First things first. I've learned two lessons in the past couple weeks. First, the more you ignore online dating, the more the messages come a flowin'. Seriously I put in some good effort and time those first couple weeks. Doing my research, crafting messages, etc. Now that I've been avoiding it like the plague, messages just keep on coming. So there's that. Perhaps there's some validity to the whole, "happens when you're not looking" thing.
Secondly, I can be picky. Picky is probably not a word many people would use to describe me when it came to dating. I blame my mom, she can see the good in anyone and has the kindest heart when it comes to finding the positive qualities in another person. Once, in high school, when this one boy liked me, and subsequently went to jail for slinging weed at his job, she was all, "but he's such a nice boy, he was probably just bored" (or something along those lines). My dad uses the "Good Neighbor Test" when he meets someone and decides their quality of character based on whether or not he's like to be their neighbor. I think I take more after my mother. I'm being picky this time. It does not make me a bitch, it makes me someone creating new standards of what she expects and deserves out of a partner. Again, I'm using a 5 strike system, so I'm still somewhat forgiving and not entirely judgmental. Just sayin'. I'm also much more comfortable with the idea that I very well could be "striking" with the men I reach out to. Maybe they've got their own list of things they can't stand. And I'm perfectly fine with that. No one should be settling here.
Okay, here we go.
- Don't give it all up in the first message. Look, I get it. You don't want to e-mail for months before we finally exchange numbers and chat it up on the phone. Maybe in about a year we can finally meet in person? But to the same extent, I don't need an invitation to dinner or your phone number in the first message. It makes me feel awkward and pressure to accept / use it. At least wait until message #2 when we've had time to decide if those are things we'd want from each other.
- The 5 B's. Anyone former sorority girl learned this lesson annually during recruitment. You might not have called it that, but you were told the certain topics that were "taboo" for early communication. Boys, booze, bank, Bush (at the time, though now it's Barack, conveniently), Bible. Now, the whole "boys" one is tough because you're online dating to FIND a boy. So we'll ignore that one. But the rest? Pretty safe assumptions. For instance, don't tell me in message #1, "My job is okay, but the pay sucks." Man, I can't wait to see where date #1 will take place. Conversely, bragging about how much money you have is actually also a bit of a turnoff. Oh, and it would probably behoove you not to mention drinking a shit ton in early communication. Again, just sayin'.
Over the weekend a boyfriend's friend said (after me sharing some stories of potential "matches"), "I just think you're being too picky." It's still stuck in my head. A part of me is like,"Hell yeah I am, it's about damn time!" and the other part of me, the psychological "need-to-analyze-the-shit-out-of-things" part of me, is like, "Why do you think that is, Angie?" Well I think it is what it is. I think I've been burned in the past. I think I'm doing more proactively to ensure it doesn't happen again. I'm careful with my heart and who I let play with it. I'm picky because I can be. I'm not in a rush to get married or have babies, though I absolutely want both of those things. I came dangerously close to having those things with the wrong man and I refuse to let that happen again. If that makes me picky, so be it. You know what? If refusing to settle and using standards that are logical and rational makes me a bitch? I'll take it. I don't plan on doing this whole "long-term dating, let's get married, no wait..scratch that" thing again. So the next one? Is going to be a damn prize.