Writing is the most fun you can have by yourself, states Terry Pratchett. Which is definitely true, if you don’t mind the fact that you are by yourself. And even when you’re not, you are now a little strange. One solution to this problem seems obvious: internet dating. I have a computer and can write, so why not?
On telling a group of friends of my brave step, they immediately said I should write about it. Other people would love to read about that. And while I thought the idea of writing about the men as quite amusing, the idea of including myself in there did seem a bit … personal.
As I started to write I found I was incredibly uncomfortable, umming and ahhing about how to approach it. Even just admitting I had signed up was difficult. ‘But everyone does it.’ You say. It’s completely accepted. And I agree. Even my grandmother seems somewhat okay with the idea (as long as I make sure they are not serial killers first). But we all know that the real reason everyone loves reading and listening about it. We all love hearing about other people’s failures and secrets.
To write that I have gone online to look for love, I am saying to the world at large that I am desperate. Because you all must realize that while I say I spend a lot of time by myself, I’m not a total recluse. I still go to church, the gym, supermarkets, work, shopping, etc. There must be some men in all of those places. If I’m looking online, what happened with all these men, huh?
To sign up to internet dating is to say to the world ‘all men that actually know me have rejected me and I’m not really okay with that.’ This is of course self-pitying, as I have obviously rejected a few of them in return. Regardless of this fact, it is still hard to say out loud. Which is strange. As a writer, you would think I would be used to laying myself bare in my own work. But this is different.
The difference is because I can’t make up the other bits, or the happy ending. I could use humor and self-deprecation to protect myself. However, I feel as a writer I have an obligation to speak of the emotions everyone wants to hear about but are too scared to ask for. Most people in some way are lonely and scared that they are the only ones that feel this way. As a writer, I think I should show myself, say to people ‘see, see these wounds and hurts? You are not the only one, you are not strange. The rest of the world does not have it all together.’
Yes, it would be easy enough to do this in a funny and arrogant way, to sound as if I didn’t care. I could shrug off your stare, because I’m not actually hurt or humiliated by these wounds. However, in doing that, I’m still saying that if you feel pain you are not like me and you are by yourself again. Alone. Weird.
To be a truthful, useful writer and a woman is harder than I thought. I must be prepared to admit pain in order that others may know they are not alone. And so I hereby fulfill my obligation.
I have joined the online market. I have met some great men, and some slightly more damaged ones, and some of them even think I’m great. But that’s because they can’t see how scared I am underneath. But you can.