Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The New Normal

Three months ago, this is what a normal workday for me looked like: I drove to the college where I teach, walked past coeds throwing Frisbees or hanging out on the quad, and I smiled and waved at undergrads who called out, "Hi, Professor!" I taught my students how to write, do research, and analyze difficult texts, and I said things like, "You're not supposed to be on Snapchat right now. Put your phone away...No, I know you're not looking up something for class because I can literally see the animal filters on your phone."

Then, I either ate lunch in one of the dining halls or ate the lunch I brought in the office I shared with other untenured faculty (only tenured professors get their own offices), where we chatted about the classes we were teaching. After that, I held office hours with students to discuss their papers.

And then all of a sudden, everything changed. One day, I was teaching my students in the classroom. The next day, they were all forced to move out of their dorms and move back home. The faculty, most of whom had never taught online before, were given a one-hour workshop on how to use Zoom. We were told to be "creative" and "try to make the most of it" in our online classes.

Instead of driving to campus, I went to my living room, where I set up my desk, chair, computer, and filing cabinet in front of the window and prepared to do my work each day. I liked watching people walk their dogs, who were obviously happy at getting more time with their humans, and other people teach their kids how to ride their bikes. The Amazon Prime van and the FedEx truck showed up on a daily basis.

I set up online discussion forums with writing prompts. I posted notes online. I held office hours on Zoom. Many of my students did not read the notes I posted. They kept emailing to ask questions that they would already know the answer to if they had read the notes. (I responded, "The answer to that question is in the notes.") I tried to be understanding about missed assignments because I knew a lot of people had issues with WiFi, but it became frustrating when days or weeks passed by where they ignored my emails and the incomplete assignments started piling up. I finally had to impose penalties on the ones who weren't doing their work, even though I felt bad about doing so. I ended up with severe carpal tunnel syndrome from spending so much time in front of my computer.

I attended faculty meetings on Zoom. I received several emails from my department head, who said that most of the faculty in the English Department will have to continue teaching online in the fall. She said that we can opt out of that and teach on campus, but then our fall schedule will change so that we will get classes scheduled in the early morning, the evening, or on Saturdays (basically, the classes that no one wants to teach). So in other words, it's not really a "choice".

When the shelter in place order was first imposed, I received several worried emails from my students, who were upset about the loss of half of their spring semester. When I talked to them on Zoom, I felt sad too; I felt angry that they were cheated out of a significant part of the college experience. For them, going to college isn't just about going to class. It's about living in a dorm away from their parents, where they can experience independence for the first time in their lives. It's about staying up with their roommates or friends until 2 A.M. It's about going to college parties, meeting new people, and trying all these new things. And they were denied all of that.

Not to mention, they are paying thousands of dollars in tuition for resources that they can't use, such as the science labs or the library (they can use the library's online resources, but they can't check out print copies of the books). One of my students is a theater major who had gotten a leading role in a school play, which was cancelled due to the lockdown. I thought of other students who were suffering from depression or other mental health problems and couldn't take advantage of the school's counseling services. And it just made me feel even angrier.

I understand why the shelter in place order was imposed. But it also made me feel sad for the college seniors, who were cheated of the graduation they had spent four years working for and the opportunity to walk across the stage and be honored for their accomplishments. It made me feel sorry for the high school seniors, who didn't get to go to their senior prom, their senior trip, or their graduations. They'll never get that back.

It also makes me angry when I see people ignoring rules about social distancing, like the college kids on spring break and the one who said, "If I get corona, I get corona," and of course, several of them did get infected with the virus. This is the same generation who says, "OK Boomer," which basically means that they dismiss everyone whose opinion differs from theirs and act like because we're older than them, that means that we're ignorant/politically incorrect/dumb, but then turned around and claimed that it wasn't their fault because the adults didn't tell them about how serious the virus was. My response to that is, "What-EVER, Gen Z."


The only place I went to on a regular basis was the grocery store because that was one of the only places that was open. I went to the grocery store sometimes just so I could talk to people since I live alone and didn't have anyone else to talk to, except my students. Everyone was wearing masks, which was helpful on days like when one of the grocery store employees screamed at me because I reached for a cart that had not been sanitized yet, and she couldn't see me mouthing the words, "Not today, Satan," through my mask.

