Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography
“Did you have fun on your date last night?” -Jo
“Ummm he got very drunk and then my soul died.” -Me
“Oh god. Tell me everything.” -Jo
With 2016 coming to a close, still single AF and (mostly) loving it, I decided to go down the rabbit hole of Bumble. One of my closest friends had just met a guy through the platform and started dating him; it was free (holla), and a way for me to more easily vet dudes and move on. I had the week between Christmas and New Year’s off work and threw myself into cleaning, reading, listening to music, dancing in my underwear, sleeping in, and Bumbling like the honey bee I am.
I told myself that it was supposed to be fun, if it stopped being fun, I’d quit…no harm, no foul. True. I also challenged myself to be more spontaneous, be open to a last minute date and say yes more often. This is an important detail. To be honest, I loved the idea that women got to message first, feel empowered (and safe), I found the 300 character count limit to be refreshing after aimlessly scrolling through Match.com profiles longer than War and Peace. The account is linked to your Facebook, making sure you actually exist (brilliant), and every photo goes through an approval process as well to make sure you’re actually in 3D, no cat fishing for the bees.
I had no real idea what I was doing, but I took a shot, filling out my brief profile, with honest, personality filled material about myself:
“Likes: taking myself too seriously, speaking fluent sarcasm, music, books, old fashioned’s, dogs, writing, IV drips of coffee, photography, running, human rights, travel, Audrey Hepburn movies. Dislike: car or gym selfies, inauthenticity, cats, narcissists, global warming, people who don’t like fun.”
As you can see, I refrained from bragging about my sheet folding skills (I do sometimes learn my lessons), and stuck to some authenticity of my own. I posted six photos showing that I’m adventurous, occasionally smile nice for pics, and love travel. BOOM. I was in business.
The first guy that came buzzing in was a dude I saved as Tarzan* in my phone; inside joke…I think his profile mentioned something about him holding out hope that men and women could still meet in the wild so my clever opener was something along the lines of “like Tarzan and Jane wild or heading to your local watering hole realizing you should never go to the bar again, wild?” Eventually there was a loin cloth reference…he called me Jane, Tarzan* was funny, it stuck. (For about a week). We met for a drink at Palace Kitchen, I’d never been, it was a “I know it’s last minute, but would you want to…” sort of thing. I was literally not wearing pants, on my couch, at home, alone, doing nothing, so I thought, yes. I will say yes, get myself together and go. (This thought came in after that beautiful, amazing friend of mine who encouraged me to try Bumble-yes Cass, looking at you, bullied me into a yes). She was right, of course. I had fresh cut bangs…give a woman a new hair do and she makes shit happen. I went, enjoyed a couple drinks, good conversation, some political talk (which is typically a big no no on first dates, but #2016, it goes in the inevitable category), discussed our appreciation for, but non-obsession with Beyonce, vaguely touched on how hard dating in this city is, and generally had a good time. Tarzan* walked me to my car and I was off, proud that he was at least worth putting on pants and using dry shampoo for. Not much in the way of the flirting department post date, but we did discuss seeing each other again. Then all of a sudden he’s dating someone and it’s getting serious and would I just like to be friends? I even invited him out bowling with some of my people a couple weekends later, trying to stay open minded and welcome potential new humans into my tribe in romantic or otherwise capacities. We all know that wasn’t a strike…so I moved on.
Still enjoying my bee hive, I continued swiping. I even came across four guys I am friends with from college (sorry bros, LEFT!), one dude I was friends with for twelve plus years who I ended my friendship with when he decided to be a textbook narcissist (can you swipe left repeatedly?), and oh yeah, remember that guy I cryptically wrote about for the five years this blog has existed and who I dated off and on for almost seven years, because he used to disappear all the time, (but he was never actually my boyfriend)? Yeah, his face showed up. He used his 300 character count to tell the dating world that he’s “100% jokes and whiskey all the time”. Nice. Also, kind of true. But after my lengthy research, he’s a lot more complicated than that. We all are. Listen up ladies, run. Run in the other f*cking direction. Listen, we all have “exes”. I still to this day don’t even feel like it’s right to call him that because again, he was never my boyfriend (lessons in commitment by 23-27, then 28-29ish year old me). And we all deserve the chance to put ourselves out there and meet new people, move on, live and learn, it’s the circle of life (cue the music). The thing that rubbed me the wrong way when his face showed up was that it felt like he wasn’t taking it seriously and that reflected in every damn thing I’d grown to know about him over the years. So even though I couldn’t swipe left fast enough, I was sort of bummed in a weird way (just being honest and real here, kids), that he was out there, but still totally not out there, if you catch my drift. We were off and on for almost seven years, I know him. Sidebar: There probably could have been a connecting the dots post about him when it ended before I even started this series, but that’s how burnt out I got and how ready I was to move the hell on. There was a conversation back in the spring of 2016 when I straight up told him that I felt like I could say this knowing him as well as I did, sometimes better than he knew himself, that if he couldn’t make it happen with me, then I had a hard time believing he could make it with anyone. He looked me dead in the eye and said, “You’re probably, absolutely right.” So, I share this bit of the story to explain that had his face shown up in my Bumble feed and he’d used his bio to say something about himself that highlighted who he is in any real way, because he’s not all bad (obviously or i never would have spent that many years on him), that would have been less annoying for me. If anything, it just made me sad that he was still the same on the surface, because I had changed exponentially in our final ending. I do wish him all the best and hope he finds happiness, I honestly mean that. But this isn’t his story, it’s mine and we all write our own pages, so back to buzzing.
