What Happened to OFFline Dating?

5 min read

What Happened to Offline Dating | The Girl Next Door is BlackDoes anyone meet anyone in real life these days? Offline? For dating purposes, that is. You know like:

Guy sees cute girl at bus stop.

Guy makes joke about the horrid stench wafting from a black trash bag near the bus shelter.

“Ah, the sweet smell of street funk and human waste,” he cracks.

Girl giggles. She relaxes her street defenses.

They discover they share a preference for puffy Cheetos over crunchy.  “This is awesome,” they both think. 

They chat animatedly as they wait for the bus, trading witticisms back and forth. He uses a word infrequently woven in conversation these days and it further endears him to her. She finds it sexy when a man has a big vocabulary and knows how to use it well. 

He likes her laugh and the way she thinks.

He asks if he can take her out.

She says “Yes,” with a bashfulness he finds charming.

The bus arrives.

Only in my (safe for sharing on the internet) dreams!

In real life: men on the street say things to me so inappropriate that, if said on TV, would make the Parent’s Television Council triple their angry email writing output; or at the bus stop I’ll smile at a cute guy and he’ll look the other way, jeez; or worse I inadvertently pique the unwanted interest of a creepy co-worker who I’d often catch staring at me when I was at my desk.

When people ask me, “How’s your love life?” I’m taken aback as though they’ve asked me why I haven’t eaten vegetables in a while. Like, “Oh. Right. That’s something people do, date and stuff.  That’s part of life too.” I mean, I know it happens. I kinda remember there being a time when I did things like that. I hear other people talk having love lives, but I don’t think I know what that is anymore.

This love life thing keeps coming up lately.

I went on a weekend trip with a group of a friends for one of their birthday’s this summer. I roomed with V__ (a dude) and K ___ (a dudette), fellow single thirty-somethings. We returned to our room at 3am one night and both V__ and K__ pulled out their phones to Tinder. [If you’re unfamiliar with Tinder, it’s a dating app for meeting people in your area. It uses your Facebook profile (’cause Facebook isn’t over-involved in your life enough) and I’ve gleaned from friends’ experiences that a lot of people on there aren’t exactly looking for “a relationship.” It seems like more of a shallow way to meet people given you decide “yes” or “no” on a person based on a few photos and whatever information they’ve bothered to share with Facebook.]

"What Happened to Offline Dating" - Photo cr: Wayan Vota, flickr.com Tinder Screen | The Girl Next Door is Black

Photo cr: Wayan Vota, flickr.com

My friends happily Tinder’d while I interrupted them with questions about why they found it so fascinating, who and what were they texting, and who else was up at 3am?

I tried Tinder once when I was at a Starbucks and freaked out when a guy sent me a chat. “Can he see me? Is he nearby?!” Like a grandma who doesn’t understand how this newfangled technology works.

Another time, two of my friends, both of whom were in relationships at the time, stole my phone to Tinder for me, despite my weak protestations. I don’t know why I hadn’t deleted the damned app by then. Anyway, I know that really, they just wanted to see what it was like; to get a taste of the single life again for one sweet moment. I see you.

I am not one for idle texting back and forth and it seems like Tinder involves a lot of this. I can’t even figure out how to work normal text messaging, how the hell am I going to seduce someone on Tinder? Oh who am I kidding? All I’d have to do is show a little cleavage in my photos and use lots of emoticons and coy responses when I chat.

I feel the same way about online dating. I don’t want to go through this back and forth, tell me your life story, what’s your favorite color, do you like to cuddle, let’s have a pre-date phone call business. If I like what you’ve got to say in your profile and if in your communication with me you use adult-level grammar and don’t make gross sexual comments to / about me, let’s meet and see if we click. There’s no need to drag this process out. This is why I don’t understand the show Catfish. How are you “in a relationship” for seven months or a year, or five, with someone you’ve NEVER MET, and then shocked when they turn out to be a Shrek masquerading as an Efron?

I’ve given online dating plenty of shots. You might even call me an online dating early adopter. In 2003, I went out with a guy I met through Yahoo Personals. (Yahoo Personals people! Old school internet!)  It was disastrous. The date went downhill the minute I told him I moved to L.A. to try to make it as an actress. He treated me like I was an airhead. Nobody likes actors in L.A. except other actors, the people they pay to like them and their fans.

"What Happened to Offline Dating?" -- Peggy Awkward Online Dating | The Girl Next Door is Black Photo cr: hadesigns, flickr.com

Photo cr: hadesigns, flickr.com

I know people who’ve met and married or at least dated successfully through online dating. Personally, I’ve found it to be like a tedious a second job, as well as disappointing experience. I’m nowhere near the most popular female demographic in the e-dating pool. It gets old seeing guy after guy indicate interest in every ethnicity except “Black/African-American.”

Every boyfriend I’ve had I met through a friend, doing things I normally do, being myself and not feeling like I’m being auditioned for a starring role in someone’s life. Not only does meeting someone through your social network make it easier to blend your social lives, if there’s any of the “bad” kind of crazy in your prospective boo, your friend can give you the lowdown.

