Sunday, June 24, 2018

Back to the Dating Board...for the Last Time

After taking a break from dating this past winter, I decided to try online dating again. I signed up for another Bumble membership rather than Tinder. As I've mentioned before, Bumble and Tinder are similar in that both have the "swipe right, swipe left" options. You're shown pictures from various profiles, as well as short bios of each person, though some people don't write anything about themselves. You can swipe right if you're interested, swipe left if you're not interested.

I chose to rejoin Bumble because unlike on Tinder, only women on Bumble can make the first move. If both people swipe right on each other, the app lets you know that you've made a "match," and then it's up to the woman to make the first move by sending a message. The catch is that you only have 24-48 hours to make up your mind, and then the "match" expires. I think that both Tinder and Bumble are technically free, but they offer extra "perks" for paid memberships, including the opportunity to see who's already swiped right on you.

The last time I did online dating, I dated three guys I met on Bumble and three guys I met on Tinder. This time around, I have a feeling I might not get to date anyone on Bumble. Here are some reasons why:

1. Tinder is a well-known hookup app, but Bumble is theoretically for people who are looking for more than hookups. I say "theoretically" because so far, I've swiped left on a guy's profile that stated, "Let's get together and f-- all night," and another guy who wrote in his profile, "Did you fall from heaven? Because have sex with me." One guy that I was matched with sent me a message: "So, are you going to give me a ride?" with a winky face emoji. I quickly "unmatched" him.

2. Both Bumble and Tinder send you matches partly based on your location, but apparently Bumble has run out of profiles of guys who live in or near College Town to send me, which is why 90% of the matches I'm currently getting are from guys who live more than two hours away. A long-distance relationship is one thing if you've already been dating for a while, but I feel like it's too much of a hassle when you're still getting to know each other (not to mention my work schedule prevents me from making long car trips on a regular basis).

4. There are other unappealing profiles, like the one by the guy who wrote, "I just want to get married so that I don't have to live off of one income anymore." Another guy wrote, "I will probably like your dog more than I like you." And this morning, I swiped left on a profile that read, "You're going to need a lifeguard when you show up for a date because you're going to drown in my blue eyes."

5. A lot of the guys on Bumble who claim that they're in their early to mid-forties look like they're in their late fifties or early sixties.

6. I think the fact that I'm thirty-seven makes me "too old", even to the guys my age, who solely set their sights on women under the age of twenty-nine, though that type of preference is true of many guys on all dating sites and in general.

7. I've gotten matched with several guys, but either they don't answer the messages I send them, or they do at first but then pull disappearing acts later.

8. Some guys only post one picture of themselves in their profiles, which wouldn't necessarily be a problem except that they post pictures of themselves with other guys and don't indicate who they are in the picture. It's not like I can swipe right and then ask, "So, are you the guy with the great smile, or the guy with multiple facial piercings and ginormous holes in your earlobes?"

9. I've come across many profiles of guys who are using fake pictures to try to lure women. How do I know they're fake? Reverse image search. (I reported those profiles to the app's administrators.) That's how I found out that two of the guys were using images from ads for men's shampoo, one was using a picture from an advertisement for men's pants, and one was using a picture for an ad for erectile dysfunction medication (um, OK). It bothers me that people lie about what they look like just to get a date. And what do they think will happen when they show up for the date? That their dates won't mind that they lied about what they look like and fall in love with them and/or at least hook up with them anyway?

I do want to start dating again, or at least, I think I do. The Model said he was coming back this summer, but he didn't say when. Not to mention I haven't even heard from him since he left College Town again. Also, the truth is, I want so much more than what he's willing to give, and I know that I should try to find someone who wants what I want, rather than wait for the Model to decide whether he wants to be with me. I think that what happened between him and me the other night could possibly be the closure I've been needing to finally move on.

I'm going to give Bumble a shot, for the summer at least. But if this doesn't work out, then I quit. Online dating, that is. The reasons why are for another post, but one reason includes profiles like the one I just swiped left on today: "I'm 44 and the father of three teenagers. I'm looking for a mother figure for them because their real mom isn't around." And I thought, "Dude, I don't even know if I want to have coffee with you at this point." And I can understand wanting someone like that if you're a single parent, but that's like me writing something like this in my profile: "I'm looking for someone who's willing and ready to get married and have kids within the next two to three years because I'm 37 and tick tock, guys."

I've been on Bumble for almost two weeks so far, and hopefully I'll get to go out with at least one guy this summer. But if not, then I'm going to give up on online dating (and maybe dating in general) once and for all and just move on with my life.

What about you? Do you think that online dating is worth the hype? Would you still be willing to date someone even if he wrote something weird or obnoxious in his profile?

