Dating While "sick" in the Digital Age
This is going to be an amalgamation of dating, or at least attempting to date, as a 30-something single woman in New York City; A woman who has not yet broached the subject of being “sick” with any potential new beau (sans those I’ve known before and throughout my battle) while delving into online and app based dating. Dating has changed a lot in those last few years. Let’s just say the pickings are slim at best and I’m more and more disillusioned with each match. Who knows though, there might just be a happy ending in it for me eventually. But until then, I shall rant now and divulge in stories in subsequent posts.
Now the digital age has changed so many things about dating for the better; the ocean of fish has expanded exponentially and you can Google beforehand to narrowly dodge the bullet of a pathological liar or potential serial killer just to name a few. There is no denying that. I have done my fair share of detective work. But it has also made personal information that much easier to dig up before it comes up organically in healthy getting to know you conversations. And then there are those years of embarrassing Internet posts from the last 20 years before some of us finally realized that the Internet never forgets and while we wait for the rest of the population to have that epiphany. For my, my biggest thing is that if you Google me, you’ll find the usual spattering of work and academic information but you will also find this website and some of my fundraising accomplishments. All are things that I tend to be very open about but also things I prefer to tell people in my own time and in my own way.
I’ll start by saying that I tried this whole app dating thing maybe two years ago. It ended up in two guys bailing on me before a first date, one Tinder stalker who started following me (both online and in real life) through a now ex mutual friend on Facebook (Tinder links through Facebook so users can see mutual Facebook friends on the profile page in the app). And the icing on the cake was the guy who seemed nice but stood me up on our second date, leaving me waiting alone on a street corner in NYC in a misting rain. I quit after that. My self-esteem couldn’t take any more.
The inspiration for this whole story series (and it will be a series until I can happily say it no longer needs to be documented) came out of a need to address a more personal issue in dating, as the title implies, dating while sick in the digital age. If and what and when to disclose an illness of any kind is a personal decision and dependent on a myriad of factors. My own preference is not to tell people right away. I am a person first. I’m an awesome person at that. My friends tell me so regularly. I am in remission. I have and continue to tackle my obstacles and you would never know I was “sick.” Therefore it is not a defining aspect of me and should not be a deal breaker before the deal is even drafted. But it will also include the good, the bad and the epic fails, including tonight’s event I’ll regale you with shortly.
So my first four first dates via dating apps were abruptly canceled a day or less before our proposed meeting. Why you might ask? Because they goggled me and found my website and a blurb on the MS Society website about my fundraising. We live in a society where people are so stuck in their own worlds that the idea of even meeting someone not deemed worthy due to a non terminal and stable genetic disease that no one has ever asked for, is completely acceptable with a simple, “yeah, I’m not really into the dating the sick girl.” Sick girl my ass. I do more, try harder, work more, fight stronger than most of you guys and do it with grace as I stumble over a few hurdles along the way. But I must say, you are not one I will stumble over. You are the ones that I will trample without looking back, preferable in a fancy pair stilettos to drive the point home. And yes, I’m angry and hurt and questioning my own self worth because people like you unfairly judge people like me. Maybe you should use that Google button to search MS and success stories and prognosis and celebrities who you’d also never know had the disease. I think maybe I’ll start discriminating against people with less than perfect eyesight.
Tonight’s interaction was of the best so far in a surreal conversation reminiscent of a time where AIM chat room and MySpace introductions first included the line a/s/l…a term lost on much of today’s youth. But I digress. So I start our Bumble conversation in my usual fashion, with the game two lies and a truth. He plays along. We’ll call him Isaac. Isaac compliments me a few times and my game sparks a bit of conversation. We chat for a few moments and then he pulls that, “well you’re up awfully late line.” My honest response is my usual 2am issue: insomnia and a snoring dog who thinks she should sleep on my head. And here it comes. As a female you can see it coming from a mile away, maybe even 10 miles. And there it is, “I’m bored and horny. What are you wearing?” My automatic response was, “yeah, that’s not where this is going. Sorry.” And he unmatched me before I could even click out of the text screen.
Thirty-five years old and that’s still what your fallback is when meeting a woman? You told me less than five minutes ago you weren’t into hookups and then pull that crap? Give me a break Isaac. If the convo didn’t disappear as soon as you unmatch, I would have screenshot that exchange and Bumble shamed Isaac as best one can Bumble shame without self shaming. Is this really the dating pool? I’ll just go ahead and say it…this is why I’m single.