Tinder pen pals? Actually… yes.

About three weeks ago I was coming home from a workout and I encountered an obstacle: a hedge of hay bales set up for an event at the local college.

I’d just done five 100 meter sprints and run 10 sets of stadium stairs at the local college, so I was like: I’m a badass keto athlete. I’ve lost 45 lbs this year… I’m going to hurdle this goddamn hedge.

Unfortunately, I was wrong—about the hurdling.

I got a good running start and leapt off my left foot. Attempted to leap actually, because when I sprung I felt a snap, went ass over teakettle into the hedge, and then screamed like a big baby for five minutes until someone came to help me.


Laying there, I could see a scoop where my knee cap used to be. A lift from some athletic trainers, a trip to the ER, and several hours and xrays later, I was informed that I’d snapped my patella tendon, needed surgery, and would recover in 6-12 months.

Not good.

But hey wait—this is a site about the strange world of modern dating—what the hell does your knee have to do with it?

Fair question.

OK, let’s pivot: ever see the following on a Bumble profile?

“Don’t want a pen pal.”

We all know what that means, right? People don’t want to waste a bunch of time with texts back and forth—we both swiped right, let’s just go ahead and meet and see if this is a thing.

And up to blowing out my knee, that was my approach as well. I’d usually text back and forth a little, but after between 4-7 texts, I’d ask the gal out for coffee or a drink or whatever and go from there.

However, being laid up (at my parent’s house no less *sigh*—actually they’ve been lovely and supportive, but when you’re 36, you don’t want to spend summer on mom and dad’s couch), I couldn’t meet anyone. In fact, I had to cancel three dates the following week because I couldn’t drive or walk.

Anyway, I let the ladies know what happened, and they were all totally cool, said we could meet up when I got better. So over the last couple weeks, I’ve basically become exactly what a lot of people say they don’t want: a pen pal.

(Particularly women? Although, since I’m a man and I don’t see what other men put on their profiles, I have no idea.)

The irony is, however, that I’m actually getting to know a few of these women—much more so than I would have if we’d just met up. In that case, who knows, but as I wrote in my last post, there’s a reasonable chance things wouldn’t have worked, because there’s no magic on Tinder dates.

Now, I obviously don’t know if things will work out with any of the women I’ve been texting with (actually I’ve gone on one date so far, but surprise, surprise, there wasn’t any magic—we both bored each other, I think), but it seems to me there’s a much higher probability of success BECAUSE we’ve been pen pals. We’re getting to know each other a little, developing rapport, and sharing experiences—albeit only through the dating apps.

Pivot #2: Here’s the thing though—I guess there must be some people for whom phone dating works really well—but it ain’t me. I’m going to go ahead and date the ladies I’ve been talking to, but it seems so much better if you can meet someone in person for a host of obvious reasons.

Thus, this blog will take a turn—unless one of these upcoming dates works out—to look at dating in reality. However, I’m currently writing a manifesto on app dating: when this link is active, it’s available.

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Cheers! And thanks for reading!

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