I always comment that I am glad that I did not grow up in an era where every embarrassing moment could be caught on a camera and sent via snap chat to quite possibly hundreds of people, however I have not escaped the era in which online dating is not only normal, but booming.
As a single 29 year old woman in 2018, I have had some defining experiences that have soured my taste for the virtual world of connections.
One such experience was opened with a one liner, “Hello, have you read 50 Shades of Grey? Because I was thinking of writing a fan fiction piece, and I’d love you to star in it. I’m thinking of calling it 50 Shades of Greg.”
-Pass. Hard Pass.
Another ended up insulting everyone in the room. We meet at the local Salsa event, hoping to dance the night away with some romantic chemistry, for there are two things that I associate with Salsa dancing, sweating, and smiling as you stare into your partner’s eyes. However, upon gazing into my partner’s eyes, he said, “You know you just have to feel the music, ba bat, ba bat, ba bat.” I furrowed my brow in response, so he added, “I forgot about this place, all the men are really good, but all the women really suck.” I was at loss for words… and I am an English teacher by profession. This, also piled on top of the fact that he was late on account of a nap he’d taken, and the fact that he had brought no cash, so I had to pay took my mood from irritated to flat out disappointed. I’m not old fashioned, but on the first date, I expect a 50/50 effort. Then as he walked me to my car that night, he also told me that because teachers don’t make a lot of money, I should look into a certain type of loan to buy a house.
-What the hell? Pass.
One of my least favorite things is when I tell a guy a slap on the knee dad joke (because those are my favorite, and given that I work with kids, my humor is pretty PG) but the guy interprets the joke as an avenue to insert his either dirty, or wildly inappropriate joke into the conversation. Here are a few that I’ve been told on dates:
“What happens when you go down on a hippie?” (Guy starts picking imaginary pubic hair out of his mouth).
“Hey did you every call CHATTA back? –CHATTA who? –CHATTA Fuck up.”
“One time I met this French girl and I was like, HEEEYYYYY we really saved your ass during World War II”
And then there is the whole class of jaded men looking for a cheerful woman to cheer him up. One such male did not specify what his profession was, and during the course of the date, he identified himself as a CHP officer and then proceeded to tell me all the reasons why he hated being downtown: how many drug addicts crossed his path on the way to the restaurant, how having hot chocolate with me there was out of his comfort zone, and how this town has so many problems.
Another, I dated for six weeks before I realized that he was full on depressed. He gave me the line, “It’s not you, it’s me,” and then proceeded to tell me that all he wanted to do was go home everyday to watch Netflix and how he didn’t even want to hang out with his friends.
-If human interaction is less exciting than Netflix, there’s definitely an issue there. Pass.
What I have gathered from all of these experiences is that people make things incredibly difficult by assuming that there’s always someone else out there to fill the gap or that hole in their life. They’re willing to say and do anything to get a reaction out of you without reservation and if it doesn’t go well, they know there’s always another fish out there–an endless rotation of swipes and first dates. This was not so 20 years ago, when at any given time, you had one maybe or two options so you treated those people with the utmost respect and dignity. (Aziz Ansari is surprisingly an expert on such matters.)
While I have had a few positive experiences, they are far and few between and don’t seem to have much longevity. So as the new year comes into view, do I continue like Dory suggests for 2018? “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Or shall I throw up my hands at the whole meet and greet service via technology?