One of the hazards of writing on the Internet for a living is how everything will show up on a Google search. On a day-to-day basis, I’m mostly an open book writing about my opinions, my sexuality, my depression, and even my love life. My private life is private, but a lot of topics that other people consider private are the very things I write about daily.
There are times, however, when I regret being as open as I am. Not everyone is accepting; my openness makes me vulnerable towards people I barely know. I’m still human and I still care what people think about me. Sometimes a girl wants people to get to know her good parts first and the rest of her human-being-messiness sl-o-w-ly. Nowhere is this more apparent than in dating — especially online dating, where as soon as you find out someone’s last name you Google it and make sure they’re not a serial killer. If a gentleman caller Googles me, there is lots to read. Imagine how an ordinary person feels about her employer finding her Facebook page and then imagine the guy who have a crush on having access to your id.
Yet, to a certain extent, blogging acts as a “douchebag filter” by keeping certain guys away. Recently I was chatting with a fellow I met online who I’d really been into until … well … he completely blew it before we’d even met. How’d he screw up so bad? He wrote to me in an IM conversation, and I quote, “But how could I ever date someone that if my parents Googled her, there is writing that she likes to be called a slut?”
How indeed. Our IM conversation, for your perusal, after the jump:This conversation has been edited for length, clarity, brevity and typos and to preserve the anonymity of people involved. Ellipses (“…”) signify a portion of the conversation has been omitted, usually for brevity or privacy’s sake.
Online Dating Guy: I did something I shouldn’t have done. I read some of your writing. And I read probably the things I shouldn’t have read most, like all about your breakup.
Me: It was inevitable — you reading about me online, I mean. So? What did you think? Scared to date me?
Online Dating Guy: Well, kind of. Not that I fear it.
Me: Oh. Well, that sucks.
Online Dating Guy: I know, this sounds ridiculous right?
Online Dating Guy: But how could I ever date someone that if my parents Googled her, there is writing that she likes to be called a slut? Now, personally I love that you love that and I would love to call you that. But still, I’m kind of a private guy. I’m [ethnicity redacted]. People have urged me to write about all my craziness for years. I don’t feel comfortable being so public.
Me: OK then. So … we are not going to work out.
Online Dating Guy: It would be hard to say as we haven’t met. But those are fair concerns on my part, no?
Online Dating Guy: I’d like to say also, I think it’s f**king ballsy to be so open like that, especially about your breakup.
Me: I don’t know what to tell you.
Online Dating Guy: I shouldn’t have read. It’s like looking at the sun.
Me: No, you shouldn’t have said “but how could I ever date someone that if my parents googled her there is writing that she likes to be called a slut?” If my job is a liability for you, then we shouldn’t bother meeting. I’m a writer. So if it’s a problem, then it is what it is.
Online Dating Guy: You’re also a person, a person who should understand that because I appreciate your candor and writing not everyone else would.
Me: I do understand it.
Online Dating Guy: Your job isn’t a liability for ME, it is for my FAMILY. A lot of your writing just turns me on, though … because I’m a guy and that’s how it works.
Me: So, my writing turns you on but you don’t actually want to date me. Okay. I don’t know what to tell you.
Online Dating Guy: I didn’t say whether I did or did not want to date you. I was just voicing some concerns. I thought perhaps you had some understanding words or suggestions. You seem kind of combative. I come from a judgy conservative [ethnicity redacted] family.
Me: I feel like you’re judging me.
Online Dating Guy: Trust me, I’m not.
Me: I come from a conservative WASP family. And I deal with it. It’s not okay with me that you’re willing to tell me it turns you on but you’re concerned your family will judge me/you. Like, you need to own it. At least, that’s how I feel. … All that stuff is out there on the Internet. It comes with the package.
Online Dating Guy: I’m aware.
Me: So … I don’t know what to tell you.
Online Dating Guy: I’d still like to hang out.
Me: I have to think about it. Honestly, I understand your concern, but I don’t think what you said to me was very kind.
Online Dating Guy: Oh, for real? Because I would want to know you regardless of the context. I think you’re trying to make this about my feelings towards you, which are nothing but positive. I can’t be any clearer.
Me: I realize that. However, I’m not interested in possibly getting to know someone who I may have feelings for who may well tell me they can’t date me (or won’t date me) because of their family’s concerns about my writing / sex life / etc. … You’re not really endearing yourself to me. I understand you didn’t mean to be a dick but you have to understand that telling someone the stuff you told me is unkind.
Online Dating Guy: Seriously, this is why people aren’t honest.
Me: In the grand scheme of things, I appreciate your honesty.
Online Dating Guy: I can’t be held accountable for what people in my family think of you. I love what you do, but I am not my family.
Me: But you can be held accountable for things you say to me about them. … I am sympathetic to your concern. I have obviously dealt with it from dudes many, many times before. However, it’s insulting for you to bring it up and the way you brought it up was rude. I don’t think you mean to be rude or unkind. But it happened and now I’m kind of wondering whether it’s a good idea for us to meet. I appreciate that you don’t judge me personally for it.
Online Dating Guy: I think that it’s pretty clear I was not at all trying to be unkind. …
Me: But someone who wants to date me, or be my “friend,” does not need to bring [my sex life] up in such a negative and judgy way. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here and I’d like to get back to work. ….
Online Dating Guy: You’re mean, FYI.
Me: And you’re immature. Goodbye.
Online Dating Guy: What the hell?
Me: Just, really, go away.
Online Dating Guy: I’m pretty sure you should reread this conversation and observe what a gross over-reaction this is on your part. I wanted to know you and voiced a concern. Apologies for my honesty, even in it’s inarticulateness. Later.
So. There you go.
I have reread this conversation — a couple times actually — and I didn’t think I grossly overreacted. In fact, I think I was too nice to Online Dating Guy, because he obviously was utterly clueless about his lapse in tact. I wasted a lot of breath trying to explain to him why it’s a crap idea to tell someone you have not even met yet that your conservative parents are going to have a problem with her — but don’t worry, it turns him on!
My girl friends who have read this IM conversation uniformly think that Online Dating Guy should be tagged and entered into the database as “undateable.” I, however, feel kind of sad. I’m sad that he didn’t even meet me first and managed to offend me and make me feel crappy. I’m sad that he is so clueless about things it is rude to say to people that he may say stuff like this to other women again. And I’m sad that he chalked me pointing this out to him as being “mean.”