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?