It did, however, make me appreciate the things that I could do. I felt grateful that I did not get sick from the virus. I felt grateful that at least I still had my jobs (I also have a second job for a website, which I was already doing remotely), unlike many other people who lost theirs. My former dance teacher in Chicago, who performs in many plays in the city and also teaches dance classes at gyms, like the one that I was a member of, started posting videos of his workouts online. He also posted his Venmo screenname in case anyone wanted to send donations in exchange for his online workouts. I felt bad for him because unlike me, he could not do his job from home. I sent him several donations, which added up to about a hundred dollars (I used some of the money that I got from my stimulus check.) We weren't really friends when I lived in Chicago, but we lived in the same neighborhood and he was always kind to me when I ran into him or when I took his classes. I wanted to help him.

I felt grateful that I could still do things like write, read, and listen to music. When College Town's public library finally reopened (curbside pickup only), I immediately requested a stack of books and felt happier than the time I drove past the Starbucks that had recently reopened for drive-thru (when I saw it, I yelled out my car window as I drove past, "I've missed you! Never leave me again!" because I may or may not have a minor addiction to caffeine.)

This whole situation has made me value the things I took for granted before, like teaching in a classroom, walking around without a mask, writing in a coffee shop, etc. It makes me hope that things will get better, and that the people who got sick will make a full recovery.

What about you? How did the pandemic affect you or your life?

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Different Happy Ending

One of my favorite movies is 500 Days of Summer, which is about a young man (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls in love with the wrong woman (played by Zooey Deschanel). After she breaks up with him, he is heartbroken and goes into a downward spiral, staying in bed all day, eating junk food, walking around outside in his bathrobe, and quitting his job. But in my favorite scene in the movie, he finally gets out of bed and starts taking steps to make his life better. He pursues his dream of becoming an architect by doing research on architecture, sketching buildings, and going on job interviews. Here is the scene below:

Another scene I really like is from the movie Legally Blonde, where Elle Woods (played by Reese Witherspoon) is also in love with the wrong person. When she finally realizes that nothing she does will ever be enough to win his love, she sets out to prove that he's wrong about her. She dedicates herself to her studies as a Harvard law student and ends up excelling in her classes. Here is the scene below:

What I like about both movies is that the "happy ending" for both protagonists is not really about finding true love (although they do both meet new people). It's about their work and their passion for it. Their work gives them a new purpose; it gives them something to focus on other than their heartbreak. They find meaning in their lives by dedicating themselves to their work, and they end up redefining themselves as a result.

After what happened with the Model, I spent a lot of time in bed, listening to angry breakup songs from the 90s (You rock, Fiona Apple. You too, Alanis Morissette.) I ate too much junk food and gained weight.

I thought about dating again, but the idea of poring over profiles of guys who stole pictures from fitness models (thank you, Reverse Image Search), lied about their age, or posed with pictures of dead animals they hunted just made me want to climb back into bed, turn on the angry breakup songs, and reach for the ice cream again.

I thought about the happiest moment in my life. It wasn't when I was in the Model's arms. It wasn't when I stood in front of my students in the classroom. It was the time I read a short story I wrote to a bar full of strangers at an open mic night in Tennessee three years ago, and my story made them laugh. Other writers at the open mic came up to me afterwards and complimented me on my writing. I was so scared to read my work in front of other people, but their positive reactions to my writing made me happy.

For the last two years, I've been working on two books, including a memoir, Obsessions of a Workaholic. It's basically a book-length version of this blog. I went through old blog posts and realized that I could turn them into a linear narrative by rewriting them and fleshing them out. I also realized that the posts I wrote about online dating could be turned into a separate memoir about dating.

I wrote in my office at the school where I teach, between classes and appointments with students. I wrote in the coffee shops on campus. I wrote at my desk in my apartment. I filled up several notebooks with my writing, and then I typed out the first draft of Obsessions of a Workaholic into my computer. When I printed it out, it ended up being about 193 single-spaced pages (more than 156,000 words). So obviously, I have a lot of editing to do.

I'm going to spend the summer revising my draft. Then, I'll learn how to write query letters and do research on literary agents. If I can't get an agent, I'll pitch my book to indie publishers who don't require agents. If that doesn't work, I'll self-publish it. I really believe in this book, and I want to put it out there, especially after years of letting my writing pile up in notebooks. (There are literally stacks of notebooks all over my apartment.) I've also written a draft of my online dating memoir, so once I finish the first book, I'll get back to revising the second one.

