Evils of Online Dating

[Love Notes / Lovebook]

It was cool when I only got rejected.

But now I don’t like it anymore. I cannot participate anymore.

Lonely and boring are normal, so I’m fine with that.

But mean, greedy, dishonest: that’s gratuitous; that goes too far.

So I quit.

But then how will I ever find anyone? And it isn’t safe to let yourself get so lonely and ragged. You break more and more inside. You become less and less yourself. You slide more and more away from shared joy. You cower more and more in your broken heart and angry sex.

There seems to be no safe way to develop yourself. You need other people to help you find yourself, and once you involve other people, you put them at risk for your bullshit.

At least when you met people always face to face, your shallow drives can kick in at the same time as your gentler, bond-forming ones. Now you start to fall for some pictures and a few texts and they do too. And then you meet and the momentum carries things along.

But that’s not really your problem, is it? Your problem is that you are mean, but you seem nice. So you fool people and then hurt them.

More precisely: the problem is that in the moment you are content and relieved to share nearness, but in the later moment, you have no heart, no mind, no soul, only greed and uninformed conjectures.

But you couldn’t possibly be that bad, could you? I wouldn’t have thought so, but now I do. How else to explain how burning down the safe woodland cottages? Holding out for a better deal; but didn’t even want to dissolve the one at hand. A gambler. But the stakes are too high. Both winning and losing are too hurtful and mean.

Meanwhile the nuclear conflagration, the pestilence, environmental disaster: everything is stalking us all, while we pretend to praise some and blame others.

Online dating is stupid. Too many people, not enough community. Too many choices, not enough caring. Too many apps, not enough friendship.

The problem is city life. I will return to a hunting and gathering tribe. I will go back and grow up in that tribe and the village elders will assign me a woman of about equal beauty, vigor, status, and general desirability. Everything will be fair. Everything will be manageable. Everybody will be happy.

I never meant to do any of it. And the things I said or didn’t say don’t reflect my true feelings on the matter. It all gets made up in the moment, and then I’m stuck with this text- and email-based account. The writing of the texts and emails creates our reality, which then cages and strangles us. It’s stupid. I feel nauseous and guilty all the time.

You may think I turned you down or you turned me down, but really it was just some words said and/or unsaid that cut the ties and broke the chance. You and I did nothing. We’re victims of words and deeds. These words and motions have some connection to our ideas and feelings, but in the end they are not us. They are spurious self-evolving memes. They’re stupid and boring.

This world is overfull of words and images. More saying, less meaning. Maybe movies enriched lives. And maybe adding words to motion pictures helped. Perhaps the silent films didn’t have enough words. But now everyone is barfing words and images all over the place — like their income, companionship, and happiness depended on it.

I don’t want to do this anymore.

I pray this: That everyone finds what is best for them. And that we all just let it go.

We think we are happy or unhappy with ourselves or others; we say this person or group did me right or wrong; we say this person makes me feel like the person I should be but this one leads me away from myself; we say all kinds of nonsense. My prayer is therefore that we just collectively shut up, let it all go, and find only kindness for ourselves and one another.

But it’s the prayer of a guilty man looking out from the gallows. A man

I’m indicted by choices I didn’t even choose; by opinions that aren’t even mine. So I’m wrong. So I’m done. I’m sick of being wrong. Of doing what isn’t helpful. Of hurting people that I love because I couldn’t quite say how our loves should line up and because of how exclusive and thus greedy and mean romantic love is.

You could date everyone. You could go poly.

No I can’t. That’s even worse for me. Even more lonely. Even crueler. Smearing your body all over the place. Your heart gets long and thin. It picks up dirt and leaves. It breaks here and there and there and there.

What I can do is go home and wait for the village elders to assign me a woman who is about as desirable as I am. They, who understand the exigencies and norms of our society so well, know better than me how much my sex is worth in this market. They’ll sell me at a fair price. I’ll get what I’m worth. Perhaps some aspects of her will fall short of my desires. But I’ll know it was a fair bargain. Much more fair than anything I’d arrange myself — malcontent and wheedler that I am. And what good is it to win a woman who could’ve won a better catch? An original sin burns through your marriage bed. She feels tricked and trapped her, and you feel guilty, and the open secret festers.

But isn’t that exactly the “disaster” the fear of which causes you tell perfectly nice relationships to get gone?

But I don’t know. Because you’ll think “it is nice now, but in the long term I won’t be willing to make the sacrifices, so I should abandon ship before the hearts are too intertwined to make for a humane uncoupling.” And so again this gambling. Again this lonely cruelty in the name of finding a relationship that explodes you with infinite devotion to the cause. The stakes are too high. Hearts hold love; disappointing trust slices hearts and wounds the lines between souls and God.

Here: take this app from my thumbs; take these images and few splashed caricatures from my mind; take this longing from my tongue; pull this meanness out my heart. Send me back to my village, though it now be filled with the most sundry of peoples, in all different shapes, colors, sizes, hues. Send me now back to my giant village.

But there’s no elders. There’s no one to put me where I belong. And there’s also no clear lines. My value goes up or down depending on how I turn this complex game to my advantage. And even stories and mere pictures can increase not just my perceived value, but also my real likelihood for success here in these games of bluster and bravado.

So never mind. I’ll be quiet and alone in my apartment while the snow covers the streets, cars, parapets, electrical wires, and branches. I’ll do my part and let it all go. I’ll let all my certainties drip out like blood from a torn body bag.

I promise you that I love you, though I’ve not the right to hold you.

I promise you that I love you. And that everything that is not love is a lie. All these certainties that swell and sway us are contortions of feeling and thought. They’re OK and can even be fun and in some sense useful — except to the degree that they try to overstep and refute love.

Please forgive me. I’m not the man I mean to be. I take my leave.

[Love Notes / Lovebook]

Author: Nomor Leagz
Editor: Amble Whistletown
Producer/Storyboard: Bartleby Willard
Copyright: AM Watson