All Aboard!

Can I at least sit in the first class car?

At this point, I’d like the train to roll over me. 🤷🏽‍♀️

System Failure: In Need of a Mental Reboot

ctrl+alt+delete

I apologize for my silence. I simply couldn’t find the words.

I’ve written this post — or some version of it — several times over the past few weeks. I even wrote one today.

Each post was a variation on the same theme: I miss Anthony.

Fuck.

On my second date with Gus, who I’ve decided is really nice, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much fun I could be having…if Anthony was there instead. (Gus and I are still “talking” despite my complete lack of interest in him. I am a monster.)

When my friends counseled me to move on from “dip-shit” aka Anthony, I balked.

I hit up every happy hour, every night for two weeks straight without the Tito’s and ginger ales I consumed ever coming close to erasing him from my memory.

I miss everything about him: his smile; his laugh; the conversations we had about everything and nothing; his scent; even the callouses on his hands from hours spent climbing.

Argh.

Of course, he has his many faults and I am not naive about that. But I consider myself a good judge of character. I don’t have many “friendship breakups” because I can easily smell disingenuousness several handshakes away. Anthony may have behaved like an ass post-breakup, but he definitely wasn’t one while we were together, and I know that’s not who he is as a person. That may seem like a distinction without a difference, but it’s not. We have all acted outside of our normal character for one reason or another. I can forgive him for that.

Now before you suggest I talk to him about my lingering feelings (yes, I know no one was actually going to suggest that), I did talk to him. It was during that conversation when I found out Anthony and his ex-wife (they are legally divorced) are trying to make it work “for the kids.” Plot twist!

Game. Over.

So that’s it. My dating dumpster fire is in full-rage mode and I am trying to escape only slightly singed. Please forgive me in advance for my hiatus from this blog while I try to fully excise Anthony from my mind and heart. The good news is I will have much more to share upon my return.

In the meantime, enjoy the realness of this GIF.

Tinder Is Not a Place to Make a Love Connection…Or Is It?

Everyone knows Tinder is only good for one thing: shirtless selfies.

A friend recently asked me which dating apps I was on. I listed three: Hinge, Bumble, Tinder. That’s down from the eight apps I was on at peak desperation.

She then asked which ones I was serious about. That knocked my preferred apps down to two: Hinge and Bumble.

She was appalled. How could I possibly not consider Tinder a primary app for finding love? She knew “many” people who had found love on one of the oldest dating apps in the App Store. I should reconsider!

My experience with Tinder has not been great.

Almost every match starts with banal chatter and ends with a man I’ve never met telling me about his sexual fetish.

There was one guy who seemed normal enough to go on a date with. However, when I arrived for said date, I discovered he had T-Rex arms (a visual refresher), spoke with a lisp, and used “like” after every, like, other, like, word. He also picked an upscale restaurant for our date and then showed up in a wrinkled t-shirt and jeans. Check, please!

That was my first and last Tinder date…until last weekend.

After my friend gently berated me about giving up on Tinder, I decided to give it a try with true intentionality.

I swiped right on the first guy with a nice smile, shirtless photo, and zero information in his profile other than his name (we’ll call him Gus), age (36) and employer (self-employed).

BOOM! It’s a match! (Tinder lingo, not mine.)

He messaged me first.

“Hi Erin. I’m glad we matched. You are stunning!”

Gus was off to a great start.

After the standard exchange of locations, he announced he was going to bed and that I could text him the next day.

🤔

Um, okay. Text, sir? I don’t even know your occupation. Or your favorite football team. Or what you do for fun?! There is no way I’m going to text you…on your actual cellphone. Who do you think I am?

So I sent him my number instead and told him he could text me. 🤦🏾‍♀️

Well, he did. And we hit it off right away.

I found out that he’s an electrical contractor, never married, with a 9-year-old son. He prefers football over baseball. He practices jiu jitsu and has for ten years. He’s looking for a relationship because hooking up with random women doesn’t set a good example for his son.

Had I struck Tinder Gold (if you are active on Tinder, you see the joke there)?

We made plans to meet for lunch on Saturday at a local spot near the beach.

