“You know, someday someone is going to ask how we met, and we’re going to have to tell them ‘craigslist’”.
“At least you were looking for a roommate and not a casual encounter”.
“Right. So basically we Uhauled before we met.”
It’s ok guys, we’re still going strong.
After my last relationship, I fled to a new city. I quit my job, picked up something easy and unimportant, packed up my clothes and my cat and the dreams in my head, and moved myself into a couple’s one-bedroom basement apartment living room couch.
Over the course of several weeks, my goal was to make art, find a real place, meet cute girls, find photo work, and party all night while not giving two fucks about my dumb job. But the weird thing is this: meeting new people in such a large city is a decidedly arduous task. Everyone is wrapped up in themselves, or the friends they already have, or the glittery new career roles they’ve just stepped into, or through a combination of these things, simply don’t have time to forge new relationships. Especially Toronto – It’s the city cool kids go to get shit done.
Given that, I took to internet dating sites to check out the scene of available folks seeking other folks to hang (make) out with. Nearly instantly, I formed a powerful and unintentional bond with a 26 year old small-town Pennsylvanian woman.
It began with casual facebook messaging, escalating briskly to daily facebook messaging, to texting, to sexting, to enthusiastic and passionate phone conversations, to hopeless and sad phone conversations spilling over with heartache and longing, eventually leading into a daily routine of four to five hour Skype dates. My friends had started interacting with her, and vice versa. I met her mother through a computer screen. I avoided a real-life threesome on my birthday. We called. Each other. ‘Babe’. Over two months, my life had slowly become completely intertwined with another – an actual relationship that sucked up actual time — and we had never met before.
The only thing holding me back from visiting up until this point was my erratic work schedule and profoundly poor paycheque. She had never left America, so she didn’t even have a passport, nor the correct identification to even apply for one yet.
Now, it’s important to note the differences between online dating now, and online dating even five years ago. Five years ago, the iPhone hit the mass market. That was 2007. That’s when our culture began a downward spiral to perpetual interconnectedness and lying about your identity online was virtually impossible. Ahem, pun.
You invite someone into your facebook page? They know shit about you now. Tell them to go read your blog? Bam, they now have a username to reference, just in case you use it across a few platforms. Skype? Well that’s just you in real life, minus a screen in your way. It’s like having a girlfriend in a box. It’s like going on a coffee date for several hours per night while wishing you could just fingerbang each other under the table.
My very smart friend in Japan promised to invent a teleportation machine, but I couldn’t wait that long. We had to meet. She had a friend living in New York, so we planned for there — not that rural Pennsylvania isn’t a boisterous riot. I took a few days off of work, saved my dollars, got a cheap bus ticket, and nearly crapped my pants with excitement on a nightly basis with monogamous box girlfriend.
A month later, I boarded that bus.
The last message I received before crossing the border was this: “Bye sweetest best person in the universe all of outer space and pluto”.
Ninety six hours later, the last message I received ever was this: “Hey just want yo make sure you made it to your friends safely. Sorry, about this whole thing. But, I hope you have a safe trip”.
Here is a brief synopsis of my trip:
Arrive. Good times. Apartment to selves. Dry-humping, no sex. Sleeping. Boring tourist stuff. Make out. Observation of girly makeup application and gossip for approximately two hours. Make out. Taxi to bar. Zero interaction.
We went from sixty to zero in about ten seconds flat.
At this point, God may have existed for a tiny moment. Because one of my roommates and one of my best friends happened to be in this exact city for two very different and coincidental reasons. They showed up to the lower east side and salvaged my fun.
That night I still went home with dodgy box girlfriend. We slept on opposite couches.
I left the company of the mysterious box girl, receiving a hug and this sentence: “I don’t like relationships, and I don’t like being touched. Safe travels”. She texted once to make sure I wasn’t dead, but we never really spoke again. Six weeks later she moved to California.
I will never internet date again.
The first time I ever took my girlfriend for a date, her brother purposefully hit up all the sushi bars in town until he found us. When he and his friend showed up, they sat next to us at the sushi bar, attempted small talk, and made me teach them how to use chopsticks. They only left after I dropped the messiest. Piece of sushi, spilling the little orange fish eggs all over myself and the friend. Eight months later, my girlfriend and I are still dating and her brother is still an asshole.
Let’s go on a first date and not know what to talk about and fill uncomfortable pauses with news about the weather and sheepishly hug goodbye, promising to do it again soon but instead ignore each other’s texts for the rest of our lives.
Welcome to the wonderful world of dating.
We want to hear about (anonymously or not) your absolutely harrowing tales of meeting weirdos for the first time, disastrous chance encounters with exes, the first moment you fart in front of a partner, messy love triangles, eyebrow-raising insensitivity, cumbersome bedroom antics and/or the occasional slip-up with a happy ending.
Share anything from a single sentence, to a paragraph, to a short story. To submit an anecdote, either click here or send an email to awkward.queer.romance[at]gmail.com.