My New Book, and The End of My Online Secret Identity

Not A MatchCOVERJPGMy name is Brian Donovan, and I am an online dater. For some of my readers, those who have been following my other writing on Thought Catalog, that’s not much of a revelation. I’ve written about it over there frequently. For those who’ve been reading me here at It’s Not a Match, it probably comes as a bit of a surprise. Because until today, as you well know, I’ve been writing this anonymously. No names, no pictures, no women hating me for writing about them online. But with the release of my new ebook, Not a Match: My True Tales on Online Dating Disasters, that’s changed. It’s the end of an era. That’s right, I’m going to finally attach my name to my ridiculous online dating exploits. Yippee! I think!

For those of you who are new to INaM, I ‘ve been dating online for years, and have gone on at least 100 dates. I say “at least,” because actually I’ve entirely lost count of how many, and chances are it’s far more than 100. I know, I sound like a scandalous ladies’ man. To dissuade yourself of that notion however, simply click on my Thought Catalog archives. My favorites things to write about over there are my cat and The Gilmore Girls. Bea Arthur is more of a ladies’ man than I am. But I wanted to find the girl of my dreams, and so logically the first thought that jumped into my head was, “she’s probably hiding inside of a computer!” So I’ve used Match and OkCupid on and off since college, and have amassed quite a slew of stories. There’s the girl who caught on fire, the girl who brought her boyfriend on our date, even the girl who confronted me on national TV. Plus a lot of great advice, that will hopefully allow you to have a less tragic romantic life than I do. It’s all in the book…that you’re gonna buy a few copies of for yourself, then buy some for friends, and family, and strangers in the street, and even some dead people, and probably a few stuffed animals. My book does particularly well with stuffed animals.

But the real question is, why am I doing this now? I’ve kept myself secret this long (except for a few enterprising readers who somehow figured it all out), so I certainly could’ve written my book under a pen name. And believe me, I seriously considered it.  My reasoning was this: what woman would ever go out with a guy who might gab about it afterwards online? Especially on an internet date. I mean, there’s at least a 25% chance anyone you meet on OkCupid is going to be a psychopath to begin with. Then if you throw in the possibility that he’s gonna write about you on his blog, add on the price of gas, parking, and the time it takes to get ready, and screw it–you might as well stay home and watch House Hunters. Or, just a suggestion, The Gilmore Girls. If I openly wrote about dating, would my dating life be finished? In early trials, it seemed like it would.

When I first started It’s Not a Match, I had an optimistic full-honesty policy, which required me to tell women about the site before meeting them in person. That way, no one would feel hoodwinked and freak out. No big deal, right? Wrong. Very big deal. Here are some of the responses I received after telling women about this little bad boy. Keep in mind that before this revelation, the conversations were going quite well…

“Are you fucking kidding me?!”

“My brother’s a writer! But I really don’t want to go out with you anymore.”

“Sorry, but no way.”

“Really? That’s cool. No thanks!”

“Is everyone online such a freak?!”

“I want my money back.”

This pretty much sums up how they felt...

This pretty much sums up how they felt…

I wasn’t sure what money she was referring to, but I sent her a check anyway. Seemed like the least I could do. And these were the women who took my news well. Most of them just stopped talking to me altogether. Honestly though, I don’t blame ‘em one bit. I never lie here, and I’ve always changed my date’s names and identity as much as possible, but still, I’m not sure if even I would’ve wanted to go out with me. Especially with all the blabbering about my cat. I mean really, it never stops. So as an emergency measure, honesty was shelved, and I ceased telling my dates about my writing until things got serious. And even then, it was broached carefully, and none of them were particularly thrilled. So what’s changed? Why have I now decided to come out of the internet dating closet? For one, I don’t date anywhere near as much as I used to, so the effect is minimized. But more importantly, I realized that the right woman for me will understand what I’m doing. She knows that I’m a writer, that sometimes it’ll be about my life, and that, for better or worse, it comes with the territory. Is she throwing a parade and telling her friends and family with glee in her in voice? No she is not. But she tolerates what I do, and on occasion maybe it even makes her smile. I have found a few such women already, and every time I am amazed at their greatness. Ah, great women. They’re just sensational, aren’t they? I have no idea why they tolerate us being such goons…

