Why Do Daters Pull The Fade Out?

The amazing disappearing man.

The amazing disappearing man.

We’ve all had it happen at least once. You’re dating someone and things seem to be moving at a perfectly nice clip. You see each other once a week or so, hooking up here and there, and generally having an enjoyable time of things. (Incidentally, I never hook up here and there, unless here and there are both the bedroom, with the lights off, on Saturday night at exactly 11:21.) You and your mate aren’t getting engaged any time soon, but you do text each other a lot, and if that’s not commitment, I don’t know what it is. Then all of a sudden, without warning, the person disappears. No, “Hey, I‘m going out of town for a while,” or “I don’t really think this is working out,” or “There’s a guy in the other room with a knife and I’m pretty sure he’ll kill me, so…adios.” They just fade out. All communication stops, and you’re left to figure out where they went. Were they kidnapped? Did they get eaten by a bear? Or were they just too wussy to end things with actual human language? Or is it something else entirely?

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking about the fade out. Here’s one from loyal reader Anna…

This keeps happening to me: I meet a guy OKC who’s good looking, sweet, and all around good company. So, this guy will continue to ask me out as well as text/call in between our dates, and we’ll go on 6-7 dates over the course of about a couple of months, and then suddenly he will just stop talking to me. I show interest but do not act clingy or super attached. Can you please answer me, from a man’s point of view, why after about a month or two the guy will just stop talking to me?

Bonetown International

Bonetown International

I will, Anna, but I fear you won’t like it, because not only is it infuriating, it’s also a cliche: he’s just not that into you. From what I can tell, men do this is A LOT. Like more often than they do anything else. If they brush their teeth twice a day, they fade out at least four. At first, because I’m a neanderthal, I assume this was tied to sex. Either the guys had gotten sex and felt they were ready to move on, or it seemed like sex was going to be too difficult to acquire, so they decided to jump to greener (easier) pastures. But apparently that’s not the case. After talking to more women, it’s clear that will fade out after a few emails, a handful of dates, or several weeks of visits to Bonetown International Airport. They really don’t care. Either they’ve lost interest in you or developed greater interest in someone else, and, they figure, why waste everyone’s time with genuine adult communication? Let’s just stop talking and sooner or later the message will sink in.

But here’s my question: is this really so bad? What would you rather do, hear someone tell you they’re not that into you, or figure it out after five consecutive nights without receiving a text? Because during those nights you can do whatever you want. Watch Shark Tank. Bake cookies. Solve crimes with your wise but smart-alecky cat detective Inspector Whiskerton. You’re getting dumped either way. Either via uncomfortable conversation, or slow realization after you spend a week having fun elsewhere. I don’t know about you, but I’m picking Whiskerton all the way. My female readers seem to feel this approach lacks sufficient respect (Which they would never say if they met the Inspector. He takes no guff from nobody), but what exactly does respect you? It’s a lovely concept, but it’s entirely intangible. Doesn’t the fade out allow everyone a more peaceful, dignified ending than they’d be getting otherwise? It’s like the Dr. Kevorkian of breakup techniques, right?

While I don’t think I’ve ever personally done the fade out, I talked to readers, FEMALE readers, who vouch for its value. Here’s Grace:

Kid never faded on the fade.

Kid never faded on the fade.

I see fade outs as a really gentle way of telling someone “hey, I’m not wild about you” without having to say it, and then be faced with the follow-up question of “Why?” I always explicitly tell the people I can stand “no thanks,” but if it’s a really nice person and I like them but I know, like KNOW, that they don’t blow my socks off, it’s easier to fade out because I don’t exactly know why I’m not 100% into them. I just know they’re not my guy. And trying to explain that to someone is a pretty tricky thing to do. I mean, what do you say? “I like you as much as I’m going to, and I want to look for something else.” Yeah, that’s gonna feel great.

See! I can’t be a total asshole if women agree with me, right? But Grace has more surprises for us.

The fade out is in no way gendered behavior. In fact, I’ve done it way more than guys have done it to me; and it has NOTHING to do with internet dating. In the 21st century, the people we date are more likely to be removed from our social circles, so no one has to explain to people why someone doesn’t work out. This makes the fade super easy. Had it been an option 50 to 100 years ago, everyone would have done it then too. No mess, no confrontation, a no without being a no. Isn’t that better? Why has telling someone you don’t like them come to be a sign of respect? Insults are polite now?

