The Seedy, Dangerous, Fascinating Internet

Elise: Kate, you have found the man of your dreams.  A man who wants to spend
the rest of his life with you, and yet, (as you mentioned) you are
embarrassed by how you met!  What gives?  Please explain this…

Kate: A lot of people wrote to me asking about my relationship after the wedding dress posts, and then Elise thought I was being ridiculous when I admitted to feeling awkward about a certain aspect of it. So she challenged me with the following question, and here I am, embarrassing myself in front of a national audience, yet again. I draw strength from the example of Penelope Trunk, who talks about her relationship in as brazenly* straightforward a manner as she talks about anything else. Everything else, rather.

I have a dark secret. It’s not a well-kept secret, because I’m about to tell you. My fiancé and I met in a way that no one really wants to hear about. In a way that the New York Times doesn’t want to print in the weddings’ section. In a way that causes the people we tell to pause for a long moment, desperately attempting to collect themselves, before finally stammering, “Oh! Um…Glad that worked out for you. I’ve heard it can work.” And then they quickly add, “My coworker’s cousin’s good friend met her husband that way.” Another pause. “Bad divorce. Turned out he was a serial killer. Yup. The real deal. Didn’t kill her, though! So I guess that’s something. But good. That’s just great.”

Have you guessed it yet? Of course you have. We met online. Through a dating site. This one, actually, if you must know. What? It was free!

See how defensive I am? It’s a problem. Like my addiction to parentheses. So far, I’m doing pretty well with that today. I’ll probably give in to temptation soon, though. Just wait for it.

Anyway. I had been broken up with a few months before and none of the guys I was meeting in my graduate school classes were very cute and I’d lost ten pounds from Feeling Bad About Life, and Emily, who was on the site already, said, “Seriously, just go online. It’s amazing. Every guy you talk to will want to buy you dinner, and you’ll feel incredibly hot all the time.” Since Emily is gorgeous, brilliant, and everyone in the world thinks she rocks, I thought I’d better listen.

That’s just the thing, though. It was really only because Emily is gorgeous that I joined a dating site. Because the stigma, though admittedly fading, is that dating sites are for ugly girls. No one says it explicitly. Just like no one explicitly says they won’t date guys who are shorter than them (by the way, the guy who broke up with me was shorter than me. I’m a rule breaker! And I’m using parentheses…You knew it was coming). No. It’s not expressly stated. But it’s there. You can feel it.

Everyone tries to put up really sexy photos of themselves on the dating site. I think it’s to prove that they’re not on there because they’re ugly. My fiancé didn’t get this memo, though. He picked what I am certain to this day are the least attractive pictures ever taken of him. He was making a bold statement about the frivolousness and superficiality of human mating rituals. Ha! No, he just had no idea which pictures actually looked good.

He wrote to me, and he was by far the most clever, interesting, and funny guy I’d heard from on the site (I’d been on about a week). I read his message and laughed aloud and found myself thinking, “Please please let him be cute!” I clicked on his profile. My heart sank. It was apparent to me that he had developed his wit, kindness, and intelligence in order to compensate for his obvious shortcomings. But here’s the thing—I wrote back anyway. He was too interesting to ignore. I told myself at least we could be friends. So we wrote every day for a few weeks before we even met. And then we met. And….

As it turns out, we’re simply both really unphotogenic sometimes. He was the cutest boy I’d ever seen. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I still can’t. I’m thinking about him right now, as I write this. And now. And now. Annoying, right? No, it’s awesome!

Awesome until I have to tell someone how we met. And then, immediately, I wonder if they’re wondering if I couldn’t get any dates. I tell myself the way to combat this is to tell more people about it. But then they give me that look. And there’s the awkward pause. And they mention that the woman who married the serial killer….well, she wasn’t exactly good-looking, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for the question, Elise!

Everyone: Has anyone else met an awesome guy online? Or in another slightly awkward manner?

