08 June 2016

Pen Pals Need Not Apply

Bumble is driving me batshit crazy. I don't know if it's the app or the men, or if it's simply the kind of men that this app attracts that are causing the problem, but I'm getting sick and tired of making small talk.

I know we've talked about it before, but I'm still going to walk you through a basic break-down of how Bumble works.

Think of a deck of cards, each one for a different man/woman (depending on your preference). The card contains up to six photos of a person. It pulls your age, job, and alma mater from your Facebook profile. And, you have the option to fill out a little "About Me" section. Here's mine:

And yes, sadly the parenthetical at the end has been proven necessary.

There are a variety of trends for those little About Me blurbs, with everything from sincere bios to a list of emojis so long no one will ever actually read through them. I've seen every cliché under the sun, and of course, dozens that are left blank altogether. (I generally assume that a blank profile is someone who is either extremely lazy or looking for a hookup. Probably both. It doesn't take that much effort to write one sentence about yourself, people.)

I look at each of these cards in the deck and can tap on them to see the rest of a person's photos, read their little blurb, etc. If I'm interested, I swipe the card to the right. If I'm not, I swipe to the left, and never see their card again.

Now, with those lucky sons-of-guns that I swiped right on, they either vanish forever or become a match, if they also saw my profile and also swiped right.

Here's where Bumble becomes distinct from other similarly structured apps: Once I match with someone, I have to message him within 24 hours or the match deletes itself. Again, we've talked about all of this before, but a new feature since I used Bumble back in January is that once I send that first message, now the guy on the other end has an additional 24 hours to respond, or, again, the match will delete itself.

Keep in mind that online and off, I really don't like making the first move (that includes sending a match the first message). I like to feel pursued, to feel confident in the guy's interest in me—and then I will gladly give appropriate encouragement. For those reasons, Bumble has taken a lot of getting used to. And you can bet your sweet ass that if I had to send the first message, I am absolutely not going to be the one to ask for the first date. Just not doing it. Not my personality type.

Aside: I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman making the first move or asking the man out. It is simply not my personal preference.

And now we reach the problem: my general dateless-ness. Yesterday I had running conversations with 4 different men. They each seemed pretty nice, and I chatted with each of them for a few hours (one almost the entire day). Without fail, I set each of them up with a near-perfect opportunity to ask me on a date.

Setup 1: Guy A turned out to be at the Logan Square Farmer's Market at almost exactly the same time as me. "Wow. What a coincidence! Are you going back next weekend?"

Date Opportunity: "Yeah! We should meet up!"

Setup 2: "The only thing I miss about Memphis is BBQ and blues." Guy B asks me if I've found any BBQ restaurants in Chicago that can compete. I named one that I like.

Date: "Can I take you there for dinner sometime?"

Setup 3: "Wow I haven't played golf since I was a little kid. I was a total lost cause. I blame the TN heat." Guy C tells me I should give it another try. "Maybe I will! I think I'd need lessons, though."

Date: "Why don't I take you out on the course sometime? I'll teach you the basics."

Setup 4: …well, actually Guy D won't stop asking boring questions about my job (he keeps turning the conversation back to it) so he hasn't actually given me an opportunity to set him up for an ask-out. Starting to think I don't really want to.

Date: Good God, man, just ask if I want to grab a drink already!

And yet, not one of these men actually seized one of these golden opportunities not just to take me out but to avoid a standard "Wanna grab a cup of coffee?" It would have been so easy! But every one of them has passed the opportunity by. I'd say they weren't interested, but then they continue trying to keep the conversation going.

Let's be clear, men of the world: I'm a nerd. I already have pen pals. Several of them. At least two that I write letters to regularly. I am not looking to sit on this app for days making inane small talk with you indefinitely. Ask me out! Meet me in person! That's the only way either of us is actually going to be sure of our compatibility!

Seriously it is no wonder I'm still single at this rate.

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