“So what’s a normal girl like you doing finding guys here?”

Couple in Chicago at the Lincoln Park Zoo in the Summer Photo : Alanna Bagladi

When it comes to online dating in all of its forms, there is one question that seems to come up again and again:

“So, what brought you to (insert name of cyber hook up mechanism here)?”

Sometimes, a smooth talker will rephrase a little and use the almost sickening line, “What’s a cute/hot/normal girl/babe/honey like you doing finding guys here?” Seriously? You think I am going to fall for you because you just called me normal? My standards haven’t been that low since my first college party.

I cannot tell you how much time I spent thinking about answers to this question. My first instinct was to say I got it as a joke. Here is my confession: I never got an OKCupid account as a joke or because I was bored. I got it because I wanted it. And what is wrong with that? Why do I have to explain myself to everyone I meet on the site? We obviously both have an account yet still think we need to rationalize to each other. I mean, we met on the damned thing!

But even as I so hated this question and so desperately wanted a right answer to give, I asked it to just as many people as interrogated me. And you know what, there wasn’t a right answer on that end either. I rolled my eyes every time someone said, “my friend made it for me as a joke but then I thought, hey, some people are cool on there.” I would reply, “yeah, samsies bro” even though I knew deep down that we both made it ourselves, and blamed our friends for the shameful desperation in our attempts at connection.

So here it is, the real reason that I got my first OKCupid account. First of all, I was hitting dead ends with the guys I was meeting. Again and again, I would meet a guy in class or out at a party and start to like him. I’d think about this guy a ton and have borderline-creepy fantasies about him and how we’d run into all the guys that I liked before him in some situation that made me look so together and like I was in the best relationship ever. I’d make small advances toward said guy, reading into every text message or look like I was fawning over a James Joyce novel that necessitated deciphering. Then one night I would see this guy at party, nervously sip down my drink (then a few more) way to fast, engage in some blurry conversation before mysteriously transitioning into what no doubt was a sloppy make out session. Whether the night ended there or went further wasn’t of much consequence. That was the end and the cycle would renew.

Can we please be honest with each other?

I went on OkCupid to break the cycle. I signed-in to prove to myself that I could engage in this “dating” thing that article after article informs me that us millennials have all but given up on. And, yes, so far it has been pretty much one disappointment after another leading to an inevitable switch to Tinder (which I won’t even get into right now). But all I ask is that when we meet each other in this somewhat forced but unfairly ridiculed medium, can we please be honest with each other? We may not have stumbled upon online dating in the same way, but lets either tell the truth about how we got here or just quit asking the question altogether.

Contributor: Erin Bouwma
Erin Bouwma: Loves friends, family, reading, karaoke, bad television, peanut m&m’s, and writing. More or less in that order. Never be embarrassed of your Tinder, we all have one.