If you’re anything like me, you’ve cycled through the regular dating apps: Match.com, eHarmony, Tinder and even Bumble. I got tired of seeing the same guys over and over (in addition to friends and people I know personally), so I thought I’d take it “up a notch” and try some of the more exclusive apps, which require approval to get in. I wanted to meet different men. I signed up for both Inner Circle as well as The League. I was accepted almost immediately into both of them, and my online dating experience was re-energized. Or so I thought.
In the past, my experience was more about filtering out the guys who were just looking for casual hookups (and of course, doing my best to avoid drug dealers, which has indeed proven difficult, especially when said dating prospect poses as someone seemingly professional for a period of time. I even had one go out of his way to wear a golf shirt on the first meet, and nice button downs on several of the following dates. He seemed legit, but this eventually turned into old stained t-shirts and flip flops after a simultaneous reveal of a bong collection, accidentally-left-out Ziplocs of coke and a stack of after-hours nude club discount cards. But I digress.) I truly thought that I’d be connecting with men of a higher caliber on these brand new apps.
Instead, I discovered a new kind of challenge. Case: Hot guy, early 30’s. Sent some nice messages back and forth. Professional job. Lives in suburbs (about 45 minutes away from me, which I thought might be an issue, but I went for it anyway, thinking we could try for a weekend). I give him my number, and we text back and forth, trying to find a time to set up a date. He kept asking if I’d be in his area, which I wouldn’t be. I never, ever have work or projects in his area. And if you know Los Angeles, you know it takes at least an hour to get anywhere. So I asked if he could come closer to me, and he said “yeah, I think so”, but then we couldn’t seem to align schedules. He’d text again a few days later, asking if I’d be out his way at all. I thought, is this guy for real? Didn’t I already tell him I’m never in his area, for any reason? Also, isn’t it standard for a guy to drive to the girl’s area for the first date anyway? Red flag. Of course, he texted a few cute photos of himself, so I look past the flag and continue. Our schedules still didn’t seem to mesh however, and the merry go round continued. For a few weeks. Yes, weeks.
One day during an exchange, I realized that he never actually called me to talk. I don’t know about you, but I feel weird when I’m getting to know someone solely via text. I need to hear a voice and vibe. As I thought through this, I also realized that my schedule was getting out of hand. I had booked a few projects in this time period, and I just knew that dating someone so far away would prove difficult beyond even one date. I decided I didn’t want to play the cat and mouse game. The next time I received his now regular (and a bit too casual) “hey you” text, I replied and kindly expressed, “obviously it’s been really tough for us to connect, and I’ve suddenly become super busy, so I need to put dating on the back burner for a bit. I’m sorry, but I wish you luck out there in the big, bad world of dating!” His response: “I have to be totally honest. I am not really looking to date anyway. I just wanted to pick your brain about starting a podcast. What’s your schedule this weekend?”. My jaw dropped. He had been flirting and sending photos all this time, acting all chummy, and then pulls the curtain to showcase his agenda to learn how to start a frigging podcast? And, he was hoping I’d somehow drive out to his area to help him. What in the hell? I probably would’ve ended up with the bill too, now that I think about it. What a waste. He may as well have been a drug dealer at this point.
Oh yes, things were taken up a notch indeed with my new dating apps! Ha! Now, instead of using chicks for sex, men seemed to be trolling the apps to see which ones could help them with their professional pursuits or hobbies. Awesome.
Back to organic dating I go. My long-term relationships have always been men I’ve met through professional work or a mutual interest. I’ve never met a great guy in a bar or on a dating app. Ever. If you’re someone who has, I applaud you, because in my experience, it’s simply not possible. At least not for a long-term, happy relationship that ends in good feelings and friendship, which my long-terms have. Almost all of my dating app relationships have resulted in blocking. I have to chuckle at this realization. It’s kind of absurd, when the purpose is to find love, not disgust.
All in all, I can’t say I’m a fan of dating apps. What has been your experience with them? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and musings, and I’m sure I can find an appropriate pod guest to discuss further. In the meantime, good luck out there if you choose to participate in the dating app game!