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Online Dating as a Creative Process

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Reading about creativity is way easier than actually creating something, just as messing about on a dating website is way easier than going on a date.

Today I’ve been reading about art as process, rather than product; about how our consumer mindset cramps our creativity by asking questions like, “Where is this idea going?” or “How might this direction help my career?”

creativity

creativity (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee) Creative Commons

Fine questions for a certain time and place, but there’s a time in the creative process – the writing process, in my case – when you have to let your wild woman/man be in charge. No judge, no editor, just gut.

You can read a superb essay by Betty S. Flowers about this artistic process here.

Asking “What is this going to be?” might be asking for a creative block. It tells your curiosity and sense of fun that they are not welcome.

“When we focus on process, our creative life retains a sense of adventure,” says Julia Cameron. “Focused on product, the same creative life can feel foolish or barren.”

Foolish. Not to mention barren.

Sex or True Love?

Which brings me to online dating. If you read my last post, you will know that I have just entered this baffling world, after many moons of being happily single and date-free.

One of the questions on the site I’m using asks:

“Are you interested in A.) Sex or B.) True Love?”

That’s it? Those are my options? The “products” I’m allowed to choose from?

What about C.) Having Fun and D.) Enjoying Myself and E.) Trying New Things?

Daydreaming a Date

One person who commented on my last blog said I should make haste to meet anyone I might be interested in, lest I start daydreaming and create imaginary partners. Point well taken: I’m already doing the imaginary man thing. She warns against wasting time in case there’s no chemistry once prose becomes human voice and personality. She is a wise woman.

On the other hand, I have time. Perhaps there is a place for daydreaming, making stuff up, letting my wild woman romp around in my head for a while.

I think that for someone like me who has not focused on dating for an eternity, simply enjoying the process can be healthy. For instance, contemplating all this has led me to seriously consider what I’m looking for in a guy . . . to create that guy in my mind. This gives me an ideal to compare the “real thing” with, if and when I decide to meet one of those real things.

The Perfect Product

When I consider what I’m seeking, not one of my desires resembles a product or an end goal.

From my journal, I offer just a taste: “Someone to share perspectives with – to laugh together, be outraged together, wonder together, be grateful together, pray together . . . I want somebody to encourage me, to share my dreams for who I want to be and to support me getting there in a loving, ego-free way . . .”

All process, not product.

All journey, not destination.

My two-page list also hopes for someone creative and maybe a little quirky who will cherish and adore me and help me with projects around the house. Yes, I’m asking for a lot, but if I’m going to give up one iota of my freedom, it’s going to have to be for a VERY good reason.

The wish-list ends with a heartfelt prayer: “God save me from being bored.”

To be continued . . .

What Have I Done??

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Now I’ve gone and done it – I’ve joined an online dating site and THERE ARE MEN OUT THERE! How do I get out of this?

I assure you that my actions were entirely unpremeditated, and there was no alcohol involved.

Well, OK, I had a few glasses of Cabernet with my girlfriend the other night, and I do blame her for egging me on and for showing me how the dating site works and telling me amazing dating stories.

But today when I actually signed up, my mind had been clouded by nothing. Unless you can call curiosity a clouding agent.

I didn’t realize I was doing it; I was just investigating, clicking around, and the next thing I knew, I was “live!”

Yikes.

You see, I’ve been single a very, very long time and I’m quite happy, rarely feeling the need for male companionship except when the trash is extraordinarily stinky or the lawn needs mowing and it’s 98 degrees out. Otherwise, I’m good, thank you very much.

I don’t think I’m in denial. I simply like my space. I like my life – why complicate things?

So I don’t know what possessed me. But there you have it.

A Pack of Wolves

Within the first few minutes, seventeen guys had invaded my space, which made me feel like there was a pack of wolves after me until I realized that this attitude is likely one of the reasons I’m not a big dater. Or any kind of dater.

I’m scared of the male animal.

I’m working on this, especially because it impacts my relationship with God, who I unfortunately can’t help envisioning as a white male. I find it hard to trust in a loving Higher Power if I think HE might go into a rage or start sleeping around.

But a wise girlfriend of mine recently had me list all of the men I love and all of their good qualities. As it turns out, I have a lot of fine male friends who have a lot of outstanding qualities. They totally love me, and I totally love them.

And I trust them.

Rationally, I know that males are not horrid and out to get me. It just feels that way.

Wildlife Research

One of the personality questions this dating site asked was, “Would you do something dangerous or crazy just because you might have good stories to tell later?” I said no. Now I realize that (neurotic as it sounds) my new online adventure feels like exactly that.

So that’s how I’ll look at it. I am a budding writer. A blogger. I need material. I need stories to tell.

I’m going to call this “research,” and then I’ll be in charge . . . or at least I can tell myself that.

Already, I’m curious about these dudes who have no shirt on in their profile pictures. What’s that about? Put your damn clothes on.

I’ve come across a few contenders who have pictures of their CARS as their profile. Really? Better than a shotgun, but not by much.

Some men post pictures of themselves in hotel mirrors. Don’t they have any real pictures, like at a barbecue or with friends at a baseball game? Do they use work trips to peruse dating sites while their wives sit home oblivious?  (I told you I had trust issues.)

Peeking out from behind the underbrush, I enter uncharted territory and begin to research the wildlife in the area.

Now Who's the Stalker?

Now Who’s the Stalker?

I would love to hear your experiences in the world of online dating – weddings, warnings, war stories, whatever. . .

Lovely photo courtesy of Oregon Fish and Wildlife — Thanks!

Here’s an interesting review site  for online dating services.

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