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Different Version of Myself

Last week, I decided to rejoin Bumble, the online dating app, and signed up for a one-month membership. The very next day, the Model texted me.

I was surprised and baffled to hear from him, to say the least. He ghosted me more than six months ago, and when he texted me, he didn't apologize for what he did or explain why he did it. Instead, he said that he had been thinking about me and wanted to see me.

There were several ways I could have responded:

1. I could have taken a picture of my hand and texted it to him, saying, "Talk to the hand!" (What? I grew up in the nineties.)

2. I could have said, "I can't. I'm dating someone who's much nicer and richer than you are."

3. I could have said, "Why the HELL did you ghost me? Unless you went into hiding from the mob, there is NO EXCUSE for what you did!"

4. I could have said, "Who is that Ann Coulter lookalike you hung out with in Chicago? I saw her Instagram page, and everyone knows that when you show up in someone else's pictures on Instagram, that means you're in a relationship." (God, I sound like one of my students. I spend so much time with them that sometimes I end up talking like them, even though I don't understand half of what they say. They keep saying things like, "She's so extra," and I'm just like, "Extra WHAT?")

5. I could have texted him a picture of a pint of ice cream and said, "Do you even realize how much ice cream I've eaten since you left?"

But I didn't say any of that. Instead, I agreed to meet him for drinks. The truth is, I never got over him. I've thought about him a lot, and even though I knew it was unlikely to happen, I always hoped I would hear from him again.

When I saw him in those pictures with Little Miss Push Up Bra, I thought all hope was lost. That's why I signed up for the Bumble membership. When the Model texted me the next day, I thought at first that someone had hacked his phone and was pretending to be him. But it really was him.

When I saw him again, he looked even more handsome than I remembered. I didn't ask him about that other woman. I should have, but I didn't. I was just really happy to see him. He told me about how he'd moved to Chicago, but since he was originally from College Town, he still came back occasionally to visit his friends and family. He told me about his new job and asked me what was going on in my life.

Later, when he took me into his arms, I didn't pull away. When he kissed me, I kissed him back. And when he asked me to spend the night with him, I didn't say no. Maybe I should have, but I didn't because I knew that I definitely would have regretted turning down the chance to be with him again. I don't want to go into too much detail about what happened, but let's just say there were fireworks. It was more passionate than all the other times I've been with him.

He went back to Chicago a few days later, but he said he wants to see me again when he comes back to College Town later this summer.

"Don't answer his texts next time," one of my friends advised me when I told her about it. "He just wants to hook up. Move on with your life, and find someone else."

The rational part of my brain knows that she's right. I want more than what he's given me. Last fall, we only dated for a few weeks and weren't in a serious relationship, but it still hurt like hell when he made it clear that he wasn't interested anymore. I've been rejected by guys before, but this was different. I've never felt this way about anyone before.

Last year, when I had a crush on Small Town Guy, it all made sense, even though he didn't feel the same way about me. Small Town Guy and I had a lot in common, and it felt like he was the type of guy I should be with. We liked the same books, had similar interests, and I felt comfortable with him. (Incidentally, he's still with his girlfriend, and they often gush about how they have the best significant other in the world on Facebook. That's right. They're one of THOSE couples.) I was attracted to him, but it wasn't close to being the same kind of overwhelming physical attraction that I felt for the Model. Once I realized that Small Town Guy didn't feel the same way, I accepted it, and I moved on with my life.

But the Model is different from all the guys I've dated or had crushes on. And when I'm with him, it's like I become this different version of myself: someone who's impulsive, bold, and sexy. But he also makes me feel more neurotic and anxious than any other guy I've met, and I don't like that. I also don't like the fact that that other woman lives in Chicago, which means that if he really is dating her (or is still seeing her), she'll get to spend more time with him this summer than I can.

It's easier when I can just focus on my workaholic life, rather than dating, because it's safe there. The Model is like the guy that is often described in romance novels: the kind of guy that you know you should stay from, but you can't help yourself because there's something about him that draws you back every time.

I know that if I keep seeing him, I most likely won't get that happy ending in romance novels because I don't think he wants what I want. But letting him go means never seeing him or being with him again. And it's hard to feel excited about meeting guys on Bumble now, especially since I just read a guy's profile where he stated, "Me: the best guy you'll ever meet. You: Don't be a crazy."

What about you? Have you ever fallen for someone (and found it difficult to let them go) that you knew couldn't give you what you wanted?

