Online dating is the worst

I’ve recently gotten back into online dating. That is to say, I’m telling people I’m going to put more effort into online dating but in actuality I will probably put no effort into it at all because the process of sifting through profiles makes me want to rip my hair out. But at the very least, I’ve looked at a lot more profiles in the last 2 weeks or so than I did previously. Baby steps.

I’m shocked that anyone manages to meet on the internet or through apps, because most of the ways in which men choose to portray themselves are flat out awful. Either that or I’m being unfair, which is totally possible. Here are a few things I would like to never read in a dating profile ever again (though my hopes aren’t very high).

A list of countries you’ve traveled to. Traveling is a very trendy hobby, apparently, but I absolutely do not give even the teeniest tiniest bit of a crap and I’m definitely not impressed.

Overemphasis on how close you are with your mother. I know, moms are the best. I love mine and I hope you love yours too. But there’s a line as to how involved your mom should be in your life. Don’t cross it.

Pictures of your abs. I guess there are girls who are into this? I love a nice set of abs but unless your abs can also talk to me, I’d rather just see a picture of your face.

– “Sometimes I like to go out and sometimes I like to stay in.” This describes literally everyone except recluses. Of all the generic things you could say, this tops the list.

And so on and so forth. I was going to make this list longer but thinking about it makes me angry. To all of you who have ever met someone cool and normal on the internet, I envy and applaud you.

Photo via

the friendship challenge.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing something wrong.

I’d say it started a couple of weeks ago, but really it started many moons ago. I had a friend, and then we weren’t friends anymore. Life went on like that every few years. Sometimes more frequently. I’d call someone the best. Then suddenly, they were the worst.

Last night, on the way to meet some friends for barbeque, I said to my boyfriend, “I wonder sometimes if this doesn’t happen to other people like it does to me.”

We started comparing each other. “It’s different for guys, Kristin. I don’t talk to friends from college and friends from high school like you do.”

Over a year ago I made the hard and fast (and right) decision to end a friendship. It was a big deal to me, but maybe not a big deal to her. In retrospect, I should’ve done it a long time ago. I know it might sound crazy — but the time we invest in friendships can sometimes be an exhausting one.

And in the end, it makes me sad. It makes me wonder if this is normal, or if this is just my life. I invest a lot and then a friend fails or disappoints me or isn’t right up there in the friend category that I thought they would be.

It makes me wonder if something is wrong with me. If I’m doing it wrong.

I look at my boyfriend as we talked about this and wondered if all relationships would be this hard if most friendships seemed to be.

If friendships are cyclical like that, will my dating life be the same? Because I haven’t quite gotten into a pattern like that. At least not yet. I had friendships last years and turn at the drop of a hat, seemingly. Then when I looked back on them I seemed to see the faults all along the way. Just like one does at the end of a romantic relationships.

I wonder, sometimes, if I’m just plain doing it wrong.

I have friends that never seem to have this kind of drama in their lives. I have friends that never seem upset our wounded by another, who never have harsh words with someone they would call a “friend.” Who never seem to go through this turn of events that I do with other people.

Maybe I am doing it wrong.

Love is a fucking trainwreck.

“Do you love him?”

“I don’t know. Not yet. But maybe I will?”

“What do you mean, you will?”

“I mean, maybe I’ll grow into it. Maybe it will happen eventually.”

He paused for a second before asking, “When you last fell in love, did it just happen eventually? Did it start out casually and then eventually, gradually, grow into that all-consuming, can’t-think-about-anything-else love?”

“No,” she replied. “It was the complete opposite. I couldn’t stop it if I tried.”

“Right,” he said.

“Because falling in love is a fucking train wreck. It’s happening, whether you want it or not, whether you like it or not, and whether or not you’re afraid of anything. When you fall in love, you don’t try to convince yourself that maybe you will someday love this person. You try to convince yourself not to. And fail miserably.”

prelude to a kiss

He watched me writing in my notebook, tapping the end of the pen against my lips, stopping to sip my coffee. Just when I thought he wasn’t going to approach me, he did.

“Can I sit here?” His hazel eyes sparkled, he already knew the answer.

“Sure.” I smiled as he sat down across from me.

