Online Dating in the Time of Covid

My apologies for the lame title. I can barely stomach hearing or saying anything virus-related at this point in staying at home life. As a city creature through and through, I never thought I would have an emotional tie to daily interactions with often stinky, definitely angry and positively crazy people during regular commutes to and from different urban destinations. Over the past several weeks, I have realized that it’s those daily interactions that make me who I am. The ability to go places is a close second. (I often envision myself in normal life again, possibly lacking the ability to function in shoes) —

I wonder how online dating looks during these times. If people are truly following the rules, it seems to me that entire relationships only exist in the digital universe. One would have to depend on their phone and laptop even more than normal (is that even a possibility?)

A few tales of the past have come to mind. Here are some, in my favorite short and bulleted format:

1. A single female friend of mine spent a week or two talking to a guy that she was thinking of dating. They set up a casual date so they could meet in person. On the day of their meeting, the guy texted my friend to tell her that he is pan-sexual. Thinking that means that he is attracted to bread products, she was thrilled. He then explained that he can be attracted to anyone of any background, gender or sexuality. My friend canceled their date and to this day, I still wonder what would’ve happened had he not shared the pan info (“spilled the tea” perhaps?) beforehand.

2. I once went on a date with a doctor, assuming he was intelligent and had a clue about others. He seemed great in emails and texts. As it turned out, good ol’ doc discussed the bar fights he got into when he was in college for the entire duration of our date. The only time he didn’t get nostalgic about brawls was when he was asking me what sangria is.

3. Remember the Man who feared tomatoes ? If not, please refresh yourself. When I met him for the second time in person, he was waiting outside of the restaurant (where he was scared of what they served) for me, and I spotted him from about a half mile away. And he was smoking a cigarette. That would have been fine, except for the fact that he claimed to be a non-smoker on his dating profile and said nothing of the sort when we had first met. Also, once he saw me approach him from the street, the cigarette went flying out of his mouth, as though he didn’t mean to have it there. Cigarette smoke lingers on the breath and skin for decades, so I really don’t know what he was trying to hide, outside of his food aversions.

I guess I’m just wondering if people are more disillusioned by potential partners during a time when you are not meeting in person. Do illogical choices come through even stronger during uncertain dating times?

Please let me know. I will be at home, searching for the ability to walk in shoes.

Online dating isn’t a game…no wait, of course it is! – Part 1

Sure, online dating apps have changed the way relationships and marriages develop and grow. Those who meet and form strong partnerships with Tinder and Bumble, as well as plenty of other, more particular dating apps are invoking a rise in interracial and inter-class relationships: an increase that no one has seen in the U.S. until now. For those lucky enough to find and maintain the magic that they are looking for through a dating app, you are passively doing your part in changing societal norms. HOWEVER – dating websites shouldn’t be overlooked, since the gamifying “swipe” apps would not exist, or thrive today without the original sites.

A dirty, dirty game.


https://mashable.com/article/online-dating-change-world/

I stand behind dating SITES because during the time I was actively using them to find a date, I found a guy or two.. thousand – that I thought might be my soulmate. I’ve created a breakdown of different guys that I met on dating websites that I hung out with for a special length of time, believing that they might be the one…along with the reason(s) why they most certainly did not live up to the role (and some fun follow-ups!).

First up (and there’s a lot of ridiculous details here, because I think “ridiculous details” is this guy’s real name):

Phil*- We met virtually on Match.com and after a bunch of messages, decided to meet in person at a café. Phil was nice and polite, and gave me a lot of attention throughout our courtship, but it became super apparent that he had some major issues that I could not deal with. The first sign was during our introductory date, when he told me I couldn’t get a ham and cheese croissant because I’m Jewish. I believe he confused being “kosher” with my religion and also: don’t ever tell me what I can and can’t eat, Phil. After a few weeks of chatting and hanging out, I told Phil that I dabbled in marijuana usage from time to time. His legitimate response to that (via text) was to inquire about my health. Phil didn’t understand why someone would smoke weed unless they had glaucoma or cancer. Baffled, but assuming that his narrow-minded comments would eventually dissipate as we fell further in love (in my imagination), I continued to hang out with Phil.

