For those of you that read my blog regularly, you know that I have had a pretty disastrous, sometimes amusing experiences with dating. Remember the time I went out to NoHo (North Hampton) on my first online date and the guy put his hands around my neck when he kissed me good night? I really should have stopped there, but I had hope that it was just a fluke and it could only go up from there. Boy, was I wrong. Then there was the time I went out with the guy with the stutter from New Haven. That date ended in a lock-down situation when his crazy “ex” girlfriend showed up pounding at the door. I still can’t help but laugh and think of that horrific night every time I hear the song “Stutter”.
I’m starting to wonder if it’s just me or is there a perfectly good explanation as to why there is a level of mental instability in the men I encounter on dating sites. Since my last dating debacle with the guy I saw with another woman at the bar, I’ve taken a step back…okay, I’ve taken several steps back from impulsively swiping right on Bumble. I was just about to delete my account when a friend wanted to see what “potential” men I had to choose from online. The first few swipes proved my point.
The things these men put on their profiles astonish me. For example, meet Bob; Bob is a single male in his 50 ’s. Never married, no kids (thank God) that lives next door to his mother (probably in her basement). He has a picture of himself making a lewd gesture to a wax sculpture of JLo and is seeking love. I mean…man of my dreams right there!
Then there is Todd who is a 44-year old (who looks 60) white male from an affluent town that is slightly overweight in one picture, but then miraculously is a young athletic type with pictures that are clearly not him biking, skiing and golfing. Sure, maybe those pictures where him 20 years ago or in a past life, but now he looks more like Archie Bunker. Needless to say, I swiped left. Left– is ‘no thank you’ for those of you not subjected to the horrors of online dating.
I have countless stories of these guys. There are hundreds of them…maybe even thousands. I keep repeating that stupid saying everyone tells us-you might have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince. Well, that is either a cruel joke or a bold-faced lie because I’ve kissed a LOT of damn frogs and there is no prince…just more asshole frogs.
What inevitably happens is you become desensitized to the whole thing and you come across someone like Eddie, who seems “normal” and very attractive and you find yourself swiping right. I immediately regret it but my friends convince me to give it a try.
The conversation with these guys goes one of two ways. We have great conversations via text and it goes on forever never ending up in an actual date OR they want to meet right away, but something feels strange about them.
Eddie was the last guy I made the mistake of talking to. He seemed sweet at first, but then it went left when he told me he’s not trying to catfish me, but he’s gained a ton of weight since the pictures he posted on his dating profile. He wants to meet me because “I’m so incredibly attractive” but he doesn’t want to “mislead me”. Here I am bracing myself, waiting for the pictures he’s about to send me, thinking it will look like the Nutty Professor and he sends me a shirtless picture of his beautifully sculpted abs saying, “I’m embarrassed by how much weight I’ve gained and my gut is out of control.” Now, I think I’m being catfished or punked. I mean, was this guy serious or fishing for compliments? He seemed sincere about how badly he felt about his body but he looked like fucking Hugh Jackman!
Immediately, I realize that either way I’m not going to go on a date with this guy. He’s clearly unstable. What ends up happening is that I become his therapist and he tells me all of his troubles. He tells me how unhappy his ex-wife was and so are all the women he’s met since his divorce a year ago. All he’s looking for is someone “happy”. After a long discussion of why he thinks all women are unhappy, I suggested to him that he may be attracting what he’s putting out there and that he is clearly unhappy with himself. I then told him that if he doesn’t love himself then he doesn’t have the capacity to love anyone else. This went on for hours. I really should send him a bill in the mail, but I felt sorry for him. Not to pity him, because I was there too, but this poor guy didn’t see how miserable he is and how this is the reason he was attracting miserable people. Then, I thought–holy fuck….I attracted him! Maybe I’m still a mess too and that’s why I keep attracting these weirdos! It was a sobering thought and I really had to re-evaluate my whole approach to dating.
You want to know what I came up with? Not dating at all. Yep, that’s my new approach. I am officially done trying to date. I have determined that everyone I know that fell in love did so on a fluke. They met at a random time, at a random place and just fell for the person. Yes, I do know people that have met online, but it’s like hitting the lottery…your chances are slim to none. I’m just not willing to go on a ride through crazy town in order to find the one. Sure, it’s nice to get attention from men online. Eddie made me feel like a million bucks before I realized he’s a deeply depressed, wounded soul with body dysmorphia.
It’s just so exhausting trying to weed out the “normal” ones and try to develop a relationship with them when they aren’t willing to put in any effort. I’m just going to go back to the old fashioned way and hope that I run into my soulmate in the grocery store as we’re looking for the perfectly ripe avocados or standing in line at Starbucks ordering my venti hot coffee with coconut milk and stevia. This online shit is for the birds. I’m done. I just don’t have the patience to continue to have conversations with the players, the crazies, the desperate losers, the narcissists, the mama’s boys, the jilted, the angry, the partying fools trying to hold onto their youth, and the wide array of unauthentic men I have encountered on every dating site known to man. I just can’t.
I am now in a place that I don’t even care if I meet anyone. If I do, then great but I’m okay all by myself. I came to this conclusion as I was at my favorite nail salon and realized that the only man that has touched me in months is the guy that gives me a shoulder massage while I’m getting my nails done. I found myself thinking, this is all I need…I just need a man to rub my feet and shoulders once in a while and I’m happy. Okay, so maybe that’s a little weird that I’m feeling completely satisfied with a good shoulder rub, but seriously, it’s a no strings attached relationship that I’m okay with at this point in my life.
I have bigger things to spend my energy on in life like finding a job, a publisher, a car and a new home…who the hell has time for these crazy ass men! I’m fine with getting a little pleasure from my neck rub from Ken at the nail salon. Sure, maybe I’m getting my nails done a little more often than I usually do, but it’s harmless…right?
I’m totally kidding, by the way. Well, kind of. This is how sad my dating life has become and I know I’m not the only middle-aged woman out there feeling this way. Am I? To all you poor souls out there looking for love…I have this bit of advice for you…stop looking and let love find you. I feel like my new approach or not having any approach at all is the best way to go. The alternative is too exhausting and completely disappointing. I’m just gonna focus on loving myself and fixing my shit so that I don’t attract someone that has to fix their own shit. You know what I mean? Like I told Eddie:
I’m being completely transparent now. I’m not wasting time with unauthentic men who are emotionally unavailable or desperate for a warm body. I’m strategically weeding out the people I know are not right for me or that don’t have the capacity to love me like I deserve. I won’t put on the mask trying to be what someone wants me to be. I won’t give up on love. Love will come to me. Happiness is a choice you have to make every minute of every day. Be authentically you and love who you are first. The rest will follow.
These are the words I live by and yes, I actually text this to a guy from Bumble after an hour of counseling him on his broken heart. The bottom line is—there are people out there hurting and I think they all end up on these dating sites. I am more than happy to counsel them, but I’m not willing to date them. Nor should you.
With Faith, Hope, and Love,
Bumbles’ new relationship coach