Dear Luv Doc,
I have been trying online dating for a while now and I think I just need to give up. When I finally do meet guys, they only bear a mild resemblance to the person in their photos … and it’s never in a good way. Here’s something else: You can’t tell a person’s hygiene from their online profile, but you sure can when you’re sitting next to them in a crowded bar. The rare ones that do pass the looks/hygiene test often have some sort of personality disorder like ADD or extreme narcissism, or Peter Pan Syndrome. What am I doing wrong, Doc?
– Damsel in Distress
Not. One. Damn. Thing. You, Damsel, are what’s right with the world. You are out there in the shit taking heavy fire. You’re a goddamned American hero. While the rest of the dating world is curled up on a couch in a fetal position swiping left until their index finger is blistered, you’re doing what it takes to actually find true love … or a raging yeast infection. Bravo. It is incurable optimists like yourself who made this nation great: Roosevelt … Kennedy … Obama … and in his own childlike, dopey, ill-informed way, even Ronald Reagan who, unlike the Donald, was smart enough to fake it until he made it … and even after he made it. He should probably get a posthumous Oscar.
I fear for this great nation, Damsel – not just because ol’ Dutch Reagan dismantled every decent social program of the previous half-century and sold arms to every despotic ruler short of Fidel Castro. No, Damsel, I fear for this nation because we seem to spend more time creating an image of who we want to appear to be rather than actually becoming who we want to be. Yes, it’s great that with a few basic filters on Photoshop and a few carefully constructed, marginally factual sentences we can create an avatar of our better selves, but what about just creating a better self? Hooray! You learned Photoshop! There’s something to build on at least.
Message to the dating world: Put in the fucking work, people. There may be a select few of you out there who are blessed with such unbelievable pulchritude that you can get by on your looks alone, but the rest of us have to score well in the talent and personality competitions to even be in the game. And, to be honest, even the prettiest of trophies get dusty eventually. If you want to be loved, you have to be lovable. You know what’s fucking lovable? Ultimately? Substance. People who put in the fucking work. Decent people with good manners, a positive attitude, an open mind, a sense of wonderment, an appreciation of learning, and an enthusiasm for life that keeps them engaged and fulfilled even when – as they often do – things turn shitty. You know, like when you end up on a blind date with a foul-smelling narcissist with a Peter Pan complex.
Don’t get discouraged, Damsel. You’re on the right track. You keep digging through that slag heap and you’re bound to find a diamond sometime.