Despite all the other crap in my life (and in the world in general), writing is the one thing that always makes me feel happy when I do it. I might never become anyone's girlfriend or wife, and even if I do, it won't happen with him. But I think I could make my dream of becoming a published author come true. And that is my own happy ending.

What about you? What does your happy ending look like?

Friday, May 22, 2020

The Relapse, Or, Why I Stopped Blogging

My dogs died. My father had a stroke. And the Model came back.

Last summer, my parents' dogs were put to sleep. I loved those dogs very much. They were old and had several health problems, and my mother constantly complained about caring for them. I flew to my parents' house to say goodbye to the dogs, and I think about them and miss them every day.

Last fall, my father had a stroke. I was unable to fly out to the state where my parents live because of my teaching responsibilities, but my sibling went there. My mother sat by my father's hospital bed and criticized him, blaming him for what happened to him, and then she complained to me on the phone about how he did not want to talk to her.

I have always been angry at my father for not protecting me or my sibling from my mother. He always refuses to admit when he's wrong. He has berated me in front of my classmates and friends. But when I found out he was in the hospital, I was scared.  He is better now, but he is still under a doctor's supervision.

Last spring, I decided to try online dating again. After what happened with the Model, I withdrew into my work. But I finally decided that I was ready to try again, and I signed up for Bumble.

That's how I came across the Model's profile. At first, I thought it might be a fake picture because he told me that many people had stolen his pictures before. Also, I thought he was still living out West, and his profile stated that he was in College Town (Bumble indicates how many miles away each person is from you). But I was curious, so I swiped right.  To my shock, he had already swiped right on my profile because when you and the other person both swipe right, you "match" on the app.

I sent out a brief and cautious message on Bumble, asking if it was really him. He didn't answer, so I figured it really was a fake profile.

But a few days later, I came across another Bumble profile with different pictures of him. I swiped right again, only to find that he had already swiped right on my profile. I sent another brief message, and still no response.

About a month later, he texted me, saying that he wanted to see me. He did not apologize for what he did or explain what happened. I could have blocked him. I could have told him that I'd been hurting for almost a year because of what he did. But I didn't. I went to see him instead.

This is the part where you are probably reacting like this:


And I didn't just see him that night. That summer, any time he wanted to see me, I was there.

I asked him about his girlfriend. "We're not dating anymore," he said, but he didn't look me in the eye when he said it. "She's like my best friend now, but I might support her financially because she doesn't make a lot of money." I thought, I don't make a lot of money either, but my solution to that was to get a second job, not to get some guy to pay my bills and buy me things. There's a word for women like her.

He also mentioned that he had hooked up with other women out West. I wondered if she knew.

A few days after the last time I saw him, I texted him. No answer. I figured out that I could see his profile by simply logging out of Instagram, so I did. That same day that he ignored my message, he posted a video of himself "proposing" to the woman he claimed wasn't his girlfriend. The proposal was fake; it was just part of a comedy sketch. But the way she looked at him was real. So was the way he told her he loved her.

I looked at her profile too. There were no recent pictures of him in more than a year, but there were pictures of not one but eight vacations she'd taken in a year, most likely on his dime, even though at least three of those trips were "girls' trips" with her friends, not him.

I stopped texting him after that, and I didn't hear from him again for months. When his self-published book came out, I texted him and told him that I liked it. We spent the next two months texting each other regularly.

He had moved back to a small town in the Midwest and was focusing on his lucrative Instagram page and writing. But he always had an excuse for why he couldn't come to see me, even though College Town was not far from where he lived. On the other hand, he made several trips to the city where she lived, which was much farther away.

That was what made me finally snap out of it. I realized that he was literally passing me by to go see her. Even if they had been broken up when he and I reconnected the previous summer, they were now back together. I thought, I can't do this anymore.

And so I pulled away from him again, this time for good. I did not try to text him again, and I haven't heard from him in weeks.

That's why I stopped blogging. I couldn't reveal what happened because I felt deeply ashamed for running back to him. And after what happened to my father and the dogs, it was like my whole world was crashing down around me, and I didn't have the energy to write funny blog posts anymore.