Wow. I’m starting to like Grace. And starting to not like the idea of dating 100 years ago. Do you think you had to pick up chicks in your horse and buggy? In the end, Grace makes the boldest case of all, that fading out is actually a sign of maturity.

What’s cowardly about walking away? Isn’t it kinda brave to know what you want instead of stopping and explaining everything to everyone? And I’ve been faded out on too. I’m fine with it. Hit it, quit it, still like it, but don’t quite love it? Move on into the wind….

So what do you think? Are you with me, Grace, or Anna? Is the disappearance act an acceptable one, or pure cowardice?

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Posted in Advice, Internet Dating is Weird | 53 Comments

How is This My Match? Scary 21 Year-Old Edition

When I introduced How is This My Match? some months ago, it was in an effort to keep things brief. The internet is designed to be short and sweet, and my posts tend to be more long and sour. Because when you’re discussing things as important as a girl who can’t stop wearing holiday sweaters, you need a lot of words to capture the complexity of the situation. I wanted to keep writing long, but also have shorter pieces that would allow you guys to zip in and out quickly and help me post more often. So HiTMM? was born, and so far you guys really seem to dig it.

Initially I asked you guys not to send me your terrible matches. Because what happened was, I’d giggle at your hilarious descriptions, then I’d check our their profile myself, then they’d see me checking them out, and not realize I was doing it more for laughs than for sexies. So they’d message me, I wouldn’t quite what to do, and everything would get real uncomfortable real fast. Leading, at one point, to me getting an email which read…

(clearing throat, putting on reading glasses…)

“You look familiar. Did I sleep with you?”

And what exactly am I supposed to do with that? So, I asked you to stop forwarding me the bizarrely unsuitable people that Match and OkCupid have bizarrely deemed suitable. But now I say… screw it. Things have gotten quite busy here at the It’s Not a Match home office (i.e. my couch and/or toilet), and with talks of a second book on the horizon, I will take inspiration where I can get it. So please, send me your tired, your poor, your hungry, so that I may mock them and the internet dating service from whence they have come. Seriously. Itsnotamatch@gmail.com. Let’s make it happen!

Wanna know what kind of thing I’m looking for? Well how about this… I mean, How is This My Match?

21 year old woman
Maryland, United States

seeking men 20-25
within 25 miles of Maryland, United States

Alright, look. There are plenty of problems with this, which I’ll get to, but let’s start with the basics. I AM 35 YEARS OLD. I know you know this, Match, because when I click on the profile of myself on your site, it tells me I’m 35. And there’s a picture of me right there to prove it. In fact, if one day I got into a terrible accident and hit my head and needed, more than anything else, to figure out how damn old I was, I would look it up on Match.com, because I know that’s a place where saying exactly how old you are is important. This young lady is seeking a man between 20 and 25. 35 is not a number that’s between 20 and 25. It’s just not. Not even close. And my desired age range starts at, I think, 31, which means the youngest person I would even think about dating is six years older than her most ancient, grandfatherly possibility. That is not good. Honestly, I don’t even really know what algorithms are, but I would think they’d be able to parse a complicated mathematical minefield such as this.

Oh, also, Los Angeles, where I live, is not within 25 miles of Maryland. It’s closer to within 2500 miles. Do you not have a map, Match? You should get a map. Or just use Google Maps. That’s easy too. Or MapQuest, I think that’s still around. That one’s fun because it makes it sound like a dangerous journey….MapQuest!

All of this is to say, Match, that before I’ve even gotten to the specifics of this young lady’s profile, the idea of me dating her is completely preposterous. You might as well have recommended a 75 year-old man. (Smash cut to: Me on a date with Larry King. Confused, but not altogether unhappy. Smash back.)

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty…

Her Headline: Like I sayed I am crayz I say what I want to I dont care what ppl think of or say.

Uh oh.

Profile: I’m out going girl I love to go out and have fun as long as I dont get in trobley. When u get to now me I am crazy amd radom. I dont care what ppl say about me or think about me. I can be funny sometimes. 

I would like him to be funney like me for who I am not lie to me us me treast me the same no matter who we are around. Trust me.

Well, I think well all like to have fun as long we don’t get in trobley. Sometimes I feel like I’m the kinda guy that trobley just follows, you know? Oh, pardon me. U now?

The authentically prepared dutch dish, Radom.

