Her Story: I Met My Boyfriend Online

My roommate Erika first introduced me to the world of online dating my freshman year of college in an effort to expand her (limited) opportunities at our small liberal arts school in Boston. Our school was nearly eighty percent girls and the few boys who did go there tended to be gay, musical theater majors, or a combination of the two. The occasional straight guy would turn up on campus and be immediately snatched up by one (or more) of the ten lonely girls that had managed to spot him. This left the other approximately sixty percent of us to hike out to Boston University in the hopes that a more even ratio would give us better odds of finding an interesting, cute, smart guy who happened to also be single.

I could understand Erika’s frustration, so I wasn’t too surprised when she sat down and took advantage of Match.com’s three-day trial. Erika always had a plan, so when she sat down that first day she decided to “wink” (think of it as a creepier Facebook poke) at as many interesting, cute, smart guys as possible, give them her email address, and just narrow down from there. In return, she got a few fun dates and the boost of confidence she needed to invest in a real relationship.

So, two summers later—when I had lost my freshman-fifteen, gone through a tortuous eight month cycle of Accutane, and experienced a life-changing road trip with my best friend—it felt like the right time to try it for myself. Though none of my friends had experienced long-term success, I knew that I wanted to widen my opportunities and throw myself back into the dating world. I mean, of course I was a little scared—it had been two years since I had even dated anyone—but I knew that if I was going to be happy I had to get out of this rut. The next day I went on OKCupid (more college students and fewer divorcees) and made a profile. I filled it with flattering, but accurate photos of myself, inside jokes from my favorite movies, a self summary about my major, my love for reading on the couch, and my desire to be more outdoorsy. In all honesty, the response was amazing. I’ve never had such an ego and self-esteem boost in my life. Suddenly, guys were actually pursuing me—something that had never happened to me before. It only took me a week, though, to figure out that all the “hey, baby, you’re cute, wanna meet up tonight” messages weren’t really any indication of real interest. They didn’t prove that I had grown as a person, or become more attractive—instead, I had just opened myself up to a wider, more eager pool of people, assessing me by strategically taken pictures and bullet points. I spent the entire first month just weeding through the ones that were boring, crazy, or just looking for a hook up. It’s amazing what people will say when they have the anonymity of a computer screen between them. One of the first messages I received was from a “professor” who wanted a young “playmate” on the weekends. Another message was a “rich, young, and attractive guy seeking a platonic friend” to take shopping and out to dinner and even pay for my dates with other guys. In exchange, he just wanted to be yelled at, in a strictly nonsexual way.

After that month-long process of elimination, I was so sick of waiting and messaging for days and days only to find that I just didn’t like someone’s personality. So I finally gave in and accepted JKritz245’s invitation to dinner. It was a perfectly casual, “I’m free tonight, so let’s meet up” and at that moment that was all that I wanted. So we met at a Thai restaurant halfway between my house and his. I spotted him sitting on the bench in front of the restaurant, wearing casually cuffed jeans and a salmon colored polo that looked anything but feminine on him. He was shorter than I thought he would be, barely taller than myself, but there was something undeniably attractive about him. He greeted me with a hug and a kiss on the cheek and all the nerves I had been feeling disappeared with the reality that this was finally, actually happening. The restaurant was BYOB, and we drank Harpoon, summarizing our childhoods and our lives up until now. You’d think that after devouring each other’s online profiles, the most abbreviated and summarized pictures of ourselves, that we’d spend more time on the little things, the details, but we didn’t. After dinner we walked around the neighborhood, past the cute shops and restaurants and down the dimly lit residential streets until we somehow ended up in front of my apartment. I’m sure you can picture where it went from there, and as we sank into my couch I realized how good it felt to be wanted, after two years of getting over my broken heart, after two years of rebuilding and finding self-esteem, after two years of not being kissed or held. In the end JKritz245 was not my perfect match, our chemistry born out of convenience. We were perfect for a night, a night we were both free and wanted some company. I didn’t hear from him again after that night, but I got exactly what I wanted: an introduction, a great beginning.

The next day I met BrandonQ12 for lunch at Quality Indian right across from the Charles River. After the night before, I was filled with anticipation. But I knew as soon as I saw him sitting on the bench outside in a bright red polo and khaki shorts that this would be a short date. He looked nothing like his pictures, and in retrospect I realize why the few he did have were so distant. That could have easily been overlooked—I’m not shallow, and I could get past his deceiving profile, but there was just something about the way he carried himself, as if he was disinterested in any conversation that wasn’t completely centered around him and his accomplishments. We picked up our Indian food and sat by the river, awkwardly talking about our travels. Every time I told him a story, he had to one-up me with something more exciting: I drove cross-country, he spent a year in Australia, I went camping with my parents, he goes rock-climbing every weekend. The food hadn’t even gotten cold when I made my excuse to leave, jumping to pay for my half of the bill. Not catching the hint, he walked the fifteen minutes back to the subway with me, where we hugged (with as little physical contact as possible) and parted. I deleted his number five minutes later—this was going nowhere.