Tales of the Tinder: “Tinderella” and Paranoia

Being a modern lady, I believe that it is my duty to try out the latest platform for singles to meet. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Tinder is an app that connects your Facebook “About Me” section along with your Facebook photos to create a geo-tagged profile page for you. Once a profile is created, you can search for people by gender, age and distance from you. Two people will not be able to communicate with each other until they both choose to like each other or “swipe right” on each other’s profiles. More questions? Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure I will cover every detail at some point.

A few notes on Tinder for the paranoid / non-single / “happily married”:

– Um, no Facebook doesn’t tell everyone that you’re a loser searching online for dates

– It’s really not that interesting – and works pretty much like every other online dating site – meaning you still have to filter out the crazies. Yet, for some reason – everyone I know is dying to check it out like it’s a new toy that they want to play with – how did that happen?

– In my opinion, it is solely based on photos, and I’m okay with that. Those who are on it and complain about that factor should use another site or app. The people who argue against the “superficial” nature of Tinder are most likely the same people who say they “hate talking about themselves” in their written profiles and direct users to “just ask if you want to know anything else” on other sites.

– It is for people who are looking to hook up or date! If you have a profile on there, don’t tell me you are just “peeking around.” More on those winners in a bit..

This eye-opening video was sent to me by a co-worker who claimed that, as a blogger that writes about dating, it is my duty to view, share and emphasize the fact that, in general, like EVERY OTHER ONLINE DATING SITE, men certainly do view Tinder differently than women:

Like I said: filter out the crazies. More to come!

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My Miniature South African and his Love of Anything Cultural

Oh Gavin, you were absolutely perfect on paper…or on my computer screen, as it were.

“Why haven’t I written to you sooner?” was the first sentence of my response to the gallant message that Gavin, the South African psychologist (yes, you read that right) penned for me via JDate.

He was charming, educated and looked really handsome in his photos. Gavin seemed to be a dream come true. But pssh, I’ve dealt with that one before. I wasn’t going to get ahead of myself. Well…besides imagining how cute our half South African babies would be and all of the international traveling our whole future family would be doing…

He chose a cute wine bar that is less than a 5 minute walk from my office. If I remember correctly, Gavin was already at a table when I got there. First detail I noted was that he definitely wasn’t as handsome and was definitely a few inches shorter than he appeared to be in his profile photos. But he wasn’t necessarily bad looking, had that awesome South African accent…and a J-O-B! It was a bit intimidating that he worked to evaluate and treat inmates with psychological and mental care at a very well-known prison in the tri-state area. But hey – we all have to make a buck.

So, while he wasn’t as physically attractive as I thought, he did have a brain that he actually used in dialogue. It was the beginning of September when we had our date and the upcoming Jewish holidays were brought up (by him). I’m pretty sure he asked me how I would be celebrating the Jewish New Year. I think that is the case because when I replied that I will be celebrating with some of the usual family members, then asked what his plans were, his reply was, “We will Tashlich and do the Selichot with our Machzor. It should be a joyous yontif.”

So I just sipped my wine. Wow, I thought, this guy is really Jewish. He just spoke in mostly Yiddish and I have no idea what he said.

We had also ordered a selection of cheeses at the bar, and as with literally any cheese product I eat, all of them were delicious. I made a comment about how tasty the cheese was and Gavin’s reply was, “Oh I know – I love this epoisses. It tastes like it’s by Isigny Sainte Mere – but I’m not sure, are you? I have another type of this at home. I keep it with my challerhocker in the fromage decoupage.”

Crickets.

gavin

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/920325

Once again, I had no reply. Who the heck knows the names of all of the fancy cheeses and has them in their home? I have always been a “curd nerd,” thinking that any cheese type will do. Packaged American cheese slices? Delish! String cheese? Great for breakfast. Basically, anything. But this fancy talk was way over my [cheese] head.

I think at some point, Gavin decided that he couldn’t accept my ignorance because our parting was final and I never heard from him again. He might have left his psychologist gig (which – by the way – would have been really interesting to learn about – had he brought it up!) and became a cheese instructor for the Yiddish…Who knows.

Gay ga zinta hate.