I ended up driving to another state with him to spend an early summer Saturday at his relatives’ house and pool, with the entire family. Knowing very well that I had just adopted my dog less than a week earlier, Phil had no qualms about staying with his family for over 10 hours. When I privately asked him about 9 hours into the visit when we would be departing, he announced to his whole family that I had to get home “to the dog” while rolling his eyes. That was not okay. Probably worse than managing my food intake. Neither was his behavior the entire drive home and via text for the next 12 hours, where I was insulted and told I was horrible because Phil’s cousin felt that I didn’t show Phil enough affection. He also demanded to know if I even cared about him. I must’ve repeated to Phil that I liked him but 10 hours with someone else’s family in another state after a few weeks of dating is a bit much and maybe his cousin needed to keep her comments to herself.

My apartment, in Phil's mind.

My apartment, in Phil’s mind.


After all of that judging, Phil and I still spoke and he had agreed to spend the night at my apartment for the first time. In preparation for that, Phil casually asked me if I had my own bathroom. This was said in the same serious tone as his marijuana-health inquiries and exasperation with the attention I gave my dog. With all the patience I could muster, I explained to Phil that it was not 1923 and I didn’t live in a tenement with my extended, seamstress family. As a result, I did have my own bathroom. He almost seemed convinced that I was telling the truth. So – we met each other out earlier that evening with a few of my friends, planning on going back to my place afterwards. We weren’t even out for that long when Phil turned to me after talking to one of my friends and accused me of not “treating him well.” He was already upset with me and I didn’t know why, and then told me he wouldn’t be staying at my apartment that night. That’s the point where I gave up on him and just wanted to hang out with my friends, but he wouldn’t leave. He followed the group of us to two additional bars and brooded in the corner, not telling me what he was upset about but not leaving either.

Why are you so angry?

Didn’t we just meet?

Phil eventually went home (not with me) that night, and I had reached the point where I officially wasn’t having fun with him, nor did I understand how his brain or emotions worked. I decided that night that it was over (and from his behavior, I assumed he felt the same). Phil ended up texting me the next day, asking if I had “calmed down” and if we can have a reasonable conversation. I told him I was calm the day before and didn’t understand him at all. I wasn’t interested in dealing with his mercurial behavior and it was very obvious by then that we were not a good match.

I had a few more texting interactions with Phil, wherein I was told how horrible I was for a bit longer but it eventually stopped.

In summary:

– Phil held food from me, kidnapped me to be with his family, made fun of the care I took for my child, yelled at me several times for not being affectionate, accused me of not having a bathroom and thought I had a serious illness.

I am fully aware that all of these interactions were partially my fault, since I kept our contact going. I wanted to believe that I had finally found him. The One. And I just needed to get past some early arguing.

I’ve looked Phil up a few times since we dated and it seems that not much has changed in his life. I hope he chilled out a little.

More games to come!

*All names have been changed because everyone on the planet is a complete lunatic.

Oh lord, give us strength…Facebook Is Testing Its Dating Service

It’s official. Facebook is now getting into online dating.

This is kind of weird to me, considering that every dating app I know about cuts right into your Facebook information as it is. Oh, but wait:

“You won’t see anyone you’re already friends with on Facebook, nor will you see people you’ve blocked.”

I want guaranteed proof that this will not happen. I feel like most apps have prevented me with people I never ever ever want to see again, let alone talk to or date – so this is quite an advantage.

Hmmm — “By utilizing the trove of data it already has about users, Facebook has the ability to become a powerful player in the online dating space.”

Didn’t they just get breached? Like really, really screwed? Is this really the time for “going steady” with dating?

It just rolled out in Colombia, and I’m praying for all of those who use it.

The Dateline episode is already being developed in my mind.

Keith Leans on Things (appropriately a Facebook page)

Partner Searching vs. Job Hunting – The Pinnacle of Mind-Reading and Insecurity

Finding a good date. Finding a good job. Okay so they are both complete torture.

