Ugly Truths About Modern Dating

This article, 18 Ugly Truths About Modern Dating That You Have To Deal With, recently popped up in my facebook newsfeed. Curious, I clicked on over, and was super bummed out about the world by the end of the article. Because a lot of it is painfully true. Or used to be.

1. The person who cares less has all the power. Nobody wants to be the one who’s more interested. Oy – starting off with a hard punch to the gut. This one really bothered me because I used to put up with it. To an excruciatingly painful degree. On more than one occasion. And if I’m being completely honest, this exact point had me pretty messed up for a really, really long time. There is one particular guy out there who I have been powerless around since I was 16. Even after we stopped being a part of each others lives, years ago, his memory continued to have a lot of power over me. Even though I can confidently say that I’m completely uninterested in any romantic relationship with him, I can’t confidently say that if he were to knock on my door tomorrow he would no longer have any power. I hope that would be true, but I just don’t know. And that scares me.

This post is starting out in a really heavy, dark place. Here, look at this adorable gif of Adam Levine holding a puppy:

celebrities-with-puppies-adam-levine

Source: sheknows.com

I don’t know about you, but that link of 20 Adam Levine gifs just made me feel a whole lot better. Sorry/not sorry S, I know you think he’s gross, but you’re DEAD. WRONG. He is every kind of delicious. 

Back to the super depressing article about how much dating sucks. As much as I let the above happen in the past, I am extremely cognizant of not letting it happen again. Because that shit was fucked. up. Do I expect everyone I date to be exactly the same amount of interested as I am, at all times? No. That’s not reality. There will be times when I’m more into a guy than he is into me, and vice versa. And it’s easier said than done, definitely, but that imbalance doesn’t have to equal power. I’m not going to wait around too long for him to figure out how awesome I am. It’ll suck and sting if he doesn’t reach that conclusion, yes. But I know how it’ll turn out if I keep waiting for it to happen. It gets uglier and more painful the longer it drags out.

2. Because we want to show how cavalier and blasé we can be to the other person, little psychological games like ‘Intentionally Take Hours Or Days To Text Back’ will happen. They aren’t fun. Yeah no, I just don’t have time for this shit anymore. We live in a world where people are always in close proximity to their phone. There are lots of perfectly legitimate reasons why someone might not respond immediately. But if I notice that it’s starting to become a thing that it takes you eons to respond to my texts, then I’m done. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not above raising the threat level to orange and scrambling some jets when he doesn’t respond within a few hours (see #10). But I’m also not above cutting him loose after he does it a few times and I get the impression it’s just to play the game. I am better than that.

3. A person being carefree because they have zero interest in you looks exactly like a person being carefree because they think you’re amazing & are making a conscious effort to play it cool. Good luck deciphering between the two. PREACH.

4. Making phone calls is a dying art. Chances are, most of your relationship’s communication will happen via text, which is the most detached, impersonal form of interaction. Get familiar with those emoticon options. I’m not crying any rivers about this one. I hate talking on the phone with anyone other than my immediate family and my close friends. And even beyond that personal dislike of phone calls, texting is more convenient. Want to make some plans? Want to let someone know you’re thinking about them without being that asshole talking loudly on their phone on the T? Want to relay a funny anecdote? Texting is great for all of that! Can texting be detached and impersonal? Yep. But it can also be a great way to stay in contact with your significant other throughout the day. Just don’t get familiar with emoticons. They suck.

5. Set plans are dead. People have options and up-to-the-minute updates on their friends (or other potential romantic interests) whereabouts thanks to texts & social media. If you aren’t the top priority, your invitation to spend time will be given a “Maybe” or “I’ll let you know” and the deciding factor(s) will be if that person has offers more fun/interesting than you on the table. Another one that I used to put up with. But I’ll be damned if I put up with this anymore. It’s taken me longer than I care for it to have, but I’m finally pretty happy and secure about who I am. And while I may be a lunatic, I’m also a pretty great person. If you don’t want to commit to plans with me because something/one better might come along, that’s fine and that’s your right. But I’m not going to keep trying to make plans with you. Because there are people out there who do want to spend time with me.

6. Someone who hurt you isn’t automatically going to have bad karma. At least not in the immediate future. I know it only seems fair, but sometimes people cheat and betray and move on happily while the person they left is in shambles. Life is a bitch, yes, but I don’t really think this is a truth about modern dating only. This has actually always been true.

7. The only difference between your actions being romantic and creepy is how attractive the other person finds you. That’s it, that’s all. I mean, this is more true than I care to admit. Mostly because I’ve been the creepster more than often than not.

8. “Let’s chill” & “Wanna hang out?” are vague phrases that likely mean “let’s hookup” — and while you probably hate receiving them, they’re the common way to invite someone to spend time these days, and appear to be here to stay. First of all, if any guy ever says to me “Let’s chill,” chances are pretty good he lives Allston/Brighton, has street signs decorating the wall over his enormous oversized leather couch, and reminisces about his frat days (which were only 2 years ago). And my answer will be, “thanks but no thanks.” Though it is true that this kind of informal invite to “hang out” is the norm these days. But is that really the worst thing? It’s not eloquent, but they are still asking to spend time with you.

9. Some people just want to hookup and if you’re seeking more than sex, they won’t tell you that they’re the wrong person for you. At least, not until after they score your prize. While human decency is ideal, honesty isn’t mandatory. Yeah, this is totally true. And it’s a real bummer.

10. The text message you sent went through. If they didn’t respond, it wasn’t because of malfunctioning phone carrier services. True or false: a couple months ago I worked myself into a frenzy about a drunk text I sent late one night. At 7:19 a.m. (I wake up at the crack of dawn after a night of drinking, it’s the worst), I sent S a text that read “Last night was paved with bad decisions. I want to crawl into a hole and hide.” I sent my best friend a text that read “I want to go back in time, grab the phone out of my hands, and throw it in the river.” Because I’m not dramatic at all. I spent the whole day imagining a host of improbable scenarios about why he hadn’t responded yet. And when he did text me later in the day about something unrelated, I imagined a whole new set of scenarios about how he might have missed that 2 a.m. message professing my feelings. But I did eventually come to terms with the fact that he saw it, and just didn’t respond for whatever reason. Oh well.

11. So many people are scared of commitment and being official that they’ll remain in a label-free relationship, which blurs lines and only works until it doesn’t. I’ve said it many times before, I’ll say it again – “we’re just talking” is opening the door for cheating that technically wasn’t cheating because, hey, you weren’t together together. Yeah, this one is totally true. Deciding when to bring up the exclusivity talk is a fine line. Too early and you risk seeming too intense/desperate. Too late, and you risk either the above, or looking uninterested. I have no words of wisdom on this point. God speed to us all.

12. Social media creates new temptations and opportunities to cheat. The private messaging and options for subtle flirtation (e.g. liking of pictures) aren’t an excuse or validation for cheating, but they certainly increase the chances of it happening. This just seems so cynical to me. Sure it’s a new medium for emotional cheating (and potentially physical cheating), but if the person you’re dating is even looking to do either of those things, isn’t the relationship already broken to some degree? Social media isn’t really the problem, it’s just a place for the problem to manifest itself.

Uh oh, it’s starting to get serious up in here again. Here:

slight overreaction

Source: 31 GIFS What Will Make You Laugh Every Time

That’s better. That is just the cutest thing. And not unlike how I react when I spot seaweed or a spider/insect. Although something tells me when I do it, it’s not all that cute. Anywho.

13. Social media can also create the illusion of having options, which leads to people looking at Facebook as an attractive people menu instead of a means of keeping contact with friends & family. I guess this could be true? It’s certainly not how I use facebook, but maybe I’m just doing it wrong? All this social media talk is making me feel really old all of a sudden.