One time, ONE TIME, I agreed to a date with a guy who I met at a bar. I was young and dumb (and drunk, holy beer goggles!). The night of our date, he drove us around Hollywood for nearly half an hour looking for street parking, missing the beginning of the show at The Knitting Factory. At each light, he’d stop, look into my eyes and say something utterly fromage-y like, “Your eyes shine like stars. I could get lost in them.”

WHO SAYS STUFF LIKE THAT FOR REAL?!

He turned out to be one of those short guys with a Napoleon Complex and the associated serious anger management issues. By mid-date,  it was so bad, I contemplated excusing myself to go to the bathroom and crawling out the window to freedom. I decided not to, mostly because he was my ride home and in those financially-leaner days, I really couldn’t afford the $50 cab ride from Hollywood to my place in the Valley. When I didn’t go out with him again, he became increasingly irate and left vile messages on my voice mail. I had to change my number.

I have never dated a guy I met in a bar again.

"What Happened to Offline Dating?" -- Pink Phone Box Long Live Love Life | The Girl Next Door is Black Photo cr: Bruce Stokes, flickr.com

Photo cr: Bruce Stokes, flickr.com

I suppose online dating hasn’t been all bad for me. Last year, I dated a guy for a few months who I met on Match. He’s a great person and I learned a lot when I was with him, but ultimately I felt we’d be better off as friends.

During a recent lunch with one of my college roommates who met her husband of three years on eHarmony, she talked about why she’d decided to give eHarmony a try. She said:

“I knew I was ready to meet my husband and I made it a priority. You have to make it a priority.” I realized then that it wasn’t and hadn’t been a priority to me for quite some time. Somehow, I’d forgotten about having a love life. I guess I’d been busy with other life things, like figuring out what to do after I got laid off and realized that once and for all that I need to make a career change.

The subject of my love life arose once again in the form of an email. A friend of mine is currently off in Europe on a sabbatical of sorts and recently started up a hot romance with a strapping Nordic man. She’s happily enamored with him and inquired, “Have you met anyone interesting?” I stared at my screen, puzzled, “Met anyone? Interesting? Men? How would I even do that? How do people meet people offline to date?” Some of the ideas I shared for making new friends are applicable to meeting people to dateAnd I have tried them. But, you can’t force these things.

It’s been almost a week and I haven’t responded to her email. I don’t know what to say. I would love to meet someone interesting, but I’d like for that to happen offline. Is that too much to ask?

29 Comments
  • Lloyd Lofthouse
    June 6, 2015

    My mother, when she was 89, once said that every morning when she woke up, she felt like she was 14 again, and then she looked in a mirror. I’m almost 70 now and yes, I feel young in my thoughts but that mirror reveals an old man. I can’t even imagine the dating game at that age.We all look like shriveling prunes with all the health challenges that come with age. One of my doctors said imagine what it would be like to go to bed one night at 14 and wake up the next morning age 90 with all the pain and broken parts that come with age.

    The woman who lives across the street is in her 80s and she lost her husband last year. Almost immediately, single male friends of hers in her age bracket that she’d known for decades started asking her out and even though she wasn’t ready for another serious relationship right away after having lost the man she had been married to for more than 30 years, she saw hope that it was possible to start over even at her age. And she went on a few dinner dates.

    Then the first man she was dating dropped dead—but he’d been married and divorced about 5 times and was probably a risky choice. Then the second. Then the third. She gave it up and said no to number 4 when he called. She said it was depressing that all of these men her own age were so interested in her but kept dropping dead.

    What’s even worse is being a vegan at my age who has PTSD from his service in Vietnam as a Marine. I wouldn’t wish me on anyone who had no idea what she was getting into. LOL

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      June 6, 2015

      Wow, Lloyd, I wouldn’t have guessed that you are almost 70! I’m closer to almost 40 than 70, but I can already see how odd it is to remain feeling youthful inside while your outer appearance ages. It’s such an odd, hard to describe feeling.

      It’s heartening to hear that an 80-year old woman has dating options! Perhaps she should go for younger men, since we women tend to live longer on average. Maybe a young man in his 60s. 😉

  • muse
    November 15, 2014

    This post is like you just stepped into my mind and wrote down what was happening in there. Love it 🙂

  • izzy82
    November 12, 2014

    Several of my friends have met their husbands/partners online. I met my husband over five years ago on okcupid – do people still use that? I only did online dating sporadically for less than a year but even so, I was surprised by how time-consuming it was and ultimately I think it was sheer luck that I met my husband after not much time doing the online dating thing. The race factor is definitely a big issue. I have no illusions that my white privilege did not work in my favor, I’m sure it did (although I wasn’t amazingly popular on the site and I’ll never forget the guy who tried to “woo” me (or maybe intimidate me?) by telling me that he’s a lawyer who defends child molesters, yikes). I’ve occasionally asked guys who they tend to go for in the online dating sphere in an attempt to illuminate issues of beauty standards as well as race. I’ve asked them if they think race impacts who they contact. They usually say no but then openly admit they’ve contacted women of most races but not African American women. I call them out on it. And people deny racism still exists! Uggghhh… And this isn’t even just a black/white issue as that NPR article demonstrates.
    Good luck in your dating both on and offline!

