Ladies and gentlemen, this is a wake up call.
Being single is partially the result of a cruel world and modern dating scene not well suited to putting people together.
But it’s also your fault. At least partially (although, maybe quite a lot).
See, my wife and I recently split, and after more than a seven year hiatus, I’m now reentering the odd world of dating (yes, I plan on reading Modern Romance).
Anyway, I can’t speak to what women experience with the men on these apps, but there’s a harsh truth a lot of people ignore—one I hadn’t thought about until now, and that is: a lot of these people are single for a reason.
The first reason is a simply matter of expectations.
What these girls expect, I don’t know, but apparently I’m not offering it.
My profile isn’t swiped right on often, despite the fact I’m a decent looking dude in his mid thirties with a good job (pic below). I’ve tried a lot of different things with my profile, both picture-wise and the little blurb they let you write.
So either there’s a secret cache of really, really good looking dudes out there on Tinder in ratios I’ve never seen in public, or the ladies are being pretty goddamn picky about who they choose to swipe right on. Or I’m doing it wrong, somehow, although that seems unlikely. Or Satan is winning—which, given that Trump’s president, is a distinct possibility.
Now, as I wrote in my last post, there are probably things I’m doing with my pics that cause women to arbitrarily swipe left on my profile, but what turns one woman off might turn the next one on, so it’s hard to worry too much about that kind of bullshit.
However, usually 3-4 times a week, I do match on one of these sites. About half of them completely flake out (I have a theory that for some people, it’s just about simply getting a match, almost like they’re collecting them like Pokemon).
Bumble is the worst because the girls have to message first and my guess is, even though they’re on their phone and don’t even have to be in my physical presence, some are just too scared to initiate a conversation—although I’m sure in some cases I just don’t pass the second eyeball test. Other times the conversation fizzles or ends somehow—usually when I ask if they actually want to meet up or tell them I have a kid.
Another 35% or so say they want to meet up, but then it never happens. Either they flake—or I do, on the initial date—and then rescheduling fails.
So the 15% I match with and actually date? Well, it turns out that doesn’t work out so well either.
Now I get that that’s the nature of dating: it only works out occasionally, and when it does one usually finds themselves in a long term relationship. One reason Tinder style (blind) dates flame out is simply a matter of attraction: you meet up and find that the other person is simply not attractive.
That accounts for three of my dates. Catfish. The photos on their profiles looked nothing like the women who showed up, and I simply wasn’t attracted to them. So even though they all wanted a second date, I was out.
The other seven are the conundrum that leads to the conclusion of this blog. Because on all of these dates, things were pretty much what you’d expect on a successful first date. We had interesting and varied conversations. We found out more about each other. The atmosphere was friendly and casual. It was cool… I thought, at least.
But none of these dates have led to a second.
Now, granted, part of that is my fault. I look like the person in my pictures, so unless my dates are crazy or blind, they weren’t catfished—but my game was somewhat lacking. There were awkward pauses I’m too smart to fall into, conversations that didn’t lead anywhere particularly interesting, and I could’ve done more to initiate casual contact and flirt.
That being said, the dates went pretty well. In fact, on the last one, I was totally killing it (if I may say so myself) and I could tell she was definitely interested—as in “sit next to me” at the dinner table, touching my arm constantly, etc.
But in the end, she told me, via text, “I didn’t drive off with ‘that feeling.’”
Well, good fucking luck sweetheart.
You see, I’ve heard my cousin (who’s 31 and single), say much the same thing about so many of her dates: I didn’t get that feeling. I didn’t feel a strong connection. There wasn’t any chemistry (1).
And then it hit me: these girls are single for a reason (not my cousin, I should note; she’s the exception–the unicorn–that proves the rule… more on that later).
Maybe it’s because they can’t get that feeling. Maybe it’s because their expectations are too high. Maybe it’s because they’re boring and have too many rules about how they live life. Maybe they’ve got too many boxes to check off on their imaginary checklist. Maybe a lot of things, but here’s the fact: if you’re single in your late twenties or beyond and you’ve only had one or two long term relationships, let’s face the facts: being in a relationship isn’t something you’re very good at.
You see, it finally dawned on me that the ladies I’m finding on Tinder and Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel are, statistically speaking, the worst.
It’s not a moral failure or even that there’s anything wrong with them—it’s just that they’re not good at being in/finding long term relationships.