14. You aren’t likely to see much of someone’s genuine, unfiltered self until you’re in an actual relationship with him or her. Generally people are scared that sincerely putting themselves out there will result in finding out that they’re too available, too anxious, too nerdy, too nice, too safe, too boring, not funny enough, not pretty enough, not some other person enough to be embraced. This is another one that I think is universal to any era of dating, not just modern dating. Being vulnerable is never easy. And requires a certain level of trust. So of course you’re not going to get all of me really early on. 

15. Any person you get romantically involved with you’ll either wind up staying with forever or breaking up with them at some point. These are equally terrifying concepts. Again, not really a modern dating problem. But certainly accurate. The magnitude of this point sank in for my best friend recently, when she said to her fiance, 2 or so months before their wedding: “M, this marriage thing is a pretty big deal. After marriage you either die or get divorced.” Wise words, K. Wise words.

16. When dating, instead of expressing how they feel directly to you, a person is more likely to post a Facebook status or Instagram a Tumblr-esque photo of a sunset with a quote or song lyric of someone else’s words on it, and while it may not mention your name, it’s blatantly directed at you. I mean, this is just comical. Was I guilty back in the day of the AIM away message that cryptically obviously referred to some guy (see #1)? ‘FO. SHO. But now? H E double hockey sticks NO*. And the second a guy I’m dating throws up a facebook status/instragram like the one described, I will slap him in the face and tell him the next time he pulls some shit like that, I’m going to buy him a Lisa Frank diary and some glitter pens so he can be the 13 year old girl that he is in private.

Lisa Frank diary

17. There are plenty of people who’ll have zero respect for your relationship and if they want the person you’re with, they’ll have no qualms with trying to overstep boundaries to get to ‘em. Girl code and guy code are wishful thinking and human code isn’t embedded in everyone. I do think that this is far more prevalent than it used to be, and that just makes me sad.

18. If you get dumped, it’s probably going to be pretty brutal. People can cut ties over the phone and avoid seeing the tears stream down your face or end things via text and avoid hearing the pain in your cracking voice and sniffling nose. Send a lengthy text and voilà, relationship over. The easy way out is far from the most considerate. Dear John letters existed long before the text was invented. Is it a lot easier to break up with someone impersonally these days? Of course. But getting dumped has always been, and always will be, brutal. And some people always have been, and always will be, cowards about it.

I know I started off this post by saying I was super bummed out about the world by the end of the article. And I was. But I also felt better about myself too. So many of these things, that are definitely true, I’m just not willing to deal with anymore. Maybe it only comes with experience and maturity, but I deserve better than all that crap. And I demand better than that. Because you know what, there are people out there who don’t behave like that or do those things. Are they fewer and farther between? Yeah. But I know from experience that they’re out there. So yeah, I go on fewer dates than I used to/could. But I’m fine with that. And I think that’s pretty awesome.

S

*I find it really comical that I have no problem dropping 7,276 F-bombs per post, but when I drafted this post I didn’t just type “hell.” I don’t even believe in hell, so I shouldn’t be afraid of saying it. I don’t understand me sometimes.

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The Art of Messaging

Here is an exhaustive list of the messages I have received in the last 48 hours:

lovely

hi

hi how are you

jamaica soul sister

The first three messages are useless for obvious reasons.

That last message came from a guy IN Jamaica. And while it’s flattering he thinks I’m a soul sister, I can only assume that assessment is based solely on our mutual love of baking, since our profiles make it pretty clear that we have exactly nothing else in common. I already bake plenty of treats, without even factoring in my habit of stress-baking (which reached an all time high in late October/early November, 2012 when bar results were imminent). The last thing I need in my life is another baker. Also, I do not live in Jamaica, so there’s that.

