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.

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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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Why “magic” is so rare on Tinder dates.

I didn’t get “that feeling.”

There wasn’t any magic.

We didn’t have a strong connection.

Raise your hand if you or someone you know has said this following a recent date?

I know, right?

And to be honest, it’s fair. I mean, who doesn’t want those things. But if there was a magical feeling we could place 100% confidence in that always led us to make the right choices about relationships, everyone would be happily married or ENMP (ethically non-monogamously paired).

Hate to break it to the poly folk, but people just work best in two’s.

Anyway, it’s human to want “that” feeling when meeting your future love interest. Because chemistry matters–and when the chemistry is right, you get it. I’d even argue that the “butterflies in your stomach feeling” is crucial to the health of long term relationships.

I know from experience.

But as I wrote in my last post, we shouldn’t expect that right away on a Tinder date (or Bumble, or Coffee Meets Bagel, or whatever).

I want to expand on why that is, because my guess is that in looking/expecting to have this feeling and not finding it, a lot of singles (women especially–and I say this simply because I think women are more likely to rely on intuition and emotional intelligence than men, but it’s probably true for many men too) are sabotaging relationships with people who might be a great fit.

Let’s start with what a “magical” dating experience might look like: you go into a coffee shop to get your special latte, just passing the time really, waiting to meet a friend. But then a tall drink of water accidentally bumps into you. He apologizes profusely for his clumsiness, but you say no worries. When you go to pick up your drink, he’s there to get his as well—and wouldn’t you know it: you two have the exact same order. He asks what you’re doing and you explain. Then on a whim, he asks if he can sit down with you while you wait for your friend as he’s just got a few minutes to kill. You go on to have an amazing conversation about how you’re both super into 80’s music, especially the Cure, and your favorite song is “The Love Cats”.

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Ah, you adorable dorks.

Anyway, long story short, he asks for your number, suggesting you meet up for a drink sometime, and of course you give it to him: he’s cute, nice, and you have a lot in common. Plus he seems well put together and relatively successful.

Amazing. And when you least expected it, right?

Exactly.

You weren’t expecting it. It was a chance meeting. And there was never any pressure—just a short conversation in a crowded coffee shop that you knew would end once your friend showed up.

These circumstances are almost entirely absent on a Tinder date.

Let’s start with expectations.

For one, you have a pretty good idea of what the person looks like, but not a full appreciation, because as anyone who’s been cyber-dating long enough can tell you, the catfish are pretty good at looking good in their pics, but in real life they have whiskers—and/or a beer gut.

Am I right ladies?

So really, the other person can only meet your expectations physically, being that they look as good or maybe a little better than they do in their photos. The random stranger never has that pressure, and there’s never any gap—they just are who they are and look like what they look like.

Second, a Tinder date is explicitly not a chance meeting.

It’s a completely artificial set up. You each swiped right, chatted for awhile, and decided to meet. There’s pressure there, because the inference is that you’re looking for love, right? And yet, this is a person you know almost nothing about, a person you’re not connected to in anyway whatsoever other than an online app on your phone.

Now, I suppose the conditions of the date are still up to you—usually I just ask if she’d like to grab a coffee or a drink, something that’s not super long with a lot of pressure. Yes, I get that that’s lame, and something physical like a hike or a walk or something involving snow or water would be much more fun (you know, endorphins and all), but most girls aren’t going to agree to that with a man they only know through the internet, and I don’t blame them.

Which is why I go somewhere:

a) where there will be a lot of people around, that’s

b) public.

But it still hurts the game, am I right?

So anyway, a lot of the conditions for magic, that feeling, or a strong connection aren’t there on a Tinder date, due simply to the circumstances.

This is especially true for women because of a final condition, which is that most females go into these dates with their deflector shields up: is this guy going to try to sleep with me? Is he a clingy weirdo? Is he a pick-up artist or a fuckboi? Is he a rapist or murderer?

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Let’s stop here for a bit of clarity.

Ladies, to be honest, most guys are just normal dudes looking for the same thing you are: a connection that leads to some kind of meaningful relationship.

