It’s hard out there for a single femme, which is probably why studies show that online dating activity soars over 300% after the holidays. While I most certainly am far from feeling lonely this holiday season, I will always appreciate the days where online dating was almost a hobby of mine. Every time my ex and I broke up, there I was, lying on the bed, phone in hand, bitterly prowling profiles of women I dreamt would treat me way better. Over time, I learned how to dress for, how to escape from, and how to maneuver through the first offline meet up.
The place I choose to meet for the first time is undoubtedly a reflection of myself; therefore, I almost always opt for some place neutral in terms of price, location, and ambiance. No matter how much I seem to connect with someone through my Internet connection, I’m certainly not about to break my budget to wine and dine a woman I’ve never actually met. This is why I am forever thankful for Nellie’s happy hour.
Happy hour is by far the best and lowest stakes place to set the first date. With cheap drink specials and an inviting social atmosphere, the happy hour meet up occurs at a time that, if the date ends up being a total bust, I still have the rest of my night to recoup and recover at Phase, Cobalt, or the comfort of my own apartment, which has happened more often than not. After an awkward, uncomfortable, or downright disturbing encounter, I simply spew out some work-related project as an excuse, and make an early exit.
Having both an extension activity as well as an early exit tactic is essential to managing the unexpected and unforeseeable circumstances surrounding the first meet up. I almost always opt for the Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday hang outs, where there’s the possibility of extending the date. For example, I once met up with a super cute girl from OkCupid on a Wednesday night. The date went so well that I asked her to karaoke at Cobalt after, where she wooed me with her outgoing personality and singing skills. God bless the gays…and karaoke.
Despite the successes, online dating can be nerve-wracking or downright scary for a femme, especially if we’re just coming out of a long-term relationship with a jerk who wasted way more of our time than we ever should have allowed. Some of us put in minimal effort in looking good for our first date; others spend more time getting ready offline than we put into designing our online profiles. Luckily for us, no matter what these girls look like when they show up, there’s safety in numbers, and that is exactly why I often choose to do my online dating in pairs.
I remember meeting my “94%” OkCupid match offline for the first time. One of my best friends was also talking to a girl on OkCupid, and we decided to do dinner separately, get to know our dates, and then meet up at a house party afterward.
When I saw my date for the first time, I felt instant relief. She was just like her profile portrayed: blonde hair, in shape, sporting a trucker hat and a cute skater-girl style that I was so attracted to at the time. She immediately expressed a similar appreciation for my true-to-form style, complimenting me on my red ray bans and matching lipstick. We hit it off, and after a few drinks and great conversation, I picked up the tab and we were on our way to the house party. Victory was mine.
My friend, unfortunately, did not have quite the same experience. When we arrived, her face said exactly what we were all thinking. Her date was wearing athletic clothes, no makeup, and a sweatband that pulled back an upheaval of mess that was her hair. What a bust. My pity turned to anger when I later discovered that her online date tried to poach my online date through a pathetic attempt via Facebook messaging. The nerve of some of these women!
I ended up dating my 94% match for about two months. Though she was great, I discovered I wasn’t truly over my ex, and eventually I had to end it. But, coupled with time and patience, the entire experience of online dating brought me one step closer to letting go of the past, filled my new found free time with excitement and adventure, and ultimately delivered me the woman of my dreams, which all started with the first successful offline meet up.