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      November 12, 2014

      Thank you for your honest comments, Izzy. In the past, when I’ve told white some white friends that I have problems getting traction with online dating, they are quick to dismiss any talk of racial bias. But, it’s there, unfortunately.

      Yes, people do still use OkCupid. 🙂

      The child molester defender – sheesh. I know everyone is entitled to legal representation, but I don’t know that I want to date the person doing it!

      • izzy82
        November 14, 2014

        About the defense atty – exactly! I don’t think I could date someone defends people accused of sexually abusing children (his words were “child molesters”) but I was most disturbed that he wrote that and only that in his first message to me. It was like “okayyy…”

        • The Girl Next Door is Black
          November 14, 2014

          That’s weird. Maybe he was trying to get it out of the way at the start?

          • izzy82
            November 14, 2014

            ha, perhaps. I never responded so I guess we’ll never know! 😉

  • jessbures
    November 4, 2014

    what a great post! Thanks for linking up at Totally Terrific Tuesday 🙂 Link up is now live..hope you make it back this week!
    Jess

  • Melissa Nicholson
    October 27, 2014

    I am currently separated and the thought of having to date at age 42 does not excite me. Online dating sounds terrifying! I can only imagine the psychos I’d have to go through to eventually meet someone normal. 🙁

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      October 27, 2014

      Sorry to hear about your separation (unless it’s a happy thing).

      Online dating does have it merits, don’t get me wrong. There are ways you can weed out most of the (overtly) crazy. Lol I think the pool of people also depends on the site you use and your region. People do manage to find love on these things. Heh.

  • Veronica Lee
    October 26, 2014

    I have a couple of friends who met their spouses online, too! My hubby was my college sweetheart.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      October 27, 2014

      It’s cool how it’s becoming more common to hear people say “I have friends who met their [partner] online.”

  • Jennifer
    October 25, 2014

    I used to podcast at singleandsweaty.com. not only is it nearly impossible to find men in the REAL WORLD, but how about trying to balance dating with a hefty training schedule. Sorry, I can only date on Thursdays and Sundays because.. well.. I have other stuff going on.

    I guess if you really did want it now the whole priority thing is important; for me dating was kinda like a game at the time. I loved Tinder.. because it was a way to pass time. I met one guy out of tons that I swiped and chatted with, but it was more for entertainment. I found the best luck on OKCupid but really I just don’t think I was ready to date when I was on all the site.

    I met my ex husband (married 2005-09.. who i happened to meet on AOL PERSONAL ADS!! AOL- I win) online, but my last relationship was someone that I worked with years and years ago.. and reconnected on Facebook by chance. Three years later, that ended.. but my current relationship I just met at the gym.. so much in common and just molded from a friendship when I never expected it to turn into anything more.

    Your time will come.. and if not, enjoy the single life while you have it! 🙂

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      October 27, 2014

      Hahaha, I love the name of that podcast. Lol @ AOL personals. You got me there! I have friends who met on IRC chat (hello if you’re reading this). You really can meet people anywhere. I think with online dating, a lot depends on the medium you use. I just don’t think I’m a Tinder girl, but I know a lot of people love it.

      I went out with a guy I met at my gym once. He was the trainer who did the initial PT assessment they make you do with new memberships. He turned out to have stalker tendencies. Haha. I’m glad your situation sounds saner. 🙂

  • Heidi
    October 25, 2014

    It’s definitely not my priority anymore either. It’s quite funny that I don’t think anyone has asked me about dating since I turned 40. I guess you have that to look forward to if you don’t find someone before then. 🙂

  • Jen P. @ Save to Splurge
    October 25, 2014

    I’ve never tried online dating, but know several people who have had good experiences! My cousin signed me up for eHarmony before I met my husband, but I never had the guts to complete a profile!

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      October 25, 2014

      Talk about saved by the “bell” (in this case your husband) haha! Sometimes setting up the profile is the toughest hurdle to getting started!

  • Rachel G
    October 25, 2014

    I have a lot of friends who met their spouses online, too! I met my husband the old fashioned way–we became friends when we were in college together

  • Wilma Jones
    October 25, 2014

    I’m a tad bit older than you, but i totally agree with you. Divorced after 19 years of marriage I have rejoined the dating pool. Online never worked for me either. But I enjoy the activity and I just take it one day at a time. It’s when I least expect it that a prospect enters the picture! LOL

    http://www.LivingHappierAfter.com

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      October 25, 2014

      Wow re-joining the dating world after 19 years, was it like a shock to the system? Things seem to change so rapidly out in the single wild. Hehe I like your attitude toward it!

  • Sue Slaght
    October 24, 2014

    I am very glad to have been married since the pterodactyls roamed the earth. I would not have a clue about dating on line or offline I am afraid. 🙂

  • Becky Pollard
    October 23, 2014

    Love this! So glad I’m not the only one who can’t seem to find the time to date and actually still believes in dating the old fashion way. Keep the posts coming! 🙂

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