When you're single, there are certain things you have to put up with: judgment about being alone; assumptions about your maturity/sanity/pickiness; unfair treatment at work; crooked curtains. But most of all there are the questions from friends and family (and even new acquaintances) about your status:
Are you dating?
Why aren't you dating?
When you will start dating?
Would you like to go out with my only single friend, Joe Schmoe, who is a [insert weird job here] who lives [with his mom/60 miles away/in my garage]?
Then there's the inevitable: "why don't you try [insert online dating site here]!?! My [insert friend/relative name here] married someone [she/he] met online!"
I'm not going to say that's not true; I'm sure there are lots of people who have met someone via online dating. Just like there are lots of people who met someone in a bar, or a grocery store, or at church, or at the DMV. If you do it right and you're open to it, you can meet someone pretty much anywhere.
But that's not the point. The point is - and I do have one - is that when you are single, if you are NOT online, people think you're not trying hard enough to NOT be single, which apparently is bad. Married people want everyone to be married. Being single means you must be unhappy. (OK, I know. I already wrote about this, I won't subject you to it again).
So back to online dating. Online dating is bullshit. OK sure, I don't make much of an effort in the real world so I don't have too many choices, but going online is not a cure all for being single. In fact, I might actually call it humiliating. And exhausting. Discriminatory. Judgmental. Tedious. Horrifying...I could go on.
For instance, if I played by, let's say, Match.com's rules, this is how I would be described right on the front page of my profile:
Jen is a 42 year old white/Caucasian liberal Democrat who has never been married. She is a 5'4" tall, full-figured* atheist who drinks regularly and smokes occasionally and doesn't make a lot of money. She has no kids and doesn't want any either!
Jen sounds like a real gem, eh? Don't fight, fellas! There's enough of her to go around!
[*I had trouble deciding between "about average," "curvy," "a few extra pounds," and "full-figured." They all sound quite terrible.]
Online dating is bullshit. Either you describe yourself so vaguely you're a complete mystery - and then a real-life disappointment - or you fill out all these bullshit questions and make yourself look like a fat, heathen drunk who hates children (for example).
Do I want people to know that I don't think I want kids before they even meet me? Or that I smoke a cigarette sometimes when I'm really drunk? Or that I come with a little extra cushioning? Seems to me a dude who's trolling around on there might eliminate me based on one, if not all, of those characteristics because he thinks he knows exactly the perfect fem-bot he wants.
And I'm not claiming I wouldn't do it myself. I would. It's rigged that way. You fill out the crazy man-checklist to tell the computer what you'd like to see spit back out at you, like a real life "Weird Science" project. But turns out, you don't get the perfect man or woman out of it. You get a handful of awkward/boring dates with people who you have no chemistry with.
Could I lie in my profile? Sure. And most of the times I've been on Match or OKCupid I have lied (or lied by omission) here and there. Did it hurt anyone? No. But it was always existentially a problem for me and brings me back to my premise: online dating is bullshit.
In real life, you can charm your way past your flaws or your quirks; those characteristics that on paper may make you controversial but in real life make you unique and interesting. There's also the consideration that you are constantly evolving. Being in a relationship opens your world and your mind to new things. Is it possible you think you don't want kids but then you meet someone so great you want to procreate with them? Or that there's no way you would date a Republican but then you find one who is respectful of other people's opinions (otherwise known as a "unicorn")?
These online forms are not built to consider nuance. And attraction. And chemistry. And the power of being in love.
OK that sounded really goofy.
Let's just say that you could plug in your perfect idea of a mate into the Date-o-matic 5000 and not like what comes out. The things we like about people innately are sometimes different that what we think we like/want. Opposites attract and all that jazz. Perhaps I'll end up with a 5'5" conservative Republican from Alabama who has four kids and a cat. Who the eff knows? With online dating you are limiting yourself to ever finding out.
If I can't get my booty out there to meet 'em in person, I don't deserve to order one a la carte on the interweb. It's not natural.
So yes, I am single and no, I'm not "online." Online dating is bullshit.