Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's my birthday and I'll b*** if I want to....

Last week I got a "flirt" on an online dating site from a 29-year-young man who wished me happy birthday. He was much too young for me (I'm OLD, yo!), but I thought it was nice. So I responded with a friendly thanks.

His next message was "Not interest ed." (Space included in original.)

I responded: "Lol. Well, duh. You're MUCH too young for me."

To which he replied "You're a typical nuerotic LDS divorcee...." (misspelling included in original).

If your blood is boiling on my behalf, thanks... but let it go. When I charged headlong into the online dating world, I knew full well what I was getting myself into. I didn't suspect that single boys had changed much just because they were single men now. I don't harbor a fantasy that everyone I "meet" will be mature and kind. People are wonderfully weird. They misinterpret simple communications all. The. Time. Especially when they're feeling vulnerable (which is to be expected on an online dating site).

I have had occasion many times in my life to observe first-hand the results when someone chooses to take a perceived slight to heart. To let it fester and grow beyond all proportion. Some people go through life hyper-vigilant for any offense, from a slightly negative word to an inconsiderate driver. My 9-year-old takes great pleasure of late twisting my words to mean something negative (i.e. "That was a stupid decision" becomes "You called me stupid! You think I'm stupid! I can't believe you would say that! I'm going to go hide in your closet until doomsday!") (Yes, this particular child is my mother's worst revenge for my own childhood. How'd you know?)

It's easy to see how juvenile this sort of reaction is. It's harder to see that reacting even to intentional slights is just as, well, stupid. (Yes, I called you stupid. Deal.)

This silly young man doesn't know me. He may have read my perfectly awesome (but limited) profile, but he still doesn't know me. He can't know that I'm about the least neurotic divorcee he'll never meet. Also, he's apparently one of those stupid men who goes around looking for offense. All in all, not worthy of my time or my angst. As soon as I'm done with this diverting blog post, I'm going to forget he ever existed.

For those of you NOT in the dating scene, online or off (lucky suckers), this advice applies to every aspect of your life--but particularly to those where you have to make yourself vulnerable in order to succeed (so, like, all the time). Yanno, like when you're querying a book. Or letting people buy and review your published book.

People are wonderfully weird. They will misinterpret what you've said, written, intended, etc, all. The. Time. They will hate what reasonable people should love. They will strike back at you simply because you make them feel vulnerable. Lesser. They will try to tear you down so they can feel better about themselves. And, no, these stupid people aren't worthy of your time or your angst. You can feel free to ignore their existence, because it's not important.

Like Anton Ego said in Ratatouille, "...the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so." This is true for people, too. Even neurotic LDS divorcees.

So to all the haters, whiners, offense-takers, and their ilk, have at: Do your worst. Those of us who create meaningful junk, who are earnestly engaged in a good cause, and who refuse to waste our time worrying about what others think of us can't help but be more successful than you are. Not that we can remember that you exist.

We don't like to b**** about things that don't matter.