But I get that a lot of men are pretty gross and/or don’t know how to talk to women, there are some true fucking weirdoes out there, and the fuckbois are both deceptive and hard to resist (let’s face it: if they weren’t at least somewhat successful, 90% of you wouldn’t say “no hook-ups” on your profile. Here’s a hint: stop only dating really, really good looking guys–or do, but know what you’re getting into. If a guy’s in his mid 30’s, really, really good looking, and has never been married–sweetheart, that’s cause he doesn’t want to be).

On the other hand, I totally get why you have your guard up. We all do. But again, here’s a circumstance specific to a Tinder date that kills the magic.

Because let’s face it ladies, with your guard up, most of your assumptions aren’t framing us in a positive way. You’re looking for flaws, reasons to walk away, rationalizations for why we fit into some box you want nothing to do with.

Like I don’t know, but I think he has the back hair of a Yeti.

What kind of person wears a jacket like that?

He had a fish-hook necklace. So immature. 

He kept licking his lips–is that normal? It seemed creepy.

So while what you want is for your intuition to tell you we’re the “special one”, your rational mind is actively scanning and searching for reasons we’re not (and so are your girlfriends).

On the flip side, the guy at the coffee shop or concert is working when your guard is down, or at least, not on high alert.

Which is another argument for meeting people in real life.

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He was like, so different.

So what breaks through? What does seem magic?

Let’s just be honest: being really, really good looking. Oh sure, you can say it doesn’t matter, that you’re just as skeptical of Dr. Squarejaw Responsible Muscles as you are of Joe Schmoe… but that’s a lie and we all know it.

It’s the same for guys.

We don’t have our guard up like women do (mainly because most men don’t have to worry about being physically taken advantage of), but if there’s not a reasonable physical attraction, chances are there’s only going to be one date, no matter how nice or funny or interesting she is. And you know other the rule about men, right?

He’ll put up with a lot if she’s smokin’ hot.

Of course, these are generalizations—there are obviously all kinds of different people in the world, individual men and women are very different, and I haven’t even touched on what it’s like for the gay/trans community because I simply have no idea.

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Boring, but bro’s gonna see where this goes.

But I think it’s fair to say the odds are stacked against “the magic” on a Tinder date. And unfortunately, some of that probably continues into the second and even third meeting.

Sure, you now know what the other person looks like and have developed some rapport and at least one shared experience, but now there’s the physical escalation: holding hands, the first kiss, maybe even some making out. And when’s the other shoe going to drop? Has he been divorced, does she have a kid, is he/she really, in fact, a crazy weirdo—cause crazy people get pretty damned good at covering that up in small doses (even though after awhile, it’s gonna come out).

Anyway, the main lesson for me in all this is to start meeting women in real life.

Because that’s where the magic is (I’ll leave that topic for the next blog, as well as ideas and tips on ways men and women can do just that–I’ll give you a hint dudes: stop being chickenshits).

But I’m not deleting my accounts just yet.

After all, it’s not impossible to meet someone on a dating app. Lots of people do. And I hope that simply being aware there are a lot of circumstances taking away from the chemistry on a Tinder date acts as a sort of inoculation against having unrealistic expectations in the first place.

The message here is that if you are going to partake in cyber-dating, give people more of a chance than you ordinarily would. Because you’re not going to feel that magical connection like you did with the hottie in college when he walked you home the first time you had too much Boones.

Instead, go in trying to figure out if they’re interested in the same things you are, share the same values, are stable and relatively well adjusted adults. It might not be the most exciting/sexy conversation, but that’s a better way to decide if you’re want to go out with them again than relying on a feeling that’s never going to come (unless they’re a super hottie). Then the next time, do something magical (read: physical and fun), and plan a third date in relatively quick succession. In that way, your relationship gains momentum and you figure out if you have chemistry with this person or not.

If after three dates you still feel nothing, cut the cord.

But maybe–just maybe–the person you would’ve cut after the first date because you “didn’t feel the magic”, ends up being the person you’ve always been looking for.

After all, don’t you want your +1?

If you enjoyed this post, please do your thing on social media (or in real life) and share it with others. You can also check out my book, Cherry City Pulp. Or, if you want to be especially awesome, you could donate or sponsor me on patreon! In any case, thanks for reading–and don’t forget to sign up for our email list for special posts and info on upcoming stuff!

And, this is why you’re single.

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.

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But alas.

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.