Hey, you guys read this site. I make typos. Sometimes I make lots of them, and truth be told, I’m not all that concerned with rooting them out. There’s probably typos in this very post. It’s a blog, I’m not getting paid to write it, you’re not paying to read it, so I feel we can all survive a botched sentence and here and there. But come on, this shit is insane. You’re telling me the algorithms can’t pick up “Male – Writer” and “Female – Thinks ‘Radom’, ‘Funney’, and ‘Treast’ Are Words”, and sense there’s a problem?

College: ITT Technical Institute, Owings Mills, MD

Oh yeah, I know that place. I think it’s within 25 miles of my house.

Favorite Things: I like all kind of music. when I watch tv it is mosty paranormal. I love horroe moves.

I feel like I’m trapped in a horroe movie right now.

Last Read: I dont read books.

You don’t say.

How is this my match?!

I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours! (In as uncreepy a way as possible…)

Posted in How is This My Match? | 10 Comments

Great Date Ideas If You Absolutely, Positively Refuse to Drink

Drunk_06Alright, fine, have it your way. Enough of you have written in demanding non-alcoholic date ideas that I suppose I should stop being such a jerk and give you what you want. As regular readers of the site (i.e. geniuses) know, I am a strong advocate of drinking dates. Devoted, even. Honestly, there are alcoholics who aren’t as passionate about drinking on dates as I am. No, I don’t have a drinking problem, or so I tell my doctor when he starts getting pushy with the pamphlets, but I do enjoy the relaxation alcohol brings. Especially when you’re meeting a stranger you may or may not end up tongue kissing in a few hours.

However, as many of you have reminded me, alcohol is simply not an option for everyone, and truth be told, there was a time when I was a sober dater myself. There weren’t a lot of second dates, and there sure as hell weren’t a lot of tongue kisses, but that’s not so terribly uncommon for me, so let’s not dwell on the negative. I am confident that 0 proof romance can occur, if not for me, then certainly for you. So if you’re committed to a booze-free evening, here are some itineraries I can recommend.

Sexy times.

Sexy times.

1. Get a Lemonade Together. The major thing you have going for you when you propose a non-alcoholic night is that it’s cute as hell. So innocent, so demure, it’s the sort of date a teddy bear would suggest. If, for you some reason, you’re into dating teddy bears. And when you’re looking for innocent and demure, it’s hard to beat a nice cold glass of lemonade. I had a friend in college who swore by the lemonade date. It’s so sweet and non-threatening, he found it was almost impossible for women to turn down. Of course, I don’t know where the hell you go to get lemonade once you’ve made this adorable little plan together. It’s not like there are lemonade stores on every corner. Do you just go buy a Snapple? Or wander the streets until you find some kid with a stand? I don’t really know. So, first find somewhere that’s not a convenient store that sells lemonade, then start putting out the offers. I promise you’ll get some interest, both teddy bear and otherwise.

2. Trivia Nights. Trivia is objectively fun. I can’t think of a trivia night where I haven’t enjoyed myself, even as it’s become increasingly clear that I have, at best, a third grader’s understanding of facts and data. Also, these things are usually in a bar, so if your date drinks but you do not, it’s an easy way for both of you to feel comfortable. Drinks are available but not required, there’s plenty of room for conversation, but also there’s the game to fall back on if things get slow. There’s really only one drawback to the triv night experience, but it is a crucial one. I know this is a little bit sensitive, but you should probably pick a different date activity if you’re, well… kinda dumb. It’s just awkward when you’re there with one other person and you keep getting everything wrong. And it’s not really a turn on when you start insisting that Bob Dole totally was the President “sometime in the 90′s.” Believe me, I know. So if you feel like you know your stuff, pub quiz it up. Oh, and here’s a tip: if you want to impress him or her with the greatest trivia night team name ever created, it’s Trivia Newton John. Use it wisely, my friends.

Hey baby, what you doin' later?

Hey baby, what you doin’ later?

3. Dessert. Let’s face facts: were it not for the desire to look good and the hope of living past the age of 45, we’d all be eating cake 100% of the time. Oh, is that some chocolate cake you have there? Give it to me. Carrot cake, yep, put that shit in my mouth too. Red velvet? Not my favorite, but what the hell, toss some of that down my gullet as well. And this is to say nothing of pies, cookies, ice cream, brownies, or blondies. I swear to god if blondies had a profile on OkCupid I would email them over and over until an administrator had to step and tell me stop. And then I’d probably message them some more, because what the hell, they’re blondies! So why not capitalize on our collective love of something sweet and ask your date out to your favorite dessert locale? So what if they’re watching their figure–they’ve just been given the perfect excuse to indulge. It was suggested as a date! Can’t be a party pooper, gotta eat some rocky road! Plus, whatever you have will probably have less calories than the alcohol you were gonna drink anyway. Presuming you order the same thing I do, double piña coladas with extra sugar.

