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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.
Why do I alternate between playing the damsel and the playing the demanding entitled a**hole? Out here, at a bar or restaurant, I work really hard to make sure that you know we are equals participating in a traditionally unequal transaction.
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.
I think it’s about time I try to understand my digital privilege.
I hypothesize that it will feel shitty to spend time on a nice note and to be ignored, but I don’t know, because I haven’t really tried.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!I tell all my single girlfriends to give online dating a try. Your inbox will fill with notes from 19-year-olds in the ‘burbs, 40-somethings who find your taste in music “refreshing,” addled idiots writing “id fck u,” and a handful of age-appropriate, nice-looking guys who can string some sentences together and like to cook. You set up a profile, pick some cute photos, write something witty about the things that you love (Beyonce, Hillary Clinton, Battlestar Galactica), list some books you like, and then sit back, kick your feet up, and wait for the messages to roll in.
With those, you will send a few messages back and forth before he invites you for a drink.