11. Tony Stark

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It has been a while since my last post, so I decided to get the ball rolling on the Top 16 worst experiences (as of the summer when the bracket was compiled). Coming in at number 11 is Mr. Tony Stark.

 

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All things considered, not bad. He clearly put some time and thought into his response. He carefully looked at my own profile and inserted some of my interests into his message. The rocket scientist/ businessman/ soccer star combo felt a bit like he was trying too hard. But, all in all, he seems nice.

Anyone who has done the online dating scene might tell you how easy it is to get lost in the sea of messages and profiles. I do, certainly, every time I foray into the world of online dating. For one reason or another, I chose not to respond to Lkng4MySoulmate. Maybe someone else at the time had caught my eye or perhaps I was already tired of the dating scene. I did not think much beyond reading the message and moving forward. Until…

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Note the time stamp. July 22 to July 30. He copy and pasted his message verbatim. Same cheesy self-deprecating joke. Same attempt to make an activity connection. Same awkward double-spacing between commas. It is not the first time a non-response on my end has resulted in a double text. They are, typically, a lot shorter though. Limited to “hey,” “hello,” and “will you marry me?” I chuckled a bit, but moved forward.

It wasn’t long before…

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Less patience this time around…

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And again…

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Fittingly published in a 1981 Narcotics Anonymous guide, the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Five identical messages spaced out over a short couple weeks definitely fits this definition.

It was at this point in my dating ventures where I was just tired of the game. Tired of the antics; tired of trying to make conversation; tired of finding little of interest to me. So, I decided to mix things up. I have reads many Buzzfeed articles of women who started responding to guys using only quotes from a movie or TV show or character. I jumped head first into my 24 hours using only quotes from 10 Things I Hate About You, a 1999 teen rom-com. (The resulting conversations will be featured in a later post). My sassy side just came out.

I finally responded to Mr. Tony Stark quoting the ever-ridiculous Ms. Perky, the guidance counselor.

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He seemed nice enough. But… at some point… you’ve got to cut your losses, bud. In my (sometimes very painful) own experience, no reply is indeed a response. Call it quits and keep fishing. We were, after all, using Plenty of Fish.

I don’t quite see the same charm in Lkng4MySoulmate as is portrayed in the big screen Tony Stark. I am sure it took a lot of persistence and gumption to become a “billionaire, playboy philanthropist” who moonlights as a metal-laden super hero. And trust me, Lking4MySoulmate definitely shared the persistent character trait. All in all, I hope he did find his soulmate–even if it took a few too many tries.

 

 

13. Boring Ryan

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Number thirteen…

Let me introduce you to Boring Ryan. There isn’t much to say about him, honestly. We didn’t get much into the “getting to know you phase.”

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Now let me clarify. From a very early age, I was told that “only boring people get bored.” The lady who said that was one of the most inspiring and influential teachers I know. Boredom can be incredibly productive, mind you. Boredom has a purpose. It puts our minds in a state of desire for new stimuli. Initial boredom can propel people to bring out their creativity and imagination. My only qualm is when people perpetually complain about being bored. Where is their drive for adventure? Why must they always look to someone else to fix their boredom? Why is your boredom only fixed through others entertaining you?

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I’m not above playful banter. But I know nothing about Ryan. I’ve never met him and we haven’t had any conversation of substance. He was not a fan of my observation.

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I grabbed the screen shot moments before he “unmatched” with my profile. Had I not been actively on my phone, I would have never seen his response at all. Honestly, his response doesn’t even deserve to be picked apart piece-by-piece. He does not know me well enough to assert I was “looking for something serious.” He never asked. I never said.

This is a subset of current dating culture, though. The kind where any small amount of possible rejection insights an explosive reaction that puts blame on the other party. I’m not sure whether he would have reacted similarly had this interaction been in person. But the fear that it might happen sits in the back of girls minds every time they get hit on in public, or catcalled, or even just approached by a stranger.

I stand by my original statement. He’s boring.

 

14. Bad Teacher

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In fourteenth place… we have the Bad Teacher story brought to you by Andrew. It started as a normal conversation. Certainly nothing to write home about.

 

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Nothing out of the ordinary. Just regular small talk to wade into conversation intended to get to know someone.