I’m no Annie, but you’re no Tony Micelli: My Very First Online Blind Date

Anyone remember when there were no profile pictures available on dating sites, and that was kind of okay, because the Interwebs and everything it could possibly offer was very new? During that infancy, I went on one blind date with someone I met in some sort of single chat room…or something. I honestly don’t remember how we started talking, but we did and it was a great learning experience, so stop judging me.

Brian was a very new officer for the NYPD and I believe he had just graduated from the academy within the same year that we met. We spoke on the phone and decided to meet near my temp job at the time and go to the movies. ‘Cause…you know…a dark movie theater is a great place to get to know a stranger.

I remember getting out of work and being extremely attentive to every guy with brown hair and eyes who looked to be in my age range. I didn’t really know what Brian looked like other than hair and eye color, and that he was “built.” I must’ve looked really intense as I walked down the cold streets of the city toward our meeting spot, because a pretty attractive guy walked up to me smiling and I said, “Brian?” and he responded, “Nope.” WEIRD – was I imagining him walking up to me or was he just nuts? “Okay, sorry,” I sputtered awkwardly, as I kept walking.

I arrived at the front of the movie theater and there he was. George Costanza. He certainly had brown eyes and hair, but I had never seen someone who looked more like Jason Alexander to date. He was a little shorter, with bigger man-boobs. And he was definitely fit but the bulging chest muscles (aforementioned “man-boobs” were made of muscle) didn’t match up with anything else on his body. And I’m sorry but I’ve never found George to be attractive. With permanently crinkled eyes behind round glasses and a slight separation of his thin pasty lips, he confirmed that he was, indeed, Brian. Great.

After getting tickets for our movie, we went to a café to pass some time before it started. I specifically remember Brian telling me that since I told him my hair was very curly and reddish-brown, he thought I would resemble orphan Annie. He was disappointed that I didn’t resemble her, and he made that very clear. I apologized for not having short cheddar cheese-colored curls and causing such disillusionment, which didn’t seem to make either of us any more comfortable.

aileen-quinn-little-orphan-annie

Brian’s dream date. How creepy.

Photo Credit: http://i1.wp.com/pgoaamericanprofile2.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/aileen-quinn-little-orphan-annie.jpg

We sat at the café, and thumbs up to Brian, who was bitter about my lack of banana curls, yet still attempted to make conversation. Each time he did this, his thin lips separated with a smacking sound and foam developed on the corners of his mouth. If that detail doesn’t turn you on, think about a body builder alternating his pec twitching to show off a unique physique. I specifically remember Tony Danza (aka: Tony Micelli) doing this on “Who’s the Boss” once in a while. To summarize, I was on my first ever online blind date and he looked like George Costanza enduring a mild seizure. I believe he thought he looked like a buff Italian guy like Tony Micelli who had the right to judge my appearance…but I’m only speculating.

A little while later, Brian and I sat in the movie theater and made some more small talk. It was during this time that Brian confessed that some of his buddies at the (police) academy mentioned that he somewhat resembles George Costanza.

No shit. I didn’t think you “resembled” him. I thought you literally were him.

But I didn’t say that. I feigned surprise and giggled a little bit and we moved forward.

Beyond the fact that I spent my very first online blind date with a Seinfeld caricature with a freakishly big chest and mouth foam, I have to also say that Patch Adams might be one of the worst movies of all time.

So it was a success all around.

Brian (posing with Judith Light):

micelli and costanza mix

Photo Credits: http://www.ivillage.com/hottest-tv-dads/1-a-531543; http://replygif.net/thumbnail/243.gif

An Informative and Stimulating Guest Post: Cat Man Has Struck

Rejoice! I’m thrilled that one of my amazing friends has agreed to share one of her very own not-so-smitten dating stories and has allowed me to publish it here. While Beth lives across the country from me, her tale proves that crazy blind dates can occur anywhere, at any time:

The cool springtime air brushed against my face as I walked towards one of my favorite cafés in Minneapolis. He stood outside the door, looking around in anticipation of my arrival. He hadn’t seen me yet. We had connected through an online dating service and this wasn’t my first time meeting someone that way.

I typically did these first meetings during the day; and I always had plans immediately following, that would limit the amount of time we spent together straight away. Sound crazy? Trust me, it’s not.