“Do you have any idea how beautiful you are? That sounds trite, but I’m actually curious: do you?” He actually seemed curious.

“Yes, I have some idea, but I welcome reminders from handsome men. Thank you.” I surprised him. He expected a blush, a giggle, a protest.

“Can I ask what you’re writing?”

“I’m making notes for a book I’m working on.”

“You’re a writer?” He raised his eyebrows, as if I had admitted to being a stripper.

“Yes, I think so.” I grinned, because I love answering that question.

“Very interesting. Can I take you to dinner sometime?” He thought he knew the answer, that’s why he asked the question.

“I’m afraid not, but thank you for the offer.” A polite smile to soften the blow.

“Why not? Do you have a boyfriend?”

“No, I’m not seeing anyone.”

“So you just don’t want to go to dinner with me?” One raised eyebrow. He knows he’s a breath from being an asshole.

“Oh, I would. I would love to get dolled up and have an adult conversation over a decent meal with you. That’s why it’s not a good idea.”

He rubbed his chin, genuinely confused.

“Okay, why? What’s the worst that could happen? I might try to sneak a kiss? Stick you with the bill? What are you afraid of?”

I looked at him very carefully.

“The worst that could happen, do you really want me to tell you? You’re asking me to have this conversation with you? You want to hear it?”

“Hell yes, I want to have this conversation. I want the writer to tell me what’s the worst that could come from having dinner with me. Shoot.”

He bowed up just a little, resting his folded hands on the table, leaning in as if I were about to give him stock tips.

“It starts with dinner, you’re handsome, obviously confident, probably intelligent, we enjoy each other’s company, you kiss me goodnight, and that’s where it starts. Right now, in this moment, I’m beautiful. I’m intelligent. I’m whole and rational and sane. I’m invisible. When I wake up tomorrow, there will be no messages waiting for me. I’ll have a good day, or maybe I’ll have a bad day. No one will notice. No one will care. The sun will set. I’ll make a pot of coffee and write until I’m sleepy. I won’t remember my dreams when I wake up. Rinse and repeat, that’s my life. It’s a nice life. But if you kiss me, I can kiss all of it goodbye. Maybe I won’t like it and I’ll have to hurt your feelings, but you asked about the worst case. I might like it. That’s the worst case. Because right now, you want me to like it. You want me to like you, and if you kiss me and I like you, then you’ll want to kiss me again. You’ll want me to like you. You’ll be sweet and charming and funny. You’ll be very attentive, very caring. You’ll tell me how beautiful my eyes are, how you love the way I laugh. I’ll have a bad day, or a problem, and you’ll want to help. I won’t want to to let you, but you’ll help, and I won’t stop you, despite my best judgement, because I like you. You’ll say you care about me. I won’t believe you. You’ll decide that you want me to believe you.  You will crave me, you will shock yourself with your own passion and desire. You’ll prove it over and over and over again, until I believe you, until I truly believe that you care about me, that you see me, that you want me. You will meet your goal. Mission accomplished.

That’s when you’ll stop caring. When I’ve just gotten started. I won’t notice right away. I’ll be busy thinking about you every time something wonderful or horrible happens, I’ll buy clothes in your favorite color without thinking about it, you’ll be the first person I want to talk to when I’m confused and frustrated. But at some point I will realize that you’re not really listening anymore when I’m frustrated. That you’ve stopped watching me walk through the room, that you’re looking at our waitress the way you used to look at me. You’ll become dismissive enough that I call you on it, and it will piss you off. That’s how I’ll know you still care at all. I won’t mean to, I won’t do it on purpose, but I will start making you angry whenever I need to know that you still care. I will accuse you of not caring, I will actually believe you don’t care anymore, until you’re angry. Then I’ll realize that you expect me to live on scraps now; you won my trust with proper treatment, but now I’m just a pretty doll that sits happily on your shelf gathering dust until you get tired of staring at the waitress’s ass. We’ll bicker all the time, I’ll stop eating and start trying to figure out what’s gone wrong, why this always happens, and how I can stop it, until I realize you don’t want to stop it. I’ll get scared and angry and tired, and I’ll say something nasty and unforgivable so you won’t be able to drag the end out until you find someone else. You’ll use that trap door to escape, by my design.