If you enjoyed this post, please do your thing on social media (or in real life) and share it with others. You can also check out my book, Cherry City Pulp. Or, if you want to be especially awesome, you could donate or sponsor me on patreon! In any case, thanks for reading–and don’t forget to sign up for our email list for special posts and info on upcoming stuff!

 

Great Expectations: Arbitrary Decisions and Online Dating

 

Based on the number of generally attractive women out there who are single, it’s safe to say male expectations are too high.

Hell, my expectations are too high.

We’ve grown up so used to seeing buxom cheerleaders, hollywood beauties, and *cough* pornstars (what’s the right adjective to describe a porn star–open, perhaps?), we think we deserve a 5’5″, 36-24-36 darling with beautiful eyes and an ass that defies gravity.

Most of us don’t, but that’s what we expect–which, in point of fact, is why so many attractive/eligible men are… wait for it… sexless and single.

Alas.

However, our female counterparts have caught up in record time. I’m not going to suggest that the level of male objectification has gotten to the point of what females experience, but it’s closer than you might think.

This epiphany occurred to me yesterday as I was playing cornhole with my cousin’s incredibly attractive friend (no, no–not that kind of cornhole). On Tinder and Bumble, I wouldn’t even bother swiping right on this girl (that’s a lie, I probably would… but there’s no fucking way she’s swiping right on my ass)–a petite blonde with a smoking body and a great smile.

Online she’s out of my league, and we all know it.

But in person, interacting with her, I could tell she was interested–or would be if she wasn’t dating some fucking surgeon who I can almost 100% guarantee is an asshole (here’s the thing, doctors who aren’t assholes practice family medicine or do something where they interact with patients who aren’t passed out on an operating table–surgeons are the gunners who ruined the curve in your college biology class and threw classmates under the bus on their med school rotations).

Anyway, she was interested. Like obviously flirting interested. Like touching my hands and arms and seeking my attention most of the evening interested.

Like as in: shit–maybe I should’ve gotten her number interested.

On my drive home, the realization sunk in that I was actually in the game with this beautiful woman. But on Tinder or Bumble? Not a chance. Not a chance in the world I get a girl that attractive to swipe right.

And therein lies one of the major problems with online dating: you can be a relatively attractive person, but when there are really, really, really good looking people out there, why swipe right on just relatively attractive?

So there are two lessons here:

  1. Chemistry matters, and online dating totally misses that. All of it. Because even when you do meet that person you’ve been chatting with, whatever magic exists is diminished by the fact you have no connection with this other person whatsoever, and the only reason you’re meeting is that you find each other mutually attractive. So no matter who you are, if you’re meeting people on Tinder or Bumble, you’re selling yourself short.
  2. Girls are 100% just as picky as guys, if not more so.

The other problem with online dating is that by our nature, people make a lot of assumptions about others based on appearance, and this leads to a lot of bad decisions. Bad because they’re arbitrary (they don’t matter), and yet are used as a reason to swipe left.

For example, say a girl doesn’t like the Yankees and comes across the profile of someone wearing a Yankees hat. Swipe left. End of story.

But that’s a completely arbitrary decision. And in that sense, a pretty stupid one too.

Because a lot of people like the Yankees, and it has nothing to do with whether or not that person is a suitable mate. Chemistry goes beyond sports, political affiliation, and a whole host of other considerations. Unfortunately, in order to weed people out, my guess is a lot of people have an arbitrary mental checklist of certain things that are an automatic swipe left.

Like: a mirror selfie, shirtless/bikini pic, one with a child/dog/cat, too many photos with sunglasses on, the wrong kind of sunglasses, doing an objectionable activity (like fishing, hunting, etc.), has a tattoo or doesn’t… it can go on and on and unfortunately I’m sure for many people it does. And in so doing, they may be swiping left on their perfect match.

You see, we’ve been lied to all along.

Because a picture doesn’t mean a thousand words. It means whatever the fuck the person looking at it thinks it means. And as cruel and judgmental and ridiculous as our society is, a lot of Tinder profiles are DOA for that reason.

The second lie is that deep down we all have this belief in destiny–the notion that everything is going to work out–and we especially like to apply it to our love life. But you’re not Luke Skywalker, and Bridget Jones got fucking lucky. The truth of the matter is that destiny doesn’t exist; not in real life, or in love life.

