Internet Dating in the Time of Minor Situational Depression

The counsellor says I have a minor situational depression, which is actually the best kind of depression you can have when lots of bad things happen, because if you weren’t depressed at all you’d be that guy from American Psycho and if you were any more depressed you’d be, well, more depressed. So basically, I win depression. Which just goes to show that being Type A isn’t all PhDs and teenage anorexia.

The worst thing about minor situational depression, in my minorly depressed opinion, is that it is emotionally impractical. A teeny tiny stain you wouldn’t usually notice becomes a dirty protest. Water seeps into your duck’s back, making your bones all soggy ’til you sink.

Like, at the start of term there was a problem with the classroom I was assigned. This is a pretty dull story, so go on back to some more exciting part of the internet if dull doesn’t do it for you, but anyways: a genius rigged up the lighting in my classroom space so that a super bright florescent light was positioned between the projector and the projector screen and there was no way to turn it off. I teach film, so seeing stuff on screens is somewhat important and my first class was a shit show. Usually I’d be like “totally solvable minor problem that you can totally solve you problem solving gal!” but in this instance I went to bed and cried and cried and then my ex who was still living with me at the time came in and sat beside me and tried to put their arm around me but I told them not to so they just sat there for ages in silence listening to my snot noises. Impractical.

My ex moved out and I did a lot of yoga and cooking until I was bored and lonely, albeit with vastly improved upper body strength and a freezer full of delicious curry. Then I joined internet dating. The counsellor said I shouldn’t start dating because I needed to wait until I had enough to give, but I ignored that because I always start relationships when I have lots of love and energy to give and how’s that working out for me? Crap. So why not meet someone when I’m a complete fucking mess and then in six months’ time they’ll get a lovely surprise when they find that I’m actually quite pleasant and rarely to never go to bed to for three hours in the middle of the afternoon to inconsolably weep. My logic is both robust and convincing.

But woah, men of internet dating, woah. Men of internet dating, I ask this with compassion and humanity, I ask this with concern for your romantic success and psychological well-being: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?

I’ve come to the conclusion that the men of internet dating all need to sit down and watch Beauty and the Beast. Because what did Beauty and the Beast imprint on the childhood minds of every woman they are trying to flirt with? Sure, it gave us the important message that looks don’t matter unless you’re a girl, but it also gave us more subtle life instruction, namely (listen up now men of internet dating): even though we know it’s of the utmost importance that we’re the hottest girl in our small provincial town, we don’t want boys to like us just because we’re the hottest girl in our small provincial town.

Think about it: why doesn’t Belle like Gaston? Gaston is a big ripped hunk with sexy ’90s grunge hair. He’s good at stuff like spitting and hunting and eating eggs – these are all impressive skills. I consider myself a pretty accomplished person and I am only good at one out of three of those things. Gaston could be having a smokin’ foursome with them blonde triplets, but he likes Belle. And he doesn’t just want to take her for a shimmy behind the woodpile either, he wants to marry her and provide for her and fill her up with babies. Why won’t she answer his OKCupid messages?

Belle doesn’t like Gaston because Gaston doesn’t care what books she’s reading. If Gaston had just pretended to give a shit about what Belle was reading, Angela Lansbury would still be a teapot.

Men of internet dating – you can’t just send us messages about how cute we look in our photos. We know we look cute. We chose those photos because we look cute in them and we are girls so we’ve spent our whole lives being told that looking cute is the most important thing we can do, so – unlike your gross toothpaste flecked bathroom mirror selfie – our photos are uniformly brilliant. But, even though we’re complete Belles, you are supposed to pretend to like us because we’re smart. Otherwise we will go shack up with an emotionally abusive literal beast who took our father prisoner for no reason and is now imprisoning us and bellows all the time but claims to give a shit about our literary predilections. SAVE US FROM OURSELVES.

Some people on internet dating did seem interested in what books I was reading. I went on dates and I met someone I liked and then it suddenly felt very, very scary and overwhelming, as if the last six months of a relationship in which I was constantly begging for love that my ex had stopped wanting to give me, as if the last 25 years of craving warmth from a father who just couldn’t connect, were compressed into gaps between text messages. I spent a good portion of our third date trying to remember how to breathe and hoping that my limerent object wouldn’t notice the weird gaspy end to each of my sentences. Impractical.

I called the next day and explained that I need to wax my duck skin and spend some more time bobbing about on the lake of yoga and cooking. I think maybe winning minor situational depression and winning internet dating might be mutually exclusive, at least contemporaneously. It’s hard work, all this winning. There isn’t much left over for anything else.

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