He was tall, kind of cute and smiled big when he saw me stroll up. We said our hellos and he opened the door for me as we headed inside. So far, so good.

We tucked ourselves into a booth and made small talk as we studied the menu. He was soft spoken and seemed interested in what I had to say. As we ate, we learned we had some common ground. Cycling, photography, camping.

I wasn’t immediately attracted to him in an I-want-to-rip-your-clothes-off kind of way, but he was cute and nice. I know physical attraction can develop as you get to know someone, so I was willing to see him again.

He asked me out again a couple of days later and we met up at an art museum. Ten minutes into meandering around the galleries, things kept getting more and more uncomfortable. He didn’t get my sense of humor and I certainly didn’t get his. Conversation was forced and awkward.

As I was quietly figuring out my exit plan, we turned into another room and there was a photograph of a cat on display. He smiled and exclaimed how cute it was. I bit my tongue, hiding my irrational fear of felines. There was no point in revealing that anymore.
beth-cat-crop Proof of Beth’s comfort level with cats.

“I bought coloring books for my cats,” he continued to tell me. Did I hear him correctly? I was hesitant to ask. Coloring books for his… okay.

“Oh… they color?” was all I could think to say. For the next twenty minutes he talked about the psychology of cats and their need for creative stimulation and I had visions of what future dates with him might look like. Would he make me dress up like a cat? Would HE dress up as the cat? Then what would I be? A ball of yarn? For the love of all things, I didn’t want to find out. He had no clue that I was leading us back towards the lobby while pretending to look at art along the way.

“So, want to grab a bite?” he asked as we stood in the busy atrium. I’m either really good at hiding my disinterest or he was just that clueless. There was a large crowd gathering for an event at the museum and I was scanning the room for the door that led to the parking garage.

“Can I help you?” said a woman about my age. She smiled and the look in her eye told me she knew exactly the situation I was in.

“Parking garage?” I asked her quietly, my date totally oblivious to the exchange I was having with this woman. She winked and nodded her head in the direction of the door.

“Thank you,” I said softly, touching her arm and admiring her ink. She smiled and went on her way. I told the cat-man that I had a lot of work to do and needed to call it a night. We walked out to our cars, embraced in an awkward hug and I quickly got the hell out of there.

cat-man A portrait of Beth’s date from the museum…at least in her mind. http://www.halloweencostumes.com

I drove home, cautiously watching my tail.

Pun intended.

I hope that this dude has discovered kittywigs.com. It might be the perfect source of entertainment and comfort for him. And what’s up with the
cat-obsessed men out there? For more thoughts, stories and inspiration from Beth, you can visit her fantastic blog here: theawkwarddancer.com

Tales of the Regular

It was somewhat of a challenge to start having regular exchanges with Jay via okcupid.com. After we had introduced ourselves, there was maybe one more message between the two of us and then I didn’t hear back from him for about two months. When I had assumed that he had simply moved on to brighter pastures, he explained that he was having some health issues and apologized for disappearing. He seemed like a good guy with a solid personality and sense of humor. I liked his attractive face and shaved head in all of his well-displayed photos. At the time, he lived very close to where my apartment was, and actually had a good job and a car, which I liked as well.

So the somewhat flirtatious banter started again, and then carried over into actual phone calls. It was during our first phone conversation that I learned that Jay was in the beginning stages of a fairly serious health condition. I won’t get into specifics, but it is an illness that chooses its own timetable, and definitely one that can mess with someone’s emotional well-being. While he attempted to play down the effects it had had on his life thus far, I could tell that he was questioning a lot of aspects of his future. But he was online looking for a date and possibly a relationship, right? I decided to be the dynamic individual I had always suspected myself to be and give it a shot with someone who seemed like a great person. Being a relentless dreamer, I looked into my future with Jay and imagined myself the noble wife of an ill but admirable man, wheeling him around and constantly trying to keep him comfortable while, showing a brave face to the rest of the world. I’m a hero, obviously.

There have been very few first dates where the guy has picked me up from my residence in an actual vehicle that they own (imagine that!), but Jay was one of them. So I got door-to-door service for the time and resources used on this date. That’s good considering how it went.

