Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Musician, the Artist, and the Model

The last time I was on four years ago, I was a member of the site for more than three months and only ended up going on a date with one guy. I've been a member of Tinder for two weeks and have gone out on dates with three guys.

The first guy I went on a date with is a graduate student at the college where I'm teaching. He isn't in my department; he's a musician and has performed professionally many times. We met at a coffee shop close to campus and had a really great conversation. It was nice talking to someone who also works in academia and could relate to a lot of things that I've gone through. He seemed like a genuinely nice, intelligent, and talented guy. And it was about as romantic as being on a date with my cousin. Apparently, he felt the same way because he hasn't called since then.

The second guy I went on a date with says that he's an artist, but he hasn't earned any money from his art. Instead, he works a regular day job and hasn't worked on his art in more than a year. I don't have a problem with dating a guy who doesn't work a prestigious job, and you don't have to earn money at your art in order to be an artist. It's one thing to take a break from your art or to struggle to earn a living at it; most artists can relate to that, including myself. But as a Type A workaholic who's stayed committed to her professional goals for years, it's hard for me to relate to someone who doesn't have as much drive and ambition to succeed.

I will admit that when I lived in Small Town, months went by where I didn't touch my manuscripts because I had to work so much at my two jobs. But I kept writing in my journal, my blog, and my Twitter page; I attended a writing class and read one of my stories at an open mic night. Now that I'm in College Town and teaching dozens fewer students than I was in Small Town, it's easier for me to make time for writing. I've entered two writing contests in the last couple months and submitted a story to a literary magazine. I was rejected by all three, but it didn't make me feel bad. Those rejection letters were proof that I was writing again and putting my work out there.

On the other hand, the Artist is a nice guy who is really easy to talk to, and I enjoyed his company. We've been on two dates so far, and he's been texting me almost every night. But the regular texting irritates me. Because I have two jobs, I don't have time to text people for hours every night. And it seems too soon to be talking to each other that often. I've told the Artist that there are some days where I'm just not available to talk, and he's been understanding about it. But I think the fact that I'm not that excited to hear from him is very revealing, especially because when I think of the last guy I was involved with in Chicago, I smiled whenever he texted me, and I was more than willing to drop everything and go hang out with him.

When he kissed me good night, I was flattered and thought it was a pleasant kiss, but I didn't feel a spark. It made me wonder if there was something wrong with me because here was this nice guy who genuinely likes me and wants to get to know me. But I just keep falling for guys who just aren't that into me, like Small Town Guy. I can't help thinking that maybe I should go out with the Artist at least one more time because he seems like someone I should be with, but I don't want to lead him on if there's nothing there. Or maybe I just want what I can't have because it's easier than dealing with the reality of actually being in a relationship with someone.

The third guy I met on Tinder is a "model", and by "model" I don't mean the kind who is featured in magazines or commercials. I mean the kind who has a six figure following on social media because of all of his shirtless pictures of himself.

The Model is so not the guy for me; I knew that from the beginning when we first started texting each other, and meeting him in person confirmed it for me. He is very self-centered, is too young for me (he's in his 20s and I'm 36, and I feel like I should be with someone closer to my own age) and we have nothing in common.

But physically, he's exactly the kind of guy I've always been attracted to. When I first saw him, I felt an attraction that was stronger than I've ever felt for anyone. He didn't even wait until the end of the date before he kissed me, and I kissed him back. I found myself thinking about the Model all week: when I was grocery shopping, when I was at work, and when I was resisting the urge to head-butt people at Starbucks who didn't decide what they wanted until they got up to the counter and then asked the baristas a bunch of questions about every drink (it's like, do they want to hear me start screaming like a howler monkey? Because that's what happens when I haven't had my coffee.).

The Model wants to see me again. I know that whatever happens between us won't lead to anything serious. But I still want to see him again, even though I know I shouldn't.

In a perfect world, I'd find someone that I was physically attracted to and could have good conversations with, someone who's a combination of the Model and the Artist. But I'm not sure if that person is out there, at least not for me. I'd feel more optimistic if it wasn't for the fact that I'm 36 and I've lost count of how many guys I've gone out with, not to mention Tinder is the sixth dating site I've tried. And considering how time-consuming this whole process has been (which also irritates me because I get antsy when I'm not working and due to all the messages from guys and dates, I've fallen far behind in my work), I'm not so sure that I want a relationship with anyone anymore. Or maybe I just think that because most of the guys I've dated so far are not guys that I want to be in a relationship with.