No, the people we end up with are a consequence of luck, circumstances, and our own individual actions/choices. For the most part, we can only control the latter. So for those who choose to eliminate people from consideration based on completely arbitrary factors, good luck. Just remember, destiny won’t save you.

My takeaways:

If you can, it’s better to meet people in real life. Always. Because the chemistry of that organic meeting, the sexual tension that can be built in even a short amount of time, is huge–it goes so far beyond what you look like in a set of six pictures and a short blurb about how you like whiskey and pizza.

Being newly single, I’m still working on that–look for a post soon on ideas for meeting people in real life, as opposed to mindlessly swiping on your phone.

Beyond that: if you are trying to meet people on Tinder and Bumble, don’t be so judgy. Swipe right more often than not, and have a conversation or meet the person.

Cause as it turns out: chemistry matters.

Thanks for reading–if you enjoyed the post, please retweet, share, like, and/or do whatever it is you do on social media. To support me, you can buy my debut novel, Cherry City Pulp, or donate to this site, isthisgood.org, or chuckingrocks.com–where I do some different kinds of writing. As always, cheers! 

 

Tinder (and Bumble)… a Female Perspective

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The following is a guest post by my cousin… enjoy!

While there are many, many reasons why men fail when it comes to online dating, here are the top three offenders I’ve come across since joining the wide and shallow world of swiping:

1) Guys are ridiculously full of themselves.

2) … or have no game what-so-ever.

3) They have no idea how to choose appropriate pictures.

GUYS ARE RIDICULOUSLY FULL OF THEMSELVES.

Seriously dudes, enough with the topless mirror selfies… no one cares about your washboard abs. I mean, yeah, they really are nice to look at, but honestly, do they need to be your primary photo? This is coming from a fit girl on her third round of Whole30 who has been religious about following a workout regimen for the last eighteen months. Does my camera roll have a ton of pictures of me flexing my hard earned abs in a sports bra? You bet it does. Should they be posted to a dating website? The answer is a hundred times no. Honestly guys, nice abs are like perfume: they shouldn’t be announced, but discovered.

Also, it may not be obvious to you, but we can tell when you’re clearly in love with yourself. While you might think everyone who is hot automatically gets a swipe right, you are wrong. I tend to swipe left on the “hotties.”

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Let me explain. I’m friends with a guy who is incredibly attractive. Like model attractive. The kind of guy who makes you stumble over your words and turn ten shades of red when you talk to him. And he knows it. The irony is, even though I find him very easy on the eyes, I have absolutely zero interest in dating him. I have a hard time believing anyone that attractive would make a good partner in a relationship—there’s just a lot of baggage that comes with being that hot, and it usually revolves around narcissism.

Looking for a one night stand? Ok, fine, go ahead, swipe right. But I can just imagine trying to have a conversation over a glass of wine on an al fresco patio, and all the uber-hottie can do is stare at his own reflection in my mirrored sunglasses. I would like to say that’s hypothetical, but it’s not. I mean, my face is pretty too… right?

…OR HAVE ZERO GAME WHATSOEVER.

Gentlemen, step up your game!

Seriously, the reason dating in Portland in so bad is that men here refuse to take the initiative. It’s like beards and swag don’t mix. That or all the pot and beer has made them lazy. And yeah, I get that on Bumble the whole premise is that women are supposed to make the first move—but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to be wined and dined a bit after we break the silence.

I recently went on a date where the guy told me he was “impressed with how forward I was,” and that I “just went for it,” because I was the one who asked him out. I don’t usually make the first move, but the older I get, the more I find men are so lacking in social skills that if I ever want to actually meet someone face to face and not have an entirely virtual relationship, I’m the one who has to take the bull by the horns.

I had been talking with this guy for almost two weeks. First, it was through the dating app. Then, we exchanged numbers—okay, we’re getting somewhere. He proceeded to text me and ask how my day was going for a week straight, without any mention of getting together. Then I got a photo of his family dog, then I heard all about the boneless ribs he was BBQing for dinner, then I got a video of a guy pranking his girlfriend in the shower while wearing a creepy clown mask with a chainsaw…

Yeup. Really.

clown

But still, no invitation to grab a drink. I got so tired of waiting I figured I better ask the dude out so I can cross him off my list of prospects before I start getting texts updating me on his fantasy baseball team. Of course, I knew he wasn’t for me (see: Chainsaw video); however, to appease my family and friends who love to lay it on thick about how I’m too picky and don’t give anyone a chance, I went on a date with said weirdo (who, as it turns out, voted for Trump and is automatically disqualified…) just to say I gave it a shot.

