I tell all my single girlfriends to give online dating a try. Your inbox will fill with notes from 19-year-olds in the ‘burbs, 40-somethings who find your taste in music “refreshing,” addled idiots writing “id fck u,” and a handful of age-appropriate, nice-looking guys who can string some sentences together and like to cook. You set up a profile, pick some cute photos, write something witty about the things that you love (Beyonce, Hillary Clinton, Battlestar Galactica), list some books you like, and then sit back, kick your feet up, and wait for the messages to roll in.Finally, one of the cool girls writes back, and you will banter a bit, swapping favorite restaurants or concert venues.You will ask her to meet up “in real life.” At the bar, you will chat nervously for an hour (she is not as pretty or as funny as you had hoped she’d be), and then you will be saddled with the check even though she ate most of the sweet potato fries.It’s not behavior I’m particularly proud of either. Why don’t I reach out to the dudes with the funny handles and good taste in books, the ones who post pictures with goofy faces and like tacos almost as much as I like tacos? I wish the evidence pointed to something else, something egalitarian and modern, but when I get real with my own online dating M. I’ve sent messages to guys before, sure, but the ratio is small. This is not how I want this work, but I condone it with my inaction.Why do I not respond politely to every message, even the ones I’m not interested in? Once we make it out of the safe cocoon of the Internet and into the real world I’m better about aligning my actions with my values.You will peruse profiles and find a few women who aren’t posing in a bathroom with their stomachs exposed.You will look for things in common in their profile (they like Scrabble too! You will send them a note, carefully crafted to show interest and attention to detail. The next one will, but she spells “you” as “u” and you will let the conversation stall.
It is a sad, soul-crushing place where good guys go to die a slow death by way of ignored messages and empty inboxes.Why do I alternate between playing the damsel and the playing the demanding entitled a**hole? Out here, at a bar or restaurant, I work really hard to make sure that you know we are equals participating in a traditionally unequal transaction.You don’t order my wine and we split the check because we are peers. I have a job, you have a job, we’re all on a budget, and I did eat most of the sweet potato fries!I hypothesize that it will feel shitty to spend time on a nice note and to be ignored, but I don’t know, because I haven’t really tried.I think it’s about time I try to understand my digital privilege. Emily Heist Moss is a New Englander in love with Chicago, where she works in a tech start-up.In the realm of hetero courtship, tradition still reigns supreme.The Internet could be the great democratizer, the great playing field-leveler.She blogs every day about gender, media, politics and sex at Rosie Says, and has written for Jezebel, The Frisky, The Huffington Post and The Good Men Project. Emily Heist Moss is a New Englander in love with Chicago, where she works in a tech start-up.She blogs every day about gender, media, politics and sex at Rosie Says, and has written for Jezebel, The Frisky, The Huffington Post and The Good Men Project. *****It’s a little too far past January 1st to call this a New Year’s Resolution, but I’ve decided to make a change.I do not want to be a passive participant in my romantic life.