This is it. I am dropping the gavel on this one. There is absolutely no way to come off normal online.
“Hey, what’s up?” becomes “I’m desperate for sex. The kinky, scary kind with whips and rubber bands and stuff.”
“I see on your profile that you like books” becomes “I’ve already found you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and I've sculpted a bust of you out of chewed bubble gum.”
“Do you want to hang out some time?” translates to “I’m so needy Sarah McLachlan is doing a commercial for my benefit.”
Friends come easily when they’re forced on us. At work, at school, trapped at the airport because your flight got cancelled… It seems then like a normal practice: to befriend someone who is suffering the same way you are. There’s no explanation needed for seeking out companionship in those situations.
But what about companionship in general? What about online dating? Why does it feel like you need an explanation for that? When the outside influencers are removed, what’s left for conversation?
What’s left is your hobbies, your pets, your personality, your SOUL. In the off chance that you’re not ankle-chained to a fellow POW, you have to depend on something other than your mutual suffering to keep the conversation afloat. It’s no small task, believe me. The things you’ve loved suddenly make you feel like a caricature. I like crafts, so now I’m coming off as creepy cat craft lady. Liking football makes you a meathead jerk. Proclaiming your passion for food makes you a closeted fatty hipster.
It’s in human nature to seek out categories for humans. It makes them easier to process—less of a threat—if we can somehow foresee the qualities they posses. It’s a move in self-preservation; filling in the gaps gives you the upper hand.
The problem with that though, is no one fits the bill perfectly. You’re always in for a surprise when it comes to strangers. And although that’s terrifying, that’s also what makes them great. Of course yes, some people really are looking for kinky rubber band sex, but isn’t the point of online dating to find someone who likes those things too—or at the very least—doesn’t care that what you like is totally weird?
It feels like digging my own grave to keep my eccentricities hidden… they’re bound to rear their gnarly little heads at some point. It sounds colloquial but it really does come down to just “being yourself”. You suppress yourself, you suppress your potential relationship. So instead of filling the gaps, leave them open for interpretation. Fissures are the fine wine of life. Sip from them like an olive-wreathed epicure, you slimy bastard. And learn to enjoy what makes other people a creep just like you.