As a kid, I had hundreds of pen pals. I'm talking about people I met through a teenie-bopper magazine, where my address was published and people started writing to me, and I wrote back. This was (here it comes) before texting, cell phones, email or even the internet. I'm not kidding; phones still had cords and were attached the wall in the kitchen.
|I had paper just like that.|
These people lived all over the country - and sometimes the world - and I never met one of them in person. But that didn't mean there wasn't a friendship, or a connection of some sort. Some wrote a few letters and faded away; others remained my pen pal until I moved after college. I grew up with them; I trusted them; I told them things I couldn't tell anyone else.
So I firmly believe that a connection can be established, and develop, without meeting in person. It's probably one reason why online interaction works so well for me as a way to meet people, and why I'm so willing to give online dating sites the benefit of the doubt.
I've been messaging through a site with one guy for a while. (SN: Are you noticing a theme? Me too.) I actually really enjoy his emails - they are not the boring, how-was-your-day, oh-I-did-this type of emails. They are more like here I am sitting at the computer, I have something random and interesting I want to share - so I do.
Have regular old conversations come up? Sure. I asked what was exciting for the weekend, he responded sarcastically about pizza, and I asked what type of crust he prefers and what toppings are his favorite. That's a fun way to find out some basic information about the person you're getting to know.
He's smart, his sense of humor is dry and he is quick-witted. He's all the things I like when communicating with someone - especially through emails/messages.
Recently, though, I became curious if this was all our relationship was going to be. So, I went way out on a limb and did something crazy - I asked. Simply put - I asked if he planned to invite me on a date, or if we would just be pen-pals - without the pens.
His answer? Most unexpected.
....I hadn't thought about it. You might have gathered I'm not especially sociable. But, it's more interesting to do something with someone than by yourself...
I feel like I want to point out the irony of a non-sociable guy, who wasn't thinking about dating, having a profile on a dating site.As you might expect (or maybe you didn't), he had an answer for that.
Originally, I joined the site for the quizzes and other time-wasters.I totally did not see that coming.
The thing is, this guy is a few years older than me. That means he remembers pen-pals - and he also remembers the early internet days, when things like chat-rooms were common. When you went in a chat-room, it was expected that your relationship would remain online - the intent wasn't to meet in real life.
So on the one hand - I get it. He was looking for a site that offered some mindless distraction, accompanied by the occasional conversation. Just like a chat-room, he never expected it to turn into actual, in-real-life dating.
On the other hand - I feel... betrayed, maybe? Duped? Led on? It's a dating site. When he filled out his profile, he indicated he was a single guy looking for single women for dating. He went to the trouble of really describing who he is and what he's looking for in a date. He uploaded photos of himself - with captions, for crying out loud.
Not only that - he responded to my email, when my profile clearly states I'm looking for dating and a relationship. And we're on a dating site.
So now I feel like I was dragged into a time-wasting test of sorts. And here I thought that's what facebook is for.