Glutton for Punishment

I’m no stranger to dating apps. I’ve had the pleasure, or rather, displeasure, of using a few. After all, I’ve been single for a while now and if I’m being honest, I like it this way. But while I’m on the topic of being honest, I do get the urge to download an app or two and take a dive into the proverbial dating pool. I don’t know why. To just window shop if anything. A glutton for punishment perhaps. I mean, my experiences have been far from graceful and usually by the time I realize it’s a futile exercise, I already have a migraine from banging my head on the wall in frustration. It’s kind of like scratching poison ivy or eating an entire half-gallon of Ben & Jerry’s before bed. It may feel good at first, but you’ll wish you hadn’t later.

When it comes to men, especially on these dating apps, I feel as if I’ve seen it all. I’m not a gamer, but if you’re familiar with those old role-playing games where you get to choose what “class” or “build” you start as, it’s kind of like that. First up we have the Alpha Male. This grizzled outdoorsman can land a pike with a shoelace and some bubblegum or skin a deer in 6 minutes flat with nothing more than his trusty pocket knife. The Alpha Male is always keen on showing off any recent kills, focusing on that trophy buck or legendary lake bass he roped in last summer at the cabin with the boys. Don’t get me wrong, I like a man that can handle himself in nature, but it’s 2022, so drop the whole Alpha Male thing already, and I’ve never done the whole swooning over the big strong hunter/gatherer thing. You’d have better luck if you posted a photo of that ridiculously cute squirrel that visits your patio every day begging for peanuts. If you consider “matching” with me lucky that is… and if you do, that’s on you. Just so we’re clear.

Next on the list, we have the Fuckboy, or Poolboy build. This is the kind of guy that could have been trouble before I was wise enough to know better. They come in all ages and are generally the kind of guy mothers hide their daughters from. These “boys” usually sport clean-shaven faces and never miss an opportunity to take a picture without the annoying restriction of a pesky shirt. Sometimes they even go as far as shining up with a little baby oil just for a little added extra effect. I’m wondering who takes their profile photos?  Professional photographer?  A friend? Their mother?

Neither of those types do it for you? Maybe the blue-collar typical single dad build is the one? Still a little bitter about the divorce, but he got to keep the boat! Yes, I know what tailgating is, no, I don’t think we should do it every week, and neither of us has any kids in little league, why the hell are you grilling hot dogs in a Denny’s parking lot?

Even with these great “builds” or “classes” to chose from, I’m still confused about some of the other profiles I see. I’m not a sheltered person and I wouldn’t consider myself a prude, in fact, I’d say I grasp the whole dating scene rather well, but here’s the thing… do men understand women at all? Like, seriously?!

Ironically, the three dating app types I just described make a touch more sense than what I’m about to say. There’s a word I see thrown around a lot in men’s profiles that is quite perplexing. Open-minded. For example, a single 50-something male seeking an open-minded woman. Like what does that even mean? Open-minded. Do you mean you like to collect half-dressed anime dolls?  Are you into dressing up as a fox who moonlights as a police officer? Somehow, I just don’t think they mean it in a social consciousness sort of way.

Adventurous is another personality staple that men seem to be looking for. And again, I’m overcome by the feeling of uncertainty. Are they looking for someone to ride the scariest roller coasters with or should I show myself to the gutter for a more accurate understanding? Chances are it’s the latter because I seriously doubt it’s in a let’s go hike Mount Kilimanjaro way.

Okay, but wait! This one I get. Man seeking a woman who is the selfless nurturing type. Okay. Great. I get this reference. But to put it in your eHarmony profile?

For those who may not know, eHarmony is one of the sites that pride themselves on helping lonely souls find long-term relationships. Tinder, it’s not, which is more for fuckboys and thirst traps. I am just baffled by the way certain men approach their quest of finding a potential significant other. Selfless? I can definitely see where that one’s going. Their profiles seem to be more of a list of requirements for a mail-order bride. It reminds me of that disturbingly catchy song on Tik-Tok called “Build-a-Bitch.”  Sweetie, this ain’t that.

One divorced guy said he’s looking for someone with “no big mood swings” and he prefers someone who “doesn’t complain too much.”  Oh, and she “must be selfless and giving in the bedroom.” Again with the selfless. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how this man’s wife just let this stud go. Perplexing how his marriage didn’t work out isn’t it?  Unfathomable.

So anywhere from a few hours to a few days after downloading a dating app, things like this happen and I’m reminded why I’m single and deleted the app last time. Wish I could say it gets better over time but either everyone’s getting weirder or perhaps it’s me?  I also find the algorithms of these sites to be suspect. After forcing me to take an hours-long quiz, I’m still paired with men who think posing with dead animals is the way to a woman’s heart.

I will say this, I have had some minor success at deciphering the secrets of the male species. One of the codes I’ve cracked is when older men describe themselves as “young at heart,” they mean they prefer to date out of their age group. Or if an older man says he’s a “bad boy” chances are he listens to Five Finger Death Punch, owns a Harley, and watches old war movies.

I’m still looking for an app for folks like me. A place for people who’d rather binge Netflix with their animals on the couch than have to sift through a ridiculous montage of phony, celebratory bios that don’t mention how they chew with their mouth open or smoke menthol cigarettes like it’s the mid-90s.

4 thoughts on “Glutton for Punishment

  1. As for your question “do men understand women at all?“, well this male certainly doesn’t. And I’ve been married to the same woman for 50.3 years! An emotional rollercoaster, irrational and contradictory. And they are her best features.

    But if I’m being honest, those are the features that first attracted me to her, and even half a century later they are still the features I find most endearing. Go figure.

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