Part 3: Online Dating in my early twenties

The days of high school are behind me, and I’ve moved up to university. 

I found quickly that the relationships I was focused on were the wrong ones in my life, and I took a little break from all things that combined boys and the internet. I focused on myself and finding out who I was and who I wanted to be around in my life. I started university with a clean slate and an empty social life. It was a good thing too, since the first year or so of university consumed my entire life.

I liked my life without the complication of boys in it. I deleted my chat accounts that I had online, aside from the ever popular MSN to keep in touch with my real friends and family. My last year of university, while seeing the majority of my friends be in realtionships, I decided to try this new “online dating” that everyone was so enticed by. I set up a profile and waited to see how I would fair.

At first I was surprised. I had lots of replies, even with using my real picture on the profile page. I soon discovered that these replies were going to be a pain! Most were sexual in nature, and for a “good Christian girl” they disgusted me. While Wayne was the first person who showed me that I could be a theory of attraction to men, this first attempt at online dating showed me that I could be real and still have that same response. It was a turning point in my life, where I was able to see the value in myself, and not have to rely on a fake picture or a fake personality to connect with people. I was myself with everyone on the site since they were mostly from my home town and I was looking for something real. It was a change in my thinking that was a long time coming.

I had a few responses, but overall only had one connection. I can’t remember his name now since it’s been so long but I do remember how attentive he was. At first he asked a lot of questions but his online presence left much to be desired. He had a lot of spelling mistakes and sometimes it was hard to over look that (especially since I am a perfectionist). He suggested we switch to talking, not chatting, and that made things better. He had a brain tumor removed about a year prior and the recovery from that affected his typing. It was nice while it lasted but eventually it became clear I didn’t really want to meet him so I cut things off. I only lasted on the site for about 3 months, but had added a few people to my MSN account and would continue talking through there.

My last semester of university I lived in student housing since my parents had moved at that point to Huron Country where we currently live. It was a nice 8 month separation that was great for all parties involved I think. During that time I was working at a grocery store, and one Halloween I was costume as a butterfly working the cash register – a simple black dress and wings. I was counting change at a till and all I heard behind me was “whoa – nice!” I turned around and saw a regular customer walking by… he was one I had been interested in for a few weeks already. Granted, he was a cocky 25 year old from Jamaica, but he was sweet nonetheless. Our work flirtation went no where but it was another pivotal step in realizing I was allowed to be myself in this world. He had met me in person first, and he was still interested in me. It was a shock to the system and it took me a long while to get over him, but it was like something clicked in my head.

For any woman I think it takes one incident to crush all of your self-value, like my friend’s cousin from part 2. Yet on the other side, all it takes is one special person to give it back! This guy did that for me. I was completely myself, he saw me at work in an ugly uniform and still sought my attention. He was beautiful as well which boosted my confidence even more – who doesn’t want a ripped black man to flirt with you?

When I left at the end of the summer, our romance had fizzled out. I didn’t even tell him that I had quit and was moving to South Korea. He found out from one of my remaining friends at the store. While we ended our connection in a bad way, I am still glad that it happened. I learned three very important lessons from him:

  1. I don’t have to pretend to be someone else to get a guy’s attention;
  2. Men can, and do, find me attractive in real life – even on the days where all I see is fat;
  3.  To value my worth as a human, and as a woman, and know when to fight for feelings and when to walk away.

It started a new chapter in my life. I had finally cut away all the lies I was telling myself and those around me. Slowly but surely, after 10 years of getting it wrong and sabotaging myself, I was finally willing to be honest and open. It made me into a better person, a more confident and loving person. I can’t ever see myself letting go of her, she is quite amazing if I do say so myself.

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