Or maybe I think that because I'm still new in College Town and trying new things (I even joined two Meetup groups and have been to three events so far, which I'll blog about later), I'm not ready to be in a relationship with anyone right now. And I'm still not fully secure in my career, which is still the most important thing to me and which I can't afford to neglect for too long.

In the meantime, I guess I'll stay on Tinder for another week or two at least, and then maybe I'll try a different dating app like Bumble or Hinge.

What about you? Have you ever dated someone you weren't really attracted to, or have you ever been attracted to someone who was all wrong for you? Either way, did you go on more dates with that person, or call it off after one or two dates? If you're in a relationship with someone, at what point did you feel that "spark"?


  1. I was friends with my husband for a couple of years before we got together - the spark was slow, like the early energy-saving light bulbs! But, we're still together, after 19 years of marriage, 24 years of being together, and 26 years of knowing each other... Oh my god, I'm so old!!

    On the other hand, Model sounds fun for the short-term ;-)

    1. Hi Annalisa,
      I always like the stories of couples who were friends first, and I especially like your comparison of the spark with the energy-saving light bulb. :) I think the thing about online dating is that people generally go right into dating, which puts a lot of pressure on them as a result, as opposed to just letting things develop more slowly as friends. I do feel pressure to make a decision sooner rather than later about the Artist because it doesn't sound like he's unsure about how he feels about me. It would be so much easier if I really did like him, and I feel like I should, but I just don't feel that way. I might go out with him at least one more time.
      Dating the Model would definitely be a short-term thing because he's not boyfriend material, at least not for me. But he is kind of fun.:)

    2. It's a shame you feel pressured, but I guess that's the downside of online dating. Go with your heart, NW, you've done well finding three people who aren't weirdos, so there'll be more if you decide to move on :-)

    3. Hi Annalisa,
      Thank you for your advice; I appreciate it. My heart tells me that the Artist deserves to be with someone who is sure about how she feels about him. He's a nice guy and I don't want to lead him on. I wish that I did feel that way about him, especially because he's nicer than most of the other guys I've met online.

  2. I dated many who fit into all of these categories. I wondered if I'd ever meet the right one because it seemed like either I would like him more than he liked me or vice versa. Then there was this one who I really liked and seemed perfect, and he felt the same. We just celebrated our 47th anniversary. Yes, a long time but romance is pretty much the same in any decade! It's just the means of meeting people that changes.

    1. Hi Karen,
      I know exactly what you mean; my dating history includes several guys who liked me but I didn't like back and guys I really liked but put me in the friendzone. I like the story of you and your husband; it's inspiring to know that there are people out there who spend their lives together and love each other for decades. It keeps me from losing hope altogether.

  3. I was thinking the same thing that you mentioned in your post...that maybe you’re really not ready yet for a relationship. It could be too soon after moving and getting a new job. Follow your heart. Listen to your gut.

    1. Hi Chrys,
      I think I'm not ready for a relationship, at least not yet; that is, I want to date, but at the same time I've been on my own so long that I kind of prefer it most days. I like being able to do what I want to do without worrying about someone else's feelings, though I know what sounds selfish of me. And thank you for your advice!

  4. I;m still intrigued by this Tinder thing -- isn't it sort of weird that it's all based on photos? I'd be like you, concentrating on the guys who at least bothered to write something in their profile. What about local book or writing groups? It'd be neat to meet someone there!

    1. Hi Deniz,
      I'm sorry about my late response; I just now saw your comment. I haven't been blogging as much lately due to work. Anyway, I think that one reason that Tinder is mainly based on photos (a lot of the guys don't bother to write anything in their profiles, and some of them only include pictures of their bare chests, not their faces) is because Tinder originally started out as a hookup site. Thus, people want to hook up with people they find physically attractive; their profiles aren't really as important to them. I want to be attracted to the guy I date, but the profile is also very important to me.

    2. No worries, I'm always so far behind in my blog comments! That makes sense, about the hookup thing (though I can't imagine going that route myself. It seems fraught with so many dangers!). I'd be looking for more "traditional" dating like you, too.