If you’ve followed me on social media for a hot second, you know that my dating life is nothing if not complicated. What you might not know is that it’s been five years since I was in a traditional, committed relationship, and at almost 45 with two marriages under my belt, I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to return to shared bank accounts and endless discussions over whether to defrost the chicken for dinner. While it can certainly get lonely (and expensive – batteries aren’t cheap ya know), I truly have come to relish my freedom.
Now I’m not going to lie, it took me a LONG time to get to this point. And through that arduous process, I’ve definitely made some rather questionable decisions, and dealt with my fair share of drama. From a brief tryst with a work subordinate to a rekindled high school relationship to a 10-month stint with a sociopath who faked having a dead baby as part of his ruse, I have undoubtedly earned my Shitshow heavyweight title fair and square. And like a true competitor, I’ve chinned each and every blow, and come back swinging harder every time.
So when my most recent bout came to an anticipated but very sudden conclusion, I picked myself up off the canvas once again, bloodied and dazed, but certainly not out for the count. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that my most recent contender was, quite frankly, the greatest fighter of all time. So there wasn’t even a glimmer of hope in my finding a comparable replacement. But one night about a month or so ago, I stumbled upon some optimism at the bottom of my third glass of Malbec, and decided to tape up my knuckles and get back in the ring. The problem was I had two very different needs left unfulfilled, and the over-under said finding one person to fill both again was highly unlikely. Add to that a broken heart but a very NOT broken libido and time was of the essence.
The immediate goal: find a suitable prospect for an uber-casual but regular sexual relationship; preferably someone I already knew so as to avoid all the preliminary getting to know each other BS. It needed to be someone local, available, pretty and not dumb who was OK with a no strings attached physical relationship with me. Shouldn’t be too difficult to find, right? Ha! This certainly wasn’t my first foray into a FWB situation, but typically the issue there is feels getting in the way – his, mine or both. But finding a willing participant was never an issue. More on that later…
The second, less pressing goal was finding someone not totally horrifying to take me to a nice dinner. Or out for drinks. Or maybe just a cup of fucking coffee. If it turned into something slightly more relationship-y, then fine, but that wasn’t my end game. Because while I have no real interest in another shot at “’til death do us part,” not going to every get-together without a date or spending every holiday alone might be a nice change of pace. Throw in an occasional back rub and maybe a Christmas present and I’d be golden.
So in this Malbec-induced stupor, I decided this was a challenge I needed to tackle. I could have just decided to refinish another dresser, organize a closet, polish my nails even. But no. Instead, I decided to try and be the overachiever my parents always wished I’d been and find not one but TWO guys to spend time with, albeit for very different purposes. So there I was, sitting cross-legged on my bed with phone in hand, my fourth glass of red on the nightstand, bearing witness to what was surely going to be another katastrophe.
I began scrolling my internal Rolodex for a possible sparring partner to address the immediate physical urges. How about him? Nope, too clingy. Ooooh, what about this one? No, way too crazy. Him? Girlfriend. This went on for quite some time until I finally landed on someone who seemed like a viable option. Taking another sip (OK, gulp), I must have drafted and deleted at least four messages. I mean, it’s not every day you ask someone you know and have casually flirted with if he’s interested in banging you on the regular. At least ten minutes passed and the message was still sitting there, unsent. So I polished off glass four and let my liquid courage do the job for me.
Simultaneously, I opened Tinder (that sound you just heard was of my eyes rolling). From the very first time I downloaded my first dating app, I’ve despised online dating. It’s incredibly superficial and contrived, and 90% of the “eligible” guys are either insane, not actually eligible or both. Yet somehow, two years later, I’m still swiping (mostly left obviously). On the few occasions I have swiped right, I learned the hard way that I’m clearly direction-ally challenged. I’ve also scrolled enough profiles to know the tells. If you make any comment about your height other than providing it, you’re short. When all your pictures are of you in a hat, you’re bald. When your profile consists of nothing but group shots, you’re the least attractive one in the group. And when your lead-in shot is a mirror selfie taken on an iPad, you are definitely not in your 30’s. It’s OK, we all know this. Just.Own.It.
By now, I was good and buzzed (probably even too buzzed for a #drunkbathroomselfie). Which was a good thing. The alcohol was dulling the panic attack that would have otherwise ensued when I briefly exited Tinder to check my texts (like I’d have missed a notification while holding my phone!), and realized my message hadn’t been responded to yet. Muttering some nonsense to myself about needing to be locked up and studied one day, I slid back over to Tinder.
Group shot. Group shot. Baseball hat. Left.
He’s kinda cute. 31. Dammit. Left.
Wait a sec…who’s this? 37. Relatively local. Attractive. Appropriate height. Educated professional AND a musician. Yes, please. Right!
A split-second later, the “matched” screen popped up, meaning he had already swiped right on me. So far, so good. Perturbed I still hadn’t gotten a response to my text, I then realized it was actually pretty late, a fact I had drunkenly overlooked when I sent the message. So maybe this evening wouldn’t turn out to be a colossal failure after all.
I’d like to say I’m writing this beyond satiated and knot-free from all the dinners and back rubs whilst sitting with an ice pack on my girlie parts, having landed a killer one-two combo. The truth is both were epic flops. The sparring partner responded the next day, expressing definite interest in the offer, but ultimately standing me up a few weeks later. I think he may have been too busy trying to find his tampons.
As for Tinder, the pickings are certainly slim, at least for me, which I found out a few days after this night ‘o optimism. After a few days of messaging, I politely informed Mr. Pharma Guitarist we would not be meeting. Turns out my super-sleuthing skills had led me right to his wife’s Facebook and an adorable shot of them from just 5 days before. Look, I’m certainly no angel. I’m a firm believer that as adults we are free to make our own decisions about our relationships. But if one of those decisions was to share your last name with someone, and you’re not going to have the balls to be upfront about it, then stay the hell off dating sites. Unless, of course, it’s Ashley Madison.
As for me, I’m in the midst of a three-month drought with no hose in sight and in desperate need of watering. And a cup of fucking coffee.