I tell all my single guy friends to watch out for online dating.It is a sad, soul-crushing place where good guys go to die a slow death by way of ignored messages and empty inboxes.Sometimes I send a “thanks but no thanks” to particularly sweet messages, but usually I’m so overwhelmed by the new things to read and the new choices in front of me that I ignore those nice guys too.

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Why do I not respond politely to every message, even the ones I’m not interested in? Once we make it out of the safe cocoon of the Internet and into the real world I’m better about aligning my actions with my values.

Why do I alternate between playing the damsel and the playing the demanding entitled a**hole? Out here, at a bar or restaurant, I work really hard to make sure that you know we are equals participating in a traditionally unequal transaction.

With those, you will send a few messages back and forth before he invites you for a drink.

You will put on some mascara, plunge out into the snow, meet a stranger, and after an hour of slightly stilted conversation, he will grab the check.

You don’t order my wine and we split the check because we are peers. I have a job, you have a job, we’re all on a budget, and I did eat most of the sweet potato fries!

Down the line, we can trade off and treat each other and enjoy the security in knowing there will be a “next time,” but for now, we both walked blindly into the same bar, so let’s walk out having equally invested in the last hour.

There is plenty of privilege to go around, and while I spend a lot of time thinking about the big things I’m afforded due to my lucky draw, the little things I get are worth considering too.

I hypothesize that it will feel shitty to spend time on a nice note and to be ignored, but I don’t know, because I haven’t really tried.

This is not the behavior I would expect of a feminist, sex-positive 21st century lady. Why would I put myself through the rollercoaster of the drafting, the editing, the sending, the waiting, the hoping, the checking, and the sighing in disappointment when the fact of my gender (and let’s be real; that’s really all it is) means the attention comes to me?

It’s not behavior I’m particularly proud of either. Why don’t I reach out to the dudes with the funny handles and good taste in books, the ones who post pictures with goofy faces and like tacos almost as much as I like tacos? I wish the evidence pointed to something else, something egalitarian and modern, but when I get real with my own online dating M. I’ve sent messages to guys before, sure, but the ratio is small. This is not how I want this work, but I condone it with my inaction.

Finally, one of the cool girls writes back, and you will banter a bit, swapping favorite restaurants or concert venues.