This entry was originally published on March 31, 2006 (additions in 2007) so some websites may appear to be "old" but were new at the time.
My godsister warned me about online dating after a guy stood me up for a meeting at this big arcade/bar. She said that guys who dated online were all crazy, but I reasoned that guys who were online walked the streets like everybody else. If it was okay for me to get someone's number at a mall, a bus stop, a party or anywhere else, then I could go out with someone I met over the computer. But I didn't get online with the intentions of dating anybody. I just joined a popular African American website (BlackPlanet) and a popular college website (College Club) in hopes to chat. Great conversations online were tricky situations. One minute they were like good dreams under a comforter on a cold day. But when the encounters were too deep, Freddy Krueger showed his face. And now folks, I'll introduce you to these nightmares (all true stories).
For privacy purposes I will not reveal real names.
Nightmare #1: "Bird" was 6'5 with smooth skin, a muscular build and worked with a record company that met a lot of celebrities. On his site, he had photos with everybody under the sun. He and I initially chatted about music because I was a freelance music writer and he owned an entertainment company. One day I was headed to work and this extremely tall guy caught my attention. Tall people are a turn-on so of course I looked. We both smiled because we recognized each other. It was Bird. Two months of chatting with Bird online. No date ever set up. And I accidentally see him walking on a busy downtown Chicago street. I thought it was meant to be. I reached my arms up, and he scooped down on my 5'3 frame. But then I heard his voice, squeaky enough to be a bird's. Well, no one is perfect. I ignored it. We spoke briefly, agreed to call each other to set up a future date, and before I could set it up, I saw him at a Ludacris concert soon after. It didn't surprise me to see him there because of his profession. But the longer I stood talking to him on the crowded dance floor, the more I noticed that he walked with a switch, complained as much as women watching "Waiting to Exhale," and had a smart mouth. And he kept leaning his hands on his hips and jerking his neck. Every time he complimented my outfit, the more I wondered when he was going to realize he was gay. And there's nothing wrong with that, but it's a waste of heterosexual woman's time in the dating world.
Nightmare #2: "Bath" was an aspiring deejay who'd just graduated from Southern Illinois University. What attracted me to him was his leather brown jacket, neat haircut and pretty teeth. After a few meaningless conversations on College Club, I figured Bath was cool and gave him my phone number. I was a little thrown off that he called me four times in two hours, but I figured that since he was trying to set up a date, maybe that was normal. W ended up meeting in front of Old Navy to go to Portillo's. After briefly seeing an old co-worker outside of the clothing store, catching up and giving him my number, the co-worker walked away and Bath strolled by. But he didn't stop. He tapped me on my shoulder and kept walking. Although he was shorter and slightly thicker than he looked on photos, he was decent looking. But he ran his mouth like water in a bathtub. I understood why he wanted to be a deejay immediately. When we got to Portillo's, which I'd never been to and was his idea, he ordered his food. The cashier asked if he wanted anything else and he said, "No." He picked up his food and sat down. Why a man would invite a woman on a date, not tell her they're going Dutch and then try to eat in front of her is beyond me. I glared at him. His response, "Oh wait? You were hungry. Well, you can have some of my fries if you want them." I stood up and said, "No, I want to leave." I walked out of the restaurant, called my mother and she laughed so hard that she offered to buy me lunch during her break at work. My father and brother weren't nearly as amused and started ranting about basic dating manners. I went home that night and blocked his e-mail address. I deleted him from my College Club friends list and changed my cell phone number.
Nightmare #3: "Car" and I talked several times on BlackPlanet about hip-hop. He was the co-owner of a music company. He invited me to a club he threw reggae parties in. I went with two of my high school friends (we were in college at the time) and had a ball. He didn't know who I was but I knew who he was when the deejay announced him. Plus, I recognized his photo. I walked up to him and told him the party was great. He thanked me politely and still didn't know who I was. I walked away, and he ended up dancing with one of my friends. We all left for the night thrilled about how great the party was. The next day Car sent me a note asking me what was up, and I asked him did he remember a girl in a maroon outfit at the club the night before. He was shocked that that was me and asked me to go out with him. We went out the very next weekend. He was from the Bronx, and I dug the arrogant attitude. But he blew me away when he informed me that he'd call me "Shorty" because he didn't like my real name. After that remark, it all went downhill. There was a lie about an Expedition truck he supposedly left in New York for four months while traveling to Chicago to take care of his mother. He left his clothes, his car and the rest of his stuff. Who doesn't return for all of their things for four months if he's not on the run? He was furious about me going out with another guy on his birthday, but it wasn't like he and I were in a relationship. Turns out he'd been telling all of his friends we were indeed in a relationship, never mind the fact that we'd never even kissed. I went back to school that summer, and his aunt called me to ask if he made it to Missouri. Now he and I hadn't talked after the birthday fiasco so how he was headed to LU was something I didn't know. Turns out he'd lied to her, too. Just one big liar.
Nightmare #3 segues into Dream #1: "Seat" was a good guy who I also met on BlackPlanet. He treated me to see "The Fast and the Furious" in 2001 and we hung out at California Kitchen. But I was still in the middle of the confusion with Nightmare #3. I probably would've liked Seat more had he not rubbed my butt when he hugged me at the end of the night. I don't care how great a date is. Never grope a woman who doesn't give you permission to do so.
