I think, before this recent bout of dating (which is to say, the last four years or so), I had a sort of platonic sequence in my head which I’d think one would follow when dating online. Something like:
- Contact someone on a dating site
- Exchange a few messages
- Learn their real name
- Move to another venue, e.g., off-site email or Facebook
- Learn their last name
- Agree to meet
- Exchange phone numbers
- Meet in person
- Repeat steps 6,8, and 9 until hanky panky occurs
- You are now “dating”
- Repeat steps 9 and 10 until
- You stop seeing each other
I’m realizing lately that this is not at all, in fact, what happens. E..g., with Stoella, things went more like 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 3, 5, 10, 11, and are currently on 12. We were halfway through what ended up being probably a “date” when I said “Oh, by the way, what’s your name?”. (NB: Stoella insists that she is actually chaotic neutral, so I’ll be updating the first post where I mentioned her)
With Kevros Glimmergaunt (new character, chaotic neutral elven rogue), it went 1, 3, 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12. We’ve actually skipped a few steps, and this reminds me to ask Kevros’s (real) last name the next time we get together, and I believe the word “dating” would probably cause an allergic reaction. I know “boyfriend” has.
Zinnaella Homeforger (neutral good gnomish sorceror who I hope isn’t mad at me for deciding she’s a gnome because she’s definitely a gnome) ran through the steps mostly in order, although steps 4 and 5 came toward the end, just before 13*. Although 13 is a wobbly 13, I think, and there remains the potential for a booty call down the line assuming she’s not upset about the gnome thing.
What I think this means is:
First, I need to let go of (and am letting go of) all a priori opinions about dating. Things just happen as they happen, and the process is individual to the people involved and not nearly as generalizable as I’d thought. This is good and fine, but does throw something of a wrench into my plans to tell people who don’t know how to start dating.
Second, for some reason I don’t seem to care about surnames in real life.
*Yes, True Believers, I’m now at the stage where I sometimes start seeing someone new, run through the whole fling, and then stop seeing them before I mention it to you. Which is something of another milestone for me, I guess; I no longer need to obsessively report every small change in my dating life.
Edited to add: I don’t remember the order with Carrie, but it was odd given the distance. I think we spent a long time on 4ish, and then ran through steps 6 through 12 in about 24 hours.