4. The Arcade. I have been on one date to a Dave & Buster’s in my life, and it was a great time. Mostly because the ski ball machine broke and started spitting out tickets for five minutes straight. Honestly, I haven’t felt that much giddiness and joy since the first time I saw the Golden Girls. Later my date rejected my advances, but I DID go home with a stuffed monkey wearing a Dave & Buster’s t-shirt, so I guess I got the last laugh. Seriously though, any night that includes Wackamole is already a success. Try it out.

5. Bowling. I discourage billiards as a date activity because many of us (read: me) are terrible at it. But everyone’s terrible at bowling. It’s the great equalizer. So throw some balls, have some laughs, and if you really need some hooch, sneak your flask out while you partner is taking their turn. If you’re one of those weirdos who carries a flask (read: also me). And how can you not love a date that forces you to rent shoes? If that’s not as enjoyable as a stiff drink, I don’t know what is.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

How to Cook Dinner For Your Date in 25 EASY Steps

school-dinner3_150_1506224a

Don’t let this happen to you.

As we’ve said many times, you should not/must not/can not go to dinner on a first internet date. It’s expensive, takes too long, and locks you in for an hour with someone you might want to murder before the Bloomin Onion arrives. (Also: don’t go anywhere they serve food that’s “Bloomin.” Never trust a missing “g.”) In fact, there’s only one idea worse idea than dining out, and that, of course, is cooking in.

Let’s be honest, you’re not a good cook. Your friends say you are, but they’re probably just being nice. I mean look, they let you wear that shirt to work today without saying a damn thing, so how can they be trusted? OK, I guess it’s possible you’re good in the kitchen, but do you really want to take that chance on a first date, or an early date of any kind? You’ve gotta invite a stranger over to your house, a move that has Jeffrey Dahmer written all over it, then deal with the stress of not ruining the food. And having enough to talk about. And not ruining the food. I’m not sure how long I’d wait for a home-cooked dinner date, but I will say this: it’s longer than you wait for sex. If sex is date 3, then dinner is date 33. BJs before Beef Bourguignon, I always say. Well, I don’t, but I’d really like to.

There will come a time however when every man must cook for his woman. You’ll go out to dinner several times, then she’ll probably cook for you once or twice, then it will come time for you to return the favor. This is a right of passage, a thing you must do, and a thing you almost certainly screw up. Which is why, loyal reader, I am here to guide you. Because believe me, I’ve already screwed up so many more things than you have

So here now is a guide to cooking dinner for your date, in a mere 25 steps.

Always an option.

Always an option.

1. Do everything you can to convince your date not to let you cook dinner. “Hey, I hear Applebee’s is doing some really interesting things lately!” or “I wonder how many Flaming Cheetos it takes to constitute a whole meal?” and “My oven was stolen by a robber” are phrases you should consider.

2. Do not say “I really can’t cook.” She’ll just think you’re being a guy, and that obviously you can cook one or two things. Say, “I burned a girl once in a fire.” When she asks how, say only, “Pork chops.” She’ll laugh, but at least you tried to explain your shortcomings in advance. Remember that for later when she starts to yell.

3. When she says, “Come on. It’ll be fun. I’ll like it no matter how it tastes, because you made it,” handle it with aplomb. Reply “OK, no problem, honey. I’ll whip something up no problem.” with confidence and panache.

4. Cry.

5. Consider your go-to recipes. Realize that a spoonful of peanut butter on top of a peeled banana is more of a breakfast thing, and that tuna fish sandwiched between two thin slices of pickle Stackers is more of a eat alone in the dark then immediately wash your entire body thing.

6. Cry again.

cry7. Check your freezer. Certainly there’s something to eat in there. Hmmm. Strawberry Fruit Bars and ice. Google “Dinner recipes with ice as main ingredient.” When autofill completes the sentence for you, realize that means you’ve searched for this exact phrase before. Take stock in your life and consider making some serious changes.

8. Make no serious changes.

9. Turn on The Food Network for inspiration. As Ina Garten introduces Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, start to feel a swell of confidence. You can make that. It’s just chicken and a bunch of garlic. How easy is that?

