DeliaBlack's Blog

MARCH 18, 2010 12:43AM

Two Worlds Collide: When the Online World Meets Real Life

Rate: 13 Flag




"It could tear a hole in the space-time continuum."  That is the reason I gave for not meeting OS friends recently.  Cheeky but true.  We have to think of the little people, I said.  We have to put them before our own selfish needs.

It may also be because I am butt ugly.


(Here I am...or maybe this is from


I'd hate to disappoint my adoring public.  They only see the carefree, effervescent me--like the foam from an Alkaseltzer tablet.  I don't want to pop their bubbles.

In my twenties, which seem worlds away now that I am 32 and have been through quite a bit in the last few years, I spent too much time on internet dating.  I was totally dismissive of meeting people online, until several friends--some of my most NORMAL friends--actually had some good experiences.

My own experiences were quite mixed.  There was the guy who was nice on the phone, who showed up with a thoughtful present, but who, in the middle of small talk, bent down to take a looooong whiff of the wine.

In the middle of the Olive Garden. 

He pronounced it, "Fruity, yet with a nuanced texture" or some such.  Things went downhill quickly.

There were more.  Ones who liked me more than I liked them.  Ones I liked more than they liked me.  Lightning, in the sense of a thrilling connection, never struck for me or them. 

It got even worse as I gained weight. There was the guy with a considerable gut, quite a bit more overweight than I, who looked me up and down disapprovingly.  He was grumpy, disinterested, and told me I had a horrible picture.

I remember my uncle telling me the story of a girl he worked with who had had many dates, but then she gained weight and got bad skin.  He had decided, to borrow from another guy at work, that this girl was "past her sell-by date."  At times, people have looked at me this way.  They have made it known, subtly and not-so-subtly. 

And there are always plenty of people who want you only for one thing.  That's right.  My awesome sticker collection.


You should see my unicorn stickers. And no, you can't have one.


What does online dating have to do with OS?  Not much, in the sense I came here to write before anything else, but the disappointment factor looms large.  It's similar to reading a book from a great author, then going to the reading and book signing.  It is often awkward.  The dream was better than the reality.

Yet I feel that I have made geniune connections here, ones that are making me rethink what I like to call my hermit policy.  Maybe I will venture out into the light.  Cautiously, I take a few steps.  Soon, I may even admit that I am really a burly man named Ike.




stickers from, because I am not ready to reveal my REAL stickers yet..if you loved me you wouldn't ask

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I guess the space-time continuum is safe for now Delia, oops, I mean Ike:P
For now, but you neeeevveeeer KNOOOOW!!!!
Unless you owe them money...where's my child support, BBE?
"I like Ike." That was president Dwight Eisenhower's campaign slogan. I think I like you better than Ike, even if you choose the hermit life, a lifestyle I am quite familiar with.
I felt the same way but wouldn't give up my dinners and PMs and phone conversations with my off screen OSers for nuthin now that we jumped the broom. (We each described ourselves as 'I'll be the pudgy one') - none of us are b/c we're about the same size. Pudgy? no way!
Damn! BBE said it first. All I care about and should care about is your writing, and that's why I am here. Keep writing.
Excellent, rated.
Delia Dear, let me just say that one of the few benefits of getting older is that the "sell-by" date no longer matters -- or in those instances where it does, it's the prospective purchaser who's got the problem, not the wrinkled fruit or the sourpuss.
I can say that 22+ years ago when AOL-chat was all the rage (as was the stinkin' $700/month phone bill) that IRL meetings were definitely more disappointing than the images you have of others while online.

I'd say the same is true today -- especially if you're looking for a romantic interest. If it's friendship only, go for it. But even then it will definitely change your context as a reader of someone's blog.

I guess it all depends on how much you have going on in other parts of your life (career, family & friends, social events, education, health/exercise, etc.) for one to decide the time/emotional investment in OSers.
Delia, you are too funny. I just have to meet you now.
There's always a bit of trepidation that goes along with the excitement when you meet someone you feel like you've gotten to know here. But, I imagine it goes both ways. Will they like me? Will they think I'm funny or the least bit interesting? Will my readership plummet now? Is it wrong to show up to these things drunk?

I think you've got the secret weapon in that unicorn sticker collection though.
littlewillie--I like you, too. Your kindness and that of many others on here make it hard to keep to my hermit policy.

gabbyabby--I guess it is "jumping the broom," in a sense, because it is a leap into the unknown. I have to just do it.

thoth--I like your writing, too! And the connections from writing are the first connections and, I like to think, deeper than those from a dating profile. Thanks for the compliment.
people actually meet up who meet on this site? I had no idea... I know a couple of people ihere in real life already, one got me on OS, the other I pulled onto it, but didn't really know people actually plan to meet, interesting.

beyond that I always enjoy your writing with an interesting mix of humor and intensity... you never disappoint.
Tom-- You are right that it is often the problem of the person who judges based on looks, but it does sting.

Padraig--I know I'm hot!
CrazeCzar--It is a matter of putting online relationships in perspective.
OESheepdog--Glad you liked it! You've always seemed like a good person to meet.

Firestorm McGrew--What you said was complex. On one hand, I do try to be careful and not say things online that I would never want to be responsible for, and I try not to construct a misleading image, but part of being online is that you don't have to be prejudged by appearances before you even 'speak,' as in the real world. Some of my fear of meeting is based on how I view myself, but some of it is based on a lot of negative past experiences.