Editor’s Note: To those of you who read my post last week about my breakup, the change in tone here might feel a little jarring. I actually wrote that post over a month ago, and I’m doing a lot better than I expected. There are a lot of tumultuous things going on in my life (some I can’t mention here yet) so I’ve been in a state of rediscovering my goals, both professional and personal. One of those goals is and always has been to communicate with people (THIS MEANS YOU) so the tone of this blog, while staying in the interiors/lifestyle realm, is going to shift a bit towards things I’m currently interested in, including love, dating, and relationships. This series, “Dating Sucks” will be an ongoing diary of my experiences dating as well as a place to talk about issues that relate specifically to dating for gay men as well as issues that are more universal. If this isn’t your cup of tea, skip and move onto the next design post. However, I think relationships (with family, friends, and lovers – LOL I hate that word) are important and fascinating to explore. This is a change I’ve been meaning to make for years, which is why I redesigned the site (with help from the lovely people at Dash Creative Group) to include the Art, Decor, Life, and Style categories. Enjoy!
Dear Dating Diary,
After my recent breakup, I said I wasn’t going to date for a year. But a bit over a month into my singledom, still reeling from the rejection, I started to feel like the dating boycott was making me feel even more invisible than I already felt. I was dumped, essentially, for being fat and gross and my already shaky self-esteem took a nosedive. So I decided to join a few dating apps and see if I still registered on the spectrum of “not too disgusting to have a drink with.”
I joined OKCupid and Tinder. I can’t get down with Grindr or Scruff or any of that nonsense. I’ve been on Grindr (between my last two relationships) and my memories of it are akin to those dreams I used to have in high school where I came to school naked and everyone laughed at me and then I burst into flames. Those apps are so incredibly transactional and aggressive, and while I’m sure the users are actual human beings with souls, they don’t seem to want to show it. Not for me, Grindr/Scruff. NO MA’AM! I AM A HUMAN WITH A HEART AND A MIND AND I WANT LOVE.
There’s something unnerving about all these dating sites/apps/tools, even the wholesome ones like OKCupid and Tinder. The other night, I was simultaneously shopping the sale section on Urban Outfitters and scrolling through profiles on OKCupid. The interface was essentially the same, a grid of appealing (and unappealing) images asking, “U WANT THIS?” Obviously, there’s something good about these sites – they introduce you to people you might not otherwise meet. And they let you know that guy you’ve always thought was cute is single. But I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something kind of strange about the time we’re living in, where we can literally shop through a catalogue of men, trying to decipher which one you might like to procure.
A few things struck me about the profiles on OKCupid. First, there are still guys out there using that tired-ass “masc for masc” language. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s basically a guy who states clearly in his dating profile that he wants to date only masculine, straight-acting men. It’s a throwback to more oppressive times and it’s frankly tired and pathetic. What bothers me most isn’t how stupid I think that is, but how dated. Writing that these days just makes you sound old. In a bad way.
Speaking of old, I’ve decided I hate young people. All these sites ask you to give an age range (mine is 30-45). I just can’t with people in their twenties anymore. My generation, the earliest of millennials, knew stuff about previous generations, about the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc. We were fascinated by the music and art of past generations. The super young today are idiots. They’re all “WHAT’Z A CD???” Learn some 90s history you freaks. I basically just wrote this paragraph to talk shit about young people because I hate them and they deserve it, but I digress (Sidenote: I’m sure if you’re a young person reading this, you know what a CD is and I respect you).
While it’s difficult to wade through all the self-hating messes on OKCupid, Tinder comes with its own set of issues. Mainly that I get addicted to swiping. For anyone who doesn’t have this app here’s how it works: the app geolocates you, finds potential matches, and you swipe left or right depending on if you like or dislike them (yes, it’s that harsh). But once I found out that you can get to the end of a list (like the app runs out of people for you to swipe yes or no to) there’s just a blank screen. I find myself swiping as fast as I can so I can get to the blank screen and know that I did the whole assignment. The overachiever in me just wants to get an A on this assignment that no one asked me to do.