Strike 1: Rude, secret smoker. He said on his profile that he didn’t smoke cigarettes but his car reeked of smoke from the second I opened the door. I smoked regularly for a number of years and probably wouldn’t have judged him if he was open about being a smoker from the beginning. The pack that nearly flew out of his glove box didn’t help his cause too much either. He also complained about “not being able to get around the area” or “get an easy parking spot.” He grew up and had been living about 20 minutes away from where we were at the time for his entire life. Within the first 5 minutes in his car, I found him to be a rude liar who shouldn’t have volunteered to drive. So things were going well.

amazing-race-russian-taxi-guy

An image of Jay shortly before (and after) our date.
Source: http://www.tvgasm.com/home/amazing-race-recap-rushin-russians.html/2

Strike 2: HOLY CRAP this guy is unapologetically racist. After grumbling about not being able to find his way around anywhere, and the lack of parking spaces, we got to the restaurant (within minutes) and he parked across the street (easy peasy). We saw an older Latino man in chef whites limping slowly across the street, clearly trying to do it quickly. It was obvious that the man worked at the restaurant he had just walked out of and I immediately felt bad for him. Jay said a rude remark about the guy’s limp.

When we were sitting inside the restaurant a few minutes later, Jay brought up the guy’s limp again, laughing. I looked at him with disgust, and asked him why the Mexican guy who works in a kitchen is amusing.

He said “Oh, I thought he was regular.”

Come again? “What’s regular?” I asked. I honestly had no idea what he was talking about. Did this dude not have appropriate bowel movements? Was he not a repetitive part of Jay’s life?

“You know,” he says, then puts his fingers in air quotes, “Caucasian.”

What the hell the guy’s race had to do with his occupation, his ethnicity or the reason it was funny that he had a limp – I have no idea. But I was completely baffled and started to think I was on a date with possibly one of the most ignorant people on the planet.

all-things-regular-x-new-era-59fifty-fitted-baseball-cap_1

Source: http://www.strictlyfitteds.com/blog/2011/02/regularolty-x-new-era%E3%80%8Call-things-regular%E3%80%8D59fifty-fitted-cap-2

And…

Strike 3: He said this: “Any girl that goes on an online dating site is looking to get laid or get married.”

How’s that for class?

Jay offered other gems such as his new pot-smoking strategies at the apartment he just moved into. He also stated that at the time of our date, he actually did not have a job, had no idea if he would ever work again and had no plans to figure out how to go about doing anything. Again, he had some health issues and was understandably shaken, but he had described a real job on his profile, so there was something else he had covered up. He obviously needed more time to work on his marijuana routine, but one would think a paycheck would be required for that sort of thing…

Now I don’t want you to faint from surprise, but I was thinking that this definitely wasn’t the guy for me.

After a wondrous dinner and ride back to my home, I got out of his smokestack – – um — car and quickly said thank you and goodbye. If I hurried inside, I would at least catch the second half of 20/20.

Climbing a Pyramid Scheme

My not-so-extensive romance with Joe began when I saw his very handsome images and grammatically correct descriptions offered in his profile on okcupid. He was full of energy and actually creative in choosing our first date, after we had spoken a few times on the phone. Joe asked me if I ever went indoor rock-climbing. Since I hadn’t, but I always wanted to try it, I agreed and got really excited to meet him at Chelsea Piers so I can seduce him with my burly arm strength.

bicep

Self-portrait
(http://www.musclehack.com/build-big-biceps-with-this-workout/)

Pre-date online searching for Joe helped me to discover that we had a mutual friend. It turns out that he went to high school with someone I work with. I am pretty close to her and inquired about him. She had nothing but good things to say about him. If a real-life person vouches for someone you meet online, the experience not only gets more realistic, but more exciting as well.

Joe had mentioned to me in possibly our second or third conversation that he planned on making his first million dollars by the time he hit 40 years old. He had worked in a few different industries as far as I can recall, and at the time I met him, he was managing a successful restaurant on Long Island. I liked the idea that he had aspirations to make a lot of money and he had about 4 years to become a millionaire – by his calculations. I didn’t know exactly how he planned to start making that large amount of income but figured that would be a good discussion topic when we met in person.