I arrived first to grab a good spot at the bar and a drink. He arrived right on time looking twice as handsome as he did in his pics. (And, trust me, he looked very good in his photos.)

The conversation was good. His smile was fantastic, but I could not get a read on him. Was I smiling too much? Laughing too hard? Out of his fucking league? In the moment, I decided I could only be me and continued to do so for the next two and a half hours.

When we finally parted for the day, he leaned in for a kiss. It was very reminiscent of being kissed on the playground in third grade by the kid who just threw dirt in your face (but he likes you!), but it was sweet.

I expected never to hear from him again.

But I did! He texted me not long after I drove away from the restaurant.

“I had a wonderful time with you. I hope I wasn’t too awkward. You’re beautiful.”

Apparently, my “Like” meter was way off.

Date #2 is scheduled for this weekend. Maybe Tinder isn’t so bad after all.

(But given the name of this blog, let’s assume it will be all down hill from here.)

A Marathon First Date Runs Out of Gas on Mile 1

Could a six-hour first date signal a promising new beginning? Ha! Do you know the name of this site?

I went on a first date Saturday night (and the first date since Anthony dumped me).

It lasted six hours.

Let me start by saying I didn’t want to go. I debated whether or not to cancel most of the morning. If I’m being honest with myself, my heart just isn’t in it. But my good friend Alexis convinced me that I should go with the intention of having a good time and making a new connection — even if it’s a new friend. (Editor’s note: The idea that you’re dating to make new friends is dumb. That’s not why anyone goes out on a date.)

So off I went to meet Clinton (not his real name).

Despite my rule of not crossing the Hudson River for love, Clinton lives in Queens. We matched on Hinge while I was spending time in Jersey City barhopping with a friend. (Yes, I matched with someone on an app while I was out in a setting where there were hundreds of people in the flesh around me.) That is dating in 2019 in a nutshell.) We chatted for a bit over the course of a few days before we made plans to meet for “coffee or drinks.” I, of course, chose drinks.

Clinton asked where I wanted to meet, because in reality, we live very far apart. I settled on Jersey City because it is pretty much the midpoint for an NJ-NY interstate romance.

I arrived first for our 6:30 p.m. date and promptly ordered a glass of wine. When he arrived at 6:40 p.m., I could tell he appreciated how I looked in my high-waisted jeans and skin-hugging, burnt orange mock turtleneck — the same shirt I wore on my first date with Anthony (I’m trying to make new memories here!).

Clinton was dressed in a grey chunky, cable-knit sweater and looked just like his photos – a real rarity. His eyes were sparkling blue, his biceps filled out the sleeves of his sweater nicely, and his beard was perfectly trimmed.

Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea to go out after all.

He ordered an expensive tequila on the rocks while I moved on to a spicy blood orange margarita (It was excellent, by the way.). The bartender asked if we would like to see a food menu. He said he wasn’t hungry yet. I agreed.

For the next hour we talked about our favorite things: sports teams (we both love the Golden State Warriors), television (we both love “The Profit” on CNBC), karaoke (“Benny and the Jetts” is his go-to), and travel (he doesn’t, but would like to). We also discussed his desire to move to California; his search for a new job; and how many people from dating apps we’ve been out with since Sept. 2018 (my number is seven; his is more than seven, less than 25 😳). It was nice.

“Nice.” This is how I describe dates I have zero interest in. Getting the “nice” descriptor an hour in is not a good sign…and yet the date continued for five more hours.

Why did I stay for another five hours? The answer is simple: Clinton was easy to talk to and it felt good to be out with someone of the opposite sex in a romantic setting who found what I had to say interesting — or who could at least pretend to.

After ordering food — he had a pizzetta, which he noted was not part of his keto diet; I had mac & cheese because I like carbs — he paid the bill and we headed to another bar. I know! I should have bailed, but he asked and I agreed.

I won’t bore you with the details of our conversation at the next bar, but I will say that we sat very close on a couch and I never once felt the urge to casually graze his knee with mine. Ugh. Attraction and physical chemistry cannot be forced.

Look, Clinton will one day make some woman — or man (a post for another day) — very happy. His future partner will find him charming and handsome and smart — all of which is true. But I am not her (or him).

