“Could you ever marry someone who isn’t a doctor?”
I get this question a lot. But not as much as I get:
“Would you ever date someone shorter than you?”
If you’re one of the people who have asked me this – no offense (I get where you’re coming from), but it’s a ridiculous, ignorant, backwards and sexist question. I can do both of those things.
What I really can’t do – is online dating.
Sure, I’ve tried Tinder and various other dating apps, and as much as I enjoy the game of putting people into arbitrary categories – I just can’t seem to get past that stage. Maybe its the fact that I hate awkward small talk, or that I rarely text my friends let alone complete strangers, or the possibility that the men I seem to be physically attracted to (at least online) tend to be inarticulate douche bags…
Don’t get me wrong, I totally get the appeal of it all and I have nothing against those who do it. I guess I’m just a little old fashioned in this one very specific area of my life (and in literally no other aspects).
I’m not the type of person who typically “pursues” someone or is “pursued.” This is probably because I tend to make friends with the guys that I like, since I actually want them to stick around (and I’m not adequate enough at the whole relationship thing yet for that to be an option). Or possibly it’s because my personality is one that kind of grows on you over time, in like a “you’ll get used to it” kind of way.
Due to this, I am typically not the girl that you meet, court and date. Instead I’m usually the girl that you are friends with for about 17 years and then one day it suddenly occurs to you that you don’t usually vomit when you look at me and sometimes I’m kinda funny… then we date (so watch out male friends of mine… one of you may get stuck with me about 15 years down the line).
I started thinking about this while I was listening to a Ted radio hour last week while I was on the treadmill. It was an episode from about a year ago and was all about love. One of the speakers discussed how she developed her own formula to use on online dating so she could find her most compatible match. She scored these men based on what they had on their profile and if they didn’t score a certain amount of points she wouldn’t talk to them. And once she started talking to someone if they didn’t reach another level of points she wouldn’t go on a date with them. According to her, this worked well and she met her husband who is perfectly compatible with her.
Her main point in all of this was that most people will be incredibly picky about all parts of their life – from the car they drive to the brand of bottled water they buy. At the same time, these people are incredibly vague on what they are looking for in a partner. And shouldn’t you put at least as much effort into deciding what kind of person you want to be with as you do on your grocery list?
I get this, I really do. Deciding who you are going to spend your life with is quite possibly the biggest decision you will ever make. So it’s probably something we should put some thought into. What makes me uncomfortable about this approach, and really the whole approach with online dating, is the removal of humanity from romance.
We have turned dating into another commodity in our consumer driven society. When you get on tinder or whatever other app you use, you aren’t seeing people, you’re seeing a product and you judge in a split second if that product is something that will satisfy you. And if it doesn’t? Oh well, there 5000 others within your 15 mile radius that just might do the trick.
We start to lose the motivation to treat people well, because we aren’t dating people – we’re dating a toy, and not a unique wonderful toy that we’ve been dreaming about all year – but an toy interchangeable with any other other toy we are confronted with online. And why would be put effort into a relationship when we can receive instant gratification with a couple swipes of our fingers and a friendly strangers compliments? We’ve reduced each other down to statistics and facts and amusement and the end result is dehumanization.
I know not everyone is like this, and if you have met the person of your dreams and it happened to be online then good for you! Thats awesome! It is entirely possible that I just attract the wrong kind of people and it has totally skewed my view on the situation (In fact I’m like 75% sure that the only people who find me attractive are assholes… just another warning to you guys out there. If you start thinking I’m cute, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your life choices haha).
Maybe I am just a closet romantic. Maybe my ideas of human interaction are archaic and impossible in this new age of technology.
I don’t have what my future husband looks like all planned out in my head. I don’t care what he does for a living or what nationality he is or if he believes exactly the same thing as I do. Of course, there are certain qualities in people I am attracted to – intelligence, being open minded, respect and kindness (not to mention giant muscles, baby blue eyes and driving a Lambo). And yes, to answer the questions I am asked so often – of course I am attracted to tall men and to men who are intelligent and have similar passions as my own (Really, you should see me internally drooling over some of the residents I work with). But my philosophy is not about meeting all the little criteria, but about having a few big things, things that I am no way, under any circumstance willing to compromise on – and the rest is just room for growth on both sides.
For example, one of my big things is what I call the “african safari test.” Basically, it just means that when I think about if I could possibly marry a specific person (this really don’t happen all the time, I’m not as desperate and pathetic as I might seem), I think about if they would be the person who would jump on a plane (or out of one) with me and go across the world for an african safari at a moments notice. This is because I value having a life full of adventure and travel, and I need someone who is going to embrace and love that side of me.
But to imagine some perfect person who meets all the requirements on some imaginary checklist? To believe that this idea is realistic, I would also have to imagine that there is someone out there for who I am the answer to their perfect checklist. I can just see it now:
- Freakishly tall
- Shoulders of a man
- Hair of a lion
- Death glare that could stop a charging rhino
Yea… Even I’m not narcissistic enough to believe that’s a thing. But could there be a guy out there who is also looking for someone to fulfill his African safari dreams? That seems a little more likely.
So, I guess those are my thoughts and a little bit of my philosophy. Although, you probably shouldn’t listen to anything I say – I have a pretty terrible track record with relationships, not to mention the fact that I spend most nights home alone with my cat.
#unqualified and in this day and age, probably #foreveralone