10. Watch the show for more than 90 seconds and realize there’s actually a bunch more ingredients required. Begin to feel depressed. Yell, “What sort of a name is Ina anyway?!” at no one in particular, then eat a room temperature Pop Tart. Obviously it’s going to be a while before dinner is served, and you’ll need your energy.

11. Take a nap. You’ve earned it.

12. Call your mom and ask what you should do. Leave a voicemail even though she has no idea how to check her voicemail.

13. Look at pictures of food on friends’ Instagram accounts for inspiration. Realize that is only making you hungry, and eat another Pop Tart.

14. When your date texts to ask how dinner is coming, don’t respond. That’s what a true chef would do in the midst of battle. As far as you know. Also, you’re afraid that if you respond you may start crying a third time and you don’t want the neighbors to worry. Well, worry more than they already do.

Fuck you.

Fuck you.

15. Accuse your cat of holding out on you. You’ve seen Ratatouille, if that friggin’ cartoon rat could cook, so can kitty. Discontinue your interrogation when she begins to lick her own butt.

16. Remember that in college, a friend’s mom told you that the easiest way to make a real dinner is to buy chicken breast and salad dressing and put it all in a ziploc bag overnight. It’s 5pm, so overnight is out of the question, but you are nothing if not cool under pressure.

17. Go to the grocery store and see that every register has a line five customers deep. Ask “What are all these idiots doing here?” aloud. Be surprised when an old lady next to you says, “Buying dinner, you idiot.” Promptly leave the store.

18. Mutter “Fucking old ladies” under breath as you walk to the car.

19. Pull into 7-11, with 30 minutes until your date is due to arrive. The good news is, there’s no line. The bad news is they don’t sell chicken breast or salad dressing. Pick up some turkey slices and Cool Ranch Doritos instead. That’s basically the same thing, right?

20. Arrive home and combine your two ingredients in a dish you’ve dubbed Crushed Ranch Turkito Explosion. Take one bite and spit it out into the sink.

21. Consider which restaurant you can order takeout from that will be good enough that your girlfriend will want to eat it, but bad enough that it’s at all plausible you made it. Consider getting food from the italian place and putting pickle Stackers in it, as that’s something you’d actually do. You know, what? Screw it. Just do that.

22. When your date arrives, dish out the pasta and say “Voila!” without laughing.

23. Be relieved beyond words when she pulls out a bag of chinese food and says “Thank you for trying, but I brought real food!” Wonder how you met such an awesome girl online. Give her a kiss.

24. Eat the chinese food and promise that next week you’ll cook for real.

25. Repeat.

Posted in Advice, Internet Dating is Weird | 4 Comments

How is This My Match: Anal Sex Edition

"Damn it, why isn't Brian picking up?!"

“Damn it, why isn’t Brian picking up?!”

You know that feeling you have when you’re separated from your cellphone for an extended period of time? Like, maybe the battery dies and you don’t have your charger, or you leave for work in the morning and accidentally leave it sitting on the kitchen counter? You notice it’s missing and instantly you’re terrified. “Oh my God. What if important people call? I’m gonna miss them. There are probably super important people calling me right now and I can’t answer! Sure, I could check my messages remotely, or… a more technologically advanced version of myself could check them remotely, but what about texts?! There’s no way to check texts! There could be a text-based emergency right now and I’ll never know! I just hope nobody’s dying. I’m so sorry, Mom. If you’re dying and I’m missing your call, I’ll say something really nice at your funeral. And I’ll never forget my phone again. I promise!” And then you get home, run to your telephone and find… zero messages. No voicemails, no texts, not even a pathetic little missed call. You’d kill for a missed call, even if it was just a reminder to pick up your dry cleaning. That’s what it’s like when you leave online dating for a while. You take a break from Match or OkCupid for one reason or another, and think in the back of your mind, “I bet some pretty amazing people are checking me out.” I mean, you’ve been gone so long, there must be a whole slew of knockouts, just waiting breathlessly for your grand reentry. Right? Riiiight? And then you sign back in, and, well…not so much.

