This post will seem super petty because it starts with a conversation between me and a boy. Bear with me.
God Dammit, Grit
As someone who has recently taken it upon herself to have grit, for some god awful reason, I thought that dating would be a great way to start.
God Dammit, Tinder
Lesson #1: How you communicate on Tinder and with people from Tinder is not the way to communicate in real life.
It’s too raw, assertive, and, since I’m a woman (having just seen Sheryl Sandberg speak an hour ago), demanding.
Hollaaaaa. Fyi im parking at your house wed morning. Can you give me a ride at 8?
It’s how I used to text my old roommate Sue, after I’d moved out. She lives 17 minutes away from the airport. Thor lives 7.
For those of you who don’t know, Thor is someone who I’d been crushing on. We had great time together. I wanted to be friends and see what happened.
After not hearing back for a day, I assumed that he was a) dead b) super busy with the company or c) didn’t care. I know, I know. All assumptions.
Regardless, I sent another text. Just to, you know, be overly communicative.
Eeeeeither way im just gonna awkwardly park at your house. Sorry dude.
To me, this was an homage of him calling me awkward the first time we hung out, when I was dropping him off at the light rail. And trying to sound casual, like we were friends when I really, really liked him. D’oh.
It probably didn’t help that I’d spent the last week learning how to be “Tinder witty”, dish out puns, and had just spent five minutes practicing this with someone on Tinder. Let me give you an example. The following is the written portion of my profile.
Former biotech entrepreneur. Current philosopher and sustainability mba. Allergic to cats and cigs. In Ballard.
Big fan of human smell, 9:30am movies, courageous satire, and well-designed bathrooms. Plus, the microbes in your shit. I mean, that’s where you are right now, right? Speaking of shit, let’s talk some. I have lots to learn. Looking for someone who’s insatiably curious and smiles a lot.
It has received a very positive response and has saved both sides much time with the weeding out process.
[Update: someone assumed I loved anal cause of my talking about shit. So, um, that part isn’t in there anymore. There just aren’t enough biologists on Tinder.]
God Dammit, Assumptions
In the past, Thor had joked about how numerous cars park at his house all of the time, and I had mistakenly assumed that it was a casual thing. He responded
I mistakenly assumed that we were back to talking the way we had been.
Am I what? Sorry? Parking? Awkward?
I was dead wrong.
Parking. I’m not feeling very inclined to let you after the way you “asked.”
This really stung. I was declarative, and my guess (because that’s all I have at the moment), is that I came across as demanding.
What if I’d been a man and said,
Bro, early flight Wednesday. Gonna use one of your million parking spaces. Can you give me a ride?
This is an homage to the Sheryl Sandberg and Lean In fireside chat I’d just attended. Not that it describes me. But you know, her.
I’m not a man. I’m a woman, and therefore seen as bossy, demanding, and aggressive. I’m extremely easy to dislike.
And in response, I cowered and became a shell. I called him and left a message. All of this stuff came up, and I word vomited apology texts. While everything I said was true, none of it was authentic. It all came from a place of fear, regret, and self-loathing.
A wise person once told me that if you pour your heart out to a guy and he doesn’t respond, then he’s just trash. While I think that’s drastic because no one’s trash, I do feel like I experienced something like this. It could be a maturity issue. But that’s not the lesson to learn here. Because I couldn’t have predicted his reaction (or trigger?) and frankly, his being upset with me was inevitable as I do tend to overshare. Can you imagine if I’d just watched an episode of Veep and then texted him? Selina Meyer is my most amazing/horrible of spirit animals.
God Dammit, Rationalizations
He rationalizes, whether consciously or subconsciously, his reaction. My guess (again, cause that’s all I have) is that it has something to do with what he would consider basic etiquette. The last time I experienced such a reaction was by an ex who got extremely mad when I wanted to get gas and go through a car wash while we were out and about running errands and grabbing food. To this day, I don’t understand why getting gas and a car wash is any different from going to the store. In fact, car washes are one of my favorite experiences, and I take video of almost every one I go through one. This is also the same guy who body shamed me and screamed at me in Hawaii in front of all our friends for looking so fat in a swimsuit.
Along with these rationalizations, I can rationalize why I had said I was just going to park at his house. It seems like such a small thing to me, but that’s just me. This was inevitable. I’ve cut people off hundreds of times for much less.
People are weird and unpredictable, myself included. Regardless, I feel sad and disappointed. It will pass.
God Dammit, Growth
When I was younger, I dated at 100% all of the time. I loathed people who were like, “sometimes you just want to Netflix and chill.” This was before “Netflix and chill” meant sexy time. I thought that only idiots (or introverts, sorry introverts) went to the movies on dates. What was the point of spending time together if you’re not going to talk or engage?
But now that I’m older, I know that there’s a lot more to any relationship than flirting, wit, and being interesting. I learned this from the dark side of Tinder, or more broadly, dating. And obviously networking. And of course, living in Seattle with its freeze.
Movies are about shared experience. But even more, context matters. So do depth, connection, vulnerability, and authenticity. I want it all. But this time, I’m looking for balance, which I think can be achieved by having it all.
I’ve (mostly) taken a hiatus from dating for the last year and a half in the interest of learning more about myself, and how I can be in a relationship. Or even around a man that I like.
I’m sad, because I really liked Thor and thought that he was a really good guy, good at communication and listening, and stuck up for himself and his beliefs (perhaps that’s why we’re in such a pickle here).
But I truly feel loss because he was the first person I’d met in a long time who was as curious about me as I was about him. And he was one of the first people I’d met who had deep expertise about topics I didn’t, but wanted to. I actually daydreamed at some point about him giving me readings for before we hung out. Just so we could have a healthy conversation/debate. What the fuck is that? (awesome)
But then it just died, and there was nothing I could do about it. And instead of just letting it die, I tried to push my way into his parking spot and it totally backfired.
Fortunately, this whole Tinder thing seems to be digging the other curious folks out of the Seattle jungle. There’s plenty of bad and horribleness along with Tinder, but I feel grittier every day. At the very least, I’m learning how to manage my expectations, assumptions, and curiosity.
Lord knows, I need grit and balance for this next business to be the bomb diggity.
God Dammit, Lessons
- How you communicate on Tinder and with people from Tinder is not the way to communicate in real life.
- Assumptions will be the death of you; nothing kills like assumptions. Always assume good intent.
- A big part of grit is cutting losses and moving on as quickly as possible; let it die.
- Even though it wasn’t my intent in this conversation, generally speaking, I am intolerant. I’ve cut three people off in the last two months for fibbing, flaking, and projecting. I got a taste of my own medicine today and it SUCKED. There’s a huge opportunity here.
- Rationalization doesn’t matter. Curiosity, context, depth, connection, vulnerability, and authenticity matter. Having difficult conversations matters. And fun. I want it all.
Sheryl Sandberg ended her talk quite perfectly.
I have to remain hopeful.