One year ago, I dipped my toe back into the dating pool after spending some time recovering from a rather shocking and heart-wrenching breakup. Most people I went out with were Bumble matches. A lot of people get down on online dating, but I’ve always found it be better than meeting a random person in a bar. Like social media, it’s all about how you use it and how much value you assign to the interactions you have with it. I’m a casual dater who generally just has fun with it. It also helps that I’m a writer because even if there is no romantic connection, I enjoy listening to people’s life stories. I’ve gathered so much material from all the people I’ve met. And I met a lot of people over the last 365 days. Let’s count them.
I paid for Bumble. I felt slightly weird about it at first—like there was something wrong with my ability to get the dates I wanted otherwise—but actually I know several people my age who pay for it. And if no one paid, those apps would’t exist. So given all my years of using the apps for free, maybe it was my turn to contribute. Turns out, I really liked the features I got with a paid account. It was nice to be out of the urgent swiping game and able to browse everyone who liked me whenever I wanted. I was able to make more conscious and careful decisions about who to initiate a chat with and who to go out with. When you can only see one person at a time, you waste a lot of time messaging with people you are on the fence about because you have to select yes or no immediately to be able to see the next person. Bumble Beeline allowed me to keep those “maybe” guys on hold for a rainy day without having to engage them in conversation. Continue reading →
It’s been five months since I wrote about my dating exploits. Half of summer and, as of today, all of autumn has gone by. So, you may be wondering what gives? What does the silence mean? Nothing really. I dated some people for longer amounts of time than my usual one and done, I took some time off from dating, and then I got back out there after a lot of swiping left. Here’s what I found. Continue reading →
After a summer of first dates and a steady fling, I’ve been taking some time off from dating. I’m feeling happily solitary at the moment, as you might have surmised from my last post. All I want to do is work out, hike, read, and do creative writing projects. But I still have my dating profile up and look at profiles for a few minutes almost every day. It’s an addiction. Many of the guys I see seem great, but when it comes to the idea of spending my time going to meet someone and making chitchat for an hour or two, I’m simply not interested. And maybe I’m too picky, but men’s profiles make it so easy to reject them. Aside from my usual reasons (has kids, is ex-military, doesn’t seem to have an active lifestyle, doesn’t seem to have any intellectual interests, didn’t write anything in his profile, wearing sunglasses and/or a hat in all his photos, simply not attractive), here are some of the many snap judgment reasons I have for swiping left. Continue reading →
During the last two months, I’ve found myself undecided at the end of many first dates. This isn’t normal for me. I’m generally a clear yes or no, and I tell the guy exactly what I’m thinking. But lately I’ve been giving guys second and third dates because I haven’t been sure of my feelings, which, as I should know about myself by now, actually means I’m not interested. If I don’t have an overwhelming “wow” feeling at the end of date one, it really is a waste of my time to go on more dates because that feeling won’t magically appear. And yet, I’ve been doing it anyway because a lot my dates were really great guys I wanted to like. Continue reading →
At one of the numerous happy hours my company has hosted for its employees this year, my teammates and I stood by a fence, surveying the array of pale, hirsute faces. The scene prompted one of my coworkers (who is also white and bearded) to point out that our office is a real life game of Guess Who. Remember that game? Twenty-four faces on the game board, most of them white men? Your first question was always “Is your person a man?” and your next was “Is the person white?” If your secret person was one of the only four women, the only black person, or one of the other three people of indeterminate ethnicity, you were setting yourself up to lose. You always had to choose a white man.
The number one rule of being a writer is that you have to write. This is the same in any pursuit (say, dating). If you want to be good at it, you have to do it regularly. You need to write a lot of crappy words to come up with the good ones and you need to go on dates with a lot of duds to find the right one.
Writing and dating intersect in the online world. A blank profile is useless. You must be able to write one that attracts the type of person you are looking for, and when you match, you must be able to carry on a decent written conversation long enough to get to the in-person date. And if the person you want to date is a writer, well, you had better have some serious writing skills. Because we’re judging. It’s inevitable. In addition to physical attraction, my willingness to meet someone is based largely on how well they abide by the rules of good writing. Continue reading →
As promised, my dating recaps are back. There are a few new (or new to me) dating apps out there since last summer that I’ve tried (Hinge and The League, for example), but I still find that Bumble has the most potential and attractive dates and has a format I prefer. So, I’ve been on there matching, unmatching, connecting, ignoring, and sometimes managing to fit in a date or two into my busy schedule. And when I do go out, of course I come home and take copious notes on everything the person did and said, and everything that transpired between us. People are always fascinating and get my creative juices flowing, even when they do nothing else for me. I primarily use my notes for fiction characters and keep these people anonymous, but I enjoy putting a little record out there for the public too. So here we are, first with two of my dates from last summer never who got their recap because their status was in progress at the time of my dating last post. Continue reading →
Now that I’m dating again, I’ve had to use my standard “I had a great time talking to you, but I don’t feel the connection I’m looking for” rejection line on several men. I know it’s cliche to say, but it hurts me as much as it hurts them. Telling someone to his face that you aren’t interested in a second date, especially when he clearly is, is awkward and uncomfortable. But it’s the right thing to do. Ghosting is weak-minded and I don’t like getting text after text from a guy who is interested in me when I don’t feel the same. Delaying the inevitable “I don’t feel that way about you” message is unfair. We’ve all been at the other end of unreturned text messages, our rational brains telling us the guy isn’t interested and we should move on, but our passionate hearts needing to hear it from him explicitly before we can accept it. That verbal confirmation rarely comes.
The conversation gets harder, but even more important, when you’ve been on more than one or two dates and you’ve had a strong, mutual connection. And guys are totally incompetent at having this talk. (Disclaimer: Girls probably suck at this too, but I can only speak from my experience.) Even the ones who seem emotionally honest for so long, at the end prove themselves incapable of sitting down with someone they’ve shared months or years of intimacy and laughter and memory making with to have a decent, respectful conversation about ending their relationship.
When I rejoined the single life at the beginning of last year, all the gals in my usual group, except one, were right there with me, or about to be, and that was a lot of fun. A gaggle of thirty-something women with money to burn and time to spare? Plenty of opportunity for getting into shenanigans! Naturally, over the last thirteen months, our relationship statuses have diverged, merged, and diverged some more through summer flings, painful breakups, unhealthy obsessions, and genuine connections. Now, at the time of writing this, three of us are in long distance relationships (how odd is that?), one is in a rekindled local relationship, and one is swiping left and right to make plans for the upcoming weekend.
So, although I’ve officially been out of the dating pool for over five months now, there are still dating stories I could share, and one recent event involving a friend’s date reminded me so much of my post about all my coincidental run-ins, good and bad, in Boulder that I had to. Continue reading →