Reconnecting with him last summer was a mistake. But it was a mistake that I needed to make. After he broke my heart two years ago, I kept blaming myself for what happened. I was still under the illusion that if I had just done something differently, he would have chosen me instead of her. But after everything that's happened, I know that I was wrong. The fact that he continues to choose her over me makes me realize that what I wanted with him was never going to happen.

I was addicted to him. Being with him was like being on a drug. It felt exciting and intoxicating. But it was never fully satisfying. I was always left wanting more. And I finally realized that for the sake of my own sanity, I had to stop chasing after this guy who had hurt me again and again.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have feelings for him anymore. But I keep telling myself, I can't do this anymore, and it makes me feel better.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Ghosting, Creepy Conversations, and Why I'll Never Be Anastasia Steele

I've been on Bumble for two months now and keep striking out, despite the fact that I've literally matched with dozens of guys (on dating apps like Bumble, you "match" with someone if you and the other person both "swipe right" on each other's profiles).

On Bumble, the woman has to make the first move, and the guy has up to twenty-four hours to respond. As I've stated before, many of the guys I've matched with don't respond, possibly because a) they swiped right on literally every profile in order to increase their chances of getting matches, not because they were actually interested in me; b) they didn't check Bumble before the twenty-four hours were up; or c) their wives/girlfriends found out that they were looking for dates online.

What's even more annoying are the guys who send one brief message because they think they're being polite and then disappear after that. But I have had a few conversations with guys that were actually interested in talking to me. Here are a few of the conversations I've had so far:

Me: So, do you have any kids?
Bumble guy #1: Yes, I have a six-year-old daughter. You?
Me: No, I don't have any kids.
Bumble guy #1: You wanna practice? Lol.
Me: Practice what?
Bumble guy #1: Making a baby. Lol (FYI: adding "lol" at the end of a sexual proposition doesn't make it sexy. It just makes it weird.)

I responded to that guy by "unmatching" him, which is an option on Bumble. I quickly regretted doing that, though, thinking that maybe I overreacted and maybe he was just trying to flirt, in a clumsy way (or maybe he was just looking for a hookup). He was cute and otherwise seemed nice. But I didn't know his last name or have any other way to contact him, and once you unmatch someone on Bumble, you won't come across his profile again in the queue.

Me: So, what are you looking for on this site?
Bumble guy #2: Well, that depends. Are you submissive?
Me: Um, are you talking about S&M?
Bumble guy #2: Yes. I am a dominant and I would really like to tie you up sometime.

My response: UNMATCH. (I'm not a prude, and I will admit that I did watch the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, though I cringed at the bad writing the whole time. But as a woman, I think it'd be extremely risky to let a "dominant" guy that I've never met do anything like THAT when we first meet. What if he turned out to be a serial killer, a human trafficker, or at the very least a thief who will steal my purse while I'm unable to stop him?)

He wasn't the only guy who was into S&M that I came across on Bumble. I found another guy's profile that included pictures of his wife because he stated that they were looking for a "third", and he literally included pictures of his wife tied up and suspended from the ceiling in chains, while he stood over her, dressed head to toe in leather. (Again, I'm not a prude, but I feel like that's not something that you should put on Bumble.)

Other guys are clearly lying about their age, like the ones who claim to be in their early forties but look like they're in their early sixties. Hey, I don't like admitting my real age either, especially because guys my age often prefer women who are fifteen years younger, but I'm not going to lie about it.

Nor do I see the point in including my high school pictures, as so many thirtysomething and fortysomething guys on Bumble have done (and I can tell that they're from high school because they're usually prom pictures and look about twenty years younger than they do in their other pictures in their profiles). FYI to guys and people in general: if you're middle-aged, don't include your high school pictures in your profiles, unless you're a vampire who literally hasn't aged since you got turned into a vampire in high school.

It's not like I haven't tried to meet guys offline either, but a lot of the people in College Town aren't that friendly, especially compared to the Southern hospitality of most of the people in Small Town. For example, at my gym, there are two water fountains right next to each other; one is for people who want to refill their water bottles. The problem is that when you use the one for refilling water bottles, it decreases the water pressure on the other water fountain. I was drinking out of the other water fountain when some guy started refilling his bottle; I looked up and said, "Um, I was still drinking." He went off at me and snapped, "Fine. You don't have to be so rude about it." I called after him, saying, "I wasn't being rude! I was just saying!" But he just walked off without listening to me, probably because he had to report back to Satan or something.

