A couple of months ago, I had a thought. Looking back now, I think it was more of a moment of weakness, but the idea formed in my brain, and I took action. I decided to download Tinder, the dating app.
Actually, in my opinion, Tinder is more of a dressed-up hook-up app (i.e. a fancy Grindr). That old expression, “putting lipstick on a pig,” feels like an accurate way to not only describe Tinder but the bulk of dating apps today. Maybe even dating in general, whether you use an app or not. (And if you don’t use an app to date, what’s your secret?)
Still, I gave in and started swiping . . . but my heart wasn’t in it. No one caught my interest; 99 percent of my swipes were to the left. The most exciting prospect I saw on Tinder was an advertisement for McDonald’s. I guess I’m not ready to date, or even “fake” date. Within two hours, I deleted my profile on the app and promptly went looking for Mr. Big–er, a Big Mac. Talk about the ultimate match.
I’ve spent thousands and thousands of words trying to better understand men—gay men, the gay community, dating, sex, love, and life. The conclusion I’ve finally come to is that I don’t know shit. Thank God for therapy, because now it’s someone else’s responsibility to assess my failed romantic life, tell me everything I’ve done and am doing wrong, and give me tips on how to improve.
So, what did my therapist recently recommend I do: try dating.
Unfortunately, he didn’t mean to try dating him. I know, such a cliché, right? That old, crush-on-the-therapist trope has definitely been played out. Also, and much to my dismay, he wasn’t inviting me over for dinner when he told me which area of town he lives in to prove a point that gay men can—and do—actually live and function outside of the gayborhood. Or, in my specific case, Hillcrest. Who knew?
To be fair, his point wasn’t so much for me to date, per se, but to simply put myself back out into the world to see how it felt. To see how I felt. Well, truth be told, I felt like I was now paying to be given homework assignments. I didn’t do homework in high school or college (sorry, Dad), but now, in my early—fine—mid-thirties, I was expected to be productive?
To add insult to injury, I wasn’t sure how to go about dating. Where would I start? Mystery solved: online. Hiding behind my used, Amazon-purchased iPhone seemed to be the safest, easiest, and most convenient place to begin.
Long story short: This bitch went back on Tinder. However, I prepared myself this time. I went into the situation high as a fuckin’ kite. In all honesty, I wasn’t that high, but I did take an edible to help soften the blow that I was willingly heading back into the trenches.
I immediately discovered how picky I am. Hey, after having my heart stomped on with a metal cleat more than once, I’d finally learned to have standards. Or, more bluntly, I was no longer taking any bullshit. Except, what I found on Tinder was a lot of bullshit. So much bullshit, I regretted not having put on my thigh-high boots to wade through it all.
Here’s my message to the guys who post nothing but shirtless pictures or images of themselves flexing: Get over yourself. And to the guys who don’t know how to string a sentence together without producing a grammatical error (one bio had four errors in a 20-word sentence): You’re a moron. If you don’t know how to work a comma, I’m fairly certain you don’t know how to work your di–you know where I’m going with this. Again, sorry, Dad.
Finally, to the guys in open relationships, thruples, and only looking for hookups: Get out of my way. Also, just for good measure, fuck off.
I apologize—seriously. I don’t want to come off as some Judge Judy (too late?). Yet, navigating gay dating is difficult, especially when trying to avoid stepping on landmines that are open relationships, thruples, and hookups. I understand that some guys are only looking for these sorts of connections, and that’s their prerogative. That’s their right. That’s also why there are platforms such as Grindr, Scruff, and Sniffies. Leave some crumbs for the rest of us, the ones wanting a deeper, more meaningful experience.
I’m really not the jaded, bitter, B I T C U Next Tuesday I’m coming off to be. I swear. I’m just tired. No, I’m exhausted. I mean, it’s easier to find the monkeypox vaccine (both doses) in this city than it is to find a man who wants a healthy, monogamous, long-term relationship.
Of course, my Tinder experience hasn’t been completely awful. There have been a few pleasant surprises. The same with Bumble, too. And, before you suggest trying Hinge, Plenty of Fish, Farmers Only, or OkCupid, that’s it! I refuse to download an additional dating app. It’s too much work. Too much work with very little payoff. Besides, most of the options on the apps are exactly the same. These days, no man wants to put his balls in only one basket. A problem in and of itself.
I have to be honest again. I think the main problem here is me. For starters, I’m at a place in life where I’d rather choose carbs over cock. This has led to me having love handles but no love. Again, that’s on me. Further, though, I’m a mess of contradictions.
You see, I’m lonely but not lonely. I’m bored but not bored. I’m content but not content. I’m hungry but . . . no, I’m always hungry. I know exactly what I want, except I don’t know how to go about getting it.
Maybe I can’t find what I want in San Diego. Maybe I have unrealistic expectations. Maybe I’m just impatient. Or maybe I need to have more faith, be more open-minded. I’ve put such a negative connotation on online dating, perhaps I’ve manifested these lackluster outcomes.
After all, the route doesn’t matter; it’s all about the destination. That was a little hokey pokey, even for me, but you get the message. Some guys have met online, even in the darkest of online places, like Craigslist and Scruff, and managed to build a wonderful, healthy, and (surprisingly!), monogamous relationship.
Anything is possible. There are like-minded guys out there. Who knows? One could possibly be waiting for me. No, one is waiting for me. And in the meantime, at least I always have that Big Mac to keep me fulfilled and satisfied.