him away! But the Internet has helped me so much in my flirting. How you ask? Well, I, like many others, am much wittier with written words than spoken words. And having the chance to talk to guys digitally before meeting them in person gives me a chance to flirt and build up the witty banter before being dropped into a date. Also, I think getting the small talk out of the way has done wonders to my flirting. I’m much better with substantial conversation, than the bullshit you have to talk about when you first meet someone.  

4.    I don’t care what a guy does, I just need someone with passion and drive.  
Before really getting into “dating” I thought I had a list of deal breakers. A guy had to have a car, a job, and a place to live… Without those things, there was no way I would even think about dating them. Hey guys, wanna know what happens when you make a list of rules for yourself? You break them. About a million times. In a row.On OkCupid I’ve gone out with LA hotshots, who make lots of money and have TV shows on big fancy TV stations, who take me out to places I could never afford on my own. I’ve also gone out with dudes who live at home, have no car, and can barely afford their own lives, let alone taking me out on fancy dates. Of course, the majority have been somewhere between these two extremes. To be honest, I never thought I’d be super into the fancy LA guys. I don’t live that type of life, and while of course it’s fun, having excessive money and spending it on dumb shit is not something I can relate to. But what I found fascinating was that among all these guys, I didn’t really care how much money they made or if they had the stability I thought I was looking for… All I cared about was whether or not they were passionate about what they were doing. He could be a stand-up comedian, who pours every bit of his heart and soul into the sets he’s doing almost every night of the week or a dog walker, who believes in the importance of his work and loves each dog like his own – I don’t care! I’m passionate about my work and I need you to have something that consumes your whole heart sometimes. Something bigger than yourself that you’re willing to give yourself up to. Something you fight for. Something you can talk to me about and teach me about for hours.

5.    I have bigger balls than most dudes when it comes to rejecting someone.
This is the lamest of the lessons I have learned. From my experience, dudes don’t have balls when it comes to rejecting girls. I believe this partly has to do with guys being taught that women are crazy. Now before all the male readers get pissed off, let me admit – bitches can DEFINITEY be crazy. But hey, guess what? Stop dating those! Most of us are level-headed, rational beings who would prefer the truth to some bullshit excuse or you just disappearing. And guess what? We won’t flip out on you and text you non-stop! Choose better women and you will deal with better rejections. And guess what? Maybe you can even stay friends. Basically what I’m saying is that even in situations where I’ve had to reject a guy who I could tell was really liking me and who I had no real reason not to like except a lack of “chemistry,” I do it and I’m honest and I don’t beat around the bush. What I’ve learned to do to make this easier is make sure my body language on the date matches how I’m feeling. There have been times I’ve given someone a goodnight kiss when I knew I didn’t want to go out again, but I will not do that anymore! In coming out of my comfort zone, I’ve learned it’s okay to know what I do and do not want, and if people get pissed at you for you making it clear – well, that’s on them. All I can worry about is being honest about how I feel. Speaking my truth, right Jen?

So… Thank you men of OkCupid. Thank you for the drinks, the dinners, the stories, the great (and not-so-great) hook ups, the late night conversations, the texts you sent too often, the days at Disney, the games of pool, the karaoke singing, and so much more. Thank you for teaching me so much about myself. You have made my last year more memorable and don’t you worry your pretty little faces, I’ll probably be back. Or on the other hand, don’t worry, if you pop in my Quiver or suggested matches, I’ll click right past you. Maybe even hide you or block you! Whenever the day comes I find myself back in the crazy world that is online dating, know the girl behind the screen won’t be the same as the one who signed up last year because my comfort zone is getting nothing but further away!

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