If Chivalry Wasn't Dead Before, It Sure Is Now

You may have noticed it's been a long time since my last post. The short version of the story is that life has been on the quiet side lately and there hasn't been anything worth writing about.

But now that I'm back in Toronto I seem to have found the motivation to write again, and this post in particular is dedicated to my colossal failure of a romantic life. Where to even start? I guess I'll begin with the shinanigans which ultimately led to my total loss of faith in men.

You already know how unlucky I was in Europe when it came to dating. I'm sorry to say that this didn't change when I returned to North America. I had hoped that moving from my small town in BC to Toronto would make dating easier, and for a while it almost seemed to. While at a work party with my cousin in November I happened to be introduced to a friend of her boyfriend's. We got to talking and seemed to really click. Despite having ample opportunity to politely leave, we wound up chatting for most of the night. When it came time for him to go, he said goodbye to his friends and then came back to say goodbye to me.

Due to a hectic work schedule and a badly-timed sickness we didn't see each other over the next two weeks, but then we (my cousin, her boyfriend, myself, and this guy) arranged to meet up for a movie and dinner. We wound up catching a Hitchcock (North by Northwest) at the TIFF Lightbox, which was really excellent. We discovered afterwards that the cinema we were in was the one that has a seat named after me (long story), and he helped me find it and then offered to take a picture. We all went out for dinner after that, and it was really enjoyable. The conversation was great and totally effortless.

When it was time to say goodbye he asked for my number, and about twenty minutes later he texted to say that he had a great time and that he would look into a director I had mentioned so we could discuss it "next time". I took that to mean that he had enjoyed the double-date as much as I had.

That weekend I was off to New York and out of touch. Once I got back I deliberated on whether to get in touch or not, and my sister wound up convincing me that the courteous thing to do was message to say I was back in the country. So, I sent a quick message to say I was back in town.

And then I never heard from him again. Not once. Nothing.

I feel fairly justified in saying "WTF?!" By this point I have accepted that - as my sister so sensitively put it - he just wasn't into me. While this is absolutely a reality in life and I'm no stranger to it, it bothers me that my judgement was so completely off. I'm also annoyed that he asked for my number and sent a misleading text message. What's the goddamn point? It wasn't helping anyone, especially not me.

After that things stayed pretty quiet. The only other guy I was remotely interested in had struck up a relationship just prior to my arrival in Toronto. Talk about lost causes. Then it was back to BC.

The real breaking point for me came right before Valentine's Day. Two days before, to be exact. I had been invited out to dinner in the city by a guy I had met in Germany. We had stayed in touch over the course of my travels, and when I came back to BC (before leaving for Toronto in November) we saw each other again. When I told him I was in BC again he suggested we meet up. And, in case you're wondering, it was very unambiguously a date.

Initially I had doubts about making all the effort to come into the city just for a date. I generally don't feel that it's good to go far out on a limb for someone you're seeing extremely casually. However, in the time I had known him he'd always been exceptionally polite, considerate, and really not at all like an early-twenties guy. So, I decided to go.

We were in touch that day during my trip over (it takes a few hours, including a ferry) and all seemed well. Luckily my sister and her boyfriend were in the city as well, so I killed some time with them during the afternoon. Then, an hour or so before our planned date, he abruptly cancelled. There were plenty of excuses that came along with the cancellation, none of which that were the least bit legitimate. So, I turned around and went home, having wasted an entire day travelling for nothing.

Needless to say, it really sucked. I felt like an idiot for having gone so out of my way for someone who apparently couldn't care less. And right before Valentine's Day too. As far as bad dating stories go, getting stood up around that time of year is pretty awful. Thanks for letting me know I'm totally disposable! I mentioned in an earlier post that my New Years Resolution was to adjust how I think about myself and thereby develop better self-esteem. And until Valentine's Day I was doing really well. It's a tricky process though, and what little progress I made got pretty decimated by my non-date.

So after that I was pretty down. A day or two later I met for coffee with a wonderful friend of mine, and we got to talking about my inability to date successfully. At some point in the conversation internet dating came up - something I've always resisted. I have a lot of friends who are on one site or another (often Plenty of Fish), and they're reviews have been largely positive. I don't really have anything against online dating, but I'm such a believer in meeting in person that it's never appealed to me. My friend did an excellent job of talking it up though. From where I'm standing it has felt as though a primary impediment to meeting guys is that I don't have all that much in common with guys my age. I've already finished school, done my travelling, and started working on my career, and few people I meet share that timeline. I'm sick of dealing with guys who don't know what they want or who are only interested in non-committal hooking up. As an added "bonus", when I meet older guys who I have more in common with they always turn out to be married or in relationships. My friend insisted that going online was the perfect way to circumvent this problem. Besides, what was I so turned off by? Over the last 15-20 years the internet has become accessible and usable for pretty much anyone. My generation in particular has grown up with it. So doesn't it make sense that we would use it to try and navigate the emotional quagmire that is dating?

So I caved. I signed up. I don't like admitting it, but I figure if I don't I'll be missing out on a prime writing opportunity. I concluded that at worst it could be a small confidence boost and some positive reinforcement, even if I never went on any dates.

I didn't go for Plenty of Fish (apparently there are a lot of not-so-great guys on there just looking for hookups) but rather opted for one of the ones you have to pay for. I figure it means at least whoever's on is a little serious about it.

It's been about three weeks since I signed up, and so far it's fairly alright. I've been on three dates, but I don't intend to pursue anything with those guys. They were all perfectly nice, but there was never that crucial spark that made me want to see them again. And being online certainly can be funny. I'm beginning to note certain trends and figure out who to avoid. For example: never bother with any guy who has taken a shirtless photo of himself in a bathroom mirror with his cell phone (this happens more often than you'd care to think); avoid anyone with a cheesy and clich├ęd quote on their profile; spelling/grammar is a quick indicator of eligibility; when a guy has selected only "athletic and toned", "slender", and "about average" for his ideal date's body type it's his way of saying "no fatties". So far I've had one stranger tell me he loves me, and another propose that we get married "ASAP". Never a dull moment.

And then there was today. I mean I knew this would happen sooner or later (because people are horrible), but that didn't make it any nicer. Some guy thought that it was socially appropriate to include in his email to me that my profile write-up sounds like an essay (because of my choice of words) and that I "seem super uptight". He is obviously a mannerless ignorant douchebag, but I haven't been able to brush it off so easily. I mean really. If he finds me so totally unappealing, then why send an email?! This is especially frustrating because it feels like the millionth time that a guy has complained about my vocabulary/intelligence (though usually they don't complain directly to me). Do men really have that much of a problem with someone who is familiar with the English language? Is intelligence such a threat? Why is it a bad thing???!! I guess this is just one more reason to despair for the human race.

If I have any more adventures I'll let you know.