Swipe left.

This brings up one of the things I hate most about online dating: the amount of time you invest in one person before finding out they really are the letdown you initially thought they were. You swipe right, you message, you text, and then hopefully, if you’re lucky, you actually meet up in person.

Meeting in person brings up another big time investment… if you’re a girl. My roommate and I had a conversation recently about how great it is to be a guy when it comes to getting ready. I started picking out my outfit for a family event days in advance. The night before, I exfoliated, shaved my legs, and self-tanned (necessary, considering it was the first occasion my Oregon winter white skin had to see the light of day after its long hibernation). Then in the morning, it was the hair blow-out, make-up, and re-choosing of the outfit. And I woke up at six to go for a run in order to be ready on time.

Contrast this with my roommate, who went to the gym an hour before we needed to leave, did a full upper body work out, came home, showered, dressed, and was still ready before I was.

Granted, I obviously don’t go through that much work for a first date. Not anymore. I’ve actually started eliminating many of these steps all together. Shaved legs, gone. He’s winter white too, so why shouldn’t I be? Picking out an outfit? Psssh, I now have one outfit I wear on every first date. Alas, I digress, back to men not taking the initiative.

For the love of God, just ask us out already! Nobody wants a pen pal.

GUYS HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO PICK APPROPRIATE PHOTOS.

Remember that bathroom selfie we talked about? Whether you’re flexing your abs or not, make sure your mirror is clean. Maybe you’re just looking for a one night stand, but having blobs of Colgate dripping down the forefront of your photo does not exactly scream “husband material,” or for that matter, “come stay the night at my bachelor pad.” If you absolutely insist on taking that mirror selfie, make sure your bathroom isn’t a cesspool of filth.

Also, you know that epic picture of you and your buddies partying in Cabo over Spring Break? Does it make it look like you have fun? Yes. That you travel? Of course—yay you, you’re “cultured”! That you have friends? Bonus points! He’s not a loner. But guess what? We have no idea who you are! Which one are you? And you’re wearing sunglasses… and a sombrero. Ditto to the photo of you as a groomsman in your best bud’s wedding, and shredding pow up at Hood with your college roommates, and as one in a group of ten rocking your Timbers Army gear waving a tree flag. The whole premise of Tinder and Bumble is the opportunity to make an entirely superficial snap judgment of a person based on their pictures. If we don’t know which one you are and you only choose group photos, we have to assume you’re the short one with male pattern baldness and probably a glass eye under those sunglasses/ski goggles/stunna shades… Swipe left.

sobreros

That being said, the pictures you do choose should actually look like you. The picture of you with the fam in Hawaii from four years ago when you were forty pounds lighter is probably not a good advertisement for what you look like now. Girls pay attention to detail. When we meet you in person, we WILL notice you have eaten ALL of the 38 Portland Burger Week menu items and washed them down with pitchers of IPA multiple times since that picture was taken. Did you recently decide to grow a mountain man beard since your baby face wasn’t getting you any dates? Those genes on dad’s side finally caught up to you and your head isn’t quite as full of hair as it used to be? Fancied a face tattoo, did ya? Not that any of these are deal breakers per se… it would just be nice to know about them before the first meet and greet. Girls don’t like to get catfished either.

On second thought, the face tattoo guy is definitely out.

Let’s recap gentlemen:

  • Don’t be too hot–or if you are, pretend that you don’t know it.
  • Ask us out already!!
  • Get some new pictures… and no, not topless selfies in your filthy bathroom mirror.

If you liked the above, check out the blog more often–this is definitely where we’re headed. Also, if you liked this, you’ll like my new novel, Cherry City Pulp, a hilarious and conversely dark satire about millennials trying to make their way in small town America. And please, share, retweet, and spread the word: chuckingrocks… rocks!

Canada for the Win: Why you shouldn’t flake out early…

o-CANADA-FLAG-facebook

This is post another night of going out trying to meet women and failing.

Alas.

Although, I have to say, I was surprised to learn I’ve still got some game. We met these really cute girls from Vancouver and I made the approach–even got a phone number–but they wanted to leave to go to a hip hop club.

