Stop hustling for acceptance, let it come to you

I was getting asked, every three months, if I wanted to try online dating. I’m only 28 by the way. Part of me thinks it’s because my younger sister got engaged and people feel bad for me. I don’t feel bad for me. Maybe that’s denial? I don’t know.

In any case, the answer is always “no”.  It makes me think of Minnie Driver from Return to Me who goes out on a date with the guy with hair plugs. Fake hair scares me. Teeth that are too white scare me. Guys who use tanning beds scare me. Man capris scare me. I guess I have too many prerequisites.

Part of me feels like I’m just not being open-minded enough, and then I think about sites named “Christian Mingle” and I want to stay as far away from it as physically possible. First of all, I don’t “mingle.”

I’m a wallflower at best, I give horrible first impressions and the best version of me you’re going to get is at least 3 months down the road. You can ask my friend Brittney. We met my junior year of college and the first two times she invited me to join the Sunday Sundae line in the cafeteria, I flat out rejected her. Who says no to free ice cream? Clearly I was insane.

I was going through one of those phases…you know? I had chestnut brown hair if you can imagine, a tee-shirt that said “Las Vegas” from one of my sister’s volleyball tournaments, black-rimmed glasses, and no makeup on ( I was protesting materialism after a recent trip to Africa). I would call my look “apathetic nerd with a flair for humanitarianism”.

I was a brand new transfer student in my junior semester at Point Loma. She had the patience to continue asking me questions, even while I showed no interest in being her friend until I discovered we were both from Oregon. In Southern California, meeting a fellow Oregonian is like spotting real hiking boots in a sea of Ugg boots and mini-skirts. You can’t fake street cred.

Once I realized she was a real hiking boot and not one of those fuzzy ones girls wear in eighty degree weather, I settled into the idea of maybe liking her one day. She seemed genuine, I think I could handle having one friend more than the zero I had.

Later down the road, I still ask her why she bothered talking to me that year. The cafeteria tables were filled with plenty of other friendly, happy-go-lucky, put-together people who would have jumped at the opportunity to be her friend.

She told me, “I could just tell from the minute I saw you, you didn’t care about anything.”

“And you liked that?” I asked, genuinely surprised.

“Well yeah, it’s why I picked you!’ she said, like it was a plain fact.

And that was exactly what happened.

When I got back to my dorm room after dinner that evening, Brittney reappeared in the doorway.  She said something like this, “I just want you to know that I picked you out. I don’t pick lots of people, but I pick you, and we’re gonna be friends, like it or not.”

Then she dropped the mic and walked away. Seriously, who does that?

I did everything wrong, and then some. I did nothing to win her approval or affection. In fact, I was apathetic toward her to the point of rudeness, and somehow she saw through my innate stubbornness to realize that somewhere in there was a normal girl searching for acceptance, however little I showed it. I was wearing a “Las Vegas” tee-shirt for God’s sakes. Low point!

The point is, this experience has taught me exactly everything I ever needed to know about online dating, strangely enough. I don’t need to hustle for acceptance and neither do you. It taught me that you can throw every rule of attraction out the window, because in many cases, there are no rules. If one of my favorite people in the world saw the worst side of me first and loved it, is it possible that someday, someone else will too. I’m sticking to my guns on this.

The law of attraction (I’m making this up) is to have open, confident body language, smile a lot, dress fashionably, tell jokes, express self assurance and have a generous and warm personality.

I went and did everything wrong. Not a little wrong, a lot wrong. I repelled most normal people with feelings and rejected a perfectly good free ice cream sundae, twice. Brittney was the exception to the rule of friendship. She wasn’t afraid of me. She didn’t care if I rejected her.  She told me I was chosen, and that was all that mattered. She knew deep down that I really liked ice cream.  She knew she had to dish it up and put it out there, or there was no way I would take it.

The truth is, I have an angsty side that I can’t make all cute in an online dating profile. I won’t do it, it’s dishonest, because I like that side of me. Why make it palatable and tone it down when it won me my best friend?  That’s why I throw the online dating baby out with the bathwater. I see no point. If you are an online dater, I probably just offended you. Let’s stay friends and see where this goes. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship.