How hard could it be to find a decently respectable, funny man who was not looking for anything serious that was still open to anything?
By Mariana Gutierrez-Serna
I have grown tired of the number of times my friends have said “I had just started my hoe phase” complaining about how the pandemic ruined our dating lives. I have a hard time believing people would have done things differently regardless of the pandemic and having to stay at home. Hey, at least we can avoid seeming boring to the world by blaming the pandemic for everything. Ironically, some of us are grateful for this opportunity as well.
Believe it or not, there is still a huge stigma surrounding online dating. This might be surprising to many but there are multiple people still hesitant to meet someone online. About five of my close friends have been lying to their family and friends about how they met their significant others. Saying they met on campus, for example, instead of facing the reality of their meet cute.
Due to this insecurity, they began to create excuses to justify why they created an online profile in the first place:
“I mean I can’t meet anyone in person either way during a pandemic”
“I am going to delete it tomorrow, I promise”
“I will never date someone that I’ve met online, I am just seeing what the hype is about.”
The list goes on.
But we still just want our dating experience to be easier and what better way to do it than by going online and not having to confront people face to face right from the start. Even if it is not the case for me, I know not everyone has been blessed with the ability to approach random strangers and spark a conversation effortlessly. That is why dating apps are a better option for some.
I may complain about being single once in a while, and this has driven my friends insane because I have a tendency to friend zone every guy I meet. So, I guess it is my own fault that I am still not seeing anyone. After some persuasion from my friends, I finally decided to make a profile on Tinder, as a “joke”. Or so I said, but who was I kidding? I just wanted to get an account to see how it was like, and my friends forcing me to get a profile was the perfect excuse.
Sadly, nothing memorable came out of that experience. There was definitely some flirting here and there. And even though during that time there were less COVID restrictions, the couple of dates I went on left me feeling more confused than I did at the start. I did want to date, but I was still battling my own thoughts about online dating, which prevented me from being open to any possibility of love. In other words, Tinder did not last longer than a week.
But after months of reconsideration and coming to terms with finding someone online, I decided to join Bumble. To be fully honest, I still was not 100% sure of what I was looking for, but I committed to have an open mind and seeing how things went.
For those who don’t know, Bumble is also a dating app, similar to Tinder. The main difference being that Bumble encourages girls to start the conversation. That’s right, men can take a break from feeling the societal pressures and let the women do the initial work.
Bumble worked to fight against dating norms by allowing girls a 24-hour window after the match has been made to send the first text. It is definitely intimidating for us girls but also, I guess more comfortable in a sense since we can avoid the experience of receiving distasteful unsolicited messages.
To create a profile, you need to incorporate your name, age and gender. Every other piece of information about yourself is recommended but not mandatory, such as height, star sign, exercise frequency, drinking, smoking, kids, religion, etc.
This is where I struggled the most with because I hate sharing information about myself online. Also, I do not enjoy being judged by a few sentences describing my personality since there is so much more to me. But I guess this is what we were working with.
There is also an option to include what you are looking for, and the most popular answer that I’ve seen so far has been “Don’t know yet.” Which is also the answer I chose for myself.
It is also interesting to see people include fun questions or something that lets others get a better sense of their personality. For preference, or as Bumble calls it “Date filters”, you select what you are interested in in terms of gender and age, as well as distance. My range for males always remains between 21 to 29-year-old, or sometimes when I want to test my confidence, I increase it to 32-year-olds. For distance, the closer the better so 35 km away seems about right.
Once you have filled this out, you are now able to objectify people by swiping left or right on your screen. Right if you are interested and left to reject. Pedro, one of my best friends, mentioned that it felt like “shopping for humans”, and he is not wrong. Truthfully, it is not so different to what we already do in our daily lives. At first glance, who we choose to approach is based on pure physicality, so why not do this in the comfort of your own home while also being able to see all of the faces at once? It is a very convenient system, but it could also become an addiction very fast.
I now find myself scrolling through the many Edmontonian men for consecutive hours, instead of using Instagram to waste my time. Many of my friends find the fact that my mother loves sitting with me as I swipe endlessly shocking. I never know what I am looking for so might as well get someone’s else’s opinion on the matter. I know mothers tend to be very picky and no one is good enough for their children, but having my mom yell “He is HOT!” or “Those are a LOT of tattoos, pass!” was the highlight of my online dating experience.
There is no way of predicting who you are going to end up seeing in the app. I happened to encounter my best friend’s profile, without being aware that he had entered the online dating world. And yes, I swiped left. I hate to be the one to rat him out, but his profile consisted 50% of lies; his height is definitely not what he stated, nor was his cannabis consumption. We can hide behind the screen no problem, but it is inevitable that all those lies will come to light at some point or another.
I would also dread the moment I find someone I used to date in the app and having to find it within me to swipe left, even if my entire being is telling me otherwise. Even if that’s the case, I would still prefer that experience to having to drag a conversation that is already past its rotting stages. Dating is something I look forward to, but if it starts to feel like a chore, then that is an obvious sign to quit while I am still sane.
But I committed to give it a try for an entire week without calling it quits. So at least I can say I got some entertaining anecdotes out of it.
Going on dates
Due to COVID, going on dates might not be the most comfortable thing to do. The best way to confront this is to be upfront with what might work best for both of you. Based on the circumstances, and feeling better about spending time outside, my date and I decided to walk along the streets of Whyte Ave and get some tacos to go from Julio’s Barrio.
