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By the time I was midway through college, I was resigned in knowing I would never meet someone. I was just too awkward, a dinosaur among the opposite sex. I always felt too ironic to fall in love in any real way. I was so full of knowledge from romance books, movies, and TV shows that whenever the opportunity would arise at talking with a guy, I got so in-my-head about how “meet-cute” the moment was that I forgot they were speaking to me. To me, it was better, safer, to just live in my head about how great a guy is in my class than it would be to follow through with the actual dating and getting to know each other part.
I was happy being single and in love with guys that I didn’t know and that didn’t know me. Stranger love (I feel creepy about coining this term, but I’m pressing on). Towards the end of college, I dipped my toes into online dating. I hated it, but it did allow for people like me to live in a sort of romantic purgatory of flirting, planning a date, and then eventually rarely going on said-date. All of this romance in the comfort of my own home, in my pjs, and drinking wine. “God is good,” I mused as I swiped right on basically anyone who I thought might have the capacity to love a dinosaur. However, all this comfort and fun went to total shit on a chilly night in fall of 2015.
It was about one AM, as I walked down the sidewalk toward my apartment. I had just left the bar and was ready to pour myself a big ole bowl of Doritos and call it a night. Noticing a couple of men ahead of me, I went to cross the street, but realized I knew one them. Victor lived a couple of apartments down from me and was one of my closest friends in my last year of college. I walked over to say hi. He introduced me to his friend Lukas, who spoke with an eastern European accent. I immediately inquired where he was from, in turn he responded with, “Kansas.” Something about this guy lying to my face made me think, “He could be the one.” We immediately began to argue about his origin and secrecy about where he was born. After about 20 minutes, Victor insisted on us coming to his house.
We argued there some more about where Lukas was actually from, while eating some homemade polish soup (thanks Victor)! After pulling up his profile picture which explicitly says he’s from Lithuania, Lukas responded by saying that it wasn’t him and I, in turn, pointed out that he was even wearing the same shirt now as in the profile picture. A couple of hours later, Victor and Lukas walked me home. I woke up the next morning feeling almost like the chance encounter was a dream. I asked Victor from time to time how Lukas was, but was careful not to seem too interested. Although, I’m pretty sure it was painfully obvious to Victor that I liked his friend a lot.
We didn’t meet again until the beginning of summer when Victor threw a graduation party at his house. I walked into Victor’s party and immediately saw Lukas. We made small talk throughout the night and a twist of events led to him blowing up an air mattress on my bedroom floor. From that day forward, we started talking and have since been in a relationship for almost three years. The experience of meeting Lukas really put into perspective how we find love.
I think trying the different dating apps helped me be more open to meeting people in my real life. However, I’ve read opinions that believe dating apps were created because the millennial generation doesn’t know how to be real and communicate face to face anymore. I feel slightly differently. I think dating apps can be used as a crutch (i.e. me 100%, see first paragraph), but they are also utilized to meet our needs much more quickly. They expedite a process we use consciously and subconsciously to find someone. Those factors being physical attractiveness, proximity, and similarity. If utilized in the right way, dating apps are a really great way to find someone to spend the rest of your life with—or at the very least the rest of the night with. Regardless of old fashioned meetings or modern apps, the key to finding someone I learned really comes down to being open and confident.
Picture of me from high school for reference.