Recently, over a coffee catch up, the subject of online dating came up. A mate mentioned she had been on a few dates after signing up and she was having a good time. She then goes on to tell me I should set up a profile and give the online dating world a whirl. I looked at her and laughed in her face proclaiming that I would NEVER take my love lessons online.
The conversation floated around in my head for a while, and each time I remembered, it would cause me hysterical fits of laughter. A few weeks passed and much to my surprise the topic no longer sending me into a giggling frenzy.
Then one day right out of the blue, something came over me. It had NEVER come over me before. I felt pulled to explore the crae crae world of love online.
I had vowed never to do it!
Being the spiritual and sensitive being I am, I held firm beliefs that the online ‘meat market’ was most probably not for me. I had never even felt the tiny bit interested in going online to explore friendships, relationships, hook-ups, or romantic experiences of any kind! I would soon come to find out that Miss Wild Heart had other plans.
So without giving it a second thought, I signed myself up and let the swipe games begin.
At first, I was apprehensive; I didn't even use my real name. I gave a brief description along the lines of ‘Latina, looking for friendship and fun’ and included a few photos. The whole thing making me feel vulnerable and self-conscious, triggering insecurities in me I thought had been put to bed.
The initial stage of getting out there and seen in the online dating world was a bit scary. I lie, it was MEGA scary! I don’t date; I have been attached since the young age of 17! With plenty of back-to-back relationships since that time and fun in-between.
Ok, so what unfolded next was a tornado of fun along with a sobering reality check about folks operating in the ‘real’ world. One hour in after signing up, I had about five conversations going at once, my brain was short-circuiting fast, overloaded with connections. At that moment I knew that this extremely fast-paced world of swiping left and right was likely not for me.
Curiosity kept me at it though.
Within the first 24 hours, I received over 30 messages from blokes reaching out wanting to connect. To be fair, my profile did say ‘fun’, and if I am truthful, I am not currently on the market. I was only interested in meeting new faces and sharing fun times with zero attachment to what it should look like. I spoke with all different types of guys ranging from city slicker professionals looking for a wifey to country dudes seeking a connection while in town and everything in-between.
Some men were grounded, honest; level-headed decent guys with no qualms in letting me know what they wanted. A few made it clear they did not desire one-night stands or friends with benefits. Some, only interested in one-hour-stands and had no time for the ‘night’ part or the getting to you know part either for that matter. One, in particular, having no problem in articulating his need to face plant my booty, literally, on his lunch break, taking 'try before you buy' to a whole new level. Others were not either decent or indecent just looking at exploring and seeking out connections.
My first encounter came in the form of a cute older man, a smooth sweet talker, experienced in the game of love; we caught up at the markets. We talked; we shared similar views on life considering the age difference. It ended up being fleeting fun, no beds were unmade. He was guarded, had big walls up, and he was in no way ready to start bringing them down, his heart fully covered in barbwire. In my short time around him, I realised I was placed in his way as a mirror of sorts, time with him was like glaring right into my soul, highlighting some of my walls that needed wrecking. It was short lived for this reason, as I soon realised I had no time to entertain connections that felt like hard work. This experience lit the fire for the following lessons that were set to unfold through these unsuspecting Tinder candidates.
I got good at weeding out the nice ones. A shark managed to get through the net though. This marine-prey hunter came in the shape of a highly attractive hipster with musical talent. It started out fine; we were both upfront about our expectations. He was direct, I didn't mind, as I knew where I stood. The problem was, he thought it was ok to request benefits without even being friends first! ‘Where are your manners maaaaate?’ I thought to myself. He insisted on talking to me through messages, suggesting meetups but never actually committing. He was, however, very clear about what he would like to do with my booty. Again, manners, can we get to know each other first? Actually, can we at least meet once? I allowed the conversation to continue in the hopes the escape artist spunk would miraculously get a clue on how to behave. It never happened, eventually, I shut it down. Apparently, there were some serious intimacy issues there, but heck I ain’t no psychologist! Next!!!!!!
Much to my surprise, I made an unexpected connection with this next fella. We chatted a few times and even though on the surface it appeared we didn't have much in common we enjoyed each other’s energy. We arranged a catch up over a drink. He waited for me by the bar, as I walked into the room my jaw dropped to the floor as I was greeted by none other than Thor himself. Our eyes met, and it was like coming home to an old friend. We clicked straight away. I felt warmth I hadn’t felt in a long time, and we were able to speak openly with ease. This beautiful, gentle giant had no agenda. We talked about spirituality, life and love. We ended up having so much more in common than we had realised, he was sweet, honest and open-hearted. His gentle nature and manliness only amplified behind closed doors. That night hand in hand as I got lost and found in his ocean blue eyes I experienced a state of bliss that I will not be forgetting anytime soon. Thor and I are now enjoying platonic interactions with each other in the form a friendship.
Now, this next one caught me off guard. One morning while out walking I nearly tripped over my own feet when a face showed up in my feed that I recognised. ‘Wait a minute, I know you’ I exclaimed to myself. Much to my surprise, a cute guy I went to school with had shown up as a possible match. After I got over the shock, I alerted him to the fact that Lola was actually Cristina from the old school days. It was great to reconnect after almost 25 years! He was happily surprised, and I was also happy to know he was doing good at life. He briefly told me about his kids and that he was getting divorced. We chatted on and off that week and organised a catch-up, both of us curious about each other after all these years. Interestingly enough we also shared a love of writing, and I felt excited that I had possibly found someone to chat about my writing with, he was cool and appeared to have good energy. A day before the catch up I receive a blunt message, telling me he is unwell and has to cancel. I was a tad disappointed but quickly filled up my Saturday evening. Something didn't feel right though, and if there is one thing this Latina can’t stand its dishonesty. I felt like there was more to the story, I sat with it for a minute, my intuition confirmed there was. I wrote back saying that if he had got a better offer than our mate date, I wouldn't take offence, and there was no need for stories. He responded saying that he had actually reconnected with a former flame but that he was indeed ‘unwell’. Ok, well my issue is this, we are almost 35, and there are still folks out there playing games. I can see now that the intentions were not legit in the first place, had they been, a simple rescheduling of catch ups would have sufficed. But no, evidently without even knowing it, I was a definite plan B. I have not heard from them since, so I am now left believing that there was more to our catch up than I was initially aware of. Disappointing! I guess some of us never really grow up.
What I can say about this whole online dating experience is one thing, I am grateful! I am glad I did it, no regrets! I'm Thankful for the invitation to look deeper at why I was feeling uncomfortable in my skin with my fear of being 'seen'. I am grateful to my mirror for showing me I need to open up more. I am thankful for the night I spent floating around in Thor’s sea of blue. I am grateful for the sexy as hell hipster that offered to lead a diving expedition straight into my booty; he helped me become clear about not wanting meaningless physical encounters with people that lacking in connection. I am also grateful to my school buddy for helping me mark up my boundaries and become solid about what kind of friendships and love interactions I want to attract, like reliable, honest people with integrity that are willing to explore friendships even if they don't get anything more out of it. I also had cemented for me that I am a sucker for blue eyes!
I am happy to report that the dating app has been uninstalled. It was fun and also stressful while it lasted. It was a timely reminder to get back to work and time to begin love from within again. I must admit it was a nice little break from all the heavy that has been 2017. So, for now, I have put myself into online dating time-out. I am regrouping, grounding, dating myself and loving it!
I am open to discovering genuine connections with others while honouring myself in the process.
Only Love xx