Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fuck It, I Ain't Skeered

As long as I'm handing out advice about being unafraid, I've decided I'm going to do a few things that I wasn't doing for fear of what might happen. First among these is dating. I kind of stumbled into a new relationship almost as soon as I was available, which I didn't see coming at all. I was suddenly available after being faithfully committed to a monogamous relationship for over half my life, then true story: I was asked, after a few weeks of escalating flirtation, "Are you going to kiss me or not?" So I did. And she did. And the upshot is: I've done some flirting, but I've never really done the whole dating thing.  I met my ex-wife in my first year away from home at college. I have never in my life tried, successfully or unsuccessfully, to pick up a woman in a bar. Never. I've never been on any dating websites or used any apps. Never. Never! When I got involved with the woman who was getting tired of waiting for me to work up the nerve to kiss her, I was relieved in part because she's awesome and way more than I thought I deserved at the time, but also in part because the idea of putting myself out there and risking rejection was more than a little terrifying.

So I'm going to do it. Because it's terrifying.

I made a Tinder account two days ago, and it's already a weird mixture of hilarious and depressing. The profile of every fortyish woman in the Greater Austin Metropolitan Area contains the phrases "outdoors, hiking, and wine" as well as "looking for a partner in crime!" And for some reason, height is really important for a woman's Tinder profile. Should my height appear on my profile? Does it matter for men as much as it seems to for women? I'm 6'2". Does it matter that I'm 6'2"? I used to be 6'3", so I'm shrinking. Maybe that should be on my profile: 6'2" and shrinking. Fuck it, I'm going to go add that right now.

So I've done a lot of swiping. Which is getting pretty dull. I feel like a heel making straight up yes/no judgements on so little information, but I suppose that's the point. At first I kept screwing it up, left swiping when I meant to browse pictures. Right swiping when I meant to say, "Nope!" I mostly say no when there's no profile text at all. Saying absolutely nothing about yourself is an attraction strategy I don't really understand. I'm mis-swiping less now, but I think I did accidentally Super Like someone. I don't know what that means. I almost dropped my phone when I got my first match notification, then proceeded to immediately make an ass of myself when I messaged her. I think I did pretty well on my two other matches, but I still haven't heard from anyone.

So there's that. I'm dating. Or will be, if I can get a date. Even though I already have a woman in my life that's very high on the list of Best Things to Ever Happen to Me. Brave? Or stupid? Don't answer that.

Another thing I did because I'm pretty sure I was afraid of it was to invite that amazing woman to date other people, too, if she were so inclined. When we first got together, I told her that monogamy was important to me. On reflection, I thought I may have said that out of fear of competition, that if she put herself out there again, she'd find someone she likes better than she likes me. But fuck it, I ain't skeered. Who's better than me? I'm awesome! And if she finds someone who makes her happier, then more power to her. I want her to be happy. She's awesome, too!

Which all makes me solo poly? I guess? I'm Googlin' all sorts of acronyms, abbreviations, and other mysterious shorthand that appears in Tinder profiles. I'd never heard of solo poly until I saw it on my first night of swiping. I get that the poly part is polyamorous, having multiple relationships. I'm not clear on the solo part, though. I guess. Maybe that makes me fuzzy poly? Maybe I should wait until somebody actually responds to a message before I start wondering what all this makes me. Or maybe I shouldn't give a shit what it makes me. The acronyms are fun, though. There are a lot of personality types, like INFP and ENFJ, on Tinder profiles, which are apparently related to Jungian Functional Preference Ordering. I dozed off before I could slog through what exactly Jungian Functional Preference Ordering means, but it does give me a giggle to use phrases including the word "Jungian" in the same sentence as the word "Tinder."

Another was "6+4+3=2." The woman suggested in her profile that if I knew what that meant, I might have one up on the competition. So I Googled it. She and I were clearly not made for each other.

My favorite so far, though, was TDTF. I assumed it was another personality type. One profile said, among other things, "Please don't be TDTF." I tend to text in full sentences, so I didn't recognize it as texting shorthand. I Googled it, thinking it would be another of the personality types. Am I TDTF? I wondered. Turns out it stands for "Too Drunk to Fuck." Ah. Well! No problem there then. I have not, in fact, been TDTF in quite some time.

Next, I'm going to try hitting on a stranger in a public setting. Maybe a bar. Is it weird for a dude who doesn't drink to hang out in a bar trying to pick up women? If I have a Topo Chico in a glass with lime, who's to say it doesn't have a shot of something in there, right? Do fortyish women go to bars to be picked up? Ah, fuck it. I'm doing it. I ain't skeered.

I'm thinking of trying karaoke, too. And dancing in public. Why not? What's the worst that could happen?

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