Somewhere about eight years ago, my three daughters began to harass their terminally single father about diving back into the dating pool. They had obviously banded together in the war room to map out their strategy in approaching me. I was presented with my terms of surrender; in the form of a roadmap that would lead me to my soul mate. It was made clear to me that the only alternative affording me any semblance of honor was to find my true love on an Internet dating site!
I surveyed the digital landscape and came across a dating site that seemed to meet all of the requisites. It showed locations, interests, age, and optional photos. I typed in my search parameters and eagerly awaited prompt delivery of my ideal woman. I have to say that I was utterly amazed at how many blonde, six-foot tall, Scandinavian, former supermodels I came across. Even more perplexing was that they had all gone on to earn doctoral degrees in quantum physics and did charity work in underdeveloped countries! This was going to be a relationship cakewalk!
The introductory emails were sent, complete with my philosophy on life, my aspirations for a dream companion, and of course a photo. The responses started piling in; composed of everything from blunt rejection to marriage proposals! I decided it wise to follow the middle ground and select a few women who seemed intelligent and charming in their responses. The next step was to exchange emails for a while and get to know who was on the other end of the keyboard. This invariably led to phone calls and finally in-person meetings, or dates if you will.
My hat is off to the people at Microsoft for the fine tool they developed in their Photo Shop product! I am not all about looks, but I have to say that photo editing software has reached new heights! None of the women I dated looked anything like the pictures they had sent me. Some had shaved a decade of off their true appearance and still others have saved themselves a bundle in cosmetic surgery with a few simple clicks of the mouse!
As initial inhibitions began to fall by the wayside, conversation opened up and I got to know the real person sitting across from me at the restaurant table. It did not take long to discover that the insecure woman across from me had no real grasp on the English romantic poets, as she asserted. Another had never traveled outside of the state, much more adored the Prado Museum in Paris! Yes, she had no idea that Madrid even existed! Please, do not even get me started on how many of these femme fatale raised a curious eyebrow when I stated that my degree was in International Affairs!
Eventually I did find my soul mate online. We are coming up on seven years of a happy marriage and I count myself amongst the online dating blessed. She looked just like her photo, told the truth about who she was online and in person, and was every bit as delightful face-to-face as she was in her emails!
The Internet landscape is dotted with a tapestry of misrepresentations when it comes to who each of us is. Think about it. How often have you fudged your education, looks, interests, or desires? Have you told a little white online lie in order to get something or someone you want? Has there been just a tad of exaggeration flowing from your fingertips? Is it human nature to embellish who we are, in order to gain acceptance?
Distance and anonymity allow each of us an opportunity. We can either paint who we wish we were or we can boldly fill the canvas with who we truly are. The choice is ours! This is not limited to our dealings in the cyberworld either. The same holds true for our in-person interactions with those around us.
We are a fragile species, in that receiving the approval of those around us is paramount. We are not worthy human beings unless we wear the right clothes, drive the right cars, send our children to the right schools, and conform to the desires of others. We are an enigma amongst all the creatures that roam the Earth. Yet it would be much simpler to share who we truly are with one another. It would be far less stressful to say that we are each a unique and beautiful individual who does not rely on others to define who we are!
Take a moment sometime today to share something about yourself with a stranger. Do not embellish it, do not elaborate; simply be yourself. That warm and calming influence that you will find overtaking you is something called confidence. As for me, I will be rubbing my dog’s head in a few minutes. For now, she is the most straightforward and open creature I have the pleasure of knowing! You see, she has not learned how to use a keyboard yet!