50 Shades of Online Dating
Navigating the online dating world with your Native guide.
In this day and age, the percentage of people meeting and falling in love through an online dating site has dramatically increased. As we get ready to settle down and have graduated from the bar scene, as lesbians, we are left with few outlets better than an online dating site to meet our soul mate. We can find our ‘target market’ without having to schlep to the local pub and take our chances there. Some are looking for Ms. Right and some are simply looking for Ms. Right Now. Our only other outlets, outside of the bars, are work (many of us have made that mistake), through friends (which sometimes gets lesbincestual), our places of worship or the random social gathering.
Those of us that have tried online dating and even met our wives on there, know the pitfalls and caveats of navigating that pixelated world. Each site serves its purpose and we come to know which sites will provide you with possible soul mates and which will provide you with something a little more questionable. I can hear you categorizing them now.
Many of us that are dating online are genuinely there to find something good, something lasting. You carefully fill out the profile – hiding it until it is pure perfection and the exact essence of what you’re attempting to convey in 250 characters or less. You try to strike that balance between sounding intelligent but not nerdy, serious but not boring, adventurous but a nester. Your catchy headline took you 2 hours and several approval texts from various, carefully selected sources. Then you start clicking the radio buttons to select all of the options – labels, really, that you have worked years to get rid of. Age - 18 to 24. Hair color – light brown. Eye color – hazel (after another series of confirmation texts). Pets – you stop to google your hedgehog – is he an exotic or a rodent? Which one sounds better ?
The radio button that I always had an issue with was race. I wanted someone to love me as the strong Native woman I am but I found that the virtual world reflected most of the same ‘isms’ as the real world. I’ve experienced extremes in both the online and offline dating worlds. There are those that are so fascinated with your Native heritage and they treat you like they caught a live one. I sometimes felt like I was part of a weird collection. There are those that will date women of every color but Native American or those that won’t date women with any hint of color except spray tan.
I will admit that I put together a few experiments when I was still online dating. I created my profile as usual and selected the ‘Native American/Eskimo’ button. Nobody wanted to visit my teepee or rub noses with me. The next week, I selected the ‘Other’ button. That simply brought curiosity seekers. People have mistaken my cultural identity for many things but rarely Native. They were willing to take a chance on an ‘Other’ but one of the first questions would be – so, what are you? Next.
So, I finally stepped over the line and selected ‘Caucasian/White’ and my inbox filled up with messages telling me how much they loved what I wrote, how cute my dog was – and what breed is he (lol), etc. I made it past the screening process and entered this other world. I went from third class in steerage to first class with a balcony view in one mouse click. I quickly set my button back to the original – my origin. I wanted to find someone real who loved me for me …and I did! Be careful, ladies. You may just opt out of some pretty incredible Rez Babes.