As I am currently with girlfriend, I haven’t logged in to any dating site in quite a while. In fact, before this week, I hadn’t checked out a single profile all year. And you have no idea how many years it’s been since I’ve been able to say that. Sorry, did I say years? I meant centuries. I literally think it was last century. So when I popped onto OkCupid yesterday to see if it had any interesting matches for me, in the back of my mind I thought there might be a gem or two hiding out. Don’t get me wrong, my girlfriend’s great. I have no interest in anyone else, but just like that cellphone you leave sitting in your apartment, you imagine there’s an action-packed world out there that has noticed your absence. And that is what I thought when I clicked on this fine young lady that OkCupid had selected for me since I last checked in.

anal1

anal2

anal3

34 year-old woman

seeking men 25-58

Not bad. You can’t tell due to my expert photo editing, but she’s actually quite cute. And she lives in Los Angeles and is in my desired age rage. That’s a pretty remarkable trifecta, considering some of the women OkCupid has tried to set me up with in the past. So I read on…

SELF SUMMARY: I am lola , a fun loving outgoing girl! I love to travel a lot so I frequently go to places in Arizona, Texas and of course Vegas to visit friends and shit!

Alrighty, not sure we really needed the “and shit” in there, but hey, she’s just expressing enthusiasm, right? I get that. I’m enthusiastic about things. I mean, I’m not, but I understand the notion. And I love Vegas, so let’s see what else Lola has to say.

I’M REALLY GOOD AT: Doing nothing! lazy bitch iam! guys do everything for me plz!:)

Hmmm. OK. Not ideal. But maybe she’s making a joke. That’s what the smiley face thingy means, right? That she knows she’s making a ridiculous joke and that it’s obviously quite off-putting to call yourself a lazy bitch even in jest on a dating site. Yes. I’m confident in that. Just a joke!

THE SIX THINGS I COULD NEVER DO WITHOUT: my kids, sex, music, parties, shops, my dog, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

That’s only 14 dollar signs, because 15 might seem shallow. And good news, Lola’s kids, you beat out sex on the list of things your mom can’t do without! And you’re a whole five places ahead of the dog. Huzzah!

I SPEND A LOT OF TIME THINKING ABOUT: rough anal sex.

Uh oh.

THE MOST PRIVATE THING I’M WILLING TO ADMIT: love anal sex. Pain and calling name.

Double uh oh. Not sure what calling name is, but judging by the context it can’t be good.

YOU SHOULD MESSAGE ME IF: I’m just looking for something casual (only anal) on the side.

Nothing says casual like...

Nothing says casual like…

Now wait a second. You’re just looking for something casual, ONLY ANAL, on the side?! How, pray tell, does one have casual sex in the rear end? Isn’t a penis in your rectum like the definition of not casual? “Oh you know, just hanging around, throwing on some sweatpants, watching a little House Hunters, I don’t know, maybe later I’ll toss a dick up my butt. You know, just a casual evening at home.” Who is looking for only casual anal sex? That’s like looking for only vegetarian cheeseburgers. It’s kinda antithetical, is it not? I haven’t had a lot of anal sex, but my understanding is it’s a pretty rigid, premeditated experience. I mean, you need lube, cleanliness, a certain degree of personal comfort, 911 on speed dial. That’s about as casual as a Dexter murder scene. And is this really a necessary warning to hand out before you’ve even started conversing? I’m sorry, I’m only looking for something casual and relaxed right now. You know, dicks in butts only. So don’t come at me with all your vagina and relationship-related desires. I’ve got a dog, shopping, money, oh, and kids to focus on, so all I really have time for is anal. Gotta run!

And never have I been happier to have met my girlfriend. Because I never look at her and say… How is This My Match?!

Posted in How is This My Match? | 10 Comments

Meeting in a Bar vs. Meeting Online: The Ultimate Showdown

Romantic Genius

Romantic Genius

A group of psychologists recently released a study that says meeting a date in a bar can be far more effective than encountering someone online. Which is great news, because it clearly means we’ve cured all mental illness, otherwise why would shrinks be wasting time on something so utterly frivolous, right? Wait. We haven’t cured all mental illness? And people are still scared of going outside, or the number 13, or flying on an airplane without their assistance animal who happens to be a duck named Fred? Well that seems like a poor use of resources. ANYWAY, their main argument is that internet dating can be too overwhelming, and there’s no evidence that the algorithms designed to match daters actually work. Which they could’ve found out by reading this website for maximum 15 minutes. 10, if they skipped right to How is This My Match?

Obviously this is an issue I’ve thought a lot about, as I have both a website about internet dating and a tremendous amount of free time. Is bar meeting really better than doing it on the world wide web? Sure, you get a better sense of a person when you’re face to face at the pub, but you’re also required to put on clean clothes, and, depending on local health codes, leave your duck Fred at home. So let’s break it all down. Is it better to find love online or on tap?

