A Gen X'er Tells It Like It Is: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

author/source: Katy Kostakis

Generation X is the moniker applied to those born after the Baby Boomers

and preceding the Millennials. This series features the musings

of a proud member of this generation.

Katy-Kostikas-Looking-For-LovePart Four: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Have you ever noticed that all those ads for dating sites have taken over the airwaves?  They are geared towards every demographic you could possibly think of. Farmers Only targets people in rural areas, eHarmony uses data from a questionnaire to predict compatibility, and OurTime specifically caters to those over 50.  What they all have in common is that they basically tell single people: you need to get a mate, STAT! We can help!  

From its inception, online dating has gotten its share of opposition and a bad rap. You don’t know what kind of person you are speaking to. They could be dangerous, a pathological liar, trying to scam you, or they’re married with fourteen kids and three lovers on the side. My favorite is when people claim no normal people have to use the computer to meet someone.  Guess what? It’s now become the new normal for many in our increasingly technology-dependent world. According to Amber Brooks’ article for datingadvice.com, “21 Amazing Online Statistics-The Good, Bad & Weird”, 49 million people have tried online dating. To me, that number doesn’t look to be decreasing. When you have a busy lifestyle, with constant travel and heavy work responsibilities, this could be your only avenue. Maybe you don’t have a strong circle of friends that can make introductions for you. Maybe you’re new in town or you’re interested in gaming and World War II reenactments and want to find like-minded people. Those are all reasons why many have turned to dating sites: to meet those that you otherwise wouldn’t in a traditional setting. Although you hear hundreds of horror stories involving online dating (some with tragic results), you can bet that at least one person you know has dipped their toe into the pool and either ended up with a long-term relationship or marriage or tried it and either struck out or just plain hated it.  Including yours truly.

My last stint was this past year. I again registered with a much-publicized site that most people regard as a decent one, one where they say you were more inclined to find a relationship rather than just a hookup. I threw myself into the fire once again, still adhering to certain rules for my own piece of mind.

One hard and fast one that I’ve abided by is that I never reveal particularly personal information through online dating texting.  If I want to get to know you, we stay on neutral subjects until there is a natural and mutual desire to continue. Yes, catfishing is part of this new reality and that’s all the more reason to be cautious.

Online-DatingI have attempted online dating multiple times, and I can honestly say now that I truly dislike it. I can’t be the only one, either. The experiences I have had have soured me on the whole concept, even though I have tried my very best to keep an open mind and hope for the best. Yet, the little voice in the back of my head kept going off. It could have been apprehension, suspicion, or a plain old b.s. detector, that gut instinct just couldn’t be ignored. I messaged with quite a number of men this time around, and it seemed there were way too many issues or oddities that I couldn’t believe were even possible. Surprise, friends! They were!

Damon the Divorcé’s profile said he was in his mid-forties, with a young son, and (duh) was going through a divorce. Now, I have no problem dating divorced men with children, but as the conversation progressed, it was revealed that it wasn’t finalized yet. DING DING DING. There go those bells again!  We both agreed that there wasn’t any rush, and we would go slowly. It was a cool conversation for a while, but there were a number of differences in likes and I wasn’t really intellectually stimulated (which is huge for me!). Also, I would get quite a number of compliments. Don’t get me wrong, I love compliments as much as the next person, but only if they come from a place of sincerity and are genuine. However, if you haven’t met me and we’re only talking on online text, I’m going to take compliments with a grain of salt.  I just thought he was laying it on a little thick and I got suspicious. I was just done with it. Yeah, it was time to send him into oblivion and I did, with my best wishes.

LESSONS LEARNED: A lot of compliments without actually meeting face to face are just plain weird. If we don’t have too many common interests, I’m going to get bored very quickly. Also, if you claim on your dating profile that you are divorced, please be officially divorced or close to it.

Everyone has a list of dealbreakers, certain things that will absolutely be a factor in whether you want to pursue a relationship or cut them off at the pass.  This could run from religion to marital status to children to where to live.  One of my personal dealbreakers is anyone who uses drugs. Smokey claimed he didn’t want children, and while I want them, it’s not make or break. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Again, it’s not high on my list. We continued chatting, with the conversations leading to music and other artsy things. Eventually, an innocuous comment from me about smoking jackets and his subsequent response about him lighting up a pipe (but doesn’t use tobacco) led me to a very important question, with an answer given that sent him into the No pile. He dabbled in recreational marijuana use. After I put the kibosh on any further talks with a polite goodbye stating that that was a major dealbreaker for me, I somewhat expected a better return. I didn’t get one.

Katy-KoostakisLESSONS LEARNED: If something is on your list of dealbreakers, don’t hope or expect that they will change for you. Chances are, they won’t. It is what it is. You probably wouldn’t budge on your own list, correct? If they can’t be bothered to give you anything besides a one word, two-syllable sentence after you cordially wish them well, were you really missing anything?  

The crème de la crème was someone I’ll call the Drama King. After only a couple of weeks of online texting, Drama asked me a personal question. He flat out asked me what had traumatized me. While I tried to be honest and mentioned that I don’t rush into anything (which is absolutely true), that’s when it got a little ugly. After a bit of back and forth, he accused me of not being open, not wanting to share anything, and claimed that for all he knew, I could very well be a man. After only a couple of weeks of chatting on a dating site, he attempted to shame me. I simply said what I usually say: that it will take some time, I am the type to take things slowly, I wasn’t a man, etc. His response was that he wasn’t willing to carry on any longer, that I was taking too long, and then dismissed me with a good luck.  I happily went on my way, mentally telling him off. I sent a text to a friend of time sharing this tale, where I didn’t complain about what was wrong with me, but what was wrong with him!  Drama King, I don’t know you from a hole in the wall. I’ve never met you. You don’t know me and I don’t know you. I don’t owe you any kind of explanation, and I sure as hell am not going to pour out my heart and soul to you, a perfect stranger. Especially after dating site texting for only a couple of weeks.

LESSONS LEARNED (and this one is a doozy!): If someone is behaving in a way that is unacceptable and asks questions or gives comments that make you uncomfortable or angry, whether online or in real life, it’s time to go!  It is a given that no one is going to share extremely personal information or painful emotional experiences with someone immediately. If someone’s been operating that way, they’re in for a lifetime of disappointment and I would not be surprised if someone doesn’t take kindly to it.  In retrospect, what I should have done is specified that that line of questioning was inappropriate and unwelcomed. I should have sent him off into the sunset, rather than let him continue with his inquisition and accusations. He beat me to it, and I am glad!

The bottom line is no more online dating for me. This has proved to be just too taxing on my soul and brain. I have an old soul, so I’m staying old school. I will gladly go to singles bars, museums, cultural and networking events. People have even had random encounters at the supermarket or coffee shop!  I just think I was not meant to find a man through that medium, and I’m perfectly fine with that.  In the words sung by the incomparable Freddie Mercury, “Whatever happens, I’ll leave it all to chance. “

BIO: Katy Kostakis’ loquacious nature and lifelong love of performing led to her training for a broadcast career, yet her distinctive voice and style, with its conversational and highly descriptive tone, helped her to find her calling in written media. That love of words has produced a vast body of work, including lifestyle and entertainment articles, film reviews, columns, and commentary, and content and concepts for marketing and advertising collateral. When she isn’t working, writing, or talking everyone’s ears off, Katy enjoys ‘80s, rock, techno, and industrial music, the films of Alfred Hitchcock, art museums, Renaissance and Medieval history, Britcoms, and knows Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow will co-rule the Seven Kingdoms.. To view her work, please visit her website at katykostakis.com and follow her on Twitter: @KatyKostakis.