If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been dealing with the “joys” of online dating lately. Being a full time online student does not leave me many options for meeting men, so I have taken the advice of some friends and started the online thing. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how similar online dating and book blogging are… You’ll see what I mean. :)
When I first started blogging, everything was new and everything excited me. The first comment had me giddy. The first follower had me dancing. The first review request had me singing about how awesome I was. The first granted Netgalley request had me flying to the moon. And ALL THOSE BOOKS. I requested them all! Any and all attention from people other than my family rocked my socks off, because I was SOMEONE.
When I first started online dating, I was so excited because THIS was how I would find Mr. Right. I would look at the list of thousands of eligible men and get all giddy because they were just so cute! And eligible! The first email communication made me bouncy. HE LIKES ME! Any and all attention from anyone had me smiling, because I was SOMEONE.
I am LOVING all these emails, and I must respond ALWAYS.
When the first batch of book review request emails came in, I decided that I MUST be a people pleaser and accept them ALL and read them ALL and love them ALL. I did not want to hurt an author or a publisher, so I never wanted to decline anyone. And I ended up reading a lot of junk.
I get a lot of emails from a lot of men. Some of them I get excited about, and some of them make me cringe. But I hate hurting people, so in the beginning I would respond and try to be nice to everyone. And then just run away and hide, hoping they did not write back. I ended up wasting a lot of time.
Covers. Not what they may seem.
You know how sometimes you see a book and LOVE the cover, and then the inside sucks so incredibly badly? Yeah. Exactly. Covers, much like pictures, can be super deceiving. Of COURSE, it can go the other way. I’ve read books with terrible covers that I loved. And I’ve met guys who became more attractive as I got to know them better. But sadly, this is kind of rare.
Well. THAT was not what I was expecting.
You know how you sometimes go into a book expecting a certain quality? And then you get whiplash because you were SO not expecting that? Like, someone suddenly dies in the book. Or someone just said something really stupid and made you think twice about them. The same goes for online dating. You can expect all you want, but when reality sets in it can be a tricky situation.
Can I DNF this?
Yeah, so I have been on many dates from hell. Like, the guy wants to hold your hand when you’re SO not even into him like you were hoping you would be and you can’t fathom why he thinks you ARE into him. Or he says something that makes you want to run away like, “How big is your chest?” or “It’s your job to keep my thoughts and actions pure because I can’t control myself.” Yeah. I have heard both of those multiple times. I only wish DNFing a date were as easy as closing it and throwing it across the room.
Clearly, they read nothing I said.
Ever received a review request that goes completely against your review policy? Like, you say in your policy that you hate paranormal romance, and then up pops a review request for one? Or you say you require this, this, and this from the requester in order to make an informed decision? And then you receive an email with no this, no this, and no this? It’s like, “Did they even care enough to read about me first?”
I can’t tell you how many times a man has written to me and asked me questions I had already answered in my online profile. Or… now, I am a very conservative kind of girl. I don’t drink, don’t smoke or do drugs, and don’t want to sleep with anyone until I’m married to him. And so this dude writes to me, asking if I’d like a no-strings-attached hot night involving a bar and a bed. Ick.
They ask you to make an exception because they are awesome.
Even worse than receiving a review request that goes against your policy, is receiving a review request that says, “Please make an exception for my book, because it’s something I just know you will love.”
I remember one day getting an email from a guy who actually said, “If you would just hook up with me tonight, I know you’d never regret it.” Or there’s the charming, “You’re probably just scared of it because you’ve never met a guy who knew what he was doing. Baby, I do.” I mean REALLY.
I am no longer accepting requests.
Eventually, you just HAVE to get more selective and start thinking of yourself because you can’t please everyone. Ain’t nobody got time for that! In both blogging and online dating, I have learned to ignore the people who clearly do not care, I have learned to decline if I am not interested, and I have learned to stand up for myself.
The more you do it, the smarter about it you get.
This kind of goes along with the last one, but deserves its own point. As a blogger becomes more and more seasoned, they begin to figure out how to make things better for themselves. I no longer accept everything, and I no longer request everything. I have written out schedules, I have learned to be more creative in my post ideas, I have learned to schedule ahead of time. I’ve learned how to politely decline review requests. I’ve learned how to harden my shell against authors who do not like my reviews. This just happens.
In online dating, I have gotten so much smarter. I know what I’m looking for, and know when not to waste my time. I know when and how to meet up for the first time so that it’s safe. I’ve learned to discover red flags sooner. I’ve learned how to tell a guy I’m just not interested and not feel bad about it. It’s sad to say I’ve become a seasoned online dater, but I have. *cringe*
You learn a lot about yourself.
Book blogging has opened me up to so many feelings and realizations. I’ve learned from and been changed by the books I’ve read. I’ve learned to express myself even better.
Online dating has made me realize how important I am. I will not settle for the jerks who only want one thing. I will not be an object or a pet. I will not let anyone make me feel less worthy of what I’m looking for. I will not let anyone tell me my dreams are too big or my expectations are too high. I’m good enough, and I don’t need a man to complete me. I’d love my own love story, but not at the price of my self respect.
Someday it may turn into something more.
Blogging has already taken me in a different direction, and changed my life. It helped me decide what I want in a career. It helped me decide to go back to grad school. Heck, it helped me get IN to grad school! And someday my blog might get my foot in some doors I might not have gotten into otherwise. Book blogging has been one of the best decisions of my entire life.
At this point in my life, I do not have a ton of options for meeting men. Regardless of how hard and frustrating online dating can be, I’m still holding out for my Prince Charming. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll be able to say that jumping into online dating was THE best decision of my entire life.
So, there you have it! I think you know WAY too much about me now. Haha!