I decided to call it at 12:30 a.m. — six hours after we met, and five hours after the point I knew it wasn’t going anywhere.

When it was time to depart, I hugged nice Clinton the way you’d hug someone you just met whom you’re never going to see again. As he walked toward the PATH, he turned and yelled over his shoulder, “Next time, let’s go do karaoke.”

There won’t be a next time, but at least I’m back in the race.

Is This Thing Broken?

Someone call 9-1-1. My thumb is dead.

Some wise person once said, “The best way to get over a man is to get under another.” In the aftermath of the breakup with Anthony, I decided to take that advice — minus the directive to sleep with a random dude — and headed back to the apps.

The fucking apps.

Tinder ✅
Hinge ✅
Bumble ✅✅✅

I re-downloaded the usual suspects to the discreet “Dating” folder on my personal matchmaker — also known as my iPhone X — and got to swiping.

A funny thing happens when you match with someone on a dating app, meet him in real life and then ditch the app because the living, breathing version of a man is better than the one-dimensional version: you forget how crappy it is to shop for a companion.

Maybe my standards went up after dating Anthony, or maybe all of the decent prospects were picked up while I was in the off-season, but it seems nearly impossible to find one guy I would even consider allowing to think about possibly asking me to contemplate him tempting me to go out on a first date. For real.

A girlfriend and I spent a recent Happy Hour siting side by side at a bar, legs crossed, heads down, frantically swiping. Up, down, left or ❌. NEXT! Repeat. The only time our eyes gazed upward was to help guide our hands toward the awaiting alcholic beverages. Occasionally, one of us would hit on a “good one” and eagerly turn to the other for approval.

He’s alright. He has a nose with character, though.

YAS! Where is he from? Brooklyn?! Nope.

Oh, he has a cute dog…and lives with his mother. 🙄

Sigh.

If this is how I’m supposed to get “under” a new man in order to get over Anthony, then consider me still standing…alone…swiping left.

The Benefit of Being Friends

Should you remain friends with someone you’ve dated?

You match with someone on an app. You chat for a bit before setting up a first date. Said first date arrives, he is nice enough, but there is no real spark. Three hours later, the date ends, and he leans in for a kiss. It is hot. (There’s the spark!)

Daily texting follows, in addition to two more dates. Three weeks after your first date, he texts you to say he just isn’t feeling it, but would love to remain friends and grab drinks in a couple of weeks.

Um, what?

Excuse me if I’ve missed the memo, but I did not join a dating app (or several) to make new friends. I already have plenty of friends I haven’t kissed, seen naked, or slept in the same bed with. In fact, after a quick mental calculation, Facebook handily reminds me I have 637 friends I’ve only ever known platonically. (Actual number of Facebook friends is 640.)

What is the point in remaining friends with someone you once had feelings for — no matter how budding or deep — unless both parties are uninterested in pursuing the relationship further? Inevitably, if one party still has feelings for their newly-designated “friend,” there will be blood (fine, tears not blood, but you see where I’m going here). Unless you have been together for an extended period of time (more than just a few dates/weeks), have children together, or have co-mingled finances, why even try?

Below is an exchange I had with Charlie, a 33-year-old southerner who had been off the apps for more than a year prior to our meeting. He is the aforementioned.

In calling things off, Charlie (name has not been changed because IDGAF) tried to soften the blow by saying he had “a high opinion” of me and that he was “happy to have met” me, but he didn’t want to date me “romantically.” 🙄

“I want to say I am happy to have met you, but you are just another person on the list of people I’ve dated.” Ouch.

But it’s true. Sorry, Charlie, I don’t want to remain friends with you. You were nice enough, intelligent, easy to talk to, and one helluva kisser, but how does it benefit me to hang around a guy I want to date who doesn’t want to date me? Swiping right on a dating app is not my preferred method for finding new friends. Plus, we knew one another for less than a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race — neither the feelings, nor the “friendship” were that deep.

Surprisingly, after a little more back and forth via text, Charlie and I made plans to meet for a drink three weeks after we stopped seeing one another. Spoiler: it never happened and we haven’t communicated since the text exchange.

Tell me, readers: Should you remain friends with someone you dated? Does it depend on the circumstances? Let me know in the comments!