“Don’t you think you’re too young?” my friend asks over our second cocktail, when I finally have a bit of liquid courage to tell her I have seriously been considering online dating.
But not those apps where you swipe left or right when you are horny and want to grab a drink, I mean those ones where you describe everything about yourself for a potential partner and answer enough questions to qualify for a job with the government, you know the type of websites where you actually pay every month to get customized matches.
It’s a question I often receive at the age of 24, along with a few others. “Aren’t you afraid that men will say ‘why does she need to be seriously online dating at that age?” “Is she one of those woman obsessed with walking down the aisle?”
What this translates to, what those questions are politely asking, is: aren’t I concerned that men will find me desperate?
When young professionals in their early 20s get on Tinder they are doing it for the experience, the possibility of meeting someone, if it goes further than that and turns into a real relationship – great, but it doesn’t there are plenty of people out there to keep you entertained. When women like myself however consider signing up for E Harmony or Match.com the idea is that we must have our Pinterest boards filled with potential wedding dresses, and have a deposit down on a hall.
I say, screw that.
There is no “socially acceptable” reason that I should want to throw all caution to the wind, sit down and hunt for the real deal. I am not waiting till marriage to have sex. I don’t want kids any time in the near future if I want them at all. I just want real love, the potential of marriage sooner rather than later.
And love might be a little harder to find when you are swiping left or right.
As a confident woman I am told love, a committed relationship, should be something on the backburner. I should be more concerned with furthering my budding career than I am about meeting Mr. Right. In fact I can’t count the amount of people who tell me to wait for love, or that it will find me when I least expect it, (preferably when I am making twice as much as I am now.) After I wonder out loud whether or not there might be a man on a dating site that checks off a list of my criteria, someone who I get along with, people assume I am one step from holding a sign on the side of the road with the words “Marry me, no one else will!”
But when did women start getting shamed for caring about their personal life as much as their career or anything else they pursue?
It’s not desperate to know what you want and seek out men who are just as exclusive in their desires, where criteria goes more than the surface level of whether I find someone hot.
If apps like Tinder and Bumble are a continuous buffet of available but sometimes questionable men in my area then maybe sites like Match.com are the really great piece of prime rib.
I now finally live in an era when women are able to pursue men and other women the way we pursue everything else in our daily lives, of course I am going to put effort to finding a partner. If women who already know what they want can ever be completely satisfied viewing the words “I work hard but play harder” on a dating profile next to a man with a beard holding a fish more, than more power to them, but that just isn’t doing it for me. Sure the rush of casual dates and a potential hook-up are great, but at the end of the day the thought in the back of my head when I am on a Bumble meet-up is always how serious is this guy about finding a real connection?
I’ve had a lot of people brush me off with “why don’t you just wait until you are twenty-five?” as though between now and the next four months I will find the love of my life or develop a deep spiritual understanding of how the online dating world is only for people who have passed their quarter-life crisis. I don’t think that’s the case, and if it is I sure am willing to open myself up the idea!
But for right now I am just willing to have the courage to say I am looking for something serious and I am not ashamed of that.
If I can get past answering all those questions, maybe something will work out!