I was at the airport’s information desk when I noticed her. She was sitting at a stool leaning over the counter and her face was furrowed. I overheard the hostess admonishing her, “That does not make sense. Please do not send him anymore money.” As I completed my transaction I understood what was going on.
The woman dated a man online for several months and they decided to rendezvous in Cape Town. She sent him money to buy the airline tickets and they agreed to meet at the airport on the appointed day and time. When she arrived at Cape Town, he was not there. After waiting several hours and making several calls to him, he related that he was in transit and needed some assistance. The airline incorrectly sent his bags to another transit town in his country and he was at that town collecting his bags. Since this was an unplanned trip, he incurred additional expense and he needed more funds to get back on the route to Cape Town.
As she relayed her story, the hostess became stern, “Why would he travel to get his bags? Why did he not come to Cape Town and wait for his bags? Do not send him any more money.”
The more the hostess spoke, the more the woman shrank. By the time I left she was curled up over the counter, with her head down.
I empathized with the woman. I have been lonely before and have felt the hope that the possibility of a real connection brings. I have felt the spark that ignited my entire body when I thought that I connected with someone special. I have also leapt at the chance of being close to someone and gone through lengths to extend that connection and keep it alive. Sometimes I have been rewarded and other times I have been forced to accept that the connection was a dud. The failure to connect is always painful, and the intensity and duration of the pain is directly correlated to how hard I tried or how much I wanted it. I have been left embarrassed and ashamed when I opened myself to someone, only to be tossed off like yesterday’s garbage.
The pull of the possibility of a true connection is very sexy, and the more unlikely it seems the luckier we feel. We all want something special, we all crave the attention of another, and we all want to have a singular connection that seems just for us. We have been conditioned to think of a soul mate, the one, the other half and without questioning the veracity of this we are hell bent of finding it.
Online dating extends these possibilities; it takes us beyond our normal pool and introduces us to new and exotic possibilities. The emails, the texts, the Skype conversations, the late night calls all build the intensity of the possibility and we get excited about meeting this person we have constructed in our heads. The further the other is from us the more we want the connection to be real.
We have all fantasised, left our existence and travelled miles to step into another’s world hoping that in this new reality we will meet the the promise. It has worked for many and for others like the woman at the desk it did not.
What have you done to connect? How has it failed you? How did you feel?