Nightmare #4: After Bird, Bath, Car and Seat, I was frustrated with the online dating scene. I made a point of writing my Top 35 Turn-Ons and Turn-Offs and posted them on BlackPlanet. "Fat" replied to my page and we had a few discussions. Those conversations led to AOL instant messenger. One night, I told him I was going to take a break from my computer to take a shower. A half hour later, I came back and he sends me a message saying, "It took you a long time to finish your shower. I didn't know you were fat." I flipped out. For the next 30 minutes, I balled him out online about how tacky that comment was but he said he meant it as a joke. He and I went out a week later. He deserved to be the only man on Earth who could make a walk to the beach seem like torture. While I looked out over Lake Michigan with sand on my feet, he proceeded to tell me that my toenail polish was sloppy, the mother of his child (his ex) is fat, rant about his child custody battle and complained about sand getting on his shoes. When I cut the date short and we were walking back to his car, I jumped from one rock to the next. He turned around and said, "I heard the Earth move." At 145 lbs., and 5'3, my Bally's instructor told me I was in great shape. My BMI was 25.7, which was considered overweight by CDC standards, but I wore it well. I was ready to get away from this jerk as soon as possible. He turned to hug me when he got to his car, and I put out my hand. He had the audacity to look disappointed. He instant messaged me when he got home. We had a few arguments over his weight comments, his bitterness over his mother and his attitude in general. I finally told him I hope his son does not turn out to be the miserable soul that he is. I was sure he would be the biggest jerk I'd ever meet until...
Nightmare #5: "Gap" had a gap in between his two front teeth, but he was very cute on BlackPlanet photographs. In person he was shorter than I expected but average height for a guy. The problem was he was into that long T-shirt phase that looked like nightgowns. He also had a bullet wound in his cheek. I still gave him a chance. On a scale of 1-10, he was a strong 8. But he had baby momma drama. The mother of his child refused to let him see his son and she was allegedly pregnant with his second child. Flashbacks of "Fat" ran through my mind. But this guy had a much better personality and reminded me of myself in many ways for the first couple of months. We hung out at each other's apartments, saw "Hustle & Flow" and made a point of sitting by the Charlie Brown graffiti tag at the lakefront. We watched shooting stars, drank red wine and stared at the moon. Straight out of a fairytale. I thought I'd lucked out. Then month three rolled around. I'd already told him I was a proud supporter of the 90-day rule even before "Girlfriends," and I think his penis was starting to override his brain. He decided to tell me around 60 days that he used to be a drug dealer; his father moved in with him because he was an alcoholic; his mother was in a mental institution because of abuse from his father; his sister was dying of a deadly disease; and he wanted me to buy him a cell phone and give him $20 because he used his money to pay for his sister's grocery bill. Talk about baggage. When he started pointing out that I had a credit card and I must have money if I was living on a freelance writer's salary, it was time for me to go. If there is one thing I don't play with it's people in my purse. I never gave him a dime and we broke up. Unfortunately I broke my 90-day rule goal for a little over 2 months. Never let a man give a woman an ultimatum on when you two should have sex. When you do, you're bound to have terrible sex because she's not going to be into it and he'll be able to tell. We broke up the next day after the ultimatum.
Nightmare #6: I waited two more years to even consider the idea of online dating again. In 2007, there was a guy on Amazon's website that I used to chat with all the time. I had no intentions of meeting him, but he and I would always review the same products and I thought he was hilarious. He was a Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity member from an Illinois suburb, but I had no idea what he looked like. However, a third reviewer from England contacted both of us and asked why we'd never bothered to meet even though we lived in the same state. After Nightmare #5, I just didn't have the desire to meet anyone online. But the more "England" tried to play matchmaker, the more I started wondering about "Kappa." And "Kappa" finally contacted me off of Amazon to ask me out. I don't get into Black Greek Organization (BGO) stereotypes because they're not always true, but I believe he took the stereotypes about Kappas being conceited and self-absorbed very seriously.
We meet at a vegetarian restaurant.
I say: "You're handsome."
He says, "Thank you." (He sits down and starts talking about something else.)
I say: I stopped checking my tire air pressure in the winter, but I always do it in the summer and fall. Do you?
He says, "No, you saw my BMW outside, right? My dealership does that. That's why they get paid the big bucks."
I say: I recently went to Atlanta. It's beautiful there, and there's lots of culture and history."
He says, "I like Atlanta, but the men are always trying to hit on me. I know I'm fine, but damn."
I say, "Just out of curiosity, do you get manicures? You seem like the metrosexual type."
He says, "Metrosexuals are gay. I'm not a metrosexual. I just hate getting dirty, like looking good and hate doing any manual labor."
I say, "You talk about yourself an awful lot. If you're not talking about your car, your looks or who wants you, you're talking about money. You seem to be a little arrogant."
He says, "A car is a waste of money. And I'm only pointing out the truth about how men liked me in Atlanta. I'm much more proud of the savings in my 401(k) plan anyway."
And after all that stunting "Kappa" did in the restaurant about his job, owning two apartments, his 401(k) plan and his looks, I found out that he lived with his parents. He did ask me to go out for a second date (after complaining about me wearing a turtleneck on our first date), but I turned him down. I told him he was very attractive, but the date felt like a job interview and there was no connection.
After that night, I officially gave up on online dating. Although I never had a situation where the guys didn't look like their photos, what I found out in 2007 is what I still stand by today. I don't care how you look or act online. It's meeting you in person that seals the deal on any date.
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