The Paper Bag Princess or time waster?

Today I found myself finally getting back to a man I have had some casual online chat with. Over the last two or three weeks other aspects of my life have required my energy, indeed I have preferred to give my energy to those areas rather than the online game of dating. I could see this man – let’s call him S – had been attempting to contact me and so responded politely with an apology for my online absence.

At this point I need to say that S really had not done much in the way of attempting to get to know me through asking questions and engaging in an ongoing online dialogue. In doing so I had wondered if he would be like that in person but applied benefit of the doubt and continued to occasionally chat with a view to one day meeting and finding out. Maybe S was shy? Maybe he didn’t like typing? Maybe… who knows!

It wasn’t long before S replied to me today. He suggested we meet up tonight. I couldn’t meet up and let him know just as you would with anyone. His reply back to me was “You don’t seem too keen…to change your life”.

There it was. There was that mystical concept that people in the dating world talk about, hope for, believe in. I like to refer to this as the cinderella or prince charming effect, whereby meeting ‘the one’ will in some way rescue you from what must be a terrible life. This was also my ‘aha’ moment of this person definitely isn’t for me. Nevertheless, I was curious to know how S thought he would change my life.

S didn’t like me asking. His intolerance for the question suggested I was supposed to want my life changed, and that I wanted for him to be the one to change it.


Obviously I pointed out that I quite liked my life and wasn’t looking for someone to change it, rather I am looking for someone to add to my life. I also added that I wasn’t looking for whatever it is right now, that I wasn’t needing today to be the day as I was/am extremely tired. Clearly my sense of non-urgency was not good enough as S proceeded to call me a ‘time waster’.

Being a ‘time waster’ is an odd thing. I don’t define myself as a time waster, especially as I don’t intend to do that and am quite upfront about my intentions and feelings in any moment. Being a time waster and having your time wasted are two different things which require different responses. Being a time waster suggests intent on wasting someone else’s time, intentionally misleading them. Having your time wasted is part of both or either being mislead and/or making decisions for yourself contrary to what you want.

I don’t intend to waste people’s time, I don’t mislead people using false and alluding statements or comments. I am laid back –for non-Australian’s this refers to having a relaxed nature, or going with the flow– and I am open and honest.

The term ‘time waster’ seems to get used a lot in online dating. I’m not overly sure what this looks like from the mens perspective but I have some understanding based on my own experience. I had my time wasted for seven years by someone that I was deeply in love with. We both kept ourselves available for the other in various ways across that time so I take ownership over my part. However, I particularly was dragged through emotional torment by this person being unable to be honest with themselves and thus continually pushing and pulling me while I was broken and tearing to pieces, of which he spoke of knowingly doing this. My time was wasted as my best reproduction years have past, the opening for meeting someone else has become smaller, my trust in other men/lovers/partners has been eroded, and my enthusiasm to give effort to others has drained. That’s time wasting, that’s having my time wasted. So how can so much anger be thrown around online for what are mostly strangers in wasting others’ time?

A few brief online chats, superficial at best, surely doesn’t take up so much of your mind and body that your time is wasted? Did S really invest himself in me so much that he believed I would change his life after just a few online chats and potentially one date over a coffee?

This got me thinking, “have we been conditioned by fairy tales that until we find ‘the one’ we are all helpless and hopeless?”

These thoughts have been evolving in my mind for a week since a fairy tale experience. My gorgeous niece loves books. She toddled off and got some books and returned to sit in my lap and handed me Cinderella. Being the realist that I am I didn’t actually read the words from the page, opting instead to tell her about how she doesn’t need a man to be complete and that prince charming is not the perfect picture made out in the story. It was this moment that I realised why so many men (sorry I can only speak of men as I am a hetero woman) feel that they will change my life. They too have been lead to believe they should, will, must save a woman who will then forever gaze at his brilliance and offer her thanks by being his princess who smiles and laughs while twirling her hair. I didn’t do the best job of telling a better story but have since found a book that might.

Instead of reading your children stories like Cinderella and setting them up for dating failure, consider alternatives such as ‘The Paper Bag Princess‘. Maybe I’ll send this to S.


2 thoughts on “The Paper Bag Princess or time waster?

  1. I’ve been accused of being an online “time waster” more than once… mainly because I wasn’t interested in “hooking up” with someone. I don’t get the mentality behind this… I suppose that if you have this mindset the majority of time spent in the online world is “time wasted”. Unless you’re a blogger 🙂 then it gives you fodder!!!

    • So true. I have had that too…often because of perceptions of the purpose of a particular site and I am not following those perceived rules or expectations. One thing is for sure: no one should make assumptions in online dating.

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