And hey, I should mention: I’m sure it’s exactly the same with men—if not worse. I mean, think about what we know of people (myself now obviously included) who are on Tinder or Bumble or Coffee Meets Bagel or whatever other sites there are:
1) They are single.
2) They do not meet people in real life frequently enough to forgo online dating. (2)
3) The online dates they’ve gone on so far have not yielded a relationship.
4) Many have never had a serious/long-term relationship (never married, no kids).
The irony, of course, is that even though being divorced or freshly out of a long term relationship counts against you in dating, at some point, it should be just the opposite. Again, if you’re in your mid to late thirties and you haven’t been married or had several long term relationships, something’s wrong. I mean sure, there are unicorns out there who’re just being extremely deliberate about their choices, but they’re the exception…
And even that carries a danger.
Because let’s face it: youth makes a huge contribution to one’s beauty, vitality, and virility. The older you get, the more grey, tired, saggy, worn, and/or fat you’re likely to be. That’s just a fact. And I think that’s the warning here for all of us who’re single.
Sure, you can gamble you’re going to meet the perfect person in the most magical encounter ever and ride off into the sunset toward a two-story house, three kids, and a white picket fucking fence… but if that gamble doesn’t pay off, you could end up being the creepy old guy who shows up in bars and restaurants to drink at odd times or the woman who has a bunch of animals and smells faintly of urine.
Or perhaps something less extreme, but not a lot better.
So anyway, if you’re single, remember two things:
1) It’s damned tough sledding out there, so don’t feel so bad. After all:
2) A lot of these people are single because they’re bad at being in relationships.
(1) On “that feeling.”
This concept is complete fucking bullshit. Destiny is a stripper, not a phenomenon that actually affects people’s lives (also one of the main characters in Cherry City Pulp—shameless plug).
And that’s what “that feeling” is based on.
The truth is there’s no magic or mystery in the world unless we, human beings, assign them to the things that happen in our lives. Falling in love, being in a relationship, caring about others—these are simply decisions we make. I could easily, right now, be in a relationship if I wanted to be—so could anyone—but those of us who are single have decided not to be. It has nothing to do with “that feeling.” It’s a choice. Maybe that choice is valid. Maybe it’s not. But it has nothing to do with the some grand scheme beyond our control.
Please note: I’m not saying chemistry doesn’t matter–it absolutely does–but if you’re not willing to open up to someone and be vulnerable in the first place it’s like having all the chemicals separated out in vials and not putting them together in the beaker to see what happens.
The other thing is that if you do want to get “that feeling”, go to a concert; don’t expect it to happen on a goddamn Tinder date. Think about it: this is a person you know almost nothing about, have no social connections to, and with whom you’ve shared zero experiences—basically, all of the things close relationships are built on. So to go into a blind, online date expecting to have “that feeling” is completely fucking ridiculous.
(2) On not meeting people in real life.
This is both the fault of the individual as well as our society.
For the individual, the truth is a lot of people don’t make any effort to meet people in real life.
For women, it’s about being available: do you go out to coffee shops, bars, concerts, etc.– not with your parents or married friends, but alone or with single friends? If not, don’t complain about not getting hit on because you’re not giving anyone much of a chance. If all you ever do is go to work, workout (with earbuds in), and spend a bunch of time adulting, you’ve basically left yourself no time to meet people.
For men, my message is simple: stop being such a bunch of chicken shit pathetic losers who are so scared of rejection you can’t go up to a pretty girl and say hi. Because there are a lot of girls who put themselves out there and all we have to do is strike up a conversation and ask for their number.
Yes, it really is that simple–and if they say no, who fucking cares!
Now, as a society, we fail single people. It used to be that families and friends would set people up on dates with people they knew–with the added benefit that there’s a social connection that’s implicit: the two love birds already know some of the same people.
But I look at a girl like my cousin, who’s incredibly beautiful, successful, and all the other things any man could want in a woman, and yet, her family (my family) and friends have maybe introduced her to two, maybe three dudes tops since she graduated college.
That’s a fail.
It’s as if we expect everyone to do everything on their own and that’s not the way a functional society works–think that shit flies in Italy? Fuck no. Mama Mia’s got at least 15 doe eyed beauties lined up for Mario, and she’s hustling up more every time she goes to the market.
So I guess it goes to something I said at the beginning. Being single is at least partially one’s own fault–maybe a little; maybe a lot–but not entirely.
Because it also speaks to the health of our social community… and that’s another blog altogether.
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