During the past year, I was searching for another full-time job, other than the one I had, but the extra special time came during the last 3 months where I was officially an unemployed, crap excuse for a human being (yes, it says so on my taxes) and I’m here to tell you that it is definitely worse than being single. HOWEVER – online dating and job searching are so similar – and in ways I would have never thought prior to this experience.

[

A real life Tinder profile. I promise.

I am job.

The greatness that is Mrs. Doubtfire

Self-representation on paper (online) and in-person are obviously sucky parts of both activities. No one likes to fill out the dreaded profiles / resumes / applications and conduct an endless search for perfection (unless she is a sadist), but that is a pleasure compared to other aspects of the process…

You feel crazy and stupid at all times. No matter what.

Whether it was the recruiter who called and e-mailed me about my application, but then never got back to me when I returned her call, or the potential manager who suggested we have a phone interview at a certain date and time and didn’t show up, I blamed myself. I must’ve misread text in black and white and actual messages saying that they wanted to talk to me, right?

Everyone ignores you.

Literally, all the time. They only called or e-mailed me with five minutes to spare about something highly important when I was in the shower, out socializing in a very loud place or even worse – waiting in a very quiet place, where phone use was prohibited. I also enjoyed showing up for two different, supposedly real-life interviews in which I was given the wrong floor or in one case, the completely wrong building to go to. Trying to be confident and focused (and not sweating profusely, in utter exhaustion / confusion) at that point is quite challenging.

Eye contact is probably worse than eye surgery.

And I’ve had both in the past year! And I’m mortified by eyeballs in general! Get jealous! And I’m not even referring to the job interviews where I was finally invited to enter the tangible office space to have a conversation with a real person. I’m referring to the modern Skype / Facetime / Google Hangout interview where I looked either too eager or completely insane at all times. I remember thinking that I wish I couldn’t see what I looked like while talking – it was horrifying. It’s like having to look at the face of a creepy guy who thought he was entertaining. Yuck.

You get judged.

And quite often you don’t know what you are getting judged for. It could be your crappy small talk about the weather, or the way you described your last meal was somehow offensive…WHO KNOWS? Not me. I definitely had that same kind of “WTF did I just say?” feeling during many blind dates, after either having someone laugh at me when I wasn’t trying to be funny or just nod along when I asked a question. Super comfortable.

People advise you to “enjoy the downtime” / “playing the field”

It’s like the people who have been married since they were toddlers explaining their plight of wanting to know what it feels like to be alone on a holiday…Ummm…I’m not going to enjoy being single and I’m not going to enjoy being unemployed. Unless I had zero desire to associate with other human beings while being independently wealthy and free to travel the world, I don’t see how that’s possible.

No follow-up, unless you have zero interest whatsoever.

I think that heading speaks for itself. Just a reminder that the people that I never wanted to interact with ever again in my life have always tried to stay in contact and “be friends.” This has included unbalanced stalkers, people with more time on their hands than I have (not sure how that’s possible) and people who think I have money to give them. It has never included a recruiter, headhunter or potential manager.

Online Dating: Effective and Brutally Honest or Confusing and All Over the Place?

A wise reality star once said, “I wouldn’t recommend dating if you’re on the fringe of sanity.” And I tell ya – Shepard Rose (“Shep”) speaks the truth. He certainly doesn’t seem like he knows much of anything, but that’s a darn good phrase to live by.


Shep, being Sheppie.

I guess most people that are a bit confused, or close to insane will not acknowledge it. And I guess that’s what makes Loveflutter, a timely dating app that uses big data and analytics, so promising. The main gist of Loveflutter is that it uses actual words that you have said (typed) on your Twitter feed to match you up with like-minded singles, thus working with the logic that social media posts truly represent the essence of people. I get it – Tinder, etc is completely superficial, basing matches off of photos only, while other sites will survey and have you fill out bios ad nauseum that never seem to really get used for anything. Loveflutter digs into your social thoughts and makes matches that way. It’s new and different, but I just don’t really buy that it is as promising as this article claims.