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“Thanks.” I acknowledged the compliment. In general, this is something with which I tend to struggle. I don’t know how to take a compliment and in that regard I’ve always felt socially awkward. Perhaps it’s social programming or widely held societal standards or just my inherent awkwardness at times. But it’s there. So, I acknowledged the compliment and tried to move on.

 

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I wasn’t buying his story, but I wasn’t intending to call him out on it. I had barely started talking to the guy. Back then, when I first started the online dating venture, I wasn’t nearly as bold. Before I could even ask him clarifying details about that particularly ambitious line of work, Andrew once again redirected the conversation.

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It was at this point my sassy side started to shine through. In general, I think this type of conversation is frustrating. There are so many implications with the “hot teacher” archetype. Regardless of my students’ assessment of my appearance (by the way, gross and I don’t want to know), they learn. I am just as vivacious with speech in my classroom as I am online. I really don’t accept any nonsense in my class. But the implication that is perpetuated by the “hot teacher” role, especially when used to flirt here, is that a student may have a chance to be with that teacher. Absolutely unacceptable, unprofessional and uncalled-for. And so icky. My profession is my passion and my livelihood. It is not some sick, twisted fantasy.

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And once again here, accept the compliment and move on. My frustration is building, though. I clearly am not engaging in this line of conversation. So, once again I try to pivot to a more appropriate topic.

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Yes! Okay! Now we have something in common. I love Game of Thrones– a show on which I could spend hours discussing. This will be perfect to expand our conversation.

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Annnnnnnd… there it is. Again. I grew up playing baseball (no, not softball–perhaps a rant for a different post). Three strikes and you’re out, buddy. It’s time to shut this down. Clearly he isn’t picking up the fact that this raunchy teacher-talk isn’t going to happen.

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Thanks, Andrew, for the conversation. Hopefully he learned at least one thing from this teacher: pick up better on social cues. On to the next…

 

15. No Chill Logan

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In 15th place… No Chill Logan.

Logan has this name because he literally has no chill.

Logan, like many others, initiated contact by utilizing my love of mathematics. Typically, my profile always has a math quote from some professor. This accomplishes two tasks: 1) communicates my passion for mathematics and 2) scares away (some of) those who aren’t the brightest bulbs. Logan, however, was not dissuade by my passive assertion of my intellect.

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All things considered, he probably would have been better off to just go for the pick-up line. Clearly there is one from Google buried in his opener. And pointing out that he “isn’t smart enough for it” wasn’t going to be doing him any favors. But, this is not why Logan made the cut in the tournament…

No, Logan made it to the Battle Royale of the top 16 because he has no chill. Note the time stamp on the Tinder message? 10:36pm.

I do not know what made Logan believe that responses to Tinder messages needed to be favorable and immediate. Somewhere in his mind, though, he believed that I should have responded to his message right away. Not even 12 hours later, he sent a follow up message… on a completely different dating app!

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Seriously…? No wonder this lad is single. He has no chill and some control issues to say the least. I don’t appreciate guilt or negative communication being used against me to try to manipulate a conversation. I cannot imagine it works in his favor very often, either.

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He apologized, in case you were wondering. And while I appreciate someone taking some ownership over their actions, I have no interest in associating with someone who instinctively jumps to hateful speech or manipulative tactics.

In fourteenth place is… Bad Teacher.

So… We Swipe Again

When I first started online dating in 2015, I had some pretty hard and fast rules regarding the profiles I would say “yes” or swipe right on. When it comes to photos specifically, I use some loosely guided rules to govern my interactions.

  • Shirtless photo? Pass.
  • Photo with a bunch of women? Pass.
  • Photo with kids? Pass.
  • No photo at all? Hard pass.

 

This one particular person had a profile photo that seemed incredibly arrogant.
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Hmmm… I do not appreciate being told what I care about. I also do not appreciate being told that money is the only thing I could/should care about. That being said, I took a screenshot of his profile to humor my friends and swiped left on this money-centric male.

 

Fast forward a year. Whose profile do I come across but Ryan FICO?

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I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I just couldn’t… I still had the screen shot in my phone. I just had to congratulate Mr. FICO on the increase in his credit score. Taking a chance, I swiped right. It was a match!