They invited us to come, which was cool, but Steve and I elected not to go. Reflecting on it now, that was pretty dumb. And it’s the first lesson we can take about one of the reasons people fail when they go out: flaking out early.

FLAKING OUT EARLY

You and your friends get to the club, the bar, the restaurant–whatever–and wham, right away you meet these great guys/girls. Flirting happens, shots are purchased, and there’s even some casual physical contact (brushing hands or pushing on his shoulder like “you’re SO funny”). Unfortunately, their agenda isn’t the same as your own. Perhaps, like last night for me, you exchange numbers in case you want to meet up later–maybe not–but at the time you and your friends don’t care much because the night is young and there are so many beautiful people up in the club, so why worry? Right?

Problems:

A) This is the least drunk you will be all night. Decisions aren’t going to get better after this point. Nor is your game.

B) Genuine connections and mutual interest are rare–especially with randoms. After we met the Canadian girls, we hit on several other groups of women, but they weren’t interested–not as in like, get the fuck out of here not interested–just casually disinterested, for whatever reason. And that’s OK, but we didn’t find any better options the rest of the night.

C) Over the course of the evening, people get both more selective and cynical. By midnight, something’s probably happened that pissed them off: like the douchy bartender at Digapony last night with fucking neck tattoos who just kept walking right on past when I was trying to order a drink, or the fat, stupid bouncer wouldn’t let Steve into Kell’s because he thought he was too drunk (in point of fact, he wasn’t–the bouncer was just being a fucking stooge). But I imagine for women, it’s the guy who doesn’t take the hint you’re not interested, your friend who got too drunk too early and now you’re the baby sitter, or someone you’re interested who ends up dancing with someone else. That happens to dudes too. You hit it off with someone beautiful and then she ends up hanging out with some other dude. Fuck.

Point is, there are a bunch of shitty things that can happen to one while at a bar trying to have a good time, because a lot of women are teases, a lot of men are goons, and people in general are much less self-aware than they ought to be.

So like I said: by midnight, people are more drunk, yes, but also more selective and cynical.

One of the girls last night–Anya–was already cynical, and it was only like 10pm. She was really pretty too. They all were.

Steve–we failed.

Ahhhh, regrets.

D) Even if you do choose to maintain the early connection with the hotties, it’s hard to sustain over a long period of time. Inevitably, in any large group, there’s going to be someone who winds up unhappy or annoyed and will then push to end the connection. I mean, how often does it magically happen there’s an even ratio of men to women and everyone is good looking enough to hook up with anyone else in the group? And say you meet them at 10:30–going to to even 1am is two and a half hours with people you’ve never met before. You better be pretty fucking interesting and entertaining. Right?

So the lesson here: don’t break the connection.

Go: Jeff and Steve. Go with the girls from Canada. Even if it doesn’t work out with them, it might work out with someone else along the way.

And then, you already look confident and successful because you showed up with cute girls.

Also, in the short time for which we were acquaintances, those Canadian girls rocked.

Minus points for the Americans.

If you enjoyed this piece, please like, share, retweet–whatever the fuck it is you do. Get the word out for me, and thanks. Oh, BTW, I also have a book called Cherry City Pulp. If you like this you’ll like it. Click on the link to find out more.

Why people fail on Tinder (and Bumble)

Light+Bulbs

Here’s what I don’t get about Tinder. And Bumble (I’m recently divorced—that’s a long story I’ll tell another time).

Yes: it’s amazing and convenient and smart to be able to easily view all the single people around you, read a little blurb about who they are (which is sometimes pretty fucking weird), and then if mutual interest occurs (swipe right x’s 2), chat a little and then meet, like for coffee, or drinks, or casual sex…

Maybe just coffee.

But what I don’t get is, if we both swipe right, have a funny/normal exchange on chat—and then I ask a girl out—why is it the last I ever hear from her? Like I mean, either ALL of the girls I want to date are cursed to silence or death as soon as I ask them out (the chance that this is true is exactly .0000000001%—and if it is, I’ll just assume Satan is winning), or I fail to meet the secondary eyeball test (as in: swipe right is the first quality check, meet up is #2… fucking is like, between 3 and 26).

The chance this is true is 99.9999999999%.

