Here’s the deal with dating. Just kidding. I have no idea what the deal is. Tony and I joke endlessly about our collective ignorance around the whole affair. Every time I give another inane reason for letting someone go, he does his interpretation of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry breaks up with a beautiful woman because, “she had MAN HANDS!” And we crack up. I tell him, no, but seriously, bro, his shoulders were just toooo slouchy. You know? His scent was just a little bit off. I had the weirdest dream about him. He invited me to a family wedding. His kiss was awkward. He looks so good on paper, but… I just wasn’t feeling it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a superiority complex by any means. I acknowledge that I actually have unusually large hands for a woman of my height. But over the last few years, my friends and loved ones have grown increasingly weary of my inability to commit to any one partner. I see the sparkle in their eyes when I tell them about a new prospect I’m excited about. Then watch that sparkle fade to disappointed sighs as I let them know I’ve let him go. They usually need break up ice cream more than I do. They vacillate between telling me I need to be less picky and supporting my idealism. Well, you know what you want and you’re not going to settle. That’s awesome! … But don’t you want kids??
By social standards I am certainly slacking in the number of marriages and children I should have had by now. And I’m totally okay with that. But if there was blame to be laid for my developmental delay in life partners and/or offspring, it would naturally fall at the feet of a therapist. When I was twelve years old, I was in group therapy for sexual abuse survivors. They probably called us victims then. Anyway, one of the therapists told us, “you’re all probably going to end up with men like your abusers.” I was wildly insulted. And by that age I had already been in an argument with someone about how I wasn’t stubborn because – although I didn’t know what it meant – I didn’t like the way it sounded. So I persisted, until they were laughing and I was getting angrier by the minute, that I was NOT STUBBORN!
You can imagine my disdain when someone had just sealed my fate to a doom I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I will NOT be with someone like HIM! I told the other girls in the group not to listen to her, she didn’t know what she was talking about, and she definitely didn’t know anything about US.
Turns out, of course, she was partly right. My boyfriend during my late teens and early twenties fit the profile. Manipulative, isolating, controlling, and abusive. Damn it. When I was finally able to break free from him, I was in a long term relationship with a wonderful man who I absolutely adored. Except neither of us had the emotional intelligence of a gnat and we communicated about as well as toddlers, so in the end we just couldn’t sustain. It was the oddest thing, to walk away from someone who wasn’t abusive or unfaithful. I mean, if a decent guy loves you – lock it in, right?
After that, I needed a little time to breathe. It’s been eight years. The good news is, most of the guys I’ve dated have been pretty awesome in one way or another. There were a couple machismo dill weeds in there, but I dropped them faster than you can say “check please!” The others have been sweet, sensitive, strong, handsome, and/or fairly stable and productive members of society. In yo FACE, therapy lady!
There have been times (as in, maybe ten thousand times) that I’ve thought – maybe I’m overcompensating. Trying so hard not to get into a hurtful or unhealthy or abusive situation that I won’t even give the good guys a real chance. There probably is some truth to that. And I could probably fill your computer memory with relationship issues that have arisen out of my childhood experiences.
But there’s also an element of learning – after so many years – to not only trust my intuition, but actually act on it. And my intuition tells me I just haven’t met my guy yet. I wonder where he is and what he’s doing. Maybe he’s just finishing up his last open heart surgery of the day. Or jumping out of a plane to save a baby gorilla. Or, more likely, he’s telling his friend over coffee, “but dude… she had MAN HANDS!”
*No therapists were harmed in the writing of this blog.
Tony’s Tinder Tales:
Being single now for a few years since my divorce, I’ve suddenly been thrown into a dating world as if being awakened from a coma. I woke up to an age where walking up to a beautiful girl while tripping over your words nervously to introduce yourself is no longer the go to. Instead of feeling the vibes and sensing the pheromones, one has to decipher a person through a selfie. Now it’s a swipe left or right on a woman’s best photo shoot pic wearing her best dress with duck lips pointing at the camera in the bathroom. Others of her standing at Peru’s historical Machu Picchu wearing a Giants baseball hat, or casually drinking a bottle of Fireball at a bar or floating down a river. This is followed with a short description of her favorite likes and dislikes.