P.S. As much as I approve of the internet’s intimate involvement in couple’s romances, I think twitter engagements might be too much even for me. There has to be a line. What do you think?

*That’s a little joke. You’ll get it if you know her blog title. I’m hilarious, right?

22 Comments »

Kate on April 8th 2010 in relationships

22 Responses to “The Seedy, Dangerous, Fascinating Internet”

  1. Kristin responded on 08 Apr 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    Kate,

    First of all, I’ve been obsessed with your website ever since you gave me the link…but I guess I waited until now to tell you! Every post I read it’s like you’re taking the words out of my mouth. I take great pride in eating my damn cake…and real cake too, not that sugar-free, fat-free, taste-free stuff.

    Um, I definitely joined a dating site after my gorgeous friends were on one too. Met lots of awesome guys….all intelligent, cute, driven…I think it’s much more socially acceptable in New York than other cities, particularly for our generation. But see, it’s weird not knowing anything about these guys…no third party connection of any kind…freaks me out…but then again, what’s so different about meeting a cute guy on the subway? (which I’ve also done…yes it actually happens)…

    I talked with Lisa from AJR yesterday. I’m for sure taking a class in the fall. How about you? Say yes…I want to know someone there when I start!

    Hope you’re well! -Kristin

  2. janetha responded on 08 Apr 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    hey! no shame in your online game! one of my friends is getting married in may (match dot com) and the other one is well on her way to engagement land (also match dot com). i met an old boyfriend in a chat room when i was sixteen. i met 5 food bloggers online and shared a hotel room with them before meeting. i have more online friends that i talk to now days than i do “real life” friends. well, maybe that is an exaggeration, but seriously.. online is a great way to meet people who you get along with. and who like the same things. let’s face it, there are slim pickins in salt lake city when it comes to people who photograph their food. thank god for the internet. and i am glad you shared your secret. i think it is a fabulous love story. you are right. it’s awesome.

  3. Betherann responded on 08 Apr 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    My husband and I met on a [free] online dating site. I still feel stupid when I tell people, but it’s getting better! :) Don’t be ashamed — online dating is not the sketchy circus it once was. Besides, even if you DID end up on a date with a less-than-gentlemanly dude, you have the smarts to ditch him. But you got lucky and ended up with a good one. Woohoo! :)

  4. Katie responded on 08 Apr 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    My cousin an her NOW FIANCE (!!) met online…match.com, I think. She is one of my role models and the most uniquely amazing person I know. And her guy, Paul, is the PERFECT FIT. I have never met a more perfectly suited couple (in person, i mean. cause you guys seem damn perfectly suited!)….and he is just an all around great guy. totally changed my opinion of dating sites.

  5. elise responded on 08 Apr 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    1) this is such a great post
    2) pretty soon this newfangled technology thing called the internet is gonna take over and then the times can blow it (puh-leez they only print gossip girl type engagements anyways, who gives a rats ass what country club his parents belonged to…)
    3) i am a parentheses whore. dont fight it :)
    4) those pics at the end are SOOOO cute (and im not just sayign that, they really are)
    5) im really glad you liked the prompt bc i really enjoyed reading about your thoughts on this, even though the fact that you think its an ugly-girls-only thing (bc its not, my smokin hot friend met a few guys through it and she’s QUITE the catch) – its just once you get to a certain age, how are you supposed to meet quality guys? bars? no. the gym tools? no. i mean…its kinda bleak, unless your job involves a constant influx of new and interesting, attractive men (and whoever has that job has struck gold and successfully managed to keep mum, so props to her!)

    no more run-on comments. you are great. congrats on the engagement (again)!!

  6. Kate responded on 09 Apr 2010 at 1:04 am #

    @Kristin– Thanks for commenting! And for bravely admitting a healthy love of some serious cake. I agree that online dating is different in NYC than in the rest of the country. Everyone’s so busy and driven here, no one has time to meet one another conventionally. I’ll email you in a sec.

