It’s been three and a half years since my ex and I split. The funny thing about that?
When it happened, she was convinced I’d meet someone right away, fall in love, and move on with my life. One of those three has come to pass: I’ve moved on. No luck with the other two so far. And the funny bit? My ex just celebrated her second anniversary with her boyfriend. I’m happy for her: he’s a great guy and she deserves to be happy after putting up with me for so long. Let’s just say she didn’t always get me at my best and leave that for another post.
In the time that’s passed, I’ve certainly been looking. Over the past 3+ years, I’ve been on Plenty of Fish, Match, Tinder, Bumble, Zoosk, Ashley Madison, OK Cupid, and Badoo. (For anyone who’s interested: there is not a single actual real woman on Ashley Madison, just a bunch of desperate man getting duped into buying tokens to send messages.)
Wow…that’s quite a list. Add Christian Mingle and Grindr in there and I start looking a little desperate, don’t I? But you know what would be worse? Trying to create a list of all the people with whom I’ve been on dates. Want a bigger list? Let’s talk about the number of times I’ve been ghosted…that will be another post, I promise.
Remember that first paragraph, where I mentioned my ex and her two-years-in relationship? Do you know how they met? The old-fashioned way…at a bar. Is that even still a thing?
The world has changed…or I’ve gotten older…or some unlikely combination of the two. Life seems so much busier now than when I was last single, about 20 years ago. Full-time-and-then-some job, kids, writing…the opportunities to meet someone are few and far between. And let’s face it, I spend a lot less time hanging out at bars now than I did in my twenties. There are a few reasons for that but top of the list has to be the fact that most of the women I’d bump into there are the right age to date my son. I’m not great at math, but I believe that would make me old enough to be their father…mid-life crisis is another series of posts.
Do you know how my 24-year-old son meets people? Online…pretty much exclusively. Gen Xers like me, we’re busy, but millennials like him? Lazy. Or perhaps used to leveraging technology to accomplish just about everything…take your pick.
The question is this: other than online dating, how does one go about meeting people in the times we have created? For me, I work in a predominantly male workplace, and wouldn’t consider trying to date a woman I work with, anyway. Been there, done that. If you need that recipe for disaster, send me a DM and I’ll be happy to share the ingredients. The other women I’m typically exposed to (no, I did not say the ones I expose myself to) are customers, and the prospect of asking out a customer I’ve dealt with feels waaayyyyy to sleazy.
The last non-internet related option is what I’ll refer to as public places: bars, grocery stores, gas stations, malls, coffee shops, the gym, etc., etc. In my previous life, these all would have seemed like valid options, especially if alcohol was involved (not a great idea at the gas station or gym). But men have been idiots for far too long, so I will always choose another night of remaining single over causing discomfort in a woman I don’t know. Basically, in the real world, if a woman doesn’t approach me, then we are likely not going to meet. And why don’t women approach me? I mean, I’m no Brad Pitt, but I’m okay on the eyes, in pretty good shape, smart, and interesting (don’t believe me? Ask me mom or my daughter). No, the reason they don’t is the same reason I’m not comfortable approaching them: too many men are assholes. Face to face social interaction has become far too suspect and dangerous to risk.
So we migrate like schools of fish (see what I did there?) to online dating. At least there we can be sure that everyone is single (or so they say), that they are real people (sometimes), and that they are after the same thing we are after (maybe…maybe not). Sites like POF and OK Cupid make our lives easier (read: eat up too much of our time), introduce us to nice people (amongst the creeps and douche canoes), and guarantee that each and every one of us will eventually find love (or at least a migraine caused by frustration and squinting at our phone looking at tiny pictures of people wearing sunglasses).
Online dating, it’s safe and easy…as long as you don’t leave your computer to actually meet anyone. And that’s where the wonderful world of online dating has changed…stay tuned for my next post in the adventures in dating series: Men Are From Bars, Women Don’t Want To See Your Penis.