Is there something disgusting, demeaning, and world-ruining about swiping someone away just because you hate their ugly face? Absolutely. Is it fun? One. Hundred. Percent. Apparently, the new dating world is designed by assholes, for assholes. And I’m a complete asshole, because I’m totally participating in it.
But wait, it gets totally grosser. Feeling like I might have better luck finding quality matches on a more elite site, I applied to join both Raya (a dating site for Insta celebs and wannabes) and TheLeague. Raya was sold to me as a place where beautiful influencer/artist/celeb types go to “network.” I was all “that sounds cool” and applied. They rejected me. I’d be nonplussed by this if I didn’t know so many garbagepeople who are on it. But I didn’t really care, none of these sites are going to make or break my dating life (unless of course my future husband is on Raya. PLEASE DON’T BE ON RAYA, FUTURE HUSBAND!).
TheLeague turned out to be a massive disappointment. It was sold to me as solely for Ivy League graduates (which I happen to be, with degrees from the two worst Ivies) but when I got on there most people were not graduates of the eight schools that make up the Ivy League. To be honest, I think the Ivy League is stupid. But if you’re going to have a dumb app that’s trying to be elitist, MAKE IT ACTUALLY ELITIST. Know you’re audience! If I wanted to be matched with randos who went to Rancho Cucamonga Hotel School for Dogs, I’d stay on Tinder.
I have a theory about online dating. Once you’ve been matched, you have to ask a guy out pretty quick, like within a week. Otherwise it devolves into this thing where you just end up chatting forever and ever and never meet up. Some people just use these sites/apps to entertain themselves. Or just to talk to strangers with no strings. During my last breakup, when I was a total mess, I used them just to learn about people. It made me feel hopeful that there were still people out there to meet, still connections to be made. But chatting with no intention of ever meeting up is kind of a crappy thing to do, because the purpose of these tools is to go on actual dates.
I’ve had pretty good luck getting dates so far (I’ve been on five, to varying degrees of success) which has been kind of surprising and reassuring at the same time. I have absolutely no confidence in my appearance, never have. But getting dates has made me think, “maybe I’m not a complete rotting-ladyface-witch!” The dates have all been really nice. It’s this weird, repetitious pattern of interviewing people about their pasts and trying to turn your life story into short enough sound bites that they don’t get bored.
Since you didn’t ask, a quick dating tip, which I was reminded of on a recent date: Don’t talk too much. I went on a date with this guy (who I knew in real life then matched with on Tinder) and he literally didn’t shut up the whole time. Like I’d ask him a question and he’d just go on and on. The way a normal conversation works is that if someone asks you a question, you reciprocate eventually with a question. This guy literally never asked me a question. I think maybe he was nervous, not wanting there to be silence. But my go-to for this has always been to ask a question. It’s a psychological fact that the more people talk, the more they enjoy the conversation. Keep this in mind on your next date and just ask a million questions and let your date talk. He’ll leave thinking he had the best conversation ever and you’ll leave knowing you “won” the date.
Yes, you can “win” at dates. I told my friend this recently and he hung up on me for saying something so gross. But the goal of the date is to make the other person like you more than you like him. If you do this, you win. If you do not, YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK. There can be no ties. Nothing is mutual. The world is a terrible, cruel, and meaningless place.
I’ve been enjoying dating and staving off depression by working out a ton (I lost 20 lbs!) and taking a ton of supplements (fish oil, St. John’s Wort, glucosamine, etc, I have a whole gag-inducing regimen of horse pills I take every day that is making me feel much better/healthier/like I’m going to vom). And dating has been a fun exercise. I guess I consider the dating apps to be necessary evil, a way to connect with other guys that are actively seeking a relationship. I’m doing my best to be kind and responsible (no ghosting) and as open as I can be. I’m going to keep documenting this because dating, love, and relationships relate directly with domesticity and the theme of this blog. So keep coming back for more posts on why DATING SUCKS.