I submitted this to Popsugar over a year ago and they didn’t publish it, so I might as well not let it go to waste. Read below to see my then and still struggle with the dating apps 🙃
(I actually have two others that haven’t been published, I am on a good streak with them… 0 published and 3 declined but who is counting? WE WILL NOT GIVE UP! But I will post the other two on here as well)
PS – I hope the title of this gets “Take a Chance on Me” by ABBA stuck in your head for three days. That is my gift to you if you get nothing else from this story. Okay now read:
Perhaps I have run out of eligible men that I already know that I would consider dating.
Take a Chance On Me, In Person – 10/30/18
I have had to come to a kind of surprising and possibly scary realization that never really mattered much until recently, where I have found myself 28 and single. The realization: I have never been on a real date. Now let me explain what I mean when I use the term “real date”. I have never been on a date with a guy that I did not previously know or was not already talking to. For example, I was in three long term relationships back to back. The first was a four and half year relationship which started in high school and ended in the middle of college. Our first date was on Valentine’s Day. He surprised me when I got off work and told me what restaurant we were going to, but that I had to drive because he was fifteen and did not have a license yet. It was romantic and innocent in the typical high school date fashion. My second long term boyfriend lasted around two years. Although I was in college, we knew each other from high school and used to help each other sneak into Spanish II late and undetected. Our first date was at Disneyland. My third and most recent long term relationship lasted just shy of four years. We were both two years out of college but kind of knew each other in college. Our first date was at Lazy Dog after weeks of texting. See the trend here?
I now find myself single and with no prospects. Perhaps I have run out of eligible men that I already know that I would consider dating. That leaves me with the great unknown dating world and to be honest, it terrifies me. I have so many questions and nerves. Where do you start? Where is a good place to meet good guys? How do you even talk to guys once you pry them out of their hiding spots? How do you know if they are psychos or not? My fears are never ending. I have noticed a pattern though. I have been single for 9 months now, so friends are starting to get curious if I am dating or ready to date yet. Almost every single one of them have asked, “Are you on the dating apps?” You know, all the free ones like Tinder, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, Coffee Meets Bagel, the list goes on and on. Even acquaintances and strangers, that is the first thing they ask when I say I am not seeing anyone. I immediately tell them, “No I am not online dating and I do not want to be part of that,” but now I am the curious one. Not curious to be on the apps, but whether or not the dating apps are the new norm for dating in today’s world?
I am starting to question if I have missed the entire era of good old fashion dating where you meet someone in person, feel a spark or some sort of interest, and the guy asks you out to dinner or drinks. Is this something that will only ever be remembered in movies and in tales of our parents telling us how it used to be in their day before evil technology took over the world? I have this burning urge to resist this new way, yet I am doing nothing to prove myself right. I keep telling myself that I want to give myself a chance on finding a date on my own before resulting to the dating apps. It is almost as if I have convinced myself that the apps are for giving up. They seem like the easy way out, letting them all come to you and weeding through the bad one liners.
What gets me the most confused is that in my head I have built up how against the dating apps I am, yet everyone who asks me if I am on them asks so with such normalcy. I cannot help but wonder if this is just what you do now. Not one friend or stranger that has asked me has done so with sarcastic tones or judgment in their voices. They have asked out of pure curiosity. I am the one pre-judging myself for even uttering or thinking the word “Tinder”. Yet again, I am not going out to try and find a date “the good old fashion way”. Instead I talk about it, make it sound like it could be fun, continue to dis the dating apps, and continue to not go out and meet people. At this rate I am going to die alone from sheer stubbornness all because I do not want to say I met my man online.
I am at a standstill, caught between hypocrisy and acceptance. Is there a right and wrong about the “correct” way to date, or is it more a battle of which is more effective rather than which is right? I know the pros to online dating, like not having enough time to “get out there” calls to me with all of my being, because who has the time to get ready and cast a line out there in anticipation that a good and (hopefully) attractive guy takes the bait? But as soon as I have a hint of wonder to download one of the apps, I think how much of a hypocrite I am being after badmouthing the act. I have come to the conclusion, to settle my mind on both sides, that I need to go out and give it a go at least once, evaluate the experience, and decide from there if I can handle it again, or if I want to take advantage of the apps as a tool and not a defeat. If this is the new norm, and everyone I talk to thinks it is normal to go on the apps, then maybe I am the one who is not normal and needs to get with the times.