I had such high hopes. A few weeks ago, I set aside my abundant skepticism around what passes for dating in this day and age, and decided to reactivate my profile on a popular dating app. I keep calling it dating, but seriously, what we do now is not dating, and I am not even talking about how the Covid pandemic has impacted it. I’ve been around long enough to remember what dating was like before cell phones and texting and sexting and dating apps. I was just getting into the dating scene when meeting people through a website became all the rage. I’m not here to knock dating apps. I know a lot of people who have met their lifelong partner in this way, so I know it is possible. I am just oversharing about my own personal experiences in some hope that it will suddenly start to make sense.
So here I was, smack in the middle of Mercury Retrograde, (I do not recommend this in the least!) attempting to connect with cute guys via catchy one-liners and a mixture of photos (theirs and mine) and turn that into something that lasts longer than a handful of messages. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to make this conclusion on so little information? It’s kindof like being invited to walk into a restaurant, sit down with a complete stranger and make small talk about them and yourself. It would go something like this,
“Hey how are you (insert name you barely remember)? I see you are eating food. I like food too! Wow, we have so much in common. ”
I know I am exaggerating things a bit, but really I’m not that far off. Dating, like everything on social media, is like a promotional event. We only talk about our good qualities, we downplay reality and insist upon quick intimacy when that hasn’t even had a chance to develop yet.
Let’s take for example, a guy that I’ve been “chatting” with for a few weeks. He had all the qualities that I find attractive. His children were all grown up, he had his own business, a great smile and an inviting sense of humor. He was tall, in my age range, had a cute dog and was obviously single. So far so good and so many boxes checked. For some reason though, planning a phone call, a short hike in nature or meeting in person for a cup of coffee seemed unusually difficult.
On one hand, he asked when we could meet and in the next breath (text), he mentioned that he was completely unavailable for a week. One of the things that I’ve discovered about dating is that there is a certain momentum that happens. There’s mutual interest, texting, a possible phone call, etc., and then at some point in the very near future, there needs to be an in-person introduction. Some people are very charismatic onscreen and then very shy or aloof in person. It is nice to find these things out before we invest too much of our emotional bank account on them. When the phone call or in person invitation doesn’t happen, the energy starts to wane, and that is what was happening in this example.
So here we are, two weeks invested into getting to know this person, and we finally make plans to have a phone call. Isn’t that just the funniest thing you ever heard? We have to make a date to talk on the phone. What the hell is happening to us as a culture? Sorry, tangent. Anyway, we had chosen a range of possible days when both of us could manage this overwhelming task, since committing to a specific hour was just too restrictive. I had forgotten about an online class I had that night, so when he did call, I couldn’t talk. He was very understanding and we made plans to try again after my class.
Since we both had iPhones, he wanted to have a FaceTime phone call. I wasn’t super excited about this because while I wanted to look my best I also wanted to take off all my work clothes, makeup and put my hair in a ponytail. When we finally did get on a call, I was happy to see that he looked as good on screen as in his photos which is not always the case. However, a few minutes into it, his face freezes and the internet shuts down, along with our call. I called right back, but he doesn’t pick up. Then he texts me that we should try again the next day because he is suddenly working on some report that needs his full attention, even though he was completely available a few minutes earlier.
To say I was a little tweaked by this response is an understatement. I had to have an emergency phone call with one of my best girlfriends for advice on how to respond. I tend to be overly honest in these instances, so I had to reign myself in a bit. In all her wisdom, she advised me to play it cool and nonchalant. Apparently that worked, because he FaceTimed me the next morning before I had even started to get ready for work. To give you a visual, I had smudged eyeliner on one eye and not the other, my hair had that smashed pillow look about it and I was still in my pj’s which means I was sans-bra. I’m not used to FaceTime calls so I picked up the call before I realized it had video and by then there was nowhere to hide!
In spite of all this, we had a nice conversation and I was smitten by his warmth and engaging personality. A few minutes after we ended the call, and completely out of the blue, he sends me a message saying, “Morning sex is so intimate . . . ” I’m like FUCK! please don’t be THAT guy, but it’s too late. He is that guy. I know exactly what he is doing, and I am not playing, not because I disagree, but because this is the equivalent of being back at that restaurant table with a stranger, taking a sip of coffee and saying, ‘You know, morning sex is my favorite’, just to see how he reacts. And that is exactly what this guy was doing. I’ve seen it before. I’ve experienced it before and I know how it ends. Once again though, I took the high road and side stepped his statement with my own truth, that all sex can be intimate with the right person. That’s when he decided to man-splain it to me since I clearly wasn’t getting it. He says,
“I was coming from the standpoint [that] sex feels different at various points throughout the day. Morning sex “to me” is so comfy and raw.”
Here’s the thing. I am not denying that sex is a really wonderful thing or that I miss it dearly, but I find it incredibly offensive when a man starts talking to me about this before we’ve even met and especially before we’ve had a chance to build any sort of connection. And just to be clear, in my early days of dating, I fell right into the rhythm of talking about sex before meeting a guy and you know what? When we did finally meet, I realized that I was physically attracted to his words, but not to him.
The really depressing part of all this is that I was really attracted to this guy on many levels. But here we are, early on a Saturday morning, and after all that talk about sex, all I hear is crickets from him. The modern day dating term for this is called “ghosting”. I start to question myself. Did I say something wrong? Or maybe that’s not it at all. Maybe he wasn’t being transparent with his intentions. Even though he said he wanted to “love on a level very few can imagine”(his words), maybe what he really wanted was someone to rev him up without all the effort of actually dating. Either way, I am chalking this one up as another example of what I do not want. I know it is the contrast that helps us redefine how we want to experience life, but dammit I feel like I’ve had enough contrast for a lifetime. I feel like Charlotte in one of my favorite scenes from Sex in the City when she says, “Where is he? I’ve been dating since I was 15, I’m exhausted!” I feel you Charlotte. I feel you.
This is Logynn Northrhip, reporting to you live from the dating trenches of Colorado. Back to you Trevor.