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But every day, when I log into the dating site of my choice, I play the passive role, the receiver of attention, the awaiter of messages.
I go to my inbox and see who wants to talk to me and then I choose to whom I’ll respond.
***** You might think online dating would create some much-needed “fairness” between the sexes.
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Maybe instead we can learn to treat each other as equal players of a very silly game that we all secretly take quite seriously. But it seems quite clear to me that we’re not there yet. I’m a feminist, sex-positive 21st century lady whose photos include me posing in a Rosie the Riveter Halloween costume.
I write about gender on the Internet for crying out loud!
This is not the behavior I would expect of a feminist, sex-positive 21st century lady. Why would I put myself through the rollercoaster of the drafting, the editing, the sending, the waiting, the hoping, the checking, and the sighing in disappointment when the fact of my gender (and let’s be real; that’s really all it is) means the attention comes to me?
It’s not behavior I’m particularly proud of either. Why don’t I reach out to the dudes with the funny handles and good taste in books, the ones who post pictures with goofy faces and like tacos almost as much as I like tacos? I wish the evidence pointed to something else, something egalitarian and modern, but when I get real with my own online dating M. I’ve sent messages to guys before, sure, but the ratio is small. This is not how I want this work, but I condone it with my inaction.
Why can’t I apply this “equal investment” attitude to the getting of dates and not just the paying for dates?
***** It’s a little too far past January 1st to call this a New Year’s Resolution, but I’ve decided to make a change.
I tell all my single guy friends to watch out for online dating.
It is a sad, soul-crushing place where good guys go to die a slow death by way of ignored messages and empty inboxes.
Finally, one of the cool girls writes back, and you will banter a bit, swapping favorite restaurants or concert venues.
You will ask her to meet up “in real life.” At the bar, you will chat nervously for an hour (she is not as pretty or as funny as you had hoped she’d be), and then you will be saddled with the check even though she ate most of the sweet potato fries.
Why do I not respond politely to every message, even the ones I’m not interested in? Once we make it out of the safe cocoon of the Internet and into the real world I’m better about aligning my actions with my values.