My Online Dating Disaster: Prince Charming the Stalker
He didn’t look like a stalker. He looked like a nice, well-mannered twentysomething with a fashion sense that lurched toward the emo.
He didn’t sound like a stalker, either. He sounded nice, and friendly, and totally easygoing.
But even as I walked into the coffee shop and saw the sleek blond hair, the stylish hipster belt, and the anti-used-car-salesman smile of a nice-looking 23-year-old, there was still a little part of me that feared I was meeting with a middle-aged alcoholic in (a really good) disguise.
He was polite, funny, interesting, and sweet. He knew that the idea of dating someone I had met online scared me, so he did everything he could think of to make me feel more at ease. He opened car doors for me, he knew how to cook, he wasn’t messy, and he kissed exactly like how the guys in my Prince Charming dreams always have.
Thanks to OKCupid, my life had become one big Kodak moment—one big temporary Kodak moment, that is. I was scheduled to leave in three weeks for a semester abroad in China, and I wasn’t about to turn down any guys who’d offer to take me out for dumplings and tea there just because of some contrived connection I had with a dude I’d met online at home.
I sat Danny down a week before I was scheduled to leave. “I have to be single when I go to China,” I said.
“I completely understand,” he answered. “That’s fine.”
I got on the plane feeling great. Then I found out that as soon as I’d left, Danny ran out and bought a wall calendar and a thick red marker. “What’d you do that for?” I asked.
“To mark off the days until you come back with X’s, of course,” he said. “I already made plans for the day you come back, too. I can pick you up at the airport and then you can come back to my place and sleep until you’re not jet lagged anymore. You can just stay there for as long as you want!”
“Uh,” I said.
It only got worse from there. As I’d predicted, I met someone else in China before too long (I might be fickle, but at least I know it), and I called Danny to tell him. His daily “I love you” messages waited for me each morning on OKCupid, and even though I barely replied, he still didn’t seem to understand that we weren’t dating. How ridiculous was it, I thought, that I had to call and break up with someone on the other side of the world who I wasn’t even going out with?
The phone conversation was ugly, and I listened to variations on “How could you DO this to me?” for upwards of two hours.
When I finally got back home, I had a cup of coffee with Danny. Then, a couple of days later, I received an email from him that basically said, “Please never speak to me again.”
Danny’s reason for wanting a lifetime ban on my company was, as I understood it, because he was so desperately in love that any thought of me sent him into a tizzy of unbearable memories from the scant three weeks during which we occasionally saw each other. For this I can hardly blame OKCupid. No, I guess their only crime is not offering a Warning: May Cause Addiction disclaimer at the top of my profile.