Seriously though, I’m having a hard time with this, especially since I lowered my standards.

But let’s back up. There are four basic reasons people fail on Tinder:

  1. Too many hot people.
  2. Over-valuation of one’s own hotness (or lack thereof).
  3. The Club Effect.
  4. Paralysis by analysis.

Too many hot people

Exactly. There are too many hot people. And who swipes right on the fucking hot people?

Everyone.

I mean, there are girls I have absolutely no business even breathing near on Tinder—but guess what? Swipe fucking right. There’s no cost, right? For one, no one that hot is EVER going to swipe right on me, so the intimidation that comes with talking to someone that’s soap-opera beautiful isn’t an issue. Two, if Jessica Rabbit actually does swipe right, that means I might have hit the fucking lottery, because she’s seen my pictures AND STILL WANTS TO TALK!

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So anyway, everyone’s swiping right on the hotness, and because at least in theory, that hotness is an option, people up their standards—and feel as if they’ve swiped right enough times because they don’t take into account that at least 90% of the people they swiped on are out of their fucking league.

I mean I know it happens to me, and I’m fucking smart. Think about all the dummies out there!

(Note: I actually DON’T recommend thinking about all the dummies out there. It’s horribly depressing. Kind of amazing there aren’t more car wrecks.)

Over-valuation of one’s own hotness

We’ve all done it. Looked into the mirror in our underwear, thinking: “you handsome devil you—what with your slightly less flabby manboobs and that one-rung washboard stomach; why there’s even some definition in your arms…”

But it’s the bathroom mirror, which makes people look better than in real life for some reason. I’m convinced part of it’s that we don’t see ourselves like other people do, kind of like how it’s weird to hear your own voice. But most of it’s probably just the lighting.

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Whatever the case, people overvalue their attractiveness. For example, there are plenty of women with incredibly beautiful faces—but a lot of them are overweight (and not just a little chubby—like, a lot), and therefore unattractive to most men.

Sorry, that’s just the truth. It is America after all.

But it’s true for dudes too. For example, I happen to be fairly handsome—and also overweight (which is why I’m on the goddamn Whole 30—trying to GET FIT). But my theory is that we take into account our facial appearance more so than the rest of our body, and this leads to an inflationary evaluation of one’s own hotness (which again, is why I’ve deliberately lowered my standards—more on this later).

The Club Effect

The Club Effect is simple: imagine a club full of drunk people in their 20’s. A larger percentage than normal—say 50% or more—are good looking, and 25% are real good looking. Like July in a swimsuit calendar levels of hotness.

And everyone’s full of booze or drugs or both and they’re running around from the bar to the bathroom to the dance floor to the table to the bar to the dance floor to the bar… you get it. Problem is, unless there’s a bachelorette party or some other random, unexpected spark-plug for hooking up (like if a stripper asks you to snort coke off her ass—DON’T DO IT *I’m nodding yes*), most everyone’s going home the same way they came: no midnight rodeo’s. No late night breakfast dates. Maybe not even a phone number.

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Here’s why: there are enough people—and particularly enough attractive people—that no one has to make a decision. Dance with a girl here. Dance with another there. Sit in the booth talking to friends. Look at that girl over there… it doesn’t really matter, there are always more options.

Plus, choosing means you’re done, even if someone hotter walks in, which ironically means the people who do make a choice are still screwed, because someone hotter/more interesting/different could show up at anytime, ending whatever momentary bond existed between you and Brian (if that’s his real name)—that’s gone—because a blonde just came in who’s skirt is so short her vagina might fall out.

Paralysis by analysis

You can only get so far on six pictures and 500 characters. But that doesn’t stop people from trying. And based on conversations I’ve had with a number of people, that’s yet another place where the Tinder train goes off the rails.

To be 100% honest, I think this is more of a girl problem than a guy problem. Honestly, as a guy, I think it’s fair to just come out and say it: the blurb doesn’t really matter as long as she’s good looking enough to swipe right—what the blurb can do is break a tie.

Maybe it’s the same for some women, but I’ve been experimenting with my own blurb, and it does seem to matter. The texting that follows matters too, and if one little thing is off, as in it could prompt a “that seems weird” or “creeper status” or “who says that” kind of reaction, you’re done. Keep in mind, I haven’t changed my photos, nor have I said anything nearly as outlandish as I have here—and yet, the rate of matching varies incredibly based on the text.