The Chemistry Test: We’ve all been there. You have an email exchange that’s as if you’re talking to your twin. Well, your twin with boobs. Every joke is on point, you share a disturbing amount of mutual interests, even the timing of the emails is perfect. You sign on to Match and BOOM, a note has just arrived from TwinWithSweetRack45, neither too soon to be creepy, nor too late to make you worry she’s lost interest. Or, you know, died. You’re so sure the first date is going to be a home run that you’re already considering what you’ll plan for date #2, and if you should wear one of your three pairs of presentable underwear. (I’d kill for three pairs of presentable underwear.) Then you meet in person and HOLY CHRIST were you wrong about everything. No chemistry, no attraction, no physical certainty that the person you’re talking to is actually even a human being. How does this happen? Was someone else writing their emails? No. That would be too logical. What happened is…the internet. It’s like that line from Chinatown. Forget it Jake, it’s Match.com. This sort of confusion doesn’t happen in a bar. If you click, you click. So, if chemistry is what you seek…

The Winner Is: Bar

Hands off, she's mine.

Hands off, she’s mine.

The Time Test: I once spent an entire evening chatting up a girl who worked in the coat room of a swanky SoHo bar. I know, I’m as surprised about it as you are. It takes a lot of effort to flirt with the coat room girl, mostly because there’s no organic way for you to be spending that much time hanging around a bunch of jackets. “Yeah, hey, I just wanted to check if my blazer was doing OK. Sometimes it gets lonely.” But I did it. Standing there in front of that weird dutch door thingy, dropping every bit of charm and wit I had swimming in my extremely shallow reservoir of charm and wit. But shockingly, Coat Girl seemed to be a big fan. So big, in fact, that when I asked for her phone number, she readily handed it over. I know, I’m as surprised about it as you are. And although the phone number she gave me turned out to be 100% fake, it did connect me to a very nice gentleman named Alan who wondered if I was calling about the lost cat he’d found. “No, Alan, I am not. But if you happen to locate my dignity, do you think you could give me a ring at your first convenience?” Coat Girl had wasted an evening of my time, simply because that was easier than saying she wasn’t interested. Online, she just would’ve deleted my email and we both could’ve moved on with our lives. Of course, I never would’ve met Alan, but I’m willing to take that loss. So…

Winner: Internet

Pants Test: To meet someone in a bar, you are required to wear pants. Sitting in your living room, you are required to wear nothing at all.

Winner: Internet

They're not laughing with you.

They’re not laughing with you.

Terror Test: I don’t know if women can ever fully understand how terrifying it is to walk up to a lady or, heaven forbid, a group of ladies in a crowded bar. Every worst case scenario starts running through your head. “What if I have nothing to say?!” “What if she laughs at me?!” “What if I start vomiting uncontrollably?!” To the doctors who said internet dating is overwhelming: I challenge you to approach a group of women and try to win one of them over, with the rest of her friends watching, and not pee in your pants just a little bit. Online, no pee. Your worst fear is a rude response. Once a lady responded to my patented Not a Form Letter Form Letter with “Please. Do you send that lame-ass email out to everyone?” Which hurt. But again, I was in my house, not wearing any pants. How bad could it possibly have been?

Winner: Internet

Excitement Test: At the same time, when you do it off with someone in a bar, and there’s chemistry and real phone numbers and the potential of makeouts, well, there’s no better feeling in the world. Pulling off the same thing online is great, but it takes a week or two of emailing, meeting, and not acting like a jackass. Meeting someone great online is like a fine, aged wine. You gotta let it breath. Meeting at a bar is like crack. And who doesn’t love crack?

Winner: Bar (and crack)

Algorithm Test: The shrinks were right, the algorithms that dating sites use to match up their members don’t work. But it’s hard for me to get all that upset about that, as I don’t really understand what an algorithm is.

Winner: People Who Paid Attention in Math Class

The Future Test: 30 years down the line, do you really want to tell your kids you met on a computer? Some people worry about these things. Not me.

Winner: If you meet someone you’re with 30 years later, do you really care where it happened.

By my tally, that makes internet dating the winner. But come on, the site’s not called It’s Not a Bar.com, so what did you expect? What say you: do you still believe in dating online, or are you back to buying drinks and hoping for the best?