There are young male faculty members close to my age whose offices are near mine on campus. I've said hello to them a few times as I've passed by them in the hall while I walked towards my own office, not in a flirtatious way, just to be polite. But every time, they've ignored me.

I joined a Meetup group that plays board games at a local bar every week. Unlike the trivia team I belonged to in Small Town, who liked to socialize between trivia questions, the members of the mostly male Meetup group I joined are very focused on the games and don't like to talk about much else but the games. (But at least they're nice and polite, unlike the rude guys I've encountered elsewhere in this town.)

I will admit that I "ghosted" a guy I was talking to on Bumble recently, which I guess wasn't so nice either. There wasn't anything wrong with him per se, other than the fact that he went on and on about himself and asked me exactly two questions about myself. It was just that I realized that I was actively hoping that he would not message me so that I wouldn't have to deal with the hassle of dating him. And I've found myself hoping that with the vast majority of the guys I've matched with and sent messages to. It's weird in that it bothers me when they don't write back, and yet there's a part of me that still doesn't want to date anyone.

A friend of mine said that maybe I was afraid of getting hurt again. But I think that it might be less about fear and more about being tired of all the bad first dates, awkward small talk, and weird online dating profiles. I wish I could skip the awkward early dating phase and skip ahead to the relationship phase. At the very least, rather than ask questions I don't really have as much interest in, like "So where are you from?" or "What do you and your friends do for fun?" I'd rather ask questions like, "If I ever got sick, would you be there for me and bring me cough drops and Kleenex? I'd do that for you, by the way." or "If I'm having a bad day, will you sit there and listen to me vent, or are you the type to tell me to get over it and then turn up the volume on the TV?" or "Um, you're not into chains or anything like that, are you?"

I still can't help thinking that maybe my multiple online dating fails are the universe's way of telling me that true love is not in the cards for me, or maybe my true love just isn't online. Or maybe it's just the universe's way of telling me that there are a lot of weird/rude/Christian Grey wannabe guys in College Town.

What about you? If you're in a relationship or single, did you ever get tired of the dating scene and the awkward first conversations?

Sunday, March 3, 2019

What I Learned from Ice-T, Or, Why My Ex Threatened Me

The Model moved out West. He wrote a book. And he threatened me.

He's written a book that he's self-publishing on (have any of you heard of that site?), and he most likely will sell thousands of copies due to his large following on Instagram.

I made it through several months without looking at either his Instagram page or his girlfriend's page. But one night, I was thinking about him and curious to see what he was up to, so I checked out his page. It showed that he'd taken off on a road trip without her, leaving her to take care of his cat no less, and decided on a whim to make a permanent move out West...without her. He once told me that  several companies and apps pay him to promote their products on Instagram, due to his large following. Therefore, his "job" does not keep him in the Midwest because he can technically do it anywhere. And yet, even though he left her, she did not break up with him. I checked out her page, and although she hasn't posted any new pictures of them together since September, she did post several pictures of the western state he'd moved to during Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I knew that she must have gone to visit him during the holidays.

During Christmas, I had a rough time while I was visiting my parents for my biannual week-long visit. My mother went off on one of her rampages, screaming and crying at me while one of her acquaintances was in the next room. My father and sibling blamed me, as usual, even though I literally did not say or do anything to provoke her; she was just in one of her moods, and I am her favorite emotional dumping ground. Sibling was unsympathetic, as usual, and said that it was my bad personality that provoked her. While I was getting into the car to run an errand, my father came out to the driveway and screamed at me in front of the neighbors, shaking his finger at me and saying that it was all my fault that she was like that and that I needed to change the way I acted.

Therefore, I wasn't in a good mood either. At that moment, it infuriated me that I was working two jobs, seven days a week, with no days off for months at a time, while the Model earned more money in one day than I did in a week just from his Instagram posts. I still felt angry that he got away with using me to cheat on his girlfriend, and she was more than happy to keep her head stuck in the sand.

