As a single gal, I have participated in what has been known as “online dating“. Fun stuff, right! I’ve tried them all: eHarmony, Match, okCupid, Plenty of Fish, How About We, and most recently, Tinder. Do I ever go out with anyone? No. Do I ever wink, nudge, flirt with anyone? Sure, sometimes. But for the most part I am indifferent. I really don’t think I am ready for dating. Or maybe I was ready about a year ago and now that I’ve surpassed the 2 year mark, I’ve become comfortable being single. There’s an ease to being single. I don’t have to think about anyone else. I don’t have to ask or seek confirmation before making plans. If I get a last minute text to do something or go somewhere, I just go. It’s pretty freaking awesome. But, I do miss the companionship. Sometimes.
About two years ago I was working at a non profit in Baltimore city and I had just stopped seeing a guy. We were still friends, but we no longer talked online during the workday. I understood why he didn’t want to do it anymore, but I was left trying to fill a void that was not being filled with work. My job was severely boring and just lacking in daily tasks and responsibilities. I had to find something to do that would occupy my mind while my body became petrified in my cubicle. So, I decided to venture onto Craigslist and post an ad in the Strictly Platonic section. I crafted a funny, witty ad that described myself and my job and what I was looking for out of this adventure. I repeated that I was not interested in sex and that I was not interested in sex. However, even the best laid plans….blah blah blah. I genuinely wanted to find someone I could have a few good conversations with. I wasn’t interested in exchanging photos (I stated that in my ad) and I wasn’t interested in meeting up right away. I did hint at the possibility of maybe going to a happy hour at some point way, way, way down the road. I hit send and I held my breath, waiting for a response. What happened?
I have never seen so many pictures of shirtless guys.
I was not impressed. Why so many bathroom photos? I mean, really? Besides not even being able to follow simple instructions, I was irritated that instead of wanting to engage in witty banter, they only wanted to know what I was wearing and why I hadn’t sent them a picture of me as well. Sigh
There were a few outliers that made my day- and inbox. I wish I had saved some of them and the ad to look back on when I’m elderly and trying to remember the good old days. I got the chance to be completely me without worrying about anything. I was able to be funny and smart and not really care if I said the wrong thing. I had weeks of great email exchanges with a varied selection of professional guys with interesting jobs. My favorites always opened with a compliment: Your ad was hilarious! Yep, that will do it. That will definitely make me change my email spam filters. I talked with a great guy from New York who worked as a graphic designer and sent me a picture of the rainy day view from his office window. He was a long time Craigslist peruser. When I asked him why he decided to check out Baltimore, he replied that a lot of the ads he responded to in New York turned out to thinly guised ads for soliciting sex. What is it about Strictly Platonic that people don’t understand? We exchanged a decent amount of emails and let it slowly fade away. I spoke to a number of other interesting dudes who shared great bands to check out, movies to see, and happy hour bars to try. All in all, it was a great experiment. And I learned something about myself. I learned that I can be me and not worry about what he thinks- whoever he happens to be at the time. I learned that there are plenty of great guys who will not send me photos of themselves, topless, posing in front of the bathroom mirror. I also learned that Craigslist’s Strictly Platonic message board means the exact opposite of platonic and people will proposition you for sex. Often. But, most importantly, I learned that I don’t need to force something to happen. Whenever the guy I’m supposed to meet is ready to show his face (no pressure), then we’ll randomly run into each other in the Whole Foods baked goods aisle. It’ll be lust at first reach for the dark chocolate walnut cookies. Browsing through Tinder can be a fun time killer, but I’ll probably delete the app after a few more days. I am still indifferent and I am honestly not planning to stay in the Baltimore area past this year, so why even bother? Now, what I will do is head over to Whole Foods, because now all I can think about are cookies.