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He responded with amusement. I volleyed back with my typical sass.

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Alright. I concede that finding entertainment value from online dating is precisely how I maximize my online investment. I do, however, take offense to the stereotype about females in general. Not enough offense to react, but just enough to irk me.

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We continued to interact for a while. We even exchanged phone numbers. At one point we were talking about our list of flaws. For me… Well, I’m abrasive and intimidating. I have trouble saying no when people ask me to add to my ever-expanding list of responsibilities. And I have this thing where I don’t give up on people even when it becomes parasitic to me. He also responded with a list of his flaws. (Pardon the messages being out of order).

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None of these are particularly life-altering. I did throw a red flag up when he said he typically tends to get bored of people quickly. Not an ideal quality in someone who is looking for a mate. I rolled my eyes at blaming his “high IQ” on this particular flaw. My intellect is rather high, but I don’t see people as disposable or boring because of it. In fact, my gifted teacher taught me something I still quote to this day– only boring people get bored.

The longer we talked, the less I was interested. His arrogance went well beyond the surface of a FICO credit score profile picture. It wasn’t long before we stopped communicating.

Fast forward a year. I was recently single and looking for some entertaining distractions. Look who popped up in my line of swiping. None other than Ryan FICO. Though I wasn’t interested, I still am an opportunist.

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Once I’ve made up mind, it rarely gets changed. I am open to many people but I trust my gut instinct. And my gut said very clearly “this guy is not the one.” While I respect intellect, financial knowledge and a sense of humor, I have no interest in arrogance. Confidence, sure. I just don’t care to interact with someone who expects you to earn their attention. Hard pass. We never met in person.

While Tinder is still downloaded, I almost never launch the app. Recently, though, I got a notification on my phone saying I had a new message.

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Update: I goaded him into checking his credit score one last time. In case anyone is curious… for the first time in this three year swiping game, his score went down.

 

Horrible First Lines: How to Not Start an Online Conversation

When looking for love online, I’ve heard some of the most ridiculous attempts at opening communication. Sure, I do actively pursue a meaningful connection through internet-based means. But I am also realistic about the kinds of encounters I open myself to when using avenues such as dating apps. I’m realistic because I have experienced first hand the attempts some men make at initiating a conversation. Some crude, some rude. All unacceptable.

All of the following are real first-liners guys have used to open conversation with me.


The Insult

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If you’re looking to start a conversation with me, do not start with insults. You are opening yourself up to a conversation for which you are completely unprepared.


The Pick-Up Line

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The pick-up line is not always a swing and a miss. But, if you are going to commit to something so cheesy, at least bring your A-game. Would it kill you to spellcheck?


The Emoji

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We all know what that emoji means… and this is the laziest way to go about it. Spoiler alert: second impression was also not impressive.


The GIF

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All things considered, saying hi in a gif is not the worst thing in the world. I would just appreciate slightly more effort. Maybe a question or a fun fact about yourself. “Hi” does nothing more than put the pressure on me to provide substance.


The Politics

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I understand that having equal footing in political ideologies is important in a relationship. Just don’t start with tackling that beast. Ask me about my favorite color or if I enjoy the sunset more than the sunrise.

Besides, does he really even want to know my answer to that question?


The Try-Hard

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Since neither of us had exchanged words, I do not see how I was playing “hard to get.” Needless to say, his attempt at a shortcut into the world of “outrageous flirting” did not go as successfully as he had hoped.


The Proposal

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I mean… at least he knows?

Pro-tip: if your end game is legitimately finding a spouse, do not scare him/her off with an opening-line proposal. At the very least learn their last name!


The Desperation

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Even back then, I could not pass up an opportunity to offer feedback. His approach was an exclamation of relief that does not translate well over text. I offered him plenty of advice, by the way. From opening lines to profile improvement plans. He got defensive and wrote off my feedback. I was just trying to help him find someone else to be interested (as I was no longer). Oh well!


 

Dating is hard. And striking up conversations with a total stranger could led to embarrassment and disappointment. It could also led to something great. So, here I am, trying to not give up hope in this muddled world of online dating. Until that day, my sassy side will pervade my online presence.