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Online dating is a make-believe world. People are drawn in by that image, and then they create their own fantasy on top of that. An online dating site is really nothing more than layers upon layers of ego and insecurity.
Essentially, nothing is real. In the guise of Emily Dickinson, I was hip.
I could quote poetry on demand. But my real OkCupid profile projected that image as well. So why was Emily Dickinson succeeding at online dating to a much higher degree than I ever had? Well, she was famous, for one thing, and dead for another. Maybe that was it. Men do tend to fetishize famous dead women, especially if the woman in question has a head full of neuroses.
If most modern men met these women in real life, they would call them crazy, but somehow, in the safety of death, they become worthy. Maybe this was a step beyond that: Unfortunately, not everyone was in love with Emily. People kept reporting me for falsely representing myself, as if I were actually trying to pull a fast one on the entire male population. A user would issue a complaint and then OkCupid would delete my images. I kept reposting the images anyway, and people kept reporting me. This process happened over and over again.
Eventually, I got tired of this merry-go-round and added a disclaimer to my profile: This is clearly a joke.
I am not actually Emily Dickinson. But even with all the haters, Emily was not hurting for suitors. She was, in fact, an unlikely star in the online dating scene. Once I left the house for an hour and came home to find seventeen messages in my inbox. I could barely keep up. I wanted to respond, at least once, to every message I received, but it quickly became a full-time job.
So, after two days of playing Emily Dickinson, I decided to cancel the account.
Which would make my Emily Dickinson impression all the more authentic. Of course, with all that interest, I might have actually met someone, if I had stuck with it. It would have made a great romcom. Early on, a guy asked for my real-world profile and I sent it to him. He thanked me, but then I never heard from him again.
They did see photos of Emily Dickinson, though. It's time for the Best Post Contest! Patrick Austin Nov Emily Dickinson, for example. I keep her chained up in attic.
I messaged him, revealing my true identity. Sign in Get started. Members have access to year round submissions and over stories in the Recommended Reading archives electricliterature.
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