I will refrain from launching into another diatribe about the sad decline of grammar, but I will say that the explosion in the number of available emoticons leaves me deeply disappointed in the world. I mean, why do we need an emoticon for waving?

jamaica soul sister 2

se

*Don’t forget to enter our Worst Date Ever contest! We’ve already received some hilarious submissions and there’s still time if you have a horror story to share with us (and the rest of the internet). We’re even going to extend the deadline, because we’ve received a number of requests to include regular dates in the contest. So if you’ve had a non-online dating disaster, go ahead and send it our way, we don’t discriminate! E-mail your entries to stucublog@gmail.com by midnight on December 1st.

Message Monday: Unsolved Mystery

Hey there, loyal readers. Just a heads up, LSD are busy ladies at the moment. Between moving, vacays, bridal showers and bdays, we may be a bit light on posts this week. Thanks for your patience 🙂 (L, I know how much you appreciated that emoticon).

Anyway, happy Message Monday! This one hits close to home for me–literally.

message monday ht

The part of the message that I blacked out? You guessed it: my high school.

Running into someone you know on okcupid is a very real fear of mine, much like being murdered by a date and becoming the subject of a Lifetime movie. You put your profile out there, and sure it’s “anonymous”, but your picture is still attached to it. And it’s the f-cking internet; nothing is really anonymous (except, we hope, this blog!). So yes, sometimes I worry that my boss could stumble upon my profile and read the sex questions I answered. Or a co-worker. Or a family member. Or a crush or hook up from back in the day. Basically anyone I’ve met, ever. Because of this fear, the number of questions about sex (there are hundreds) that I’ve actually answered basically amount to:

liz lemon treat

Also at the top of this list: former classmates. And don’t worry, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me, or even the second. TWICE before I’ve run into dudes I went to high school with, I guess hardly surprising given the fact that my hometown is less than 10 miles outside of Philly. L and I went to a pretty small high school, though; I believe our graduating class was 175-ish people. We literally know every single person in our class and in the classes 1-2 grades below and above. So I honestly wasn’t expecting to have to play the ‘who the eff is that?’ game until this fall at my (drumroll please) ten year reunion. (F-ck, I’m old). And I figured at least then I’d be with my friends, we’d be drunk, and possibly decide to perform an impromptu interpretive dance:

So when this dude messaged me and I didn’t recognize him at all, I figured I was just having a brain fart and that my friends would ID him immediately. I sent out the appropriate mass text with that screen cap, plus his full profile picture which it’s worth noting is a legitimate head shot/glamour shot (which you may recall is on my list of profile pic no no’s from back in the day). 

ht head shot

Can’t say it any better than my friend did:

dexter

Anyway, no one had ANY IDEA who this terrifying 29 year old bisexual claiming to be our classmate was. So I responded to him, curious now about this mystery:

ht convo

Ummm okay.

1. ‘We probably never crossed paths in school’–Creepy, slash you’re obviously right since I have NO IDEA who you are.

2, ‘You clearly appear to be the best looking’

donna excuse me

Hey, asshole. First of all, that’s not even true. My friends are mad cute. And since you claim to have such a stellar memory, they were also adorable in high school, even though we all had slightly more questionable fashion sense back then.

romymichele

Second, based on your picture I would bet that you’re probably on a registered sex offenders list somewhere, so I’m not really sure you’re in the position to judge anyone on their looks. Third, do you think that I’m actually pathetic enough to fall for this blatantly disingenuous, totally lame attempt at flattery? Oh gee, a creepy stranger on okcupid claiming to know me from 10 years ago insulted my friends, but he thinks I’m cute! BE STILL MY HEART.

Men.

I was officially grossed out by this mystery acquaintance, but now it was basically my mission in life to figure out who he was. I was this close to making my mom go into our attic, find one of my yearbooks and flip through the entire class of 2002 over the phone with me, but I figured I’d save her that trip if I could and check with some other friends from high school first (you’re welcome, mom).