One night while I was still visiting my parents, I was in the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A. I drafted a text to the Model where I finally wrote out everything I'd been wanting to say to him for months. I wrote  how the way he betrayed both her and me was cruel and wrong, and that it wasn't okay for him to treat people like this, especially because his Instagram followers constantly sent him adoring messages, which he often posts online to show how much people adore him. They think that he's this "nice guy" and thank him for "inspiring" them because he posts inspirational quotes from self-help books and talks about his own "struggles". I think they're inspired not by what he quotes/writes but by the way his butt looks in his pictures (he likes to pose for selfies in his underwear), but I digress. I also think they send him those messages thanking him for inspiring them not because they're actually inspired by what he wrote but because they want an excuse to talk to him.

I didn't mean to send it to him. I was just venting to myself. But I was holding my phone when a restaurant employee approached my car to take my order, and I accidentally hit send on the text I'd drafted.

I didn't think the Model would answer, especially since he ignored my messages last summer when I texted to say that I'd found out he'd used me to cheat on his live-in girlfriend two weeks before he took her to Mexico for her birthday. But he did text back this time. Instead of responding with an apology, he responded by threatening me. He said that he would send my messages to the department heads at my job. He said he would also post them on his Instagram story; my guess is that he would have started an online hate campaign against me and encourage his followers to cyber bully me. I know he would have done it because he's done it before to a couple other people he's had a beef with, and his deluded followers who literally beg him for his attention on all of his posts are more than happy to do whatever he wants. He wrote, "Don't start a war you can't finish."

At that moment, any lingering romantic feelings I had for him were replaced with hate. His nasty threats made me see him for the vicious, vindictive sociopath he really is. I thought he really would send my messages to my bosses, although to be honest, I don't think that would have gotten me in trouble with them. After all, I only confronted him over how much he hurt me, and although it would have been embarrassing for my bosses to know about what happened, it's not the kind of thing that would have cost me my job. I spoke to a few other professors that I'm friendly with in the department, and they assured me that my bosses wouldn't even care. But he knows how important my work is to me. I gave up almost everything else in my life that mattered for my work, and I'll be damned if I let him take away the one thing I have left. If he ever did try to destroy my career and reputation like he threatened to do, I'd fight back in full force because I'm stronger than he ever gave me credit for.

I felt tempted to send a DM to his girlfriend on Instagram and tell her what he did, but he blocked me from both her page and his own before I could. I used to feel guilty that I never told her the truth. But now I think it wouldn't have made a difference. If she's foolish enough to stay with him even after he moved out of her apartment and into a new one thousands of miles away from her just because he felt like it, then she most likely would not leave him even after finding out that he cheated on her. I think that one reason he chose her over me is that she lets him walk all over her. I stood up to him, and she never will. I don't understand why any woman would do that, but then again I did let him treat me badly during the time that I was with him.

I think that the Model is selfish. That's why he cheated on his girlfriend with me, and that's why he doesn't care that he hurt me. That's why he took off on a road trip without her and moved thousands of miles away from her. By living that far away, he's able to do whatever (and possibly whomever) he wants more easily, without her finding out. He often writes on his page about the importance of "putting yourself first", and I think it shows that he doesn't care how his actions affect anyone else.

I read something that the actor and musician Ice-T wrote on Twitter (and pardon the language, but I think it really relates to what I've gone through), and it made me feel better: "Sometimes, it doesn't work out with someone because they're a piece of shit, who deserves a piece of shit, and you're not a piece of shit."

What about you? Have you ever confronted an ex?

P.S. You might say that I should cut ties with my parents and sibling. But it's complicated. For one thing, look at Meghan Markle. She does not talk to her half-brother, half-sister, or father, and they have responded by selling hateful stories and lies about her to every sleazy tabloid that will pay them while claiming that THEY are the victims (insert puking sounds here). She wants to move on with her life and enjoy it with her husband, and they are all determined to spoil her happiness. But at the very least, I only make brief visits to my parents twice a year, and I do not talk to Sibling unless I have to, which is rare.

P.P.S. Don't worry. I won't contact the Model again, and it's not just because he blocked me. It really is time for me to move on with my life. I don't want to be like his girlfriend, who lets him get away with everything, nor do I want to be like his adoring followers, who only see what they want to see when it comes to him. I want to be better than that. I want to be better than all of them. And I'm sorry for the dark nature of this post. I've written a more lighthearted one on online dating for next week, and it'll be back to regularly scheduled programming.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Weird Bumble Profiles

I haven't blogged in months because I've been very busy. I had a bad encounter with the Model, which I'll write about in my next post. I'm trying online dating again. And I've been writing a lot more.

