For The Girl Who’s Terrified to Admit She’s Online Dating

He was cute. Tall. Worked in finance. We talked about sports. College football. I had a few glasses of wine, him a few beers. We mutually agreed on a second round. It was Sunday night, but felt a whole lot like Saturday. He laughed, told me about his family. Looked me in the eyes. Smiled as I told him just how much I missed my puppy back home. The conversation was good, surprisingly, and I didn’t have to lead like some private investigator.
“I’m a journalist, I’m prone to asking questions,” I usually say. No need this time. He was feeding me all the answers I needed, and I barely had to ask.
He walked me to the subway, told me, “We should hang out again sometime.”
We hugged.
I spent the entire train ride home smiling, proud of myself for stepping out on a limb. Taking a risk. Making conversation like a normal human being. Like a girl who actually knew what it meant to go out on dates. [lol]
And then three days went by. Three days that felt like a lifetime. And he never texted. No call. No “Nice meeting you.” No “I had a good time.” No “Have a good week.” No “Do you have plans this weekend?”
I even gave him the benefit of the doubt, texting four days later with a simple, “Let’s do that again sometime.”
End: Tinder Date #1
I’ve always been the content, single girl.
The girl focused on herself, her career, her friendships, her faith… the girl with an agenda that didn’t necessarily include a boy on page two.
I’ve written about dating. About the fact that patience is maddening. Harder than I ever anticipated. And boy, I’ve prayed and wondered and meditated on why it just “hasn’t happened for me yet.” I’ve heard, “It’ll happen when it’s meant to happen.” And, “It happens when you least expect it.” And, “You just gotta chase the other things in your life that you love, and then somehow, he’ll chase you.”
I’ve heard every one in the book.
And I’m not saying those things are wrong, necessarily.
I’m just saying they’re frustrating.
So when I wrote that post, I committed to taking a more aggressive approach to dating. Being more open. More flexible. Saying yes more often than saying no. Keeping my eyes open and really trying to understand what I’m supposed to learn through singleness.
So I joined Yep, Match.
I went on a date.
Didn’t go well.
That was that.
Shut down that profile real quick.
So I joined Hinge.
And I made my profile look all pretty and welcoming and attractive.
The best version of myself.
And boys started to message me.
I started getting matches.
And on paper, it all looked great.
They were calling me cute, “wholesome,” friendly-looking, and sweet.
[Story of my life.]
But it took me a few months to even message someone back.
Have yet to go on a date.
And then I joined Tinder.
Mainly because every young person on the planet told me to.
I had my doubts. Still do.
I’m pretty selective about who I say yes to.
And they’ve got to be able to hold a decent conversation before I’ll even give them the time of day.
But yes, I’ve been on a Tinder date.
And like you read, it went pretty well.
Besides the fact that apparently he didn’t think the same.
[Quick disclaimer, because I know some of you are probably already thinking it… Yes, I’m online dating. But yes, I’m very careful about it. Only public places and someone always knows where I am when I do go out.]
I haven’t told too many people I’m online dating. [But there goes that.]
And when I do, I’m terrified of what people think of me.
Whether they think I’m not quite the “good Christian girl” they thought I was.
Whether they think I’ve abandoned all my morals.
The fear of people asking, after I told them I was brave enough to go out on a date in the first place, how we met. And me being terrified to say we both swiped right.
But yet, it seems like it’s not such a big deal anymore. Normal, even. And I’ve never actually had a bad experience with it.
But somehow, in some distinct “I question everything I do, all the time” type way, it just doesn’t feel right to be the good, Christian girl on Tinder. Is that even a thing? Are there “good Christian guys” on Tinder, too? Guys looking for more than just a hookup? If I’m on there, doesn’t that mean there has to be guys like me on there, too?
So back to my date. I should’ve known it wasn’t quite right when he didn’t offer to pay the bill. Instead saying, “Let’s split it, right?” [I’m not the girl who always expects the guy to pay, but he was a southern gentlemen, and this was our first date. So… confused. Tell me if I’m wrong.]
And like I said, he didn’t text. And I told myself… no, no, no you will not text first.
And then I did.
Silly, silly me.
No self control.
And when he didn’t respond to that, it was like the pity party just couldn’t wait to tear me down. What was wrong with me? What did I do wrong? What didn’t he like about me? Was I not pretty enough? Not funny enough? Not smart enough? Just not enough? Was he out of my league? Was he disappointed I didn’t “live up to” my profile? Were my pictures deceiving? Was I not as witty in person?
And then, a few days later, I was like — “WOAH. Why I am so upset about a guy I just met 5 seconds ago? And why am I beating myself up over nothing. Why am I making this a pity party when I had the courage to take a risk in the first place?”
Go, me.
And then I realized that I’ll probably never be convinced that I live up to that profile in person. But the truth is that to someone, to the right kind of person, I’ll be more than enough. More than that profile. Complete and whole and pretty and smart and witty and just what they’re looking for.
And if I find him on Tinder, so be it.
Because I’m not shutting down my profiles.
I’m going to keep taking chances, putting myself out there, saying yes to opportunity.
Because I really do believe that there’s room for “good Christian girls” on Tinder. There’s room for girls like me, girls looking for something more than just “tonight.” And that, I hope, means there’s room for “good Christian guys,” too.
And I’m done feeling like I have to lie about where I’m meeting the guys I’m going on dates with. I’m done feeling shameful that I’m online. And I’m done hiding behind my profile, worrying that I can’t live up to my photos or description. Like I’m not 100% the pretty and witty and fun girl I portray.
Because I’m whole. Already. Without a guy in the picture.
But I’m also online. And not ashamed.
This post was inspired by one of the most eloquent, inspiring, and truth-revealing writers I know. Check her out, y’all. I promise she’ll make you feel like you’re sitting down for Sunday morning coffee and a giant stack of blueberry pancakes. Because she’s that good.
Hannah Brencher, “And One Day I’d Like Another Sky

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