This month I’ve been trying to write an article a week in continuation of my Mental Health Awareness month series. If you’ve been with the blog a while, you’ll have noticed a sprinkle of relationship talk here and there. It’s a topic long avoided as it has always been my most frustrating challenge. Over the years, I’ve become an expert in dating, which, to be frank, no one should become an expert in. Ideally, I want a meet-cute and if you think I curated environments where I was more likely to bump into a cute girl, you’d be correct. Bars, Coffee shops, and book stores. It was a simple plan or so I thought. Pro tip: work on yourself before you start dating, it’ll make life a whole lot easier. But we’re not here for cute stories this Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re here for the dark side of dating. The, “What happens when you install Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, and OKcupid all at once”, when the dating process gets taken to the extreme. So sit back, buckle up, and get ready as I delve into the emotional cost of dating when it becomes a numbers game.
The idea was simple: I wanted to be in a relationship and the more exposure I had, the more likely I was to end up in a relationship (thank you marketing classes!). So I worked on my pickup game, using lines such as “Hey baby, hand me an ice pick, cause I need to break the ice” or “Dein augen sind sie sterne “. Tinder in the beginning was fun, I had a date once in every blue moon and I got to practice having a conversation with a girl (I’m joking!). Some dates were good, others bad but all in all, not terrible. Then I had my college flame that eventually started a forest fire. I demoed well with the European demographic during my time in Germany; Berlin will always hold a special place in my heart. After college, I stopped dating for one simple reason; it’s expensive and I didn’t have money.
Fast forward to a point where I did have money and as they say “You either die the hero or live long enough to watch yourself become the villain”. I’ve been ghosted more times than I can count and where once I was adamant that you should always respond, I now understand. A thousand “Hi Mike’s” later and I can’t be bothered. Unlike the ring cast into the fires of Mordor, even if I were to uninstall tinder, it would always find it’s way back. The constant swiping is short term fun, but not healthy. Tinder is my least successful of the dating apps. First comes Okcupid, second is Bumble, third is Hinge, and Tinder is dead last. The fact that I can list my top dating apps should sound the siren and wave the red flag.
I’m resisting the urge to tell my dating life story right now as I must stay focused. And that’s to answer the simple question, are dating apps healthy? The simple answer is no. I’ll be the first to say it, but truly, fuck capitalism. We have turned what was once sacred into an economy of scale. If you don’t understand how truly messed up that is, I envy you. What once used to be “what you see is all there is” or WYSIATI is now “What you see is all there is, but if I swipe left maybe there is something else” or better known as WYSIATIBIISLMTISE (or in other words, complete gibberish!). My last date was a second date affair, where my lover already had another man lined up and waited until a couple weeks after our second date to tell me. And this coming after I had already friended her on Animal Crossing, so if that doesn’t scream “monster” I don’t know what does. It is absolutely insane. A culture of flirting around, a lack of vulnerability, and a lack of commitment.
So what can be done?
While it would be nice to leave this article without a call to action, I feel like I should share my knowledge. This last year has been a drastic improvement to my love life. Dating has been fun, dating apps have not been. That said, the most fun I’ve had is the flirting and the courting. While I must remember that a relationship is the end goal, there is something to be said about being in your 20’s and simply putting yourself out there. My main rule of thumb is that if you’re going on dates with someone, don’t date other people. That is commitment 101; from the first date to the last date, you have my full attention. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work but that takes away the worry that has become so common in our dating culture; the “am I good enough or will they choose the slightly better option?” Also keep in mind, courting is different than going on dates with someone. If you’re courting, just have fun; go to workshops, get coffee, and simply enjoy yourself; if someone likes you enough, they’ll go on a date with you. My favorite moments have been my meet-cute’s. moments where I go to a zoo brew on a whim and a cute girl comes over to talk to me or drinking at a bar to have someone remember me from last time (not an alcoholic). They’re fun, precious, and should be enjoyed. To combat dating app culture, I recommend reaching out to your friends and let them know you’re single. Hold on, before you jump to conclusions, I am not saying date your friends (although, hmm… I’ve heard worse ideas). I’m saying people are generally willing to help a friend out and there’s no greater joy than playing matchmaker (I think anyways!). Friends can introduce you and if there’s chemistry, future dates! If there’s not, no harm, no foul!
And that’s it! This concludes the Mental Health Awareness month segment on this blog. Originally, I was not going to cover mental health this month. I was thinking I’d write a quick article and be done. Started in 2018, the series was meant to be a one off; a challenge for myself to articulate vulnerability and eventually talk about my Father’s alcoholism. It was one of the most engaged series I ever wrote and one of the series I could truly be proud of. It’s easy to write about travel, poetry, and the occasional book or movie but mental health is still very much taboo. As such, I’ve decided to make the series annual. Last year I did very little during the month of May, writing a single poem. This year is a return to former glory. As mentioned during previous posts, I took some time to evaluate where I wanted this blog to go and a part of that is a continuation of series. While I won’t dive into too much detail here, expect to see more on the subject next week in my “June 2020 update” post. The update posts will be monthly and act as an outline of what I want to accomplish for the coming month. Posts will typically be once every two weeks to avoid burnout. A reminder that every like, follow, and share helps this blog grow; it may not seem like a lot but it has helped this blog grow this year; 2020 is already on course to surpass the entire year of 2019. In addition, please consider supporting me financially. Every donation is truly appreciated and my patreon is pretty rockin’. As my content grows, eventually my Patreon will include more than just writing. I don’t want to dive into too much detail here, but I’ll include a link below if you’re interested in supporting me!
And as always, feel free to comment below! My prompt for this article is: if you could give one piece of dating advice you’ve learned over the years, what would it be? Thanks for reading!
3 thoughts on “No safe harbor: adventures in dating”
I felt this post on a different level. Online dating is hellish especially since ghosting is now a sport.
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It’s definitely been a roller coaster for me; I typically have to take breaks in-between dates just to keep my sanity. Especially in my twenties, it is pure chaos but I am fascinated with finding different approaches to dating.
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True. The thing is, dating is simply fun to many especially during quarantine… A way to kill time