*This series post can be viewed on Louisville.com.
Hello, Louisville! My name is Bella Portaro and I’m single and fabulous!
Does that ring a bell for you Sex and the City fans? If yes, you know it’s all in the exclamation point when saying that sentence, never a question mark. Guys, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, ask your girlfriends.
And while I am a writer who would die to have the chance to compare my love life to Carrie Bradshaw’s, the reality is that I can’t, because she’s a character on a television show and I’m a real person.
Sure, we’ve both been broken up with on a post-it note and have had a “Big” type of romance. Yes, you read that correctly, a former flame broke up with me on a post it … It was a long, serious relationship and the last thing he said to me was with a post-it note. The words were “I’m sorry.” And it had the closure of “Love, The Guy I Won’t Embarrass”.
Back to Carrie and I; we’re both writers, looking for love and we both love fashion. But that’s really as far as our comparisons go.
I struggle to have a dating life and she’s made a career out of it. I live in the Highlands and juggle my career. She lives in an Upper East Side apartment in New York City on the income from one newspaper column—thanks for the realistic expectations, HBO.
The one similarity Carrie and I share is that we are looking for love. For some people who haven’t found it yet, it becomes a quest, an unquenchable desire. Sometimes the quest is silent and we entertain the idea when we have the spare time. Others go at the approach as a full-on mission. I am in the mission group.
I never planned on being alone. No one desires it. Every aspect of our lives is geared toward being around other people and having a partner. Being single in my 30’s wasn’t a goal, but it is an interesting time. It seems as though every person I know has an opinion on whether I should stay single or jump into the dating world. It’s nice to have input from people that you love, but ultimately we must find our own happiness.
So here I am. I’m 32. I’m single. I’m diving right into online dating, because why not? No, I’m not joining plentyofmen.com, or whatever. But I’ve tried the dating sites I thought were most reputable – Match.com, E-Harmony, and Tinder. I’ve had the most dates from Match.com.
Sadly, Carrie Bradshaw never had those options, which means I don’t have a reference point. If Sex and the City had included much online dating Carrie would probably know how I feel: Disappointed. Lost. Hopeful. Excited.
So let’s run through those four feelings now, because as I write this I’m not on a date, and it’s too late in the night for me to call my girlfriends and talk their ears off.
Disappointment: It’s so easy to get excited when reading the messages you receive on the dating websites. You see their profile picture and you read their bio, then the messages start. Some are promising and some make you regret responding to the first message.
One guy started an argument with me over the importance of social media. I guess he skipped over the part of my profile that mentioned my social media management company. Sometimes I wish I could retroactively swipe left.
Then there’s the guy you meet and wish you hadn’t.
I went on a date with a guy that looked nothing like his profile picture and was extremely overbearing and chauvinistic. It was truly the worst date of my life.
Afterward I got into my car and cried. I was hopeful walking into the date but it quickly hit rock bottom.
Needless to say I haven’t spoken to him since. So of course, I will probably run into him soon. With the awkwardness of dating in this city you get to see the people you really wish you didn’t. “Hey, guy it didn’t work out with. Good to see you in public.” When it happens I pray the earth opens and saves me from the situation.
Lost: So on the dating road I’ve come to a few detours or dead ends which made me retrace my steps to get back on my mission. The word lost feels a bit dramatic, but I’m a woman so it’s okay for me to be a little dramatic with words from time to time.
I have felt lost when I got my hopes up and then had my feelings hurt. I don’t “click” with many men so when I do I am genuinely hopeful.
One guy I “clicked” with ended up still being with his ex-girlfriend while we went on a few dates over the course of a few weeks.
The lost feeling came from the conversations we had and the time we spent together. I thought there was a huge possibility of a relationship so naturally I felt lost and wanted to wave my white flag.
But I had this inescapable feeling that I should stand up, dust myself off and go back out there. So that is what I did and it made me feel hopeful again.
Hopeful: Occasionally the universe cuts you a break and puts the right people in your life just when you need them the most. I met a match that has the same values, hobbies, personality; the whole nine-yards. But as the universe is giving it also has a sense of humor, this match is moving away to a busy new job. While I’m unsure of the future with him, I am grateful for the positive experience and who knows what the future holds.
Some other positives have emerged from dates with guys that clearly weren’t my match. Often, I’d think of a friend who would be perfect for that person, and it’s not so bad playing cupid, either.
Excited: Meeting someone organically A.K.A. not online, is one of the best surprises. I am usually so thrown off by it that it takes me awhile to realize that I’m being hit on without emojis, it’s involving real life facial expressions, actually laughing out loud together and having a full conversation without gif images and YouTube links being involved. It’s real life connecting and it’s awesome.
And there of course is the excitement that maybe your match is out there waiting for you to join the dating website and find them. Maybe the best parts of your life haven’t happened yet and they will when you find your soul mate. And maybe you already know your match, and time hasn’t revealed that to you just yet.