Even though he showed a ton of confidence through text, I didn’t expect him to live up to that in person because most people tend to feel comfortable when they are not face to face with the person. Yet he definitely stayed true to his character, a bit too intensely than I would have liked. I had been looking forward to meeting him. His straightforwardness and sense of humour were qualities I really liked about him.
So, I was surely disappointed when he revealed his misogynistic nature early in our date. I can only assume no woman would like to hear the words “I am looking for a wife that can cook” five minutes into meeting someone. From there my expectations were not high: I expected him to make up for his ignorance in some way, but instead he made a shitty comment about my damaged hair and another one about the fact that if I did not like soccer, he was going to end the date early.
He was also the type of man that kept reassuring me that there was nothing to be nervous about and that I was safe with him, when in fact I showed no hint of worry. I held myself back from yelling at him and throwing the bit of water that remained in my water bottle at his face for the next hour. This man made a point to emphasize his male supremacy every chance he got. It is safe to say I was happy to part ways. When I got home and he texted me a “Hello Beautiful”, I was happy to ignore it. He was definitely mistaken for thinking there was any hint of interest on my part.
It is exciting to meet new people and all, but the real excitement for me is reconnecting with people I thought had disappeared from my life. Sam, someone I went to high school with that I casually dated for a bit in university, suddenly appeared on my screen.
I am risking sounding corny right now, but I always saw him as “the one that got away”. The reason we did not end up getting serious was timing. During that time, he was dealing with a family crisis. As much as I wanted to be there for him, I was afraid he might rely too much on me, and that neither of us would be able to freely leave the relationship in the case that either of us wanted to.
But time had passed since then, so I went with my gut and swiped right. I did not have to wait longer than 25 seconds to receive the notification that we had matched. I took the “have I met you before?” approach when starting the conversation, which he seemed to have appreciated because he went along with it. I love when someone can tolerate my annoying ass.
My brother continuously bullies my cheesy opening lines, but I can proudly say they have not failed me so far. And Sam can back me up on this. As much as I would love to give this reunion a fairytale-like conclusion, him and I have not set a time to meet up, due to our busy schedules. But I am definitely grateful that I gave up on my insecure mentality about online dating, because I would not have gotten a second chance with him if I hadn’t.
Now over to Tristan. He is someone who, as much as it pains me to admit, ended up ghosting me after one conversation years ago. But we ended up matching, so you can understand my confusion. Did this man not recognize me? Or did he think maybe I was different? Or did he just swipe without thinking? How the fuck could this person match with me after not being able to maintain a conversation with me in the past?
I tried to put these feelings aside and start over with him. After thinking of something to break the ice with for over 30 minutes. Yes, it’s shameful to admit how long it took me to finally hit him up, but I was trying to leave an impression on this man. I was excited to say that things were going well, I trusted that my end of things was interesting enough to keep him hooked. And then it happened. The conversation started to die out, he took hours to reply and then he began to send one-word answers and suddenly… complete silence.
I wanted to punch a fucking wall. The anxiety I suffered through and the energy I wasted on this absurd, pointless case. I had fallen into the same trap I had once fallen into, but I was dumb enough to believe it could be different this time. As I typed that I realized what I dumbass I had been, did I genuinely think this man could change how he felt about me one more time?
I know I am risking sounding desperate by revealing all this, but if you have not experienced this before it is hard to understand why this struck a nerve. I am also a hypocrite because I have spent years doing the same to other people, so maybe this was karma for putting others through what this man put me through. I permitted myself to be frustrated about this for an hour and then I moved on with my life. I decided Tristan was not worth any more than that.
There are also others who I wish I could match with on the app to make our interactions better in person. In other words, I would like to avoid confessing my feelings face to face and maybe matching would give him the hint.
Don’t take dating too seriously
A couple of days ago, I was almost certain I had seen one of my coworkers, whom I am somewhat interested in, but he had already gone to the rejection pile. This is why people tell me to take a breather and look at my options properly instead of just swiping impulsively.
Good people could be hiding in there, but I do not take the time to thoroughly skim through their profiles to find them. So, here I am hoping that the app will give me another chance and place him in my list of options once again.
So, with my preference range of 21 to 29 years old, I was expecting endless options of eligible men. How hard could it be to find a decently respectable, funny man who was not looking for anything serious that was still open to anything? Was that too much to ask? I never understood when everyone in my life, and I do mean everyone, said I was picky. It wasn’t until I reached the “Looks like you’re out of people…” screen that it hit me. I had to change the age range to 80 years old to have more options. I could not disagree with my friends when they laugh hysterically at this and said I was a hopeless case.
I spend so much time judging everyone else that I completely forget to think about who I am being for others. I know for a fact that I am not perfect, but if I hold myself in a such high regard I may stay alone forever.
I consider myself an approachable person and I think when it comes to dating people, I am very direct and that tends to be a not so pleasant factor. But I am not planning on changing those aspects about myself any time soon. I also don’t think anyone else should. If there is a negative trait the world has pointed out to you, do not ever change it unless you are the one that does not like it.
This entire experience has taught me that we should not take dating too seriously. We will ruin our chances that way. I needed a big breather before approaching any of the men I matched with, and even if my interaction did not end up that bad, I know they could have been way better if I had just had more fun with it.
For anyone reading this, enjoy dating. It is not a chore. I would recommend Bumble to anyone who has ever been slightly interested in dating. I did not know what I wanted, but, as much as it pains me to admit, my friends were right.
You don’t have to know what you want to be open to dating. Just see what happens, because you never know what you are going to get.