My guess is it’s yet another manifestation of the princess complex—the notion we plant in the heads of little girls (and continuing right on through high school) that life is perfect, and the man they meet won’t be too hot or too cold, but just right.

Problem is, if you’re specifically looking for reasons to disqualify people, you’re going to find them. Plus, jokes and personality often don’t translate well in text, especially if you’re given only 500 characters—or texting back and forth with someone you’ve never met. Nevertheless, that’s what Tinder gives you, and I fear some people make the most of it—in the worst possible way.

And that, Charlie Brown, is why people fail on Tinder. There are too many hot people, everyone overvalues their own hotness, The Club Effect means there’s an emphasis on searching, not finding, and paralysis by analysis kills it all. Although, I’m sure the hotter you are, the less any of this matters.

Anyway, in an effort to combat these factors, I lowered my standards. It used to be 7’s and above: swipe right. I’ve now dropped the threshold down to 5+’s—as in, average, but there’s something attractive or interesting or unique about them (definitely not the fact she put a horse head over her own in one of her pictures—I don’t know what that’s about, but like 5% of girls do that and it’s really fucking weird. Also, flipping off the camera is so fucking tired. I get that at one time it was cool, but that time has passed—swipe left).

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(Weird, right?)

To give you a reference, I’d like to think I’m a 7+ (handsome with awesome biceps), but as I know we tend to overvalue our own hotness, I take it I come off as a 6 (tall, a little better than decent looking, but slightly overweight). As a guy, what makes this hard is you sometimes see 6’s walk around with 8+’s or even 9’s, and then you think you can attain that (in fact, I was one of those guys—until I got divorced).

But you can’t. So 5+’s it is—and oh by the way, I get that using a number to represent a human being is degrading, but we’re talking about fucking Tinder, which is one of the most degrading things possible. Think about it: it’s a dating app where if you don’t match very often (yours truly), it’s because people don’t think you’re good looking enough. And you’re reminded of that fact.

Everyday.

Aside from that, let’s everyone go ahead and get off our high horse. Don’t apologize for who you are, and don’t ask anyone else to apologize for who they are. In most cases, no one gives the slightest fuck, one way or the other. I can’t stand the whiny feminist who’s bitches about the negativity of the male gaze anymore than I can the person who voted for Trump out of spite because they’re mad at liberals who correctly tell them they’re voting against their own best interests.

The fact of the matter is that some groups of people, whether it’s race, sex, class, etc., have it harder than others—people who suggest otherwise are just assholes. At the same time, if you’re in one of those groups, going around actively looking for reasons to play the victim is a mental trap that undermines what you think you’re fighting for.

We’re all human. We all make mistakes. So please, for the love of God, stop being so sensitive.

Oh, and being single means you’re objectifying people. All the time. And that’s OK. It’s OK for people to be attracted to how someone looks. Or not. Using a number just quantifies it—and even that’s subjective.

END RANT.

So anyway, I matched with this girl, solidly a 5+, and we had a great conversation—I thought at least (we talked about aioli and eating crab, which we agreed is the bacon of the sea—sorry, West coast bias). And then I asked her out and never heard from her again.

Dungeness-Crab-Fry-Legs

(Sea Bacon)

I didn’t make the second cut.

I shouldn’t be surprised really, because no one on Tinder owes anyone else on Tinder a damn thing (actually I think it was Bumble, but same difference), but when it’s a girl you’re only halfway attracted to in the first place, a girl you just hope happens to have an amazing personality and looks a little better in person than she does in the photos… I mean, that’s a swift kick in the balls, friends. I’m metaphorically hunched over with pain in my stomach, coughing.

Still coughing.

I don’t get it. I honestly thought I’d have less competition by dropping down to the 5+ level, but apparently not. Either that or I’m fooling myself.

Although, there’s always the small chance Satan is winning. I mean: Trump, Brexit, the Patriots winning the Super Bowl in the most amazing comeback ever, Nazi’s… again, 5+’s won’t date me…

Yeah, pretty sure that’s it.

If you liked this, you’ll love my book, Cherry City Pulp–the ultimate satire and classic American novel rolled into one. Hope you enjoyed the read. If not, swipe left.