The thing I am missing the most with this post “real life” encounter swipe to date world is the actual feeling of anticipation or joy after bolstering the courage to talk to someone. The most amazing feeling is when you actually click with said person. You know you are physically attracted them, so there is no worrying about fake profiles, old pictures, browsing their social media, it is about being in that moment, heart pumping, trying to form words, and stumbling on them. The most amazing part is when you stumble all over every word but they help pick you up and continue it.

It takes no courage to swipe or like. It takes zero effort to fill out a profile, although reading anyone’s online dating profile these days you might think the opposite as they bitch, moan, and complain about writing more than 140 characters. But let’s set aside my gripes with online dating: the mindset you need to adapt to be successful, and the fact that I don’t actually think people are truly ready for it yet, accepting it as an inorganic way of meeting, where if you embrace it for what it is, could truly be used properly.

I am here to talk about a feeling. A feeling I haven’t had since highschool and sporadically since. The feeling of “Wow, I just talked to her” and “Wow, she was beautiful and she gave me her number.” Or that amazing feeling when she texts you before you text her just saying her day was good, no prompt, no socially awkward expectations, no pre-defined etiquette, just two people who saw one another, made eye contact, heard each other’s voices, smelled each other, and didn’t run screaming in the opposite direction. But instead, two people who are genuinely excited for the next time they get to dive in deeper with one another. Then the fun stories when you do meet of what your or their friends said to you after, what you thought at first, etc.

I honestly think because of the way online dating is haphazardly thrown together and embraced, those who go out of there way to talk to someone in person and make that contact, have a leg up. It is like bringing a flower to a first date, sure it may be overly romantic, viewed as too invasive, but it still brings a smile to your face, because it is a gesture, a gesture that by all means was a norm at one point, but is now a surprise. It shows you went that little extra step out of your way to make the evening or day better. Maybe the day will turn to complete shit, but at least you got out there, gave it your all and decided to embrace it for whatever it could turn into. You embraced the fear of heartbreak. Because in the end, other than the fact that a relationship should just be two friends comfortable with each other in whatever environment they are, before you form that bond you have to be willing to let it all hang out and accept the hurt that comes with starting over.

I have started over so many times, I have created my own therapy sessions of reflection, my past, childhood, stories, and more. I have told my story. I have told it again. I have learned from my own words, reactions to my words, and so much more.

But what I miss out on these days, is that magic of day to day, that I have only ever experienced when I met someone in a form other than a swipe. That highschool romance, waiting for the final bell to ring to pick up the phone and talk for hours. The lack of needing to scan their social media for proof of life because you already saw it. The ability to think back to the day instead of look to their past. Cherishing a snap taken on your phone of a kiss. These are the things I have missed lately.

There is something in actually setting up that first meeting in person that gives the possible relationship feet. It allows our minds to wander and fantasize on that cute moment where we did trip on our words. It give us the knowledge that we both consciously made the effort to take the next step of a date. I miss all that comes with that too. The walks to nowhere talking, the trips to the park laying out trying to find that comfortable place to lay on one another without going too fast, that lack of fear of reaching out via a second medium too soon via a text or call.

I suppose I just miss the feeling that I wasn’t competing for the best opener or to fulfill some generic statement on a profile to be “sarcastic” and knowing that when you get someone to talk to you in person you have made a connection, big or small, and it is almost guaranteed you will at least get to enjoy the first date. And if there are dates after that, it is built on those dates, not on a self summary or likes and dislikes on a page. You aren’t scanning their photos over and over you are remembering their face.

That is a powerful feeling. One I miss.

P.S. Anyone who doesn’t post photos on online dating is doing it wrong. If I were to treat online dating like real life, I hate to say it, but I would approach you if there was an attraction. While sure, there could be a skillset or something in real life that made you more attractive to me than a picture, but I still saw your face, your body, your clothes, and such. I made the snap judgement and acted on it. But that is for another piece of writing.