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You will peruse profiles and find a few women who aren’t posing in a bathroom with their stomachs exposed.
You will look for things in common in their profile (they like Scrabble too! You will send them a note, carefully crafted to show interest and attention to detail. The next one will, but she spells “you” as “u” and you will let the conversation stall.
Why do I not respond politely to every message, even the ones I’m not interested in? Once we make it out of the safe cocoon of the Internet and into the real world I’m better about aligning my actions with my values.
Why do I alternate between playing the damsel and the playing the demanding entitled a**hole? Out here, at a bar or restaurant, I work really hard to make sure that you know we are equals participating in a traditionally unequal transaction.
Sometimes I send a “thanks but no thanks” to particularly sweet messages, but usually I’m so overwhelmed by the new things to read and the new choices in front of me that I ignore those nice guys too.
Down the line, we can trade off and treat each other and enjoy the security in knowing there will be a “next time,” but for now, we both walked blindly into the same bar, so let’s walk out having equally invested in the last hour.
Maybe instead we can learn to treat each other as equal players of a very silly game that we all secretly take quite seriously. But it seems quite clear to me that we’re not there yet. I’m a feminist, sex-positive 21st century lady whose photos include me posing in a Rosie the Riveter Halloween costume.
I write about gender on the Internet for crying out loud!
I tell all my single guy friends to watch out for online dating.
It is a sad, soul-crushing place where good guys go to die a slow death by way of ignored messages and empty inboxes.
There is plenty of privilege to go around, and while I spend a lot of time thinking about the big things I’m afforded due to my lucky draw, the little things I get are worth considering too.