Posted in Advice, How is This My Match?, Internet Dating is Weird | 10 Comments

You Know What’s a Good Idea? Condoms. Especially with Internet Dates. Seriously…

Another satisfied customer

It’s always a fascinating experience, having sex with someone new. There may be things you’ve done with others that they don’t like at all. Or approaches you’ve never even considered that they can’t live without. Then of course there’s all those things that make them laugh out loud and ask if you’ve done this before. That happens to you guys too, right? But probably the most important lesson I’ve ever learned during sex is that the person I’m sleeping with is totally fucking insane.

Of course, me being me, this has happened a fair amount of times. You’ve heard of people putting notches in their bedpost? Well I put mine on the side of a bottle of antidepressants. That’s how nuts they are. Usually you have an inkling before you hit the bedroom that you’re with someone who’s a little crackers, but you let that pass because they have boobs and there is the outside chance that they will let you see them. This however was not the case with young Maggie Sanger. Maggie was a very cool girl, and had that rarest of very cool girl traits: she was a huge football fan. Shoulda known it was too good to be true.

The sex life with Maggie was surprisingly good, considering the large role I played in it. We slept with each after only a few dates – something I have since learned is a great way to never sleep with someone again, but in this case it worked out. Pretty soon we fell into a nice routine, hanging out a few times a week, sleeping together, not pointing out the obvious flaws in my approach…it was like a dream come true. Honestly, it was the most productive sexual relationship I’d had to that point that didn’t involve the letters h-t-t-p. Until she uttered that one dangerous little phrase:

Maggie: Maybe…um, do you not wanna use a condom this time?

My usual reaction to such a suggestion can be summed up thusly…

As long as there’s established monogamy, clean bills of health, and a whole hell of a lot of birth control pills, yes, I can be interested in maybe not using a condom this time. There was, however, a slight hitch in that holy trinity: birth control. Maggie, you see didn’t take The Pill, because it made her feel bloated. Whenever she said that, I liked to remind her that nothing makes a person feel bloated faster than a baby growing in their stomach, but she didn’t listen. Or laugh. Or refrain from looking at me like I’m anything other than an asshole, which I suppose was fair. But no pills meant plenty of condoms, 24-7. Even when we were just kissing. Can’t be too careful.

Maggie though, had decided to take a new approach. We had been talking about her getting birth control for a little while, and unbeknownst to me, she acquired The Pill a couple of weeks previous. She felt ready to go unprotected, and now with the trinity complete, so did I. Cue the Kool and The Gang…

We woke up the next morning happy as two clams who liked having clam sex with each other. I looked over at Maggie and smiled and gave her a big hug. A nice, trusting relationship with a great girl. Thanks, Internet. “Good morning,” I said. “You know I haven’t actually started taking the pill yet,” she replied. What? WHAT?! My reaction to this development?

Maggie insisted that this was all a perfectly innocent misunderstanding. All she said last night was that she had gotten the birth control pills, she never said anything about actually taking them. I pointed out, in my most controlled and understanding yelling voice, that if you say you’ve got birth control pills right before you suggest unprotected sex, I’m not gonna think you’ve only got them IN YOUR POCKET. Luckily, thankfully, sweet God in heavenly, we were too tired the night before to get into any particularly dangerous activity. (What can I say, I get sleepy early.) But when I asked what was her plan if we had, that was when she dropped the biggest doozy of all. “I don’t know, I mean, I don’t believe in abortion.”

I am going to beat the living shit out of Kool and his Gang.

This is what I get for dating a girl who liked football. Maggie loved football, you see, because she was from Texas. Everybody in Texas loves football. They also happen to love Catholicism, and might not be as into a panicked “what the fuck do you mean you didn’t actually TAKE the birth control pills” abortion as us yanks from up north.

Do not mess — or have sex — with Texas

When I suggested, again, in a totally level-headed yell, that young Margaret Sanger might have mentioned her views on pregnancy retention before she tried to lure me into unprotected sex, she looked at me again like an asshole. Which at that point was perfectly fine with me, as long as I was just an asshole and not an asshole FATHER. When I added that I can’t sleep with someone I don’t trust, her expression did not change. We yelled at each other a bunch, she made it clear she didn’t care for my allegations, and I ran out of her apartment before she had a chance to get at any more of my reproductive organs.

I find it can be tough to come back from allegations of semen stealing and forced parenthood. I mean, Proflowers.com doesn’t really have a bouquet picked out for that. And if they did, I certainly wouldn’t have been the one buying. We treaded water for another week or two, but it was clear that Maggie and I now kinda hated each other. Which is supposed to happen after you have the kid, not before.

Oh well, just another notch in the Lexapro bottle.

Posted in Horror Stories | 7 Comments