“Effective” is a word I would use to describe a skin cream or pad training for my dog – not necessarily for a dating app, so I was already a disbeliever when reading the headline of this post. I also distinctly remember viewing and reaching out to different Twitter users on my own if I found them to be interesting. Isn’t that what the kids already refer to as “Sliding into the ‘DM'”? The innovation on this app must be super-impressive, possibly because they use “AI” and “NLP” acronyms enough to get greedy techies way too excited.

https://i.ytimg.com/

Also, you have to be a Twitter user who actually posts things AND you can’t utilize these amazing feats in artificial intelligence and compatibility measurement unless you have an iPhone*! I’d say that a large percentage of the single population is already missing out…

I would love someone to tell me that I’m completely wrong. Contrary to what you must be thinking, I don’t know everything (but thanks for the compliment!) It’s an idea that is different from a host of very stale, excruciating match-making models and devices, so maybe it does have some kind of a success rate.

Please educate me! Until then, I will be working on my Shep quote collage.


Not very southern gentleman of him. (Thank you, Bravo)

* My vast research resulted in an additional Loveflutter app that is available on both Android and iOS devices. Seems just like Tinder with a different name, and basically just makes dating even more confusing and annoying. According to this , Loveflutter BLUE is the “premium,” Twitter-verified version of the original, fake Tinder. All of this information makes me even more confused. Not a good look for a dating app, eh?

To POOL or not to POOL

With so many entertaining pieces of media dedicated to dating at large, it’s difficult to find some that are actually enjoyable. Which ones are worth talking about? Well, as POOL demonstrates, the answer is: “eh, not many.”

As it so happens, something else I am not so smitten with is my current employment. It is not stressful in any way. Quite the opposite actually. I have way too much time on my hands. Time that is often spent indulging in some entertainment like POOL.

So I spent a little over an hour the other day (clearly during work hours) watching the entire first season of POOL. That leads me to one of the positive qualities of this show. It’s short and you don’t need too much of an attention span to watch each 6 to 8 minute episode. They are basically short skits. I definitely give Mary Ashley and Chris Russell a ton of credit for their writing and acting. They also managed to get their creation distributed and available online. That’s a HUGE deal that even someone as low-on-the-totem-pole as myself understands. Huge props. Here’s the breakdown of the web series in my favorite brief and bulleted format:

Plot: It centers around three friends / roommates (two guys and a girl) who tell each other their dating stories.

What kept me watching:

– Excellent camera work and audio – like an expensively-produced show

– One of the male characters gives me an American Psycho vibe. I almost feel that he sees himself as Patrick Bateman. Disturbing, but the guy has good hair and a dominating personality.

– The more I watched, the more I cared about the characters. Even aforementioned American Psycho.

– Steph (played by Mary Ashley) finds a plot-related reason to show off her bare behind, more than once. That would be a win for anyone interested – as she does (generally speaking) have a very tight behind.

– Every time Steph has a date presented from a flashback, her two roommates are somehow in the scene as servers or employees of the date venue, which is pretty clever.

– Episode 5 features the best cat sweater of all time. While it is fashioned inside-out with no clear purpose, this might be the one solid reason you need to watch.

What caused me to lose interest and look at puppies on Instagram again:

– Most of the funny lines fall flat – I am not sure if it is because the dialogue is so ridiculous or there is no laugh-track. Maybe I still need encouragement to laugh at amusing parts of TV shows…so maybe that is just my own personal problem (one of the many).

– Why is everyone white? Not to bring up another racial argument, but the poor man’s Three’s Company inverse is not too realistic when you’re talking about New York City in this century.

– Way too many disgusting bodily function / human waste jokes. Like I didn’t have enough of those with every real-life roommate I’ve ever had.

Net-net: If you want some cheap laughs (and I do mean cheap – this stuff is FREE!), fill up an hour of your day with the entire first season.

If you made it through this entire post, you already have a bigger attention span than I do, so POOL will be easy to get through.

Tender Pressure of the Holiday Season

It’s been well over half of a year since I posted anything to this award-winning platform, and for that I feel like a let-down. I never meant to ghost any readers or quietly fade away. The lack of posts is due to the fact that I have run out of my own dating stories. Lame, I know. With that, I have been contemplating different directions to steer this ship o’ bitterness over the past several months and have yet to decide on anything.

