B is for...Blocked
After The Sociopath, I decided I needed a break—a breather from the madness of dating. I told myself this self-imposed celibacy was intended as an opportunity to redirect, focus inward, sort out what I truly wanted. But, in reality, I think I was scared of getting beat up again—emotionally. I’d been broken down over the years and I was having a hard time finding the confidence, or motivation, to get back on the rollercoaster. I don’t know what, specifically, wore down the protective layers cocooning the inner gooey parts—but something did. Over time, that hidden place was pierced. That place deep inside others are only allowed to see in the dark—when you’re both lying in bed, but after you’ve dissolved into floating, disembodied voices. That exposed, suspended reality where neither of you are truly yourselves—but simultaneously the most yourselves—and touch is the only reminder you’re still human. That internal ethereal vibration was where I was wounded—and I needed to repair the path of destruction. The inner gooey would be fine, stronger for it in fact, but the ravaged road that led there—now exposed—had to be dealt with. You can’t go through life with random intimate parts exposed—modern society doesn’t know how to respond; it’s too much. So, I took time.
Eventually, there was a morning I woke up ready to embrace the follies of dating again. I can’t pinpoint the moment my healing took place, but all of a sudden I looked down and the words and actions no longer left searing marks on my soul. The wounds were soothed enough to venture back into battle. I was suddenly optimistic and ready to make choices that would set me up for the life I wanted. I was going to date differently this time. When I’d decided to delete the dozen or so ‘dating’ apps littering my phone, there were hundreds of unanswered messages. So many, that responding to them became a part time job—one whose payoff became gut-wrenchingly low. I couldn’t bring myself to download them all again. So, in an effort to avoid this, and to stay faithful to my new dating approach, I decided to choose just one. I thought through all my experiences and one by one weeded them out until I was left with OkCupid. Is it perfect? HARDLY. However, it does require you to answer a multitude of questions and write a fair amount about yourself—allowing other users a glimpse inside, not your pants, but your personality. So, I bit the bullet and downloaded the app. First, I decided to erase my previous profile. I don’t remember how long it’d been since I first created it, but I was a different person now. I was ready for different things—different experiences. I took a deep breath and deleted it. I was ready to start from scratch. I amassed a dozen or so photos, trying my best to stay positive and not fall down the rabbit hole of self-deprecation, and I did ok. There were a few sacrificial lambs who got caught in the whirlpool of my pointed critiques, but I would argue the feedback was warranted—some of those pics had to go. In the end, I found about six photos that didn’t make me want to die and probably two or three I actually felt pretty confident about. All things considered, I was happy with this collection that would set the groundwork for my new profile. I was going into the next phase of the process feeling confident. The photos—the hard part—were out of the way and I was now ready to answer the seemingly endless, often pointless, questions integrally woven into the app’s algorithmic design. I gave the photos another once over and clicked next. The page refreshed and issued a series of reassuring chimes, indicating my photographic submissions had been accepted. I took a deep breath in preparation for the barrage of questions coming my way, but that’s not where I was directed. I was taken to a page I’d forgotten about. The bullshit personal summary and open-ended response section. I was so busy readying myself for the multiple-choice questions, which look to assess user preferences on topics like peeing in butts, getting fucked by your lover while your neighbor looks on, and whether or not you’re willing to look at your husband before 9am, that I was totally thrown and definitely not prepared to write about myself. I thought about closing out and starting again later—which really meant, prolonging the process until my desire for a husband finally bore a hole in my subconscious large enough to force its way into the foreground of my consciousness, propelling me to finally enter something into the dreaded fields anyways. I decided I was going to fight this instinct of procrastination. I’m a writer, for god’s sake! Couldn’t I throw SOMETHING together? Just a few simple sentences fully encapsulating the very essence of my being for complete strangers who are judging my every word and misplaced abdominals. You know, something easy like that…
I ordered a second coffee, tied my insecurities to the hitching post, and committed to staring at that computer screen until something charming, witty and wondrous poured from my fingers. Truth be told, it probably took 20 minutes and the final product was…fine. Halfway through my final pass, I realized how much energy I had wasted on this. These were gay men—they didn’t care. Most were going to be swiping left and right, reading—maybe—the first few sentences. I should have just listed my dick size, hosting capabilities, and desired sexual position. But, again, I was going to do this differently. I was ready to find a mate and, in theory, my mate will want to read my quippy anecdotes about men shitting in my bed and crying into my mouth.
