Meeting someone “IRL” — as, it turns out, they say — seemed unlikely at best. I haven’t met anyone I’ve liked enough, or who liked me enough, to cancel my accounts.
And so it was that, some four months into singledom, I gathered the courage to join Ok Cupid and head to a wine bar with Pete, a musician-turned-accountant whom I chose for his spectacularly anodyne profile. But I am nevertheless here to offer a defense of online dating, not necessarily as a tool for finding a partner — I have no idea if the internet will ever yield me true love — but rather as a world-enlarging enterprise, and a means of rebuilding one’s self in the wake of separation.
(And I should acknowledge, too, that I have also behaved badly at times, failing to write someone back once real life takes hold or sending squirmy messages in lieu of a clean break.)But for all this, what I’ve gained from online dating far exceeds what I have lost.When I was in my early 30s, my husband of four years, partner of nine, left abruptly in the middle of the night.In the surreal weeks and months that followed, I grew increasingly apprehensive about the idea of online dating.I have learned how to sext, how to plant tomatoes, how to drink mate, beat box, and navigate the bars of Bushwick.I could introduce you to men who believe in God and men who live in their cars; men who have slept with their sisters and others who have followed the Dead.