Meeting people has taken a strange turn in this season of my life. “Stranger turn” is really the better phrase.
A few months ago, I gave up online dating wholesale. I mean no profiles, no websites, nothing. Almost 100% of the males I met (across different sites) had a very singular, immediate goal (clue: it wasn’t joining a book club together). Some guys couldn’t even get through a cup of coffee or drink without pawing at me in public. I don’t take kindly to having my iced lattes interrupted. Several were handsome (too handsome; jerks). The majority, however, were just not acceptable (by universal human standards) or incapable of going beyond simple dating (or pawing; see my previous post titled “The PowerPoint” for more developed thoughts on this).
Friends. What about your friends? Can’t they introduce you to someone? Hmm. My social circle is made up almost entirely of two demographic categories: women and gay men. My friends are amazing, however, my considerable circle has yielded no love connection(s) – ever. There was one, small glimmer of hope while visiting a BFF in Atlanta a few months ago with a cute, husky, successful guy I hit it off with at a party (and by “hit it off”, I mean we actually engaged in extended conversation – a rarity). I told my friend I was interested in him after I left; she did a swift investigation which turned up a girlfriend (who he mentioned not once in the entire course of the conversations, plural, we had at the aforementioned party). He did, however, offer that I could be some kind of “potential” if that didn’t work out – what? Really? No, Jerkface.
Instagram. Yes, I’ve met a few people recently via Instagram. Don’t judge. My friends, incidentally, are mostly in awe (ok, perhaps “mortified” is more accurate) of this fact. Sometimes the other “gramers” have direct messaged me, sometimes I have messaged them because we had something in common (and generally thought they were attractive). As with all previous online platforms, the insta-batting average has also been abysmal (FYI: Instagram is my favorite social media platform – and not for dating purposes). If I was asked to write a script for a sitcom on dating, I could do it based solely on the characters I’ve met over the last few insta-months: the (far, far too) young (though very cute) guy who I learned works at a local dispensary and is a burgeoning star for some kind of “gamer channel”, the former cop who was loathe to share any details about his past (and complimented his own butt repeatedly), the other cute FL transplant who is now an aspiring screenwriter (he, at least, qualifies as friend material), and, most recently, a guy who shared pretty poignant personal details about his life then told me he had to abruptly go after a call from his roommate. The roommate was supposedly locked out of their house; the guy was a locksmith. There are so many current memes I could put here to capture the face I gave him. The absurdity.
In person. Don’t you ever meet people in person, like normal (this would be one of my BFF’s talking)? Yes, there have been quite a few colorful characters who have materialized in person. [Don’t get excited.] Those brief interactions have all generally ended ridiculously as well. One memorable person (though I can’t remember his name) RAN up to my friend and myself as we were walking out of my apartment a few weeks ago. He gushed about how beautiful we both were (“YO, you ladies are SO beautiful”) and then proceeded to follow me down the street (once my friend was gone), rapid-firing questions at me. Once I said I was dating someone (perhaps an exaggeration), he was still undeterred and implored: “Well, you can have friends, right?” Me: “Not really”. I then ducked into the nearby 7-11 to get away from him (not making this up), shared with the cashier that I was hiding from someone following me (they acted as though the behavior was totally normal), and patiently waited until the coast was clear to dash back to my apartment. The guy had, perhaps, some kind of substance abuse issue that manifested in a specific kind of tick and the inability to focus fully on my face.
Older men, though none have ever run up to me, have always been enamored by yours truly. This was as true when I was 16 and working as a cashier at a pharmacy (old men + needing pills = amorous combo) as it is now. While I want to believe I still look young, I can’t decide if their recent affections greatly confirm or horribly deny that thought. Generally, my friends tell me I look “friendly” (in friend-speak, this translates to: you are too friendly) and this is why all manner of people approach me, regardless of age bracket. One such older admirer (through internet sleuthing, I found he was in his early 50s and possibly married) halted in front of me and professed a long-time “crush” on me (that was apparently years-long since we’re both regulars at the same Coffee Bean). I was flattered. Sadly, through a brief series ofconversations, I can confidently say the union will never happen – he referred to himself as a “boy” during a phone call and then mentioned something about wanting to “hold my hand” via text. What? Are we 11? Is it 1957? NO.
Sidebar: in the majority of my experiences, men will literally stare, raise an eyebrow, smile, and wink or make some other type of facial contortion seemingly indicative of interest without ever directly verbalizing their interest. So, for the few that do, my reaction is: FINALLY. My days of going up to men and saying hi are, incidentally, on hiatus; I have no problem talking to men (well, in rare cases, I am sometimes so taken by a person that I can barely function and either wave wildly at them like a One Direction Fan Girl or become mute – not the most beguiling version of myself in either scenario), but there’s some level of tradition I can admit to still liking in wanting a man to show interest first. Yes, I’m betraying my typically feminist leanings here. I’ve also apparently terrified men by making the first move, to the extent that one guy literally raced out of the Studio City Starbucks I love to perch at several weeks ago after I innocently said, “Hello, I’m Allison”. This was the same guy who watched me intently while I was in line and while ordering, flashed a sexy half-smile and then nodded at me while (sexily) stirring his coffee across the bar. I naively assumed interest. Clearly, those actions actually mean: if you acknowledge me in the slightest, I will become a blur as I sprint past you and out the door.
[Continuing on…] I have found that older men typically admire me differently than younger men – namely, they stare at my face as opposed to various body parts. And I can’t say (minus anyone using the language of a kindergartener), that I would rule anyone older out; however, I’ve generally set my upper dating limits at: a) no more than + 10 years or b) someone with whom I can at least have similar frames of reference. So, as you can imagine, things went downhill quickly when the most recent older admirer told me he “stopped eating red meat in 1976”. Sigh.
I have sworn off men and dating no less than 27 times in the last two years, but I still dream that Mr. (funny, smart, supportive, kind, tall, emotionally-baggage-free and if he looks like The Rock, is insanely wealthy and has a beach house where I can stare at whales breaching in the distance even better) Right will be beamed down from somewhere. Here’s to the universe delivering a dating miracle in 2016. Until then, I’ll just have to continue finding humor in the insanity of it all.