Yep. It’s happening.
This upcoming Tuesday would have been my 2nd wedding anniversary, and this Friday, my ex wife and I would have been together for five years.
And I’m dipping my toes back into the dating pool.
And it’s weird AF.
Tinder wasn’t a thing when I was last single, and it has been an eye opening, depressing, and amusing experience.
I played with it a bit over the summer, mainly to find the profiles of coworkers (it worked! If you’re between the ages of 19-40, male or female interested in ladies and you worked with me over the summer, I’ve seen you on Tinder. I never got drunk enough to tell any of you.)
Even though my settings were for men and women, at this point in my life, I really wanted to be around some masculine energy again. I realized this spring while talking to an undergrad actor that he was the first straight man who wasn’t related to me or married to a friend that I had any sort of in depth conversation with in at least two years.
So while I’m still open to dating women, that’s not really where my head is right now.
Miracle of miracles, I met a pretty cool guy in Central New York over the summer on Tinder. If you open with “Who’s your favorite serial killer?” and riff with me about H.H. Holmes for several minutes, that’s a rare trait.
We went out a couple times and really hit it off, but because of the distance and also the fact that I’m not in a place for a relationship right now, I think we just kind of chose to let it fizzle out instead of continue to let things intensify.
But that was cool. My first dates with a dude in over five years.
While I was with my ex wife, I loved how well we clicked, understood each other deeply, partially because we had the shared experience of both being women.
But I’ve observed that there’s something more unpredictable and exciting about being with a guy. They’re a little more of an unknown entity, and a fascinating experiment in sociology. And their energy is completely different, their interactions with me.
I had missed these things.
Lately, I’ve also formed some strong connections with straight guys who have been in my life for a while. I never really allowed myself to do that when I was with my ex. They have helped fill an emotional need that I didn’t realize I had.
A few weeks ago, I got back into town in Delaware. And I hit up Tinder again.
Wow, what a disappointment.
Just check out some of the gems I have seen.
I get a fair amount of matches, but most of us never even talk. I’ve heard guys often swipe right for everyone, and I’m quite an acquired taste so I let them contact me first.
One guy went so far in his profile as to write “I always swipe left on shaved heads.” Rude.
But it rarely gets beyond a few interactions, and I’m bored. If they open with “hey,” I don’t even bother to respond. I crave originality and wit, and it’s pretty clear they don’t have it. Plus, my profile explicitly requests they don’t, which means they either didn’t read my profile or choose to ignore it.
I was kind of messing with one dude (one of my favorite pastimes) once and he couldn’t take it. He told me “I took a look at your photos again and decided against you.” And unmatched me.
But that can also backfire. I was messaging this one guy who was enjoying my mistreatment a great deal, and since I’m a bit of a sadist, I also had a fun time ridiculing him. There ya go, buddy. Some free domination.
I’ve made my profile intentionally spiky to weed out the people I have no interest in.
Right now, it says:
“I’m a goofy, queer, morbid, shaved headed intersectional feminist cat lady who makes costumes for theatre for a living. Newark, DE.
I’m pansexual, so I’m attracted to people, no matter the gender identity.
If you like binge-listening to podcasts, watching serial killer documentaries, museums, or if you have a cat, or better yet, are a cat, we should hang out!
I’m awkward AF, but I’m told it’s quite endearing.
Intelligence is sexy.
Please amuse me and start with more than a ‘hey.'”
I’d say it’s an accurate depiction of me, but when they see the shaved head, intersectional feminism and serial killers, it can send some lesser beings running.
I’ve let a couple of conversations progress a bit longer, but am still slightly unenthused. I’m not sure I like this guy from Baltimore enough to consider meeting up, because he’s only so-so and also: Baltimore.
There was this one super hot girl who lives about an hour and a half away, and we were having a great conversation. Then I didn’t hear from her for a couple days after we added each other on Instagram. She finally told me, “Listen I promise I’m not ignoring you. I just have an issue with talking about myself in length. I feel like it’s pointless.”
Well. Then what are we supposed to do? That was kinda weird and ultimately I just let that one go as well.
It seemed like anyone who was remotely cool lived an hour away in Philly.
It seems Delaware isn’t made for people like me.
I began to notice the tropes in the photos.
– Big dead fish
– At least 30% of them have at least one kid (no thank you, I’m not interested in being a part time mama right now or ever.)
– Current or former military (I just can’t. And several of my friends have had bad experiences with guys in the military.)
– People who don’t write anything on their profile as if to say “See this face? Isn’t this enough for you?”
– Poor spelling and grammar
– The guy who had a stump for an arm who offered, on his profile, to “stick my nub in your butt.” He also had a lip tattoo that read “You sit here.” I’m not making this up. Here’s proof:
So, bottom line, People Definitely Not For Me.
I got a message last weekend from a guy who began with the joke “What’s the difference between a dirty bus stop and a lobster with breast implants?”
Well, that was a start. I was intrigued.
“One’s a busty crustacean and the other is a crusty bus station.”
And with that, we started talking. He dove quickly into “big talk” as I call it, not the surface small talk I despise. He laid out some things on the table immediately, and I did the same.
Neither of us are in a place right now for a relationship, but we were interested in hanging out and seeing where things went. Hell, at this point I’d be happy with a non-theatre friend in the area.
We met in person and have really hit it off, and that’s cool. Two Tinder successes?! Who knew?
But, in beginning to date again, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and worrying. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I always want to be completely transparent and fair. I’m not ready for monogamy.
And, honestly, I don’t even know what I’m looking for in a “relationship” anymore.
I shared my concerns and hesitations with a good friend last night.
Me: “Part of me has no idea what relationships are even for nowadays. Are they to see if you’re compatible enough for marriage? And if you know right off the bat there are aspects you wouldn’t like in a forever partner, is it best to not even start? Or is it just a thing to pass the time, to have fun for the moment but to ultimately know it will end sooner or later and the longer it lasts, the worse it will be?”
Him: “Or maybe it’s just someone to spend time with so you don’t feel alone while accepting the fact that it will never be perfect and you will always have struggles because it’s hard enough to know what you’re thinking in your own head, let alone an entirely different human being’s. But some people work together well enough to get around that.”
Then there’s the old adage, “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
I’ve often said that I don’t regret any of my relationships, no matter how bad they were, because each of them taught me things and have shaped me into the person I have become.
But I’m so fucking damaged now when it comes to relationships.
I had gone into something, planning on forever, but that failed spectacularly.
I guess relationships are all about risk. It will either fail or end up in marriage, which has a 50% failure rate anyway.
It’s such a daunting and depressing thought.
But I’m resilient. I think I’ve proven that to myself and everyone else this past year.
Then there can also be the issue of distance. I’ve had a couple of long distance relationships, and it’s rough. And the time you do end up spending together is never really “real life” enough to get a handle on how you’d be as a couple in a day-to-day situation.
So this leaves me standing in a void, still wondering, “When will I be ready?” “Is monogamy for me?” “Would I consider doing a long distance thing again?” “What aspects of a potential partner do I let slide if they’re not what I had hoped for?”
And dude, I don’t fucking know.