So I’m going out on a limb here, but I hope it’s worth it. For those of you who have been reading the site for a while, I promise you’ll love the book. It’s got all my classic stories, revamped, rewritten, and punched up to add extra humor and truthiness. From now on, it’ll be the only place to read some of my most popular pieces: The Girl Who Was a Mennonite, Crafting the Perfect Email, and The Sex Crier and others. If you don’t like the book, I’ll give you your money back. I mean, I won’t, but it feels like the right thing to say in the moment. But I hope you’ll get the book. A few sheckles will help me keep writing this site, and buying drinks for women who do funny things that I can run home and tell you guys all about.

So, yeah. Hi, I’m Brian. It’s nice to meet you all.

To Buy Not a Match: My True Tales of Online Dating Disasters on Amazon, click HERE.

For Your Ipad, Get It In the iBookstore HERE.

Or, if you’re frightened by technology and would rather read it on your computer, click HERE

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16 Responses to My New Book, and The End of My Online Secret Identity

  1. Max says:

    Proud of you.

  2. thebitchdesk says:

    Purchased tonight. Can’t wait to check it out!

  3. Sarah says:

    B! I stumbled across your blog while writing a piece on internet dating, and happily, I’ve not regretted subscribing to your blog — you’ve always made me laugh, and honestly made the vast majority of my internet dating experiences seem like perfect examples of fully functioning human relations…except for the date I had on my 29th birthday…the story of which I may still submit to the horror section…anyways. I’m glad to see you outed, that you’re a real person, and that I have also read some of your work elsewhere. Congrats on the new book, keep up the good work, and if you’re ever in the Seattle area, let everyone know. I would totally bring friends to a reading.
    — Sarah

  4. Paula says:

    Good luck with your book!

  5. betsy says:

    I grabbed it and I can’t wait to read it! Just disappointed to find out you don’t *actually* look like any of the photos you’ve put up in the past on the blog. I always pictured you as the guy in the snuggie photo, and it really helped me visualize the stories.

  6. Caroline says:

    Brian, Congrats! I have been reading your site for … years – probably as long as I have been internet dating myself. Your writing helps me keep my own experiences in perspective and reminds me how important it is to laugh about all of it. I think you are totally right that the right girl for you should be someone who embraces your writing! I look forward to reading your book. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  7. Natalie says:

    I was reeeeeally hoping for an entry outling your progress with the new feature on OKC: crazy blind date!
    However, your news still leaves this as a viable option…
    Congrats on the book, B! But, keep up the blog. :)

  8. Hailey says:

    Okay, so here’s the short story… Last night, was listening to a story on NPR’s Marketplace about a book called Data: A Love Story. I subsequently download it… and stay up obscenely late to read this trite, bs ‘memoir’ that basically catalogs the most narcisistic approach to online dating ever written. So… I go back to the drawing board. Stumble onto your book while looking for something that can restore my faith in humanity. Have not been able to put it down. I suddenly no longer feel like the universe is out to get me anytime I sign up for on-line dating. Apparently it’s out to get all of us. Thanks for writing about the horrible/hilarious/lovely stories you have experienced and heard. You are my hero.

  9. Ellekay says:

    Stumbled across your blog, and after reading a few of the posts I am laughing so hard I’m crying. Heck, I was just looking for a Match discount so I could jump back into online dating after being away 6-7 years. I hope I meet a guy with as good of a sense of humor as you. And then I hope I find out later how he blogged me out after every awkward moment, because that dude is clearly my soul mate.

    And because I’ll have beat him to tweeting about it anyway. @kissintell.

  10. Charli says:

    So I have a theory that Internet dating is self perpetuating. No one who meets anyone is ever satisfied because that ‘perfect’ match may just be one click away. Which means they can’t stay faithful no matter how great the person is they are dating/living with/marrying. Which means that great person is going to leave them because we don’t put up with liars and cheats that can’t give up online dating. Just saying…

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