Bumble and Tinder and Match, OH MY! A divorced Gen Xer enters a Virtual Dating World. You’ve been warned.

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Blog #2 PART 1: Let’s Meet on the Border

The salsa music is blasting, and I’m being spun around the dance floor at Gonzalez y Gonzalez on my second date with Ulysses. 38. Actor. Medical consultant. Father of three.

As I stop to grab a drink and catch my breath, I look around for him, but he’s nowhere to be found. Thinking maybe he went to the bathroom, I texted him…10 minutes later I get a text back.

Ulysses: Hey babe. Sorry I had to leave. I met this chick named Libra. She’s a stripper and a total freak, so I had to go home with her.

Cherry: Wait. What???? Are you fucking kidding me? You left me at the club at 1 am because you met a freak? Is this a joke?

Nope. No. I did not make that up.

The next day Ulysses texts me to “apologize” and asks why I’m upset. I share politely that it’s because he left me at a FUCKING club at 1 am after I paid the FUCKING bill for dinner. A friend, let alone a date, wouldn’t and shouldn’t do that.  It’s against the FUCKING rules!!!

I’m still in disbelief as to what happens next.  He says “I’m so sorry you’re upset but Libra thought we were the hottest couple at the club and she wants to have a threesome with us. Are you down?”  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Maybe both.  With a deep breath and a rich dose of sarcasm. I respond, “First, we are not a couple. Second, NO Ulysses, I’m not down. But thank you so much for the invitation. I’m flattered. Go fuck yourself and Libra too.”  Not my best comeback but whatever, he wasn’t worth the creativity.

And this is what happens when you enter the new dating world after 12 years of being in a black hole. Literally, a vacuum of life. For me marriage was like swimming in mud; suffocating with the Chupacabra of Joy.

Post-divorce my cousin said to me, “I’m so glad you’re out of it because when you two walked into a room, it was like the life of the party simultaneously walked in with the death of the Party.” Umm? Why didn’t you tell me sooner??

And she is so right, and nothing could make me sadder, considering I spent 12 years with this person.  It was time to examine my life and try to figure out why I chose this man…and this path. Especially, considering growing up, I never wanted to be married or have kids. When did that shift happen? When did I decide to settle?  It was probably the moment I heard a baby cry on an airplane on a work trip, and it didn’t annoy the shit out of me.  I suddenly felt this gravitational pull, this urgency to get hitched and push out a kid.  After our divorce, The Chupacabra said that he believed himself to be my sperm donor; not sure if I agree because that actually would have been easier and cheaper. Nevertheless, we did make fantastic kid together. And when all else feels lost, I come back to the magic of my daughter and know I chose him because of MSP (Miss Sassy Pants).

So now, fast forward over a decade later, and I’m dating in a virtual world…I left the dating world around the time AOL chat rooms were the hot new thing in the late 90’s.

And now, I re-enter it when the smartphone has taken over, and there is an endless sea of romantic apps: Match.com, EHarmony, Coffee Meets Bagel, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, Tinder…WTF are all these things?!  Swipe right. Swipe left. Go fish. Buy some beans. Answer about 500 questions. Take selfies. Make sure there’s a full body shot. Sexy but not too sexy. Validate your photos. Upload them and then, wait…for…it…

What the fuck happened to some a guy throwing you shitty (often funny) line followed by him buying you a drink?

We covet human connection so desperately and somehow believe we can find that on an APP where anyone can pretend to be anything and never be honestly themselves.  I try to convince myself that it’s no different than meeting someone in a bar. Call me old-fashioned, but it is much different, much less human.

I am a goal-oriented person, a quality that is NOT helpful when it comes to dating.  After many disappointments, I’ve concluded that It’s best to be open and not look at every single guy as a relationship prospect but more of an experiment; a learning experience. It’s more beneficial to be present and use each experience to learn about yourself, even if it means being left at a bar for a stripper named Libra.  At least it’s a great fucking story!

After a relentless number of first dates, crazy dates, hairy dates, fat dates, Republican dates. Then there are Drunk dates. Even a Date with a Vampire. Dom looking for Sub Dates. Self-obsessed dates. Sports fan dates. Catfish dates. Dates who Ghost then Zombie. Through it all, I’ve never stopped believing in love…even more, my sense of humor has expanded, my standards raised and my expectations lowered.  I feel centered and, honestly, confident for the first time in my life.

And I’m excited to share with you that I have another first date…tomorrow. My 111th first date.

Joe from Phili. Writer. 34. Adorable. Puppy dog eyes that make me melt; and can probably level me.  Through our month-long communication he’s been impressive, intriguing, funny and kind; Supportive even.  Then, one day I send him a selfie from LA (cause we are currently only 2D versions of ourselves) and he says, “Your smile is contagious. It can light up a room, yet set it on fire”.

I warm under the weight of these words. Is it possible that a man ten years my junior can see and appreciate who I am? I wasn’t gonna let this one go regardless of the distance between us…both age and miles. The hope rises.

Throughout the past four years, I’ve been trying to figure out why I haven’t met someone that has lasted.  And after being so unhappy for over a decade, I believe it’s because I refuse to settle, again.  And Love is just not enough. Not by itself.

What I’ve figured out is that is that for me, there are seven levels of connection…Sexual Chemistry, Intellectual, Goals, Lifestyle, Morality, Humor and Soul and then the elusive X factor (Right place. Right time. Right person).

In most of my relationships, the most I’ve reached were 4 out of the 7…in various combinations.  The magic happens when you hit all seven plus the X factor (at least I hope so, fingers crossed). Hard to tell what kind of connection we’ll have in person but so far Joe and I have achieved a mix of 3 levels.

So I invited him to join me in an experiment; to be my guest blogger…and to agree to write a pre and post-date blog.  We are both in fact writers, so it was quite perfect considering I met him at the same time The Daily Feels was born.  Which makes this blog, Part I of a two-part story. Part II will be written tomorrow after our first date tonight, and he plans to do the same.

Although, a funny thing happened along the way to the date. We’ve been texting pretty regularly since we started chatting. Not all day but just to say what’s up. Since he’s usually very responsive, it surprised me he didn’t respond to my text the other night. So with my sarcasm hat on again, I write him and say…

Cherry: Guess you had a date before our date? Lol

12 hours later.

Joe: Yes I did actually. (Insert my surprise at his honesty) Is that part of some unwritten rule I should know? Saw your text around 11 and didn’t know how to respond to that – made me feel very weird. How was your night?

Cherry: I was kidding around with you. But if it was in fact, a good date lemme know if you wanna cancel.

Joe: I don’t want to cancel tomorrow. I’m still very much looking forward to you.

So while I am genuinely excited about this date with Joe, the reality hits me. And I repeat my new dating mantra: be open, be present, this is one night, one guy, and he has to earn you.

It is clear we have quite a few borders to pass, besides age and location, to get anywhere near the seven levels of connection.  But tonight if I get to laugh, listen to some good music, chow on some delicious food and not be left at a club at 1 am. It’s all upside from here.

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7 thoughts on “Bumble and Tinder and Match, OH MY! A divorced Gen Xer enters a Virtual Dating World. You’ve been warned.

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