I saw some of those friends on Saturday night, and the search continued. We named every kid we could think of with that first name, but nothing checked out. We texted another friend who lives in NYC and put her on the task force. She thought she had a guess, but then someone actually did consult a yearbook upon returning home and ruled it out:

Picture4

So as of Monday, July 29th at 12:30 pm, the case of the creepy classmate remains open. If anyone from my high school has any leads, they can leave an anonymous tip in the comments section. We’ll see you next time on…

unsolved-mysteries-logo

Message Monday: Fun with guns

So remember my fear of nuclear war, readers? (Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to–I am not THAT big of a narcissist–that’s why I back linked my post.) Want to know what scares me as much, if not more, than nuclear war?

Guns.

I hate them. I think they are mean, cruel, killing, machines. I don’t even want to spend time debating with you about the second amendment. I don’t want to hear all about your great family hunting hobby that resulted in everyone killing their own food and eating sustainably. My closest real life experience with a gun was about four years ago, when I had to confiscate a .38 special and some stray bullets from one of my fourth graders. #truestory #noIdidnotteachinBaltimore. So if you’re a gun lover, we’re going to have to agree to disagree here. Cause I also hate conflict.

Oh what’s that you say? Stop ranting about your political views? This is a dating blog, and we’re all here to hear a story along the lines of “hideous adventures on the internet and why you’re still single.” OK OK, message received. Well, one of the reasons I am still single is because this is who is reaching out to me:

gun message

1. Somewhere after line 2, this guy figured it wasn’t worth it to check his spelling and punctuation. And momma hates that, too.

2. While we’re on my list of fears/hates, let’s talk about emoticons. They probably come right after nuclear war and right before conflict. Emoticons are lazy. If there is an emotion you’d like to convey in writing, why not use these little things we call words?!?! No self respecting human who puts anything in print uses emoticons (*except for gchats and texts.). Otherwise 50 Shades of Grey could have been written like this:

: } 😉 :@ *) 8)

Instead of wasting his time on As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner could have just typed:

XP XP XP….

Do you get my point? 

Plus, directly translated, the emoticons in the above message don’t make any sense. According to the internet, this guy is sticking his tongue out at me and then winking.  Huh?

3. UH OH! The proposed activities: Stroll through the park or a visit to the gun range? How did this guy come up with these date ideas, one which sounds completely horrible to me? Did anyone just see what happened to Ken Cosgrove a few weeks ago on “Mad Men?” In case you didn’t:

ken cosgrove

In case you didn’t get my subtle reference, let me hit you on the head with it. He was shot in the EYE. With a GUN.

Now, to this guy’s credit, there is no way he could have known I feared guns as much as I did. Indeed, we’re an 83% match on OKC, which tells me I probably need to update my questions soon (You were right, R!). But, did he have to suggest it right off the bat? Can’t he suggest something a little more benign to do, like drinks? Or even dinner? Or SKYDIVING, for goodness sakes? But, alas, a visit to this gent’s profile reveals his passion for guns is too strong to suppress, even in an OKC message.

guns slash computer

So let’s see. This guy loves his dog, and his phone, and then oh wait–his computer/guns. Which he felt compelled to list before family and friends. What is a computer/guns BTW? Is there a situation where these two things fall into the same category?

The gun theme permeates throughout the profile:

more gun love

YIKES. First of all, the root word “kill” appears not once, but twice here under the category “I’m really good at.” Apparently, when this stunner is not making steak and pasta, he’s doing something gun related. Hopefully, when he goes to court, he’s going as a witness, and not as a defendant who accidentally killed someone with his gun.

Plus, the emoticons are back. Sigh. 

I guess it’s back to my couch for a nice date night with Cheez its and streaming these gems on Netflix:

pretty little liars

Have a great week everyone!

