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Commentary Texting Isn't Love: The Fake Intimacy of Today's Dating Culture As writer Josh Sabarra proves, even the most sensible gay can lose their head in the pre-meeting rituals of online dating. By Josh Sabarra November 12 He arrived at my door with an engagement band, a red rose, and a basket of good intentions; missing, though, was everything that falls between meeting in person and standing at the altar.
Our introduction led to copious amounts of texting, a back-and-forth maelstrom that quickly created a false sense of intimacy. Borne from our textual chemistry were deep conversations about families, values, and interests. There was little chance that the heightened romantic frenzy buzzing between our smart phones could survive outside of its digital bubble. Now consider a dusty and seemingly dated alternative: Connor calls me after receiving my number from a matchmaking friend.
We exchange pleasantries, a couple of bon mots, and make plans to have a meal the following week. The little contact we have between our first chat and dinner serves only a functional purpose as a way to determine a restaurant location and meeting time.
We begin to learn about each other over Italian food at a neighborhood trattoria, a natural unfolding unmarred by any pre-determined expectations. The 0-to nature of our texting tragedy ultimately made us both question our intentions and feelings, putting a fatal kibosh on what might have been a long-term love affair. My history from through B. That's not to say there was a complete scarcity of viable suitors, but many wanted to know everything about me by text and phone before even agreeing to coffee, let alone lunch or the lifetime commitment cemented by dinner.
Online sites and mobile apps helped cultivate this modern-day, anonymous answer to speed dating, and I fell into their webs. Samson, a clean-cut businessman, traveled extensively for work. He was upfront about his schedule when he initially reached out on Match. We had an undeniable rapport and senses of humor that appeared to be complementary. Our messages had created a shell of familiarity that, we reasoned, had basically gotten 10 dates out of the way.
We were so certain, in fact, that such dense substance rested beneath the candy-coating that we planned to spend our inaugural evening together at his home — assuming we stopped kissing long enough to make it through the front door. Unfortunately, anticipation quickly gave way to a sobering disappointment that splashed my face with startling frigidity. We invested hours — not to mention hope — in what we both wanted to have a happy ending. In a more traditional dating circumstance, there may have been some butterflies and excitement, sure, but the risk of a crippling fall would have been diminished without the opportunity to climb so high in the first place.
We do have a responsibility, however, to take insights from our almost-relationships and bridge them to the process of looking for those that will hopefully last a lifetime. Following the wedding-that-never-was to Connor, I considered closing my online dating accounts and relying on more traditional social situations to find potential mates.
I thought long and hard about my lifestyle and whether or not depending on friends for set-ups or meeting someone while out and about were realistic in terms of opportunity. Then, it dawned on me: I could avoid hurt and disappointment by altering my approach and dating old-school style. Before I even read his note, I allow myself to think ahead for one moment, thrilled about the possibility of my future husband being on the other end of that e-mail.
He is a veteran marketing executive and television producer who has held positions at The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Follow him on Twitter JoshSabarra.
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