Sexting And Other Accidents
I’m single again.*
Actually, it’s been over a year since my last relationship and my friends have made it clear that it’s time to pair up and shut up. Apparently, my tirades during the Bachelor about the show’s irresponsible perpetuation of the myth of true love are wearing as thin as the dignity of every single person on the show, including the key grip.
To be supportive of my search for a partner, one of my best friends went so far as to suggest how much fun it would be to go through profiles with me on Match.com. I scoffed. Match.com is for oldies, not for cool-ass me. Sure, I’m an oldie—but as a college professor, I spend my days with college students; ergo, I’m practically a college student myself.
I decided that if I was going to try online dating for the first time, I should try a dating site more commensurate with my associated college-age coolness. I knew Tinder, the notorious hook-up site, was too hot for me to handle—I couldn’t even say “hook-up” without a flash-mustache-sweat. If I’m honest, I was hoping to wave at “matches” from across the street and leave my hooks at home in, say, the dishwasher.
But, I overheard my students talking about Bumble, the e-dating site that, in heterosexual matches, the female gets to make the first contact. I sidled up to a cluster of my university students and learned that the swiping right and left that indicated interest or lack there-of was both low-commitment and so very, e-asy.
It was decided. I had a smartphone and was ready to swipe my way to a new relationship on that sunny yellow Bumble site that let women make the first move. (Air horn!)
8 PM: I joined Bumble, set up my profile and began shopping for a man as I would a pair of shoes. It felt strange. I had a vague strategy. I would steer clear of the super-hot dudes posed on sailboats, shirtless, Ray Bans covering their sure-to-reject-me-eyes. I would also swipe left on the men who looked like Dumbledore and would only swipe right on the perfectly age appropriate, acceptable looking man who hit solidly between Playboy and Terrorist.
I will spare you the slow deliberation at which I tried to honor each man’s search for love. Before long I realized that there would be no matching with anyone if I didn’t get with the program of snap-judgments, and start some ruthless swiping. I applied my criteria and got a match. Yay me!
I examined his information. His profile name was Gardener.
I like plants.
He liked movies.
I loved movies.
He was sixty-eight. I am not sixty-eight. “Ann,” I said to myself, “Don’t be ageist.”
After fifteen minutes of writing and deleting, I settled on a friendly yet breezy note.
Then he proceeded to send me photo after photo of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower pictures which on the thumbnail screen of my iPhone looked alarmingly like the vaginas they were apparently meant to obliquely portray.
I consulted my twenty-one-year-old daughter who told me there would be men like these, so I politely said, “No Thank you,” and blocked him. Bold!
My next interaction seemed much more reasonable.
HeresHoping: Hello. You’re attractive. Tell me about yourself.
I did. We messaged a bit, and I went to bed that night and thought, I got this. See Bumble was so right for me.
Ping. It was 2 AM and my phone went off with a bumble message. Concerned and hoping there was no Bumble emergency, I read the message.
(From here on out this is exactly transcribed from my phone).
HeresHoping: Hey. We should meet. You should come over.
Me: HAHA Right…it’s 2 AM
Me: I was asleep
HeresHoping: I figured. Invite me over.
Me: To my house?
HeresHoping: What do you have in mind?
Did I just invite him over?
HeresHoping: What do YOU have in mind?
Sleep I thought. I have sleep in mind.
HeresHoping: Ann. Invite me over.
Slow down Hot Pants. This is Bumble. I’m still in charge. I’ll lighten the mood.
Me: Maybe. Would you like to come over and go through photo albums of my kids? I can show you their artwork from kindergarten that I’ve kept in scrapbooks.
Me: Well, If I’m honest I’m more of the bin type. I have bins not scrapbooks. We could go through all of my bins and talk about how cute my kids are. I don’t want you to think this is a booty call. Make you feel cheap.
I’m so clever #baller
HeresHoping: Is this a booty call or a demand?
Me (sweating): I’m not sure of the ins and outs of the booty call. I might have to Wikipedia that. I’m not really the demanding type. Must Google. But, I think this is a salad.
Of course, I meant solid but it autocorrected to salad….
I think this is a salad response to your query.
HeresHoping: Are you demanding a salad?
Me: No. No salad.
HeresHoping: Are you in a demanding mood?
Me: That sounds a little sexy but not super sure of the context so I would say that mostly I’m a little sleepy and wondering if I brushed my teeth.
HeresHoping: So you’re demanding booty and I should bring a salad.
Me: Dating is hard
I wait because this is all going too fast and even I can see it’s not going well. It’s 2AM and my mind is many hours caffeine free.
HeresHoping: I’ll just come over.
Did he know where I lived? Had I accidently shared my location with the world when I dropped my phone in the toilet earlier in the week and had to store it in rice for the day? I could almost hear my daughter shouting Shut It Down like I was in the middle of a nuclear reactor and a valve had to be turned or I was going to end up with a guy at my front door holding a salad quoting Fifty Shades of Grey.
Then, in the most ridiculous moment of an already-ridiculous night, I wrote:
Me: I don’t speak English
Then I deleted Bumble and considered volunteering in the nursing home where they speak my language and have a firm bedtime.
The next day I told my friend I had tried. I tried to be open and witty and game. I tried to get with the program and do a little flirty texting. I tried. But, I’m too polite, appropriate, and apparently, the world of dating moves blisteringly fast and just because you have an iPhone doesn’t mean you should use it for love.
But, as HeresHoping certainly knew, hope springs eternal. **I’m thinking of moving and I’ve heard it’s super easy to house hunt online.
*I met someone nice and we have appropriate meeting times.
** I moved.