The first few days of a new resolution are so empowering. You’ve made a promise to finally get up off your ass, and DO something about the shit in your life that’s bothering you. And as with all other resolutions, by about a week and half in, I was like…am I really doing this?
I woke up on Saturday morning thinking I had a date in the bag. A man and I had made some loose plans to meet up, and it had seemed like he was genuinely interested. I checked in, and was met with radio silence. That’s fairly normal on Tinder, but I would categorize this guy as a Phone Sex Operator. That’s someone who tries to get you to talk to them about sex on a dating app under the guise of wanting to know what you’re into for future horny times, but they’re probably just getting their titillation from speaking to strange women about sex(for free! If you want that, Venmo me). All I had told him was “no choking,” so enjoy that visual, rando.
What to do?
Much like with going to the gym, I tried to think of ways to cheat.
“Well, maybe if I go to a bar and talk to a stranger, that counts,” is the “Well, I took a long walk,” of this project. For the rest of the day I wildly messaged anyone who had swiped, liked, or winked at me on one of my many, many dating apps. But things started going wrong.
Hungover, I began cleaning my kitchen as I waited for my future lovers to respond, and a glass snapped in my hand. Long story short, my finger has a pull tab now. Deciding that my house was cursed, I went to get an overpriced coffee to feel fancy, and was greeted by an extremely cute barista. I thought he was eyeballing me, over-sensitized from trying to find a connection everywhere, until I gave him a debit card with a hand covered in bloody tissue and duct tape.
From there, I traveled to my most responsible friend’s house for bandaids and a new phone. I had finally smashed mine after years of blithely dropping it with no consequences for years. We sat in her backyard and watched her daughter jump on a trampoline, both of us deflecting her invitation to join with excuses that boiled down to, “We’re old.” The phone my friend passed on to me was great and cheap, but there’s a problem with it—Tinder won’t work. I’ve restarted, reinstalled, but nothing will make it open. This feels like an attack! What am I going to do without Tinder? Should I just STOP? Is that what you want, Tinder?!
By now, I have basically given up on getting my second date in for the week, so I start to extend the meaning of what a “week” is. Maybe the week starts at the end of the last date from the previous “week.” Maybe a week is a measure of time on the astral plane. I get home very late on Saturday, and when my old phone reconnects to the WiFi I see a message ON TINDER from someone asking to meet me 6 hours earlier. NOOOO! Can we do it tomorrow?? No response.
On Monday, I see my therapist for the first time in awhile and explain my project, wondering if she’ll tell me it is demented. Instead she says, “You’re very good at pushing yourself to grow.” For some reason, this makes me extremely emotional and also determined to stick with my plans. Who doesn’t want to see themselves as a person who pushes themselves to grow? Who doesn’t want to be acknowledged for the work they do? But, also, who doesn’t wish that something would just fall into their lap to make the whole damn thing easier?
Finally, that night, I start talking to someone semi-interesting. He’s a personal trainer, or something, and a vegan. My mania for dating has extended to self-improvement on several fronts, and I anticipate an hour of talking about his calisthenics program very happily. He’s driving, and sends me a message that he’s on his way. I rush upstairs to my cursed home to get changed and then get a notification from Facebook. Someone with a name I don’t know has commented on a post from 2016.
Most of my Facebook posts are set to private, except for friends. As much as I share, I am a person with a lot of boundaries. Dating makes you question the boundaries you’ve built, the places where you are keeping more wonderful experiences out than terrible ones. They also keep you safe.
Seeing that my date had not only looked me up, but decided to engage with me on my Facebook profile before we ever even met was deeply unsettling. I found it so weird, but the way it made me feel was beyond, “This guy is freaky.” I felt shocked and unsure. It reminded me of pulling a muscle in my leg a few weeks ago. I thought I had the strength to do something, but came up against a limit that I didn’t know how to anticipate. I thought I was so brave, but this scared me, deservedly so or not.
I cancelled with a message and blocked him and I don’t know if he got that message. I felt an enormous amount of guilt, thinking of him waiting for me, or turning around halfway to the bar. But explaining to a total stranger that he’d violated my personal boundaries wasn’t a hurdle I knew how to get over.
Instead, I went for a jog. My leg’s healing after that muscle pull, and I’m trying to get stronger.