One thing I’ve learned is never go out with a guy that follows you on any social media. It makes it difficult to vent about how awkward everything was.
My favorite part about that sentence is how it’ll make some men uncomfortable. Probably provides some insight into why I’m single. Well, that and I’m just mean spirited and have spent a lot of time cultivating a persona that’s as warm as a rattlesnake.
A couple months ago, I signed up for one of those dating app things. I figured it was easy, free, and a good way to just dip a toe into the dating pool. However, no one warned me that dating pool was actually a treatment pond for industrial waste. I never found my Mr. Right, Mr. Right Now, or even a Mr. You'll Do. I did at least learn a lot about rejection, the art of ghosting, and that there are worse things than being alone. Oh, and got some good stories. That's very important, since so many of my decisions boil down to, "would this be a funny story?"
I wish I had kept track of how many men I matched with, messaged, and what percent responded to me. Even smaller still, what percent I ended up meeting. However, I can tell you how many men I had a second date with! Two. There were two guys that I ever heard from again after the initial date.
Have you ever met someone you knew online, and they looked so different from their pictures that you wanted to ask for your money back? No money was exchanged, you just feel so betrayed by the misrepresentation it was like you'd been swindled. I wanted to yell at him, to be honest. Instead I just let him pay for the pizza. I regret that, actually. Because what followed was one of the most awkward set of social interactions I've ever had. Yes, that's plural. Yes, I saw him more than once. I felt bad for him! I thought that maybe he was just nervous and that's why he made really intense eye contact, or answered open ended questions with "....yeah." Sometimes he would just stop in the middle of a sentence like he forgot where he was.
As it turns out, that wasn't first date jitters. That's just him.
One guy gave me this spiel that men didn't like it when women talked about previous sexual experiences, because it made them sound like whores. No details, just knowing that a woman wasn't a virgin was enough to bother him.
At some point, I stopped trying to act like an adult. As Bill Burr may or may not have said, you stop worrying about how something might sound and just start thinking, "Fuck it, let's see what happens." I wasn't interested in impressing these guys, and before the first date was over I started to worry about them asking for a second one. I told a few I was a feminist, knowing it would be enough to drive them off. In case you're wondering, it is pretty effective. I would recommend it for anyone caught in the same situation.
Another time, I think the guy and I started a competition to see who could gross out the other. Actually, looking back that may have been one of the best dates I've been on.
These are extreme examples. Generally, there was just a total lack of chemistry and attraction. Not so much that there was anything particularly wrong with any of them, just that I didn't see them as compatible. I rarely left a date with an overly positive feeling. However, that didn't mean I didn't feel some sense of rejection when I never heard from them again. Even recently I had the "there's nothing here" conversation with a guy I had met through a friend. There were so many red flags around him, and I wasn't interested, but it still hurt a little when he said he felt the same way.
Rejection sucks, and dating is a series of rejections. Still, it's a little fun. The newness of getting to know someone. The flirting. The hoping that something works out. Letting a man pay for dinner and getting a free meal out of it. Even got a free donut one day!
I think I'm done with the quantity approach. It's exhausting and frustrating and more than a little overwhelming. You see such a variety and so few are interesting. It's not just an issue of losing hope, but making sure you don't get... desperate. With each bad date, your standards drop just a little.
We'll see how it goes in the future. For now, I just need to focus on the important things in my life. Maybe that'll include someone else, maybe it won't. The lesson here was being single and alone is still better than being around someone you don't even like.