Cut Both Ways

February 27, 2017

When I broke up with my ex for the hundredth and last time, I thought I was cured. I thought that meant that I didn’t have to have feelings for him anymore. I would finally be free. I allowed my friends to talk me into that whole “putting yourself out there again” thing. I went through the feel everything stage and it hurt. A lot. So, I allowed my friends to talk me into dating again. The truth was that I wasn’t ready but I didn’t know that until it was too late.

My problem, so I had thought, was that I was working two jobs and working on small productions and I just didn’t have the time to meet anybody new. So, I did what any twenty something desperate to move on would do, I downloaded the Tinder. (Friends out of the loop and family you may pick up your jaws now). I am a strictly monogamous young lady and I do not even like to talk to more than one person at a time. My theory is you that you hang out with one person and get to know each other and if doesn’t work out than deuces and on to the next one.

I was so far out my element. I was a very brave girl. I had so many guys to choose from. My mind was in a whirlwind. I won’t ever understand how anybody could ever be capable of cheating or dating multiple people. How can you possibly keep up with multiple people at a time and remember everything that they tell you? It was difficult and I did not like to be confused for someone else that these guys were talking to on the app. There were a lot of weirdo horn dogs. There were some that clearly needed the practice with talking to the opposite sex. There were a few great conversations that fizzled out. And then there were the two that I actually met in person.

The first guy that I met was the guy with the eight pack of abs and the motorcycle. Go big or go home, right? After talking back and forth for a few weeks we finally made plans to meet up in person. We decided on a lunch date at Panera. I wasn’t too hungry and I was slightly nervous since it was only the second date that I had been on since my ex and I didn’t even know this guy. I only ended up getting a green power smoothie. He followed and ordered a smoothie for him. I couldn’t help but notice a lady watching us from time to time and I felt like she knew what was going and it made me way more nervous. The conversation went well so we decided to walk around the plaza. That’s when all hell broke loose. Just Kidding. However, things got weird quick. Mr. Eight Pack got really handsy and kissed me. Mind you this was the first time I had ever met him. We were in a shopping plaza at lunchtime. There wasn’t a moment or a romantic setting. I didn’t give off a go ahead and kiss me before you’ve asked what my middle name is vibe. He just kissed me. At first it was so incredibly weird to kiss someone new, then it was so weird because it was such a public first kiss, and then it was just weird because I was so uncomfortable with what was happening and I was just over it. He didn’t really know me and he just took it upon himself to start kissing me out of the blue. He just forced that moment to happen. That is not “what I get” for using the app, and that is not okay on any level. And if anything, I gave off vibes that said “Not just yet.” He didn’t realize or care apparently. I had to make an excuse to get going early. No further contact was ever made.

I was so over the app after the first date went the way it did but something within me told me to keep swiping. That’s when I came across the hockey player with the red mustang. He is also known as “Without a paddle.” We didn’t waste too much time typing back and forth before we made plans to meet. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant, Carrabbas. He met me outside and we hugged and he said “it’s nice to meet you.” There was a table of ladies outside that watched this happening. I hated that part so much. It was awful. Like are they watching to look out for me or are they calling me dirty names? Ha Anyways, we both had chicken parmesan. I could tell that he was as nervous as I felt. The conversation was going great and it was fun and we stayed and talked until they closed. He made sure I got home safe and we made plans to go out again. He was such a gentleman and we had quite a few more dates after that night. The next time we went kayaking. One night we had pizza and watched a movie at his place and another night we had dinner and then froyo. It was the night that we went to a local bar and got drinks and shared an appetizer that I knew I had started to really like him and it wasn’t the vodka I promise. We were there to watch the championship fight. He was explaining the different stats and who his favorites were. His face would light up and he’d get excited if a certain mechanism was used or if his preferred fighter won. It was the smallest of gestures but I felt like he was letting me in which is something that I hadn’t experienced before.

“Without a Paddle,” and I got along great but there was one problem. We were two people that weren’t over our exes that were trying to fill a void by using a popular dating app in a hookup culture but not willing to use one another. We both were initially looking for a relationship and it was even set up like a relationship but that’s not what it was. We realized that we weren’t quite ready. The timing was off. It sucked.

My friend and coworker would grab his chest every time I walked into work. He would say “I actually watched the news this morning to make sure your picture didn’t appear.” We would just laugh. Sure, he made fun of me all the time and about everything not just my dating life, but he made sure that he got all the details out of me, all of them. He made sure I was safe while using the app and that I contacted someone near that I trusted about my exact coordinates, he lectured me, and he gave me tips and red flags to look out for. I’ll always appreciate that.

I deleted the app and I won’t be using it ever again. Honestly, even though the hockey player was normal and sweet, you don’t really know what you’re getting yourself into. There are too many horror stories and either of mine could’ve also been one. I could’ve appeared on the news as missing or worse. You don’t know if those are real pictures. You don’t know if they’re hiding anything. Maybe they are married or involved in human trafficking or just really psycho. You don’t know anything. Sure, sometimes it’s just about a quick hookup and sometimes it turns into a relationship, and sometimes it leads to the local morning news.

Disclaimer: If anybody uses this app or any of the others for whatever reason, please, please, please, be careful. And yes, it is that serious. All it takes is that one time. I’m not encouraging anyone to live under a rock, but be smart and let people know where you are and what you’re doing and who your with.

A few people have suggested online dating to me. I always laugh. Absolutely not. I’m not saying online dating is bad by any means or that it doesn’t have a high success rate, but after my experiences I don’t think I ever could take it seriously. I only did the Tinder because I needed to get it out of my system. I needed to move on. It wasn’t the best way to go about it. It wasn’t the smartest way. It wasn’t the safest. Nonetheless it was a learning and growing experience.

After my Tinder experience I felt nothing. I was hurt but I was numb. I was a zombie or a floating ghost just coasting through life. I hadn’t gained back enough fight in me yet because I didn’t give myself the time and space to heal from my prior relationship so when it was over I literally had nothing left to give and I felt awful. Defeated. I felt like I had to get away from it all so I jumped at the first offer to travel. I applied for a job transfer that’s 2,679mi away. It fell through but I was aching to travel. Craving it. Just in time my cousins invited me to visit them in Indiana. I am not usually one to just make last minute plans and hop on a plane, but I did and it was awesome. We took a girl’s trip to Chicago where we went wedding dress shopping for my cousin Abby, and we saw a Netflix original show being filmed on the street. (Stay tuned for a travel post)! Something in me changed on that trip. I wanted to be different. Better. Stronger. Happy.

Today I am single and I am happy. I won’t let anybody take that away from me. Well, at least the happy part. It took a long and hilly route to get here but I made it. I’m at a place where I wouldn’t mind being in a serious relationship, but for now I am happy just being me.

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