I have, however, listened to multiple online dating stories from friends that would entertain the masses. Maybe in the coming year, I can relay them back to my readers in an organized way that everyone can enjoy.

In the meantime, I have found some really interesting posts on the interwebs that explain to the world just how connected the end of December holidays are with the act of people looking for companionship / attention. Let me know if any of these amazing works of genius have truly made a difference in your lives the way they have for mine (<sarcasm font).

Here we have some info from Men’s Fitness, geared toward the minds of those with peni…or so they think. As a non-man, my #1 takeaway from this post is that single men should go to any and all holiday parties they can find in order to meet women. “It’s not a great idea to try to hook up with someone at your own corporate holiday party,” the writer points out. No shit!? If someone honestly avoids getting drunk and hooking up with a co-worker because of this post, I want to speak to them. From what I remember of my 20s, it was full of experiences like this and while I remained single, no real harm was done.

It’s also written by a female, for males…so the suggestion to go to “tree lightings, pop-up ice skating rinks, and holiday festivals” makes a lot of delusional sense.

I’m not sure if any of the videos on this page actually work, but I really enjoy the grammatically incorrect and misspelled pushes from yet another female writer to stay physical in one’s relationship. She says to “Spend time together. Make out.. A touch on the check, shoulder, tush. With a tender pressure. When you kiss, let your foreheads touch afterwards, which is a tender moment. Get close.” I feel icky. Uggh.

For those who are single and not attending pop-up ice rinks or drunkenly hoping for a relationship with a co-worker, just keep in mind that this is the time of year that dating sites and apps go insane to get you hooked. I personally notice a lot more TV commercials and online ads for “finding someone special when it counts.” So if you feel like no one else is vying for your attention, at least Tinder and Match.com are. “Advertisers are doing whatever they can to gain visibility and organic installs.” In plain English, this means that these companies are experts at taking advantage of holiday loneliness.

Additionally…and most importantly: I also have the cutest dog on the face of the planet that I’ve already exploited in numerous places. Why not here?

axel-foley-rug-smiles

Wait…THIS is the Online Dating Ad That Offends People!?

I’ve been seeing flickers of this story in various social media posts today and I am not understanding the issue. Well, actually I do understand the issue but I think that those who have it are getting a bit…um…”extreme.”

bustle
Here’s the Match ad that is causing an uproar and the multiple commentaries around it:

http://www.bustle.com/articles/154435-matchs-ad-implying-freckles-are-imperfections-is-provoking-outrage

I would just like to say that I actually understand the point of it, I am not offended at all and I actually think it is kind of cute. I also really, really miss all the freckles I had as a kid. Freckles are not something to get overly PC about, people! And by the way, there are a lot of other problems in this world besides Match.com ads!

What about the creepy eHarmony guy who’s been invading my TV time for years? Or the fact that anyone who is not single believes that dating sites are solely for people looking for hook-ups? Or the infinite number of MARRIED MEN I’ve met on Tinder and Bumble?

The point: Times are tough, but a cute poster with freckles is not a cause for an uproar. Get over it.

The Man Who Feared Tomatoes

Sean traveled to Manhattan from the middle of the New Jersey suburbs to meet me for our first blind date at a little Italian restaurant that I had chosen. And I know I say this about so many other people, but Sean really and truly was (and maybe still is?) a good guy. It was definitely me who kept him away after our second date.

I’m certainly no foodie, but I like to pretend I know what is going on in the cooking world and am friends with people like this guy who have helped me hone my superficial interest in dining.

During our first date, I vaguely remember suggesting several different appetizers for us to share – including mozzarella cheese, stuffed mushrooms, and possibly something seafood-related. He looked at me like I was crazy for each suggestion, and I believe we ended up sharing an order of fried calamari. His entree was a fairly simple pasta dish and he ate it very slowly. As he examined every morsel that went into his mouth, I started to ask him about food that he actually enjoys. I mentioned different types of cuisines to see if he would have any sort of positive reaction:

Me: Mexican? Tacos? Burritos?