Truth tellin’: I matched with and messaged a lot of people when I started out. I got responses from most, talked to some, met even less. It’s apparently how it works and I was okay with it. I was putting myself out there and trying to remain open to new people and experiences. There were some waste of times in there, as one can expect, but then I decided on a new approach. I decided I was just going to say yes to every guy that asked me out for drinks. Because I had the power here. I swiped right, chose to message them, if they reciprocated by responding and had the balls to ask me on a real time, in person date within a couple days of messaging back and forth in the stupid app platform, I was saying yes.
Enter James*. Your typical handsome-ish dude. He was the right age, had a job, loved travel, had height on his side (this becomes imperative later, stay with me), seemed friendly, even a little funny, and asked me out for a drink the next night. Saying yes in my experience is almost instantly followed by regret for choosing to be so open minded because sometimes on a Wednesday, you just want to go home after work, take your damn bra off, and be alone. But I went. Tavern Law set the scene, I had never been and was so into the prohibition era vibes and hello, practically the type of place that birthed my poison of choice, I knew I was in for at least a good bourbon drink. I had started getting cheap Lyft rides from the house I work at to go on dates. Sometimes you’re on a bad date and don’t even want to finish your drink so you can drive home and sometimes you need like three more just to get through the damn thing. Getting a Lyft or Uber means I could drink a couple before bailing, I had an out because once you request, it’s coming for you and no one likes to keep their ride waiting, especially when escape has become critical, also let’s be adults here, safety first. We’d moved to texting at this point since we were meeting up (and I was stupidly or whatever being open to new things), and he got off work before me so he went straight to the bar. I didn’t really know what to expect, but had fair warning he’d had a few before I arrived. He’s a tall guy, he’s an adult, I didn’t worry much about it…”big mistake, huge.”
Ahhh the gets there early and drinks too much guy. That was fun, said me never. Wastey James* as he shall now be called, was wearing a buzz that even the super nice peacoat he had on couldn’t give him enough points to recover from. The kicker? The buzz crept up slowly so there were actual moments where I was thinking, “This guy isn’t too bad. I don’t think I want to see him again, but you know, good drinks, good company, whatever. I’ll bail soon.” Thank goodness for dating in a time where bartenders now not only mix you drinks, but serve you bat signals in the form of fancy cocktail names as to save you from bad/creepy/never gonna happen again first dates. Seriously, they must be going through a new training process these days because they know exactly how to time things to gauge how a woman’s feeling on a date. Also, a helpful hint in millennial dating, sit at the damn bar on a first date. 10/10 would HIGHLY recommend. It’s the perfect way to not be sequestered with a dude who’s already 50 shades of f*cked up when you get there.
This guy had announced we should be travel buddy’s before we actually met for old fashioned’s. Come to find out, once he was about seven deep and I was about seven minutes from requesting my Lyft ride home, his version of having traveled the world…wait for it: he spent a year living in Mexico, Cabo to be exact, Florida, and the Bahamas. I died. Sat there dumbfounded, my soul cracking, and internally running faster than my best PR away. Nah, brah. You didn’t travel the world, you went on a Basic Fraternity Brothers Booze Cruise for a year. He barely needed a passport to go to these places. I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. Mortified that I had even stayed this long, but still battling myself for that whole “be open” approach. This date had become an actual job in patience and holding my tongue. Patience I’ve got, like going for sainthood here, ask my family and the children I’ve nannied over the years and they can attest, it’s strong. Holding my tongue, I mean, hi, welcome to my blog about my personal life where I pretty much say it all…I’m not good at keeping my thoughts and feelings to myself. With his inhibitions WAY lowered, I kept mine at a healthy height to play it safe, no one needs to be brutally called out on a first date and I’m not out here to put men in their places all the time. Not all heroes wear capes. Did I mention James* was collecting unemployment for this so-called year around the world? Don’t worry, he justified it because he works for a government agency now. The sweet sip of relief…so much no. As I re-worked the conversation to talk about his job, he went from seemingly passionate to complete asshole. This was a major lesson in appearances not being what they seem. Did I judge the book by its cover? No. I spent two hours of my life “reading” the important pages and decided to judge it…hard. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for “to each their own” and my version of traveling for a year, although different from our boy James*, wasn’t the only right way to do it. But, I explored Australia pretty thoroughly in my just shy of 365 days there and still don’t consider myself a “world traveler” because duh, I went to ONE country. Total, I’ve been to only three if you count Canada (I do), so let’s be real here Wanderlusters, Wastey James* basically had a college spring break trip for 12 months and came home to sell his soul to the man. A world traveler, he does not make.
The next day, as I was packing for a girls weekend away in the snow, James* slid through my text inbox, “Well, hit me up when you’re back from Whistler and we’ll do this again.” Tough break, lush, but ummm yeah, I think I’m moving to Yemen, bye.
Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography
*Name has been changed to protect identity of former date