Frog Hunting

frog hunting

I don’t want to tell you about this, but I’m going to. So consider yourselves in my inner circle of confidentiality.

In my continuing effort to improve my life skills, I have (very reluctantly and recently) joined the massive social experiment that is called Online Dating.

In case you haven’t ever experienced it, online dating is basically an ongoing research project in which you pay to participate. You answer some questions, add a few of your most flattering photos, give them your credit card, and you’re in.

And then, once you’ve forked over the dollars that you made while you were single and had time to work, you are suddenly inundated with real names, fake names, messages, confessions, blatant lies, and hundreds and hundreds of pictures. Not to mention the growing realization that you haven’t ever actually done anything with your life, considering JohnDeere56 from Nowheresville, IN, has been to 39 countries and counting and still had time to build matching cedar rocking chairs for his grandparents.

You have entered the maze.

And it’s very hard to get out, because it’s eerily fascinating to watch people try to sell their personalities, their lives, all to convince you that they are a prince just eagerly waiting for true love’s kiss. And that, in the meantime, they’re just making the best of things.

There have been countless blogs written on the weirdness of dating men you met online, as well as rants given about our society’s fall into moral decrepitude or the death of chivalry, so I won’t bore you with more of that. At least until I have experienced more of it and have something interesting to say.

For now, I’ll just leave you with two observations, two pieces of advice that I think can apply to you in any area of life, whether or not you have entered the maze.

  1. If you are terrible at taking selfies, don’t post selfies. Anywhere. And when I say terrible, I mean if all your selfies make it difficult to tell if you took a selfie or if a toddler stole your phone at the zoo and took a picture of a baby hippopotamus from below. How do you know if you are terrible at taking selfies? Ask someone. Anyone. Ask a grocery store clerk if you have to. Ask them two questions: a) does this look like a human being? and b) does this look like me? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then stop posting selfies. Anywhere. And if they answer “No” to a) and “Yes” to b) then you have a whole different issue, and you should probably talk to your doctor about that.
  2. When someone says, “Ask me anything, I’m an open book!” it doesn’t actually mean that they have done a lot of soul-searching and processing, and have moved past all shame and fear in their lives and are willing to share with you the fascinating and vulnerable pieces of their souls at an appropriate time. It means they are dreadfully boring and/or they have never been to a therapist. I guarantee you, one good session with my counselor, and nobody will want to be an open book. Basically, “I’ll tell anyone anything at any time, even if I’ve never met them in person and don’t know if they’re a human or a money-scamming robot!” is code for “I’m shallow and self-ignorant and desperately lonely.” Beware of these people.

Well, that’s what I’ve learned from my frog hunting so far. I’ll keep you posted.

Is there anything you’ve learned from online relationships that you want to share?



11 thoughts on “Frog Hunting

  1. Dana Russo February 3, 2016 / 12:25 pm

    I love you! Love how you write. Love how you process and get others to *think* as well. Keep writing!

  2. Kari February 3, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    I’ve learned that this can only be worth anything if you:

    a) can be brave.
    b) actually meet people.
    c) can at least pretend to be brave.
    d) are careful.
    e) force yourself to be brave.
    f) have the actual time in your life to answer questions thoughtfully.

    That’s all.

  3. one of your housemates February 3, 2016 / 12:46 pm

    as we all know, i am great at selfies. so. that’s all i have to contribute here.

    • ashleyne February 3, 2016 / 9:58 pm

      Thanks, Professor. I’m glad you approve!

  4. Miilanna May 5, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    This has nothing to do with online dating. I just wanted to mention your references to “open books”. Autistics, at least once we have learned to communicate, are extremely transparent and tend to be “open books”. That is NOT because we are shallow, since we DEFINITELY ARE NOT or self-ignorant (though it seems most who are not autistic are ignorant about us). We may be desperately lonely, though, since we live in a capricious, deceitful, chaotic, condemning and hostile society.

    Some open books ARE worth exploring.

  5. Molly May 5, 2017 / 4:22 pm

    My rule of thumb for online dating and selfies: if all the pictures are selfies, he has no friends.

    Looking forward to episode 2!

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