Sunday, June 5, 2011

An Apple A Day

My friend sent me a new urban word. The word is netglow, which means when a person or thing looks better on -line than in person. To put it more succinctly, the sensitive, ripped hunk with oodles of self awareness in his profile turns out to be an intolerant elitist who hates his mother. Yes I know there is an old fashioned word that covers the same territory, that word is liar but you see the internet and this whole new style of dating has really given rise to self representation that almost assumes you will be showing yourself in the best possible light. Still, there is a difference between good lighting and total fiction. So how does one sift through this potential morass of deceit?

In a way I find it easier to navigate the net than in person. I believe the best of people so it has always been difficult for me to gaze into someone’s eyes and think they might not be telling me the truth. On –line you have the luxury of questions before the windows to the soul can spin your sensibility into melting abandon.  In fact being fearless in what you ask and what you disclose has become my guiding light. Certainly helps me go through the rolodex of choices much quicker and with far less drama.
I asked a much younger man professing interest in me why he was wired to be attracted to older women. He had been married for years to a woman 17 years his senior. I thought this was a question worth considering and would lead to an interesting dialogue. His response, that contrary to popular belief sometimes an apple is just an apple led me to close that door pretty quickly. It’s just not a match for me.   An apple is just an apple?   Are you kidding me?   There are McIntosh and Pink ladies, glistening red candy covered ones and soft caramel chewy ones with sprinkles. Tart Granny Smiths, juicy Fuji’s, apples worth bobbing for and others best left for applesauce.

It’s the same with a person. The varieties and perspectives of individuals cannot be left to cookie cutter consciousness, they demand exploration and sharing. Finding out who we are, who another is, is not just a conversation; it’s the very process of life, the blood and bones of one’s thoughts and feelings and therefore one’s actions. Understanding another person without agenda is exhilarating and always teaches you about who you are, especially when you notice where you contract or might lean toward judging them.   But a closed door…an answer like ‘sometimes and apple is just an apple leads nowhere.’ No light can enter to illuminate or stimulate or stretch and grow. And you all know how fond of those states I am. It’s part of my essence to go for depth and if questions are perceived as threatening or annoying or not important then it’s not a match. Asking questions is the very tool that opens one up to understanding, whether it’s another person or yourself.

Using internet dating as a means to know yourself deeply is exciting. It pushes you to risk revealing yourself in a way that both defines you and expresses you without the netglow. We all like the surface to appear bright and shiny but it is in the depths of ourselves, sometimes murky, always fruitful, that authenticity lives. And what is the point of it all if we are not being authentically ourselves? Even if someone showed up and said, wow you are the best, I want YOU, you could never accept it since you are not being real. You would know that what they are wanting is your netglow.

My advice for impactful internet dating…define yourself and what is at your core. Stand for it, express it and be bold in asking to be met there. How will you know if you are met or not? You’ll know. We always do if we stay true, risk vulnerability and really taste the experience. Take a big juicy bite and let all the flavors and layers touch you, right down to your core.  You will know.

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