Sean: (tongue sticks out, appalled) Oh man – definitely not.

Me: Any type of seafood, besides calamari?

Sean: Ew, gross!

Me: Burgers?

Sean: Yeah, that’s what I eat pretty much every day. But nothing on them.

Me: Not even condiments? Ketchup?

Sean: ABSOLUTELY NO KETCHUP – I hate it. And nothing else.

Me: So just a plain burger on a bun…do you like cheese?

Sean: Nope

Sean likes plain burgers, plain pasta and possibly some calamari (although I probably devoured that by myself).

At some point, he mentioned that he was a very simple “meat and potatoes kind of guy” so when he asked to see me again in Manhattan, I suggested Keens – a very well-known steakhouse that I had wanted to try for a long time. He seemed okay with Keens. He wasn’t over-the-moon like I was to be anywhere that was considered a classic. Yet he seemed content enough to order a steak. Like any nice meal, his steak had some random vegetables on it and I pointed out that the cherry tomatoes looked good. At that point, I think he was really trying to make me happy. He put the tiny tomato in his mouth and immediately spit it out. He was mortified. Flushed and tearing, shaking his head and sticking his tongue out, he glanced at me and I’m pretty sure I saw a little contempt in his eyes. I guess he wasn’t ready for a tomato.

Once I licked my plate clean of whatever I had been gratefully served, we exited the restaurant. Sean texted me later that night to let me know he had made it home (to the burbs) safely. I thanked him for a lovely time, and he said, “Yeah, I enjoyed it. But you made me eat a tomato.” It was like I committed murder and it was confusing to actually experience some guilt about something so ridiculously insignificant.

I have no idea why Sean asked me to hang out again. I had to turn him down. I love food too much for that sort of anxiety and trepidation to be repeated.

Misspellings, Maintenance Man and Mediocre Music

Have you heard of a dating app called “Once”? Well I was innocently listening to one of my NON-ad-free Pandora stations one day and it was advertised as the latest tool in online dating that involves a “custom matchmaker” and unique matches for each user on a daily basis. It seems that my counterpart – “Smitten” – likes to tout it. But she probably got paid for that.

I should have known that it wasn’t exactly a match after every single text message that Jason* sent my way had at least one horrible misspelling in it.

I should have also known that it wasn’t going to work out when I was telling him about my planned move to a new apartment. While he did live in the suburbs of New York City, I assumed he had a grasp on how human beings function. In fact, he did not. And both of these quotes came from him via text (and he wasn’t being sarcastic):

–“Wait, there’s a Home Depot in Manhattan?!? Why?”

–“I thought everyone that lived in the city had their own maintenance man.”

I didn’t know how to respond to each of those items without asking him if he was being serious several times. I also doubt that this guy ever left his house to go anywhere beside his local bowling alley or to find new items to shred with his Veggetti (both of which he texted about in misspelled words daily)

veggetti

But okay – he was attentive and was keeping our correspondence going so I continued to keep in touch. We planned to meet in the “big city” and I even continued to talk to him when he suggested we meet in the middle of Times Square. Yeah – I like torturing myself I guess.

Thankfully, we met for lunch at a place not located in Times Square and he spoke in person better than he texted, but of course, he didn’t really resemble the fit guy in his photos. I felt zero chemistry as we chatted over our meals and any semblance of a bond with Jason stopped short when Pandora (the music app mentioned above) came up. I innocently asked him who his favorite singer / band is.

“Shania Twain. Well…followed closely by Faith Hill.”

I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was talking to a sassy 55 year old female in 1994.

Well, that wasn’t my response but I did snort and then ask him who he really listened to. He told me how many times he had seen each of them in concert, how much of their careers he had followed, Shania’s big “comeback”…and so forth. In pure Notsosmitten style, he was also extremely defensive of each singer and their extraordinary talents.

Everything following that topic was a blur, and when we parted ways, I went to Home Depot.

Shania-Twain-Faith-Hill-were-all-smiles

* Not his real name mainly because I can’t remember his real name and I’m kind of proud of that.