End of An Era

Let me cut to the chase here – I moved across the country, I hadn’t been working out regularly since more than a year, I had post grad shock and yes, I was also a wee bit lonely…and had no real friends.

I haven’t given much thought to my dating life while I was in school, but suddenly I felt the need to fix everything that wasn’t at its’ prime in my life. I completed my degree, scored a job but felt my personal life was lacking… and the glaringly obvious reason was my plummeted self esteem. I had no confidence, would behave neurotic around anyone who would even dare show interest in me. To cut it short, I was a mess.

I decided to turn to this app I had downloaded in my last semester in the presence of my friends. It was a shallow retreat to swiping left and right on members of the opposite sex. People used it mostly to bang within the college town. I downloaded it and trolled the men who would match with me, until I found myself all alone in the middle of nowhere in Florida.

I went on a few dates with men I met around – a guy I exchanged digits with at a bar, and another guy I met one lonely night drowning in a pasta dinner @ Carrabba’s. And then, I turned to Tinder. All these men, wanting to go out, asking me what I’m doing tonight. Of course they wanted to bang, but I saw the opportunity and went for it. In the last 6 months, I have been on 19 dates – all with men I went on Tinder. That’s a lot of first dates, and while there were a couple of guys (in the beginning) I got involved with too much and had my heart slightly broken, I trooped on anyway and learned my lesson as to how shallow and meaningless online dating apps really can be. Certainly, I didn’t pursue it to find myself a “quality” man… Tinder usually attracts the scum of the Earth; but I learned a lot by going out on all these dates.

The biggest thing I have to take from the experiment is my elevated self confidence, and the ability to take rejection. Of the 19 men mentioned, I only went on second & third dates with two of them. Granted, this statistic may be skewed because I made it clear they weren’t gonna get laid, which 99% of men want on Tinder, but all that rejection came with a valuable lesson for me – it’s not always you. I know there are a lot of women out there who read too much in to the actions of people around them. I myself was guilty of this the first few times, but you must realize that relationships or dates are a two way street. If there is silence, the reason can lie on the shoulders of either individual.

Being comfortable with rejection is not easy. I once went out with a guy with whom I had the time of my life. We went on a midnight swim in to the ocean, and when I texted him the next day, he acted rather cold and distant. While I wasn’t heart broken, I definitely wished something relevant would’ve come out of such a magical encounter, and that’s where the lesson of all these dates lies – it’s not about making something last forever. Go out, put yourself out there and experience difference people. All these stories don’t have to have an ending, and a majority of them don’t, but you will make a memory and learn something new about yourself that you haven’t learned before. You will go through a long journey of self-discovery. Different people bring out a different side of you.

Six months ago, I could never imagine walking in to a coffee shop to meet a guy without sweating bullets of anxiety. What if he thinks I’m fat? What if he thinks I’m short? What if he doesn’t like the way I look at life? Does that fact that I like to lift weights intimidate him? Am I gonna suck at this?

Having gone out with a good handful of men, and breezing through most dates with ease, I can now say that even though Tinder was the scummiest place to find men, or even go out with them, I have come a long way. My self-esteem definitely sees low days, but for the most part I feel confident in the way I feel, look and behave. Practice makes perfect and while last week I deleted my 698 Tinder matches along with my account permanently, I have taken away a life-changing experience from this charade that has left me in a better place than I was before.

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