I had writer's block for almost two months this past fall, which is another reason why I haven't been blogging. But my New Year's resolution was to finish a draft of my memoir, Obsessions of a Workaholic, this year, and I've been working steadily on that. I always bring my Moleskine notebook (I love Moleskine notebooks and have a whole stack of them filled with my writing at home) to work, and I write more pages for my memoir in between classes and appointments with my students. There is a coffee shop right across the street from my office on campus, so I often go there to write after I'm done with teaching and office hours. On weekends, I like to go to a bagel shop in town, order an iced coffee and an everything bagel with cream cheese, and write.

So far, I've written more than 250 pages of my memoir by hand. All of my first drafts are handwritten because if I type it out on my laptop first I will inevitably end up watching pandas sneeze and Ariana Grande sing on YouTube for at least an hour instead of writing. And I still have lots more to write; I've been going over the wealth of material that I have from my blog and journals, so obviously, when I revise, I'll have to do a LOT of editing. But it makes me happy to be writing my own story.

Despite my ambivalence over the idea of dating and being in a relationship, I've also decided to give online dating another shot, and that's why I signed up for Bumble again. Since I live in a Midwestern college town, it's not unusual to see profiles with pictures of guys posing on top of horses, tractors, or in their pickup trucks that are literally filled with dead ducks or deer that they hunted (I don't know about you, but a pickup truck full of dead ducks does not make me think, "All those dead animals totally make me want to make out with him."). Also, for some reason, beards (the bushier and longer, the better), flannel shirts, and overalls are the preferred look for Midwestern guys (at least the ones on Bumble in my area, anyway).

They typically have blue-collar jobs or work as farmers. They describe themselves as "country guys" in their profiles. Most of the ones my age are divorced with children. I don't have a problem with any of that (although I really don't like the pictures of all the dead animals with the hunters standing proudly over them). What I do have a problem with is the kind of stuff that guys write in their profiles, like this:

I'm really looking for a girl who looks and/or thinks like Tomi Lahren, so if that's you, swipe right!

I'll take you out to dinner at a chain restaurant and when the waiter tells me that the coupon I'm trying to pay with is expired, I'll make a whole great big ordeal out of it. (This is literally what some guy wrote in his profile. Is he joking, or does he think that rudeness to servers is sexy? I think it's not so much as "sexy" as stupid and also increases the risk of the servers spitting in his food.)

My job is to look sexy naked. (Again, this is literally what a guy wrote in his profile, although the occupation he listed did not include modeling. I WISH I was making this stuff up.)

I'm one of those guys that goes on a dinner date with you and hopes you don't finish so I can eat your leftovers.

FYI: If a guy tried eating MY leftovers, I'd be like this:


Either that or I'd just bite his hand before letting him eat my food because if anyone's taking home those leftovers, it'll be ME.

Here's another example from a guy's profile: If you love football, Jesus, and our President Trump, swipe right!

But I guess none of those are as weird as the one I saw on okcupid years ago where the guy stated that he was a virgin and was looking for "a physically fit" woman to do it with.

Speaking of swiping right, there's this guy I've come across on both Tinder and my previous stints on Bumble. Every time, he's swiped right on my profile; he's swiped right on me four times now. I sent him messages to say hi each time; he would always respond once or twice, and the fourth time, he admitted that the app wasn't working for us in terms of talking. That's why I gave him my phone number, but he never called. Why keep swiping right on me if he's not actually interested in meeting me?

But then again, that's the question I could ask several other guys I "matched" with; if you "match" with someone on Bumble, it means you both swiped right on each other's profile. What keeps happening is that I'll message them after being matched with them, and they either won't answer or will send a brief reply (and nothing else afterwards) to be "polite". It's frustrating.

It's also made me think that after almost ten years of online dating, on and off, that if there is someone out there for me, I'm not going to find him online. There's that famous quote: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results." So maybe it was insane to keep trying online dating again and again, but it's hard to meet guys otherwise, although believe me, I have tried several other methods.

What about you? If you've ever tried online dating, what's the weirdest thing you've seen in someone's profile? What've you been up to these last few months?