App-rehensive dating

by Annie Beltran

During winter break I decided I had the time to reenter the dating realm. Why not? I didn’t have any pressing homework and I wouldn’t be pushing aside any sort of needed study time.

So as advised by many friends, as well as recent statistics that claim three out of five gay couples meet online, I ventured into a new version of online dating. I want to emphasize the “new version,” because as the Internet is ever-progressing, so is online dating.

We all know there’s an app for everything. I’m quickly discovering that dating apps have no limitations. Partnerless individuals can find an app for dinner dates, movie dates or other romantic encounters with absolutely no prior dates. To each their own, but I’m just looking to meet people outside of the classic bar scene in Hillcrest.

Suddenly, I was attacked by my personal skepticism. I’ve often heard of the amount of mentally unstable people one must encounter before actually meeting a person worth going on a second or third date with. There’s also the fear of meeting a cannibalistic, voodoo-practicing cheapskate who doesn’t tip waitresses or wouldn’t be able to hold a decent dinner conversation. Because of this fear, I decided to withhold my online dating endeavor from my often worrisome mother.

After overcoming my own anxiety, I completed step one—downloading an app. As I began entering my email address and physical attributes into my profile, I prepped myself for several rounds of crazies and some good old-fashioned disappointment.

The dating app I chose required a profile picture and a username. My initial instinct, which I thought was standard for people to get to know me, was to use my actual name as the username. However, I quickly became aware that I’m the only person online who thinks of my real name as a proper first introduction. If I could redo my username, I would replace my boring first name with one of these names: Dr.SpockEnthusiast, CheckersChamp, or whatever I think is the most catching for possible suitors, such as StillListeningtoTLCFanMailAlbum.

For the profile picture I asked my roommates to help choose a selfie that would effectively exhibit my all-around good looks. Since we live in a democratic household, my roommate T-Bone, the cat and the hamster all had equal vote on which one of my Facebook pictures would display my, “Hi, I’m not crazy, and if we date, you shouldn’t be either” persona.

Step three of this process was a personal summary. Now, I’ve written several resumes, cover letters and created a LinkedIn profile, yet my professional summary didn’t seem to create the appeal possible suitors may be looking for from me.

I started with a little white lie about my short stature by giving myself an extra inch of height. I’ve been short for 25 years—I started life as a short, 4-pound baby. I almost crashed a marketing class once, so as a branding expert, I decided 5 feet offered more amorous appeal than my actual height of 4 feet 11 inches. Everything else on the summary was the truth and nothing but the truth, I swear before this very The Aztec back page.

The dating app uses questions to help users find matches. These questions range from endearing to completely inappropriate. Of course, for more reasons than fear of a future professional colleague finding my online dating profile, I skipped anything I didn’t want Jesus or my parents to find out.

Such a process, and I hadn’t even taken a stab at talking to people online yet.

This is what the entire process is for, right? I want to meet new people outside of an exhausting late night bar scene filled with cross-eyed after-hours humor. But the messages from potential dates started flowing in. When other users find me attractive they send me a direct message or a “wink.”

This was almost like real life, except when I started communicating via email with other single women, I questioned whether they were real because there was no voice or actual person in front of me.

Of course, I wondered if upon meeting a person from the dating app, would she be the person she represented online? What do I do if she’s not? What if she realized I lied about my height too? What if she sees me for our introductory date and realizes that she misinterpreted everything I had written about myself? What if I’m her version of voodoo-crazy disappointment?

At the moment of writing this column, I‘ve yet to go on a date. Since I’m new to online dating, I’m realizing that I’m missing the link to meet a person outside of the Internet. Big Head, my friend named for the amount of melon he carries atop his shoulders, said I’m being too forward. I’m still confused about how my asking a girl for a date on a dating website has become too forward.

Nevertheless, I shall continue. Readers should plan on reading about my encounters via the online dating realm.