“WOW!!!! Those are some mighty titts [sic] you got there [fire emoji x3]” is a thing that a person actually wrote to me on a dating app.
Well, thank you, kind sir! I’m happy that you think my tits are mighty and even more so that you took 60 seconds or so out of your day to write to me to tell (compliment?) me about my monumental jugs. I mean, I think they’re pretty great myself, but I don’t know if I’ve ever thought of them as mighty. And to think, all this time, here I was just living my life, not realizing the true immensity and prodigy of my rack. You’ve really opened my eyes and my life is different now. Nay, it’s better.
This is online dating, folks. This is what it is. Of course, not every note I get is of this ilk, nor is every man who reaches out to me to start a conversation, ostensibly in the hope it leads to meeting up for a date as, ummmm, poetic (?) as this gem. But this is really what I experience quite regularly.
In my last musing about dating, I think the tone was decidedly upbeat. Or optimistic, at the very least. My general thesis was that online dating is hard and weird and exhausting, but sometimes it’s really interesting and fun and I had hope that, with the belief that there’s a lid to every pot, if I just persevered, I might find my lobster after all.
I have to report, however, my general outlook these days is less optimistic and more, I don’t know, dystopian? Maybe I truly have reached a point of over-saturation in the online dating game, or perhaps I’ve finally reached the pinnacle of dating fatigue and have stopped being able to see the forest for the trees, or whatever appropriate saying fits here.
I haven’t really been active in the dating scene for just over a year now. After my last break-up, I decided I needed a breather. But, occasionally I tentatively dip my foot back into the dating pool (or, puddle, as I once referred to it) to see what it’s like out there, to see if anything’s changed or perhaps, and more to the point, to see if I’ve changed. So far, no dice. And I feel impelled to point out here that that could be totally about me, or if not totally, at least equally or partly. Perhaps I’m not mentally or emotionally in the right space to be out there right now. But, I have given it the ol’ college try a handful of times.
Case in point; I went on a date a few weeks ago, and while I wouldn’t describe it as a disaster, and didn’t even get a juicy or funny story out of it, it did succeed in confirming for me that perhaps I should stay out of the pool/puddle for a while longer. Or maybe forever. It was just a really boring date. He was a boring guy, with nothing interesting to say, who seemed incapable of basic conversation. I was giving it my all, I was being my charming, charismatic self. Hey, I am many things, but boring is definitely not one of them. I am self aware and do not feel any shame in proclaiming that I am a great date. I mean, I always joke that I’m so chatty and personable that I can make conversation with a lamp post, but this actually felt like having a conversation with a lamp post. No offence to lamp posts.
As I sporadically go online to read the emails I’ve been sent, or to browse through profiles, and more rarely, to respond to emails or even reach out to men who seem interesting to me, more and more I’m filled with a sense of….I don’t know, exactly. Exasperation? Annoyance? Disgust? Probably a little of all of that, culminating in what can only be described as an eye roll so deep, I feel like I’m staring at the back of my skull.
Beyond having to endure emails like Mister Mighty McTitsface’s, and sifting through other more boring, uninspired, clichéd or often literally cut-and-pasted messages, there is an undertone emanating from these sites which makes me fundamentally uncomfortable. There’s a sense that these men who message me think that I owe them something, just by virtue of being on a dating app. Like, even without real context, or having met in person yet, there is this really unnerving undercurrent that I get from a lot of men that there is an “implicit contract” in dating (or even just in interacting online) that I must adhere to in order to pass Go and collect my $200.
I posted the other week on Facebook about an article I read about this guy who was suing his date because she was texting during a movie (in a theatre). There’s more to the story than that, of course. But my post was about how I recognized a lot of what that particular dipshit Dudebro was saying in the interactions I have had with men online, both before and after we’ve met in person and it sparked all kinds of outrage in me. I said, perhaps boldly, about that particular example, that this is what rape culture is. It’s not as obvious as questioning a woman about what she was wearing or how much she’d had to drink when she was raped is, but the underlying presumption is there; it’s the notion that women enter into an “implicit contract” when interacting with men, that men are “owed” something in exchange for going on a date with a woman, and that, by extension, if a man doesn’t get from a woman what he feels he is “owed” he very securely assumes that she is defective, a bitch, or worse. In other words, she broke the contract and is therefore a garbage person and there is nothing wrong with him.
The point is that with the ubiquity of online dating, and how dating culture has evolved in the wake of the internet, people’s expectations of dating have changed. Drastically. I have a foot in both worlds, having dated before the rise of online dating, and obviously, now being fully immersed in it. I believe that, along with the damaging illusion of choice inherent in the endeavor of online dating, these expectations have contributed to a really toxic and sometimes, actually dangerous environment in which women and men blindly throw themselves. I believe it’s also why, and I will only speak for myself here, I am convinced at every turn that everyone lies and everyone cheats.
And that predominantly, despite being on an online dating app, most men (and maybe women too, I really don’t know) on said apps, have little interest in actually dating.
I have never, thankfully, found myself in a real position of being (or feeling) in danger, but I’ve definitely had creepy experiences. And I could list some of them here, but I don’t think that serves the point.
I think the point I’m trying to make here is that online dating has evolved (devolved?) into an environment in which the Mister Mighty McTitsfaces of the world (or at least on the internet) feel totally justified, comfortable and I would argue, emboldened to send emails to women about their tits.
This is the world of online dating. It’s no wonder I need a break from that shit. Wouldn’t you?