Writing is the most fun you can have by yourself, states Terry Pratchett. Which is definitely true, if you don’t mind the fact that you are by yourself. And even when you’re not, you are now a little strange. One solution to this problem seems obvious: internet dating. I have a computer and can write, so why not?
I might have hinted this to a friend. They immediately said ‘that would be a great topic to write about!’ Which is entirely true. Everyone loves reading about other people’s failures in romance. However, that involved me viewing the dates as a writer as well as revealing myself as a woman inside my writing. The first of these is really quite fun, though with some ethical considerations, while the second is just plain painful.
When I sat down to write the first post I realized how uncomfortable it was even just admitting I had joined up. Oh, I know, everyone does it. It’s okay, accepted. My sister’s best friend’s brother knows someone who met their soul mate online. Which is all true. But we all know that underlying these statements there is a fascination with internet dating because you only do it if you’re desperate. It is great to hear of someone else doing it, but it’s much hard to admit you are the one that needed it.
To write that I have gone online to look for love, I am saying to the world at large that I am desperate. Because you all must realize that while I say I spend a lot of time by myself, I’m not a total recluse. I still go to church, the gym, supermarkets, work, shopping, etc. There must be some men in all of those places. If I’m looking online, what happened with all these men, huh?
In signing up for online dating and telling you all about it, I am saying to the world that ‘yes, all the men that have actually met me have rejected me, thanks for asking.’ This is, of course, really quite self-pitying, as in a lot of instances I have rejected them. But still it stands, harsh and bleak. However, that should be great inspiration for a writer. Looking inside myself is what I do, isn’t it? My characters are all little bits of me. Why is this harder to write about?
It is hard because I’ve realized that to be honest, to be truthful as writer, I shouldn’t hide behind fiction. I might be able to disguise myself behind some amusing quips and self-deprecation. But as writers, isn’t the point to speak of the emotions others are not game to discuss? A lot of writers take this to mean showing the sex and the swearing. However that is the easy part. Anyone can do that, it takes very little bravery. What I mean is laying yourself on the table and saying ‘look at my private parts. Compare and see that you are not strange, you have just never been shown this before.’ But it is not the physical private parts people now need to see, but the private parts of soul and psyche. The little wounds and gaping holes, that lay so hidden in most people that it looks like everyone else has it all worked out.
I could, of course, do this display with an arrogant swagger, pretend I didn’t care, being on display is totally fine because I love myself. But is that really helpful when someone feels isolated and strange? To say to them ‘you can look, but if you feel uncomfortable about it, there must be something wrong with you.’?
So being a writer and being a woman are bother harder than I thought. I have an obligation to all other women to be honest, to admit to the pain and the self-doubt. Open myself up to criticism in order to show what is true. So here goes.
I have joined the online market. I have met some great men, and some slightly more damaged ones, and some of them even think I’m great. But that’s because they can’t see how scared I am underneath. But you can.