Before we met, Joe called me one evening while he was “on his way home from work.” Knowing his basic restaurant schedule, I knew that it was one of his days off, so I inquired about what “work” he was referring to. Joe then explained that he has an additional job besides the restaurant, where he works with “consumers” in different communities to “help them learn how to shop online.” So he was basically driving from someone’s house in Queens, where he had worked with a group of people to help them understand how retail websites work. That sounds weird, vague and possibly untrue, right? Uh huh. I thought so too and kept asking more questions – thinking that if there was a job where one can teach others how to shop online, I would definitely be a prime candidate. His answers became more elusive, and I eventually dropped the subject. I figured that it was a great thing that he even had one job. Pushing himself to do another? Even better.

The day we met was easily the hottest day of the summer, and from what I remember, one of the hottest days of my life. By the time I made it from the train station to our meeting spot, I wasn’t feeling very fresh or attractive. We spotted each other, and Joe was really handsome in person – even better than his profile – go figure! He was tall and pretty muscular, with very dark hair and blue eyes. I tried to pretend that I wasn’t covered from head to toe with a sweaty film when we greeted one another in the air-conditioned complex. We signed up for our rock-climbing lesson and headed straight to the bar to pass some time.

We had plenty to chat about and got along great. We even exchanged some war stories of past online dating horrors. Then it was time to start climbing. I changed from my soggy work clothes into much more casual, albeit dryer gym clothes for the activity. Once our trainer was assigned, and we had the sexy climbing accessories on, I got really excited and was successful in maybe my first and second round of climbs. After that, my arms were killing me and I essentially did a lot of watching and cheering. I also had a great time checking out some other peoples’ climbing gear and putting chalk on my hands continuously…for no real reason at all.

The most entertaining portion of climbing? By far, it was the way that Joe’s harness fit him. After witnessing this splendor first hand, I still find it fascinating that people don’t make fun of rock climbing harnesses and the way they fit men every second they possibly can. Here’s the closest image that I was able to find to give you an idea of what I was looking at for an hour:

rock climbing package

Credit for photo: http://www.assholeclimbers.com/2012/02/de-emphasizing-your-junk-and-other.html

So I got to stare and create non-stop penis-harness jokes internally and Joe thought he looked manly and controlled while getting an unusual work-out. It was honestly a win-win. And then we went for sushi. Besides the fact that I did not want to change back into my sweaty work clothes and actually went into a restaurant with a first date in gym pants and a sports bra (shiver), the conversation at dinner is when the date may have gone downhill.

I don’t know how dental work become our topic of focus, but Joe ended up showing me his bottom teeth very close-up and telling me how he was getting a full set of dental implants within the year. Unusual to discuss when you first meet someone, but I still thought he was hot. I then asked him how he would be able to become a millionaire when he would be spending some serious cash on a new set of teeth. It was at this point that I was given a speech about the wonder that is Amway. According to Joe, they are the most profitable, successful, magical company on the planet. Without even mentioning the name of the company, and basically speaking about it like it was a cross between a money tree and the mafia, Joe said that “teaching people how to shop” was the key to his millionaire success. And by the way, that success is guaranteed.

Backing up a bit, I have to say that at this point I had not learned too much about Amway but am well aware that it is essentially a national pyramid scheme that brain-washes people into thinking they are individual retail giants when they are simply forcing their friends and families to purchase toilet paper in bulk. Participation requires putting one’s own money into the company as an “investment” that supposedly increases exponentially once you do the work to get it. There are giant books and instructional materials dedicated to their “sales program” and for those who are comfortable in earning an honest dollar, Amway doesn’t tend to be the best way to fill up one’s bank account.

AmwayCassette

A treasured cassette tape created by Amway. Source: http://runawayleg.com/amway-cassette/

So I questioned Joe a few times. I wanted to learn, but his answers were unclear, if not suspect as far as how businesses are run. Up until that topic came up, we were getting along well and I was pretty comfortable around him. Amway turned him into a cult member with dollar signs in his eyes in pure defensive mode. But you know what? I still thought he was attractive and I definitely wanted to see him again.