P.S. I hope that this post doesn't significantly lower your opinion of me. I normally do the right thing, and in every other part of my life, I do what I'm supposed to do. But the Model makes me forget about all my rules.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Sky Is Falling...Or At Least, My Ceiling Did

Last week was a rough week. On Monday, I went to the dentist for the first time in over a year, and to my dismay, I was informed that I have three cavities. The dentist said it was partly because I grind my teeth a lot, which means I also need a new bite guard that I have to wear at night. The fillings and the bite guard are only partly covered by my insurance and will cost me hundreds of dollars. I got the fillings yesterday. I was tempted to start thrashing around in the dentist's office or grab one of the drills and start shrieking at the staff, "Get back! Get back! I'd rather let all my teeth fall out!" As it was, they gave me so much general anesthesia that my mouth literally looked lopsided for hours afterwards (is that normal? I looked like the Joker, and it freaked me out!)

On Tuesday, I was at my desk in my living room, doing work for my website job, when I heard a loud thud in my bedroom. I went in there and saw that a large chunk of the ceiling had literally caved in. There was a huge hole in my ceiling, and insulation was all over the floor. A few weeks ago, I noticed a water stain on the edge of the ceiling (the same area where the ceiling caved in) and told the maintenance crew at my building about it. Their "solution" was to just paint over it.

I didn't react well when the ceiling caved in. I literally started crying in front of the maintenance crew and my landlord. I was freaking out. What if the ceiling had caved in on my head while I was sleeping? What if the ceiling in my living room caved in too? I was angry that this was even an issue in the first place, and I yelled at all of them. I wish I hadn't, but at the same time, I think I had the right to be upset. They were nice about it, though, and my landlord offered me a partial rent credit for next month.

That's why last week, I had drywall guys, roofers, and painters going in and out of my apartment to try and fix my ceiling, while I struggled to do my work, despite the constant noise. They initially told me, "We'll be there late tomorrow morning to start working on it." What they meant was, "We'll show up before 8 AM, while you're still in your pajamas." That meant that I had to take a shower while several men I'd never seen before were in the next room.

They moved my mattress to my living room, and I tried to sleep there the first night. But I think I inhaled some of the drywall dust or something because I kept coughing all night and woke up with a headache. The cough didn't go away, and I battled a cold for the rest of the week. The landlord gave me the key to their fully furnished model apartment that they use to show prospective tenants, and said I could sleep there at night. I did sleep there several nights in a row (and I kept thinking to myself how tastefully decorated it was, that this was what it was like to live in a "grownup apartment" and not one with posters taped to the wall and a collection that included a One Direction DVD and a Backstreet Boys VHS tape). The bed in the model apartment was very uncomfortable, but it was better than nothing.

Just when I thought my week couldn't get any worse, on Friday, I made the mistake of looking at the Model's Instagram page. He often responds to his thousands of followers with flirty emojis, but one of them in particular stood out to me. I checked out her page, and I saw several recent pictures of them together, at her birthday party and at Navy Pier in Chicago. In all of the pictures, their arms were around each other.

It's been months since I even spoke to the Model because he moved to Chicago, which is very far away from College Town. But to see him not only with a new girlfriend (I have nicknamed her Anne Coulter's Evil Twin) but also to see him spend the day with her in Chicago, the city that I love and will always think of as home, made me burst into tears.

The whole thing made me realize that there are just some things I can't control or change. I can't control the fact that my ceiling caved in, or the fact that the Model will never want me again. But I can move on with my life. I can join Bumble or Tinder again (or both) and try to find someone special, at least one more time. I can stop looking at the damn Model's Instagram page. And if dating doesn't work out for me the next time around, I can embrace my life as a single person. After all, single life has its perks, like being able to live and travel wherever I want. And I don't have to have arguments with someone where I say stuff like, "Where is this relationship going?" or "Why did you post that on her Instagram page? You never talk to ME like that anymore," or "I seriously think your mother's trying to poison me" (that last one is from an actual Dear Prudence letter, and the mother-in-law really WAS trying to poison her!).

I can't change my "family", but I can spend less time with them. That's why I'm not going to my parents' house this summer for my biannual trip (I visit them for a week or so during Christmas and summer, which are two trips that I always dread).

I can't look like a Victoria's Secret model (and I don't even want to dress like them, either, seeing as how I dress like a spinster librarian from the 1930s), but I can lose weight by exercising more, cooking healthier meals, and eating less junk food.

I may never become a tenured professor. But I can continue teaching and become a respected scholar as well, by working on my research regularly, sending it out to scholarly journals, and presenting my work at academic conferences.

I can't change the fact that as long as I am a teacher, I will never be rich. But I can continue to work hard at teaching, pick up extra hours at my website job, and pay down my debt. Once I pay off my debts (which admittedly will take years, but even so), I can finally travel around the world, just like I've always wanted to.

What about you? What are things that you wish you could change, and what are things about your life or yourself that you can and want to change?