A few years back on my birthday, my mom sent me a card and enclosed a comic she had cut out of the newspaper. (Yes, my mother is still one of those people who clips cartoons out of the newspaper. She also has Family Circus art in the house.) It amounted to a joke that was, “at least you haven’t had to resort to online dating.”
Fast forward five or six years and here I am, online dating. Over the years, numerous friends have recommended it. I even know a number of married couples who met online, but I was always resistant. Part of the problem is I just don’t deal well with forced situations. I don’t like having to talk to people. It isn’t that I necessarily can’t, it is more that I naturally have met so many great friends over the course of my life that I just kept believing that process should work for dating.
I first dipped my toe in with OK Cupid, both because some of my friends use it and because it was free. Immediately, I was so overwhelmed with information I had to take a nap. There are, in all seriousness, as many questions as you want to answer. The more you answer, the more the algorithm is supposed to be able to match you up.
Here is the thing though…My profile included words like “nap” and “chill on the couch” and “eat” and every single guy I was supposedly compatible with sure seemed to talk about the gym. A lot. Like, “if I had to save three things from a burning house, it would be my mom, my phone, and my kettlebells.”
I don’t know if other ladies feel this way, but I don’t always find it that impressive that you work that hard to look the way you look. I would much rather have someone brag in their online profile, “I have the metabolism of a horse, I can eat an entire pizza and never gain an ounce,” than people who brag about the gym.
Part of it is because girls have to pretend we didn’t get our bodies in the gym. Like the crazy but spot on Amy notes in Gone Girl, we have to pretend we can eat pizza and never gain an ounce. I already have planned out the speech for my future daughters: “Listen, for the first 18 years of your life, eat all of the bread. Eat all of the candy. Because about the time you turn 19, you won’t be able to eat carbs ever again.”
I tried. I gave it a go. I never went on a date though. The problem for me with these sites where you answer seemingly endless questions in an attempt to save time by ruling out deal breakers is that I don’t really have deal breakers. I’ve dated smokers, I’ve dated Democrats, I’ve dated really intense Republicans. But if I like you, I am willing to make concessions. If I haven’t met you, there is no emotional attachment, so you get tossed out before I even give you a chance.
So I quit OK Cupid and ended my foray into dating until about a year ago. Then, at a WPT stop, some of the show’s producers told me about a new app called Hinge, which only connects you to people that are connected to your network on Facebook. In other words, it is dating six degrees of Kevin Bacon. I tested it out, but the problem is it doesn’t exist in Vegas, so I posed as an Angelino knowing this couldn’t go anywhere.
I was lamenting the lack of Hinge in Vegas to a friend who then pointed me to Coffee Meets Bagel. This app gives you a single match a day based on a handful of requirements like age, location, height. You only get one and, if you like them and they like you back, a chat line opens for seven days.
I was inclined to try it mostly because Tinder feels like Valu-Pack coupons to me sometimes. I know these guys are swiping yes on 100 percent of the girls just hoping 1% respond. I don’t want spam in my email, I don’t want spam in my inbox, and I certainly don’t want spam in my love life.
I went on a few…we’ll call them interesting dates, including one in which a guy suggested we do something that evening, I agreed, then he informed me he was probably too drunk to drive at 6pm on a Thursday, so could I pick him up. For reasons that I think tie mainly to the fact I have a blog that needs fodder, I did. I drove to an address in the fancy neighborhood of Anthem Highlands, which seemed like an odd enough place for a half-employed bartender/actor to live, until you factor in that HE LIVES WITH HIS PARENTS. Again, not a deal breaker, but if this is the first impression, you aren’t doing great.
I haven’t been wholly unsuccessful on the Bagel thing, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a fair share of disappointments. One was even cool with me blogging about him, so long as I referred to him as Bill (If you’re reading this, hi Bill!). Problem was, he wasn’t really in Vegas much, so you know, there is that.
It took four months to meet a guy I liked enough to see twice who, turns out, doesn’t really live here. How, do you ask, can I be offered around 120 guys aka “Bagels” and only hit it off with one? Well, it is because sometimes this app doesn’t have a Bagel for you. Instead, you get a delightful picture of the bagel truck, that is searching for only high quality bagels just for you.
I contacted the app to inform them I was only getting about three bagels per week and to point out it is a little cruel for an app to push notify to check in for the day only to get the bagel truck. I’m Charlie Brown, the app is Lucy, and a half-decent Bagel is the football.
They informed me the issue is one of liquidity, so I should get my single friends on the app too. Yes. Cause exactly what I want in a Bagel is a guy I’ve already met and decided I don’t want to date. Thanks, Customer Service.
The drought of Bagels continued with day after day of getting the truck, when the app notified me that perhaps I am simply being too picky. They suggested I look at my height preferences and adjust accordingly. I raised an eyebrow, as I couldn’t even remember what I had put as height preferences. Being relatively short (5’2”), I don’t really have the height problem of some of my friends, so it was surprising to hear height was the problem. Then I thought maybe I hadn’t included enough tall people in my preferences, so I went to check.
My parameters were this: I would be willing to be match with anyone who is 5’2” up to the tallest man your site has. In other words, they wanted me to become some sort of little people fetishist.
It is a special breed of disheartening to hear that no males of a relatively average height can be matched up with you on a dating site. Being on an app like that to begin with was disheartening enough. But really, I think the conclusion to draw here isn’t that I am not good enough for the apps or there are no matches for me in the world. I think it is more that my matches aren’t gonna be found on Match.com. I came, I saw, I certainly did not conquer, but at least I learned something. I learned there is apparently a line out the door of short guys waiting to date me. I learned picking up your drunk blind date, while entertaining, will only end in eating in the Excalibur food court at 11pm wondering how exactly you were expecting things to be any better. And I learned that there are worse things than being by yourself, hoping you will bump into a real life person to date, like waiting for that damned bagel truck to deliver.