    And @Janetha, along those lines, it’s totally true that the lines between the internet and the “real” world are blurring more and more. Good point.

    @Elise– Ha! Love the numbering. You are beyond awesome. That’s all I can say.

  7. Ilana responded on 09 Apr 2010 at 3:54 am #

    Kate:
    From other’s comments i can see that i will not be the FIRST one to say, “First of all,” but here goes anyway…
    First of all, I am in love with the way you write your entries. You make it soooo extremely easy to get interested in what you say. Just putting that out there. YOURE A GREATTT INTERNET/BLOG WRITER! :]
    Second of all, I kinda sorta met my boyfriend (ish…kind of ex now w/e lol) online. He does go to my school and i had seen him around before, but the first and only time we ever spoke to each other was on facebook. Just putting that out thereee! :]

  8. Ilana responded on 09 Apr 2010 at 3:55 am #

    scratch that,
    the firsttttt time. not only time haha

  9. Kate responded on 09 Apr 2010 at 10:37 am #

    @Ilana— Hooray! Internet dating solidarity! Thanks for sharing. I’m glad you two have spoken more than once ;)
    And thank you for the amazing compliments!! *blush* That’s really, really sweet of you, and it’s greatly appreciated.

  10. Emily responded on 09 Apr 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    Nice post :) And don’t forget that frank and dana met online. For those of you who haven’t met them, that’s my uncle and his insanely gorgeous wife. Dana is one of the most beautiful people alive (I’m still jealous of how good should looked in a mini-dress, fully pregnant, the week before she gave birth to their daughter Kenzie). Keep sharing the stories and the crazy stigma might go away! Then maybe I will meet a cool guy online! (you still owe me a fiance).

  11. Amy responded on 10 Apr 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    My husband avoided me when we first met. I was young (17) and I saw him at a coffee shop just minding his own business, and I was all jazzed up on caffeine. So there, I’d pop up, annoying as hell, “HI! Whatcha doing?Readingthepaper?SeeIdrewapictureofyou, hopethat’snotcreepyDoyoulikemochasMETOO!” You get the picture. So he avoided me. Then we started chatting online, and he saw that I could be calm (of course, the day he finally saw me calm, I was depressed… ). The rest, as they say…
    Not SUPER awkward, except for the fact he thought I was a teenage sugared-up stalker.

  12. Cindy responded on 10 Apr 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    awwww

    who cares how you met
    YOU MET
    YOU’RE HAPPY,
    Life is good.

    My husband was a customer I knew at my job for YEARS

    He’s my prince.
    even on bad days.

    love your pics…you are beautiful Kate!

  13. Christina (Dinner at Christina's) responded on 25 Apr 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    I met my boyfriend online! He is a web developer and was monitor for a message board I joined. We started chatting on there, then sending DMs, and eventually emails, phone calls, and meeting in person! I joined the site in February, he came to meet me in September and our 2nd “meeting” was me moving in with him in October! I’ve lived with him 3 1/2 years now and we couldn’t be happier.

    I had a previous boyfriend I met online so when I tell people they’re pretty much over the shock this time around. Also, since my boyfriend is a web developer and spends so much time online I don’t think his friends or family were shocked either. But when I tell new people I do find myself stammering quickly to hurry and explain it so we don’t seem like desperate dateless freaks. Thankfully the eHarmony and Match.com success and commercials has erased some of that stigma that all people online are old creepy pedophiles.

    Another weird relation I get from older relatives is the “pen pal” aspect. I guess it used to be common for people to be assigned a pen pal in school that they would keep for years and years. I’ve had aunts and other relatives tell me about pen pals they wrote from elementary school through college and never made an effort to meet. They find a similarity in online communication, like with me and my boyfriend or me and the food blog and friends I make through there. I guess it is the same – learning through the person is through mainly written communication so they become a “true” friend that you really “know.”

  14. Kate responded on 25 Apr 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    @Christina — Sounds like you have an amazing love story!! I want more details!

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