I never heard from or saw Joe again. After some prying, I was told by our mutual friend that I had insulted “what he did for a living.” Let this be a lesson to anyone reading this: if you want to date someone who plans on being part of a retail cult, never question their methods. You will obviously be seen as the crazy one.

So while Joe continues to “teach” others about “retail business,” I have become more comfortable with the fact that he didn’t like me. Cults and pyramid schemes have never really been my thing.

There’s Always Thumbelina

I was checking out a family friend’s Facebook photos one day and saw one with her and a good-looking guy smiling with their dogs. I knew she had been online dating for a bit so I inquired as to whether the guy in the photo was a new beau. Her eyes lit up. She said, “No, but I did meet him on J-Date! We have no chemistry, but we’ve become friends – you should go out with him!” A cute guy with a good job, who has and loves dogs? The next step was obviously to make the aforementioned family friend swear to me that nothing was overtly wrong with him. Once that was complete, we were in business.

His name was Adam and he gave me a call a few days later. He was great – very personable, and asked what I would like to eat on our upcoming dinner date. We chose a sushi restaurant in an area we could both get to fairly easily.

I was pretty nervous on my way to meet Adam in person. Rather than simply reading about and viewing some two-dimensional images, I had a real-life person vouching for him. I got all spruced up in jeans and a cute pair of boots with a small wedge heel on them. When asked, one of my roommates at the time that my appearance was acceptable, so I left, on my way to meet Adam.

We planned to meet in front of the restaurant which happened to be on the corner of two streets. From several feet away, I saw Adam’s cute face as he waited for me. Yet that cute face was attached to the body of a 10 year old boy. The (now familiar) alarms starting going off in my head, telling me that this guy was very VERY short but all I could do was smile as he turned in my direction and greet him once we were standing in front of one another. I consider myself a (relatively) very short person, which is why it was important to tell you what footwear I was wearing at the time. I specifically recall having to bend down to give Adam a hug. And from that point on, I was traumatized, but had to pretend that everything was fine (again).

Once we sat down, and I realized that Adam somehow didn’t require a highchair, we got along great. Well, that was until I ordered a glass of sake and he stuck with water. “Oh, you don’t drink alcohol?” I asked. He explained that he doesn’t really enjoy drinking, and never has. Obviously, I was wondering how that’s even possible internally, but on the outside, I kept the questions going. I asked if he goes out at all, to socialize, watch games, be around people – you know, perform recreational human activity as I see it – in some way. He said he does once in a while, but doesn’t really enjoy being at bars at all. He elaborated (if you want to call it that) by saying:

“Well I do go to them and I would go with you for a bit. But don’t worry I would be good once we got home.”

danglingfeet-bw

Excuse me? I didn’t understand what the hell he was talking about. He was a smart guy with a logical head on his shoulders until this subject came up. I was pretty sure he was telling me would be a great sex partner after going to a bar and not drinking – and was proud of that fact. All I could think of was munchkin foreplay and I got really disturbed.

I don’t think we hit another awkward topic during dinner after that, and Adam was nice enough to drive me home from the restaurant. Even with an SUV, he didn’t need pedal extensions. I know…I was surprised too.
And that was pretty much it. He was short and a little creepy even as a very sober little person, so I just wasn’t into him.

And I’m almost positive that that is the exact reason why he was very interested in me. I received a voicemail from him a day or two later that specifically said, “give me a call back when you get a chance, or I will call you later.” So I figured that since he said he would possibly call me again, I didn’t need to call him back. I thought that was logical.

Well, I never heard from Adam again but wow – my family friend was not very happy with me. During the next family get-together when I saw her, she demanded to know why I didn’t call him back. I explained my reasoning, and also expressed that I wasn’t really into him.

Her response (exclaimed not only in front of my mother and brother, but her parents and everyone’s small kids):

“YOU KNOW — NOT EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS ABOUT GETTING DRUNK AND SCREWING!!”

No?

Well, someone should have told Adam the second part – and maybe lowered her voice during this absurd exclamation around everyone’s parents. I ended up seeing Adam at the family friend’s wedding about a year later. Yes, he did ignore me, no – he certainly didn’t have a drink… and yes, his date was well over a foot taller than him. Good (albeit, slimy) job Thumbelina!

thumbelina