Once I’d landed on just how many times I wanted to use the word ‘fuck,’ I clicked next—forcing a release of all the anxiety tied to this part of the process. I was officially ready for the multiple-choice questions, but, to be honest, some of them caused more anxiety than the open-ended ones. ‘How do you feel about anal sex?’ Well, positive, CLEARLY, but like—what does that mean? Does that mean receiving? Giving? Just the general concept? And how will my mate interpret the question? If I say yes, will he think I’m a bottom? What if he only wants a top? What if a top interprets my ‘yes’ to mean I’m only a bottom? If I say no, will they think I’m not into sex?! It was too much! And god forbid you fuck up and give the wrong answer—you have to wait 24 hours before you can re-answer. In New York, that misstep can land you forever in the left swipe black hole of misery. Getting out of that abyss is a rough, rough climb. Rougher than Mariah clawing her way back up to those whistle tones.
By the time I’d answered a couple dozen questions, I was exhausted. I’d over-thought every possible angle of misinterpretation and my brain was fried. It was good I’d decided to do this in public, or else I probably would have given into the calling of a nap, abandoning the entire venture right around ‘Are you more horny or more lonely?’ That was the one that did it. I’d answered enough questions—it was time to get to matching.
After three or four swipes—one being a best friend I swiped right on just for fun—I was rewarded with a flurry of activity and suddenly my picture was placed next to an attractive Chelsea resident, the proximity of which promised love and implied a future of successful abundance.
I was crafting a witty opener to this future lover when I received an alert that he’d messaged first—how unexpectedly perfect. It was nothing earth-shattering, but the icebreaker he’d chosen was intriguingly coy—cute even. I took the bait and we started swapping weekend stories. While I had spent mine in the city doing relatively mundane things, he’d been at a wedding full of faggotry and nonsense. Apparently, the bitchy gays were out in full force and he was feeling particularly run down by it all. I asked him what he did—assuming knowing his occupation would shed some light on the type of cuntresses he’d spent his weekend with—but he gave me a vague non-answer. He described activities one fills their spare time with. Intrigued, I asked him what else he did—attempting to clarify that I was looking for insight into the career path he’d chosen for himself.
“I work some, but honestly try to enjoy my free time as much as possible—traveling, going on day trips, new adventures.”
This…was someone who didn’t work. I mean, right!? This was someone who lives off a trust fund. Nothing else made sense—who else would respond that way?
“You don’t have to work? That’s incredible. I feel like that allows you the opportunity to really experience life in a very unique way.”
Well, any Vanderbiltian life I’d imagined for him quickly disintegrated.
“I do have to work, honey. M-F.”
“You sure you weren’t one of the gays being sassy at the wedding?”
“I didn’t know honey was synonymous with snarky gay verbiage.”
I’m sorry…you what?!? You didn’t realize this diminutive, saccharine phrase is most often drenched in sarcasm and lobbed back and forth between two parties trying to best one another? That seems improbable at best. Having clearly caught a crazy, I was ready to cut the line and release him back into the wild. I hit him with a shruggy emoji and closed out the app, resigned to wash my hands of the situation, until—
“This is weird now and you’re behaving like a complete douchebag. YOU misinterpreted a nickname that was intended as cute and sweet. This is ridiculous. I don’t appreciate how you’re regarding me—a complete stranger. Stop trolling me and please don’t contact me again. You’re acting like a psychopath.”
What the actual… Trolling?!? Acting like a psychopath?!? Was he being serious right now? What happened to the dating world since I left it?!
I got on to defend myself, but the messages wouldn’t send. During my exchange with crazy, I’d matched with the best friend I’d jokingly swiped right on. We messaged briefly, teasing the other about various elements in our profiles. I texted him to see if he could still see our messages—but no. I had been wiped from his inbox. This didn’t make any sense. And then it dawned on me… This crazy had reported me to the OkCupid police! My account had been suspended! I’d been placed in OkCupid jail with no hope for parole. I went to all this trouble, matched with one viable person, and then was shut down because he called me honey?! The universe has never been clearer—it was not my time to reenter the dating pool.
I suppose it’s enough to know I’d healed my wounds for myself—but really?! Banished after a single match? I’ll just sit here in solitary confinement and wait until my dating life unblocks me, I guess…I don’t know what other choice I have.