See, I didn’t have a cell phone when I met my ex. We lived in the country and she was the only girl within a five mile radius, so a phone wasn’t necessary. I haven’t had to approach someone for a date in almost two decades.
But NOW! Oh my goodness, the dating world is interesting to say the least. If anyone has spent any time on Tinder, you know what I’m talking about. Searching amidst the sea of selfies for candid pics of beautiful smiles can eat up the clock. In my case, hours turn into days in which nothing gets done, dishes pile up and I lose track of time and sleep. It’s like a slot machine and at some point, you’re not even paying attention, simply swiping away on the phone to get a match as the world spins around you. After the rush of winning your first match, you try to catch that buzz again, but it’s usually not as strong. Then it’s too late, the addiction sets in and there’s no turning back. Rapidly trying to read the body language of a person’s true energy from a picture of her shooting an AK47 assault rifle can be daunting. I forget why I even downloaded the app. Was I THAT lonely or bored to succumb to the temptation of a world of beautiful ladies at my fingertips?
Yes. Yes I was.
I get sucked in though and now it’s about how many matches I can win. And when I actually do match with someone and try to communicate, things get interesting. What takes a few seconds when chatting with someone face to face usually takes a few days on Tinder.
After a match I’ll say something along the lines of, “Hi, how are you, I like your pics.”
…two days later… (or never)
Tinder girl says, “Oh thank you! I like your pics too. Where do you live?”
Me, “Thanks, I live in Singles City. Is that close to you?”
Tinder girl, “I live in Divorceville. So, what do you do?”
I tell her my job description as if I’m applying for a new job, and we’re now into interview mode: how tall are you; what do you do for fun; are you married; do you like dogs, Netflix and chill, shooting guns, drinking beer next to a pickup in a random field, etc. This is not the fuel to spark a fire of love. Especially after repeating answers to the same questions over and over again, only to have the conversation abruptly vanish in midflight. Forever.
After a while, describing my current lackluster job seemed boring, so my childish imagination kicked in and I became a giraffe trainer. One Tinderella actually believed that I would have my baby giraffe snow skiing by winter. I told her how I was trying to figure out a way to put skis on her hooves. I can imagine Tinderella’s head tilt with the thought of a baby giraffe wearing goggles skiing down the mountain with a little snow cap and scarf flapping in the wind. Much better than my real job of ‘operating heavy equipment’. Of course, I fail to mention that I operate that equipment for a sewer department. ‘Water systems’ sounds much…cleaner.
It seems as if it would be easier to kiss a stealthy great white shark prowling the ocean than to find a genuine connection with someone due to the sheer number of options, especially for the girls. And the fact that it’s dubbed as a ‘hookup site’ doesn’t help either, although most of my matches advertised they want, ‘NO HOOKUPS!’
The confusion continues.
My friend asked me how many matches that I had at one point which was nine at the time.
“Oh” she says.
“What?” I asked.
She said that she currently had one hundred and twenty eight matches! Holy crap. Then three more as we were chatting. She swiped right to match one guy because of his dog and not for his looks or from reading his bio. How the hell do girls sift through all of that? I told her to hire a secretary to interview some of these lads holding puppies acting all innocent so she could actually enjoy the rest of her evening.
By the way guys, come on… flexing your arm while taking a drink of your Corona shirtless as the sun sets on the beach. Really? (She matched with that dude too.)
I know that some studies have been done about the massive numbers of people on these sites and the odds of actually finding someone that falls into the realm of your love box is one in a million. But that’s Tinder for you I suppose. I use it, but would rather leave dating sites like this in a far off galaxy and try for the old exciting walking up to a woman and saying “Yo! Waz up superfly chick with your skirt way up to here. Let’s dance!”
Or the real me, “Hi, want to go for a walk sometime, or get coffee or something?”
No wonder I’m single.