L.A. Affairs: I was the world’s pickiest dater. And no guy could ever stack up
I joined the world of online dating on a whim. I had broken up with my boyfriend of two years and was ready to embark upon the rest of my 20s with a new lease on romance. Someone suggested Tinder. This was 2014, when Tinder was fairly new and dating behind a screen still hadn’t totally shed its stigma. My family wasn’t supportive. Eventually, I joined OkCupid and Match.com to diversify my portfolio.
And every Monday morning, I kept my co-workers enthralled with my dating misadventures.
You see, I was the world’s pickiest dater.
I didn’t want to date a man under 5 feet 10.
I didn’t want to date anyone with kids. (I wasn’t ready for kids, and I didn’t want to be anyone’s stepmom.)
Anyone divorced was also not my type. I figured he would have too many strings attached.
I didn’t want to date an “actor,” “model” or “club promoter” or anyone in the entertainment industry. I was looking for a doctor, lawyer, teacher or police officer.
There was no anger. She understood what I was going through. She had been divorced for over a decade, and had been in a few relationships since. And I was just coming to realize that I wasn’t ready to be in a committed relationship just months after ending a 23-year marriage.
My new boyfriend would have to be between 25 and 28 . Younger men were too juvenile, and older men were just too old. I didn’t want someone who wanted to take advantage of a 20-something because his first two wives didn’t work out.
And I didn’t want to date someone who wasn’t black.
I know how that sounds, but I’m a black woman, and I had never really dated a white guy. I guess I just didn’t think the average white guy in Los Angeles would have anything in common with a black girl who grew up in the inner city.
So I put the dating app filters to work to weed out, or weed in, the perfect guy for me. I left no stone unturned in my search for the best candidate. I read a potential date’s profile as if he was applying for a job with the FBI.
Sadly, there are no filters to determine whether someone still lives off his mother or has five roommates or a tattoo of “My Little Pony” on his back.
My parents were afraid my pickiness was going to lead to me being all alone — except for several adorable cats.
My list of “can’t date ifs” went on and on.
I inspected and critiqued each carefully curated profile picture displayed on the dating apps: If you were posed with women, I didn’t think you were serious. Too many selfies made a man seem narcissistic. I didn’t like the arrogance of posing in front of a luxury car or a trip to an exotic place such as Giza, Egypt. I wanted a man to look good but not too perfect. (Otherwise, he might care more about himself than me.)
I was a sucker for beards, tailored clothing and a job with benefits. As a teacher, I was making a stable income, with healthcare insurance, and I didn’t want someone who couldn’t at least meet me in the middle.
Sometimes a man would meet most of my qualifications and I would go out on a date. Curiously enough, I fell into a pattern of being “ghosted” by guys just when my heart would melt a little and I began to like them.
I was a petty perfectionist.
I didn’t realize that until later when I allowed a green-eyed Stephen Curry lookalike from Los Angeles to give me the runaround for months. I allowed him to be my friend with benefits because I was convinced this man was a perfect match, if he could just settle down and realize I was the one.
It was out of sheer desperation (or had I just exhausted all my Tinder matches?) that I finally began to “uncheck” certain filters on my OkCupid profile, such as age, distance away and eventually race. I didn’t necessarily answer messages from men outside my preferred demographic range, but the key was to make myself feel as if I had more options.
One of the co-workers I had long entertained with my dating stories — a black woman like myself — had been dating a Jewish man for a few years and had just gotten engaged. Hmmm. On several occasions she had encouraged me, with little success, to date outside my comfort zone. She knew I had a type. She also knew that, unfortunately, there were only a few Drake doppelgängers out there with high-paying jobs who didn’t also have children or crazy ex-girlfriends.
Finally, I had to snap myself back to reality. Most of the men in Los Angeles were regular guys with a variety of backgrounds — and many would like to get to know me. I had been refusing to get to know them.
After two more years of limited success on any online dating platform, I let my co-worker match me with one of her husband’s good friends.
She had planned to set me up with him before, but she knew I had a type and that I would have rejected this guy before meeting him. She finally showed me a picture of him on Instagram.
He was white.
He wasn’t all that tall.
And he was in the entertainment industry.
Later, she sent me a short video of him at work. I had to admit he had a sexy voice and was kind of adorable. He was being given a cake to celebrate his signing to a record company as an in-house writer.
What I really liked about him was how humble he appeared, despite the circumstances. And I noticed he had the most brilliant blue eyes I’d ever seen.
I responded with the emoji with huge eyes. OK. I was willing to try.
We met about a month later. We were in love within weeks. And we were married within months.
Remarkably, he is everything I had filtered out of my dating profile.
But now I know he’s everything I’ve ever wanted and hopefully will ever need.
MORE L.A. LOVE STORIES
Straight, gay, bisexual, transgender or nonbinary: L.A. Affairs chronicles the search for love in and around Los Angeles — and we want to hear your story. You must allow your name to be published, and the story you tell has to be true. We pay $300 for each essay we publish. Email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com. You can find submission guidelines here.
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