🙂 😉 😛

Profile Red Flags

I’ve viewed quite a lot of profiles during this online dating journey. And I’ll likely view a lot more before this journey is over. Some profiles are great – they provide some substantive info while also being funny and/or a little self-deprecating. Most fall somewhere between good and mediocre (mine included). Filling out a profile about yourself is awkward and not really that easy, so I’m not super picky about how expertly you distilled yourself into okcupid’s 8 or 9 “essays”.  And besides, I’m not on here to go around judging everyone (obviously I make some judgments), I’m on here to meet people. Awesome profile doesn’t always translate into awesome person anyway. That said, I have come across some things that made me move on immediately, before I’d even read through the whole profile.  Below is a sampling:

1) A professed love of cuddling. I’ve seen this a lot. I like cuddling a normal amount. And it would be nice if my future guy enjoyed it as well. But when a guy goes so far as to publicly declare cuddling as one of his favorite things to do or something that he’s good at, I become wary. It’s a weird thing to put in a profile. Either he’s saying it because he thinks it’s what women want to hear, or he really does LOVE cuddling. The reason the former is a red flag is obvious. The latter is a red flag because I do not like a ton of physical contact (like texting, I prefer this in moderation). And it’s cool if he does, it’s pretty much the only thing on this list that doesn’t make me think any less of him. I’m instantly more attracted to a man wearing Carhartt – everyone has their thing. But for someone who doesn’t really like to be touched all that much (I guess maybe I actually don’t like cuddling a normal amount?), I wouldn’t mesh well with someone who loves to cuddle.

2) Repeated mentions of a stuffed animal rodent that you named after a destructive piece of machinery and regularly “converse” with. There is a 98% chance that you sir are, or will one day become, a serial killer. My desire not to be your first victim is what prompted me to describe your overly philosophical “best friend” in vague terms here, because I’m afraid that if I were to state his name and species you would somehow find me and it would end very, very badly.  Probably with the use of your little buddy’s namesake.

3) Listing “copious lubrication” as 1 of the 6 things you can’t live without. I can’t even explain how uncomfortable reading that made me (though if you know me, you probably can imagine).

4) Starting a profile with a 12 paragraph poem about love. This does not make you seem smart or artistic or sensitive or whatever it is that you were going for. Unless what you were going for was Pretentious Asshole, in which case you nailed it.

5) Responding positively to the question “Would you role play a rape fantasy if your partner asked?” I feel no need to expand further on this, other than to say that I am disgusted that this is even a question, and horrified that guys answer “yes” far more frequently than I thought they would.

6) Mentioning that you’re married and looking for friends, and might be interested in sex, but I would have to meet your wife first. Either you’re in an open relationship, or you’re looking for a threesome. Whatever floats your boat dude, what you do behind closed doors is your business. But that’s not my cup of tea, so I’m going to move along.

7) Advertising your side-job as a male-prostitute, and that “Girls usually describe me as the cute guy next door. My big dick is usually a total surprise.” I’m not really sure what the correlation between those 2 things is, is that combination a rare phenomenon? (Don’t answer that). I am sure that you’re blocked from ever contacting me.

8) Using emoticons. One smiley face might be ok. But mostly, using any emoticon, especially winky faces or the one where you’re sticking your tongue out, just leads me to believe you’re a 13 year old girl.

9) Stating that you like to hang out at the mall. I’m sorry, What?  This is not Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Mallrats. It’s time to grow up. Since you seem to be stuck in high school, here’s an SAT themed hint: malls :: teenagers as bars :: adults. Try it!

10) A profile that is blank, except for 1 photo of you. This isn’t actually so much a red flag. It’s just totally useless to me.

Dating seems even more daunting when faced with the reality that these people are what’s out there…

-D

P.S. Speaking of Mallrats, here’s a little Fun Fact about me: whilst at a video store (so oldschool!) with my boyfriend senior year of high school, he insisted we rent Mallrats because it was his favorite movie and he thought I should give it another chance. As I hated Mallrats, I insisted we also rent Cinderella 2: Dreams Come True, which had just been released straight to video. He good-naturedly agreed, and then I fell asleep while we were watching my selection because I didn’t actually care about it. I think this anecdote sums both of us up perfectly: he was a good boyfriend, I was am an antagonistic lunatic. Crazy that I’m still single right?