Then I’ll spend the next few months or years going over every single thing we ever said or did to each other. I will dream about you, you’ll haunt my dreams. My entire waking life will be about figuring out what’s wrong with me. It won’t occur to me that you’re incapable of honesty or intimacy, I will operate on the assumption that there’s something awful about me that men discover when I finally let them in, something that they all refuse to tell me about on their way out the door. I’ll wake up every morning expecting a message from you and knowing in the same breath it isn’t coming. I’ll be invisible again, but I won’t be used to it, so everything will hurt. Breathing, walking, reading, writing- your shadow will invade my entire life while my mind works our dead relationship like a rubix cube until I’m exhausted and I hate both of us. Then I’ll finally have gotten used to being invisible again, I’ll be back to where I am today, but I will have lost all those months, and I won’t have learned a damn thing except your favorite food, your favorite color, what it felt like to love you, to think that you might love me, and the bittersweet taste you left in my mouth when you decided to move on. That’s the worst case scenario.”

He stared hard at me for a minute. I was shocked that he’d made it this far, frankly.

He leaned in. “What if I married you?”

“I wouldn’t marry you. But if we did marry, it would just take longer for the story to play out, and when it did, you would say if you didn’t love me I wouldn’t be folding your laundry and wearing your ring. I would have to uproot my entire life to remove myself from your shelf.”

He smirked.

“Your worst case scenario, is that what happened the last time you let a man get to know you?”

I shrugged. My composure was perilous at this point.

“Can I go break his jaw?”

I laughed. “If you take a step-stool and a death wish, I’ll consider you well prepared.” Now it was me smirking at him.

“Do you like being invisible?” Again, he was genuinely curious.

“I like the congruence. I like knowing that I’m invisible. Every time I get close to actually enjoying it, someone sees me.”

He rubbed his chin and I could hear his five o’clock shadow bristling under his palm.

“I see. You’re a great writer, and you were half right at least.”

He stood up and a wave of relief rushed over me. I resisted the urge to unfurl my limbs.

“It was nice to meet you. Good luck with your book.”

I grinned.

“It was nice to meet you too. Thank you for an interesting conversation.”

He took two steps, leaned in and kissed me. One minute I was watching him square his shoulders, and then the tip of his nose brushed the tip of my nose and his lips landed on mine with conviction and tenderness, his jaw opening slightly and setting firmly as I tilted my head up. By the time I realized I was kissing him back he was walking towards the door in an easy stride, out into the street, out of sight, not looking back. I licked my lips and picked up my coffee.

His card sat on the cover of my notebook.

My Heart Belongs Nowhere and Everywhere

I’m preparing to go on vacation and see my extended family for 10 days, no small feat considering the flight costs four figures and it takes ~20 hours for me to fly there. I can’t put into words how much I look forward to seeing all of my relatives and to soak in all of the sights and sounds and smells of the city of my birth, the city half of my roots come from. Opportunities for me to go back to visit happen all too rarely and this one, this chance visit, is some I’m still pinching myself to ensure that no, it isn’t a dream that I’ve managed to work out this unexpected trip home.

But still, even though I’ll only be gone for 10 days, I’ll miss the life I’m living on my side of the world. One would think that because I’ve traveled so much and moved around the world as a child that I’d be used to the hellos and goodbyes, the comings and goings that are so transient in a traveler’s life. But it doesn’t get any easier when it comes to family or sentiment or friends or longing. It doesn’t have to be a place I’ve considered home, even. It can be a country I’ve traveled extensively or a city that captured my heart.

One thing I’ve learned in all of my moves and travels is that the more of the world I see, the more of the world my heart belongs to. I can never delete or subtract, I can only add to the many places that lay claim to it. It gets harder, too, the older I get because then I meet people who I fall in love with, too. It’s starting to become not just about the places anymore, and I’m not sure how I feel about that because it leaves me mixed up and confused. And so I accept the fact that for now, my heart belongs nowhere and everywhere, and I’m happy with that because some day, it’ll have to belong to someone, and then who knows what, if anything, will change?

(Photo credit.)