For months I’d been in awe of single friends venturing into the dating app world.
I distinctly remember saying, “I would enjoy being single for the rest of my life.”
I was newly divorced, and the idea of running every movie I wanted to see by another person made me feel nauseated.
I was enjoying this new independence, but then New Year’s Eve happened and I very much wanted to see a movie with a male counterpart. So I added Bumble and JSwipe (willing to convert) onto my plethora of iPhone apps.
My first thought: This is scary.
Not only was no one “swiping right” last time I was single, no one had a smartphone in their pocket. But I dove in:
Yes, to using Facebook to sign up.
Yes, to scrolling through a smorgasbord of grown men and judging them with a flick of my hand.
No, to men in shirtless selfies.
My first attempt at writing an “about me” came off very negative, “If your main goal is to text pictures of body parts, I am not the one.”
My third “about me” was an “I’m-over-this-already” vibe.
By the fourth try, I think I captured my 140-character essence.
Making yourself vulnerable and authentic while trying to maintain a sense of cool superiority is difficult.
Let’s face it, I’m a catch. In my marriage I remained a faithful and supportive partner to my husband. I love sports and love to cook. I’m outgoing and enjoy spontaneity.
What are my downfalls: Physical attributes come to mind.
1. I’m 46, so there goes the neighborhood.
2. I hate to exercise, although I’m L.A. height-and-weight proportionate thanks to the anxiety brought on by a struggling marriage and then divorce.
3. I’m 5-foot-1, although I guess this could be an attribute to some.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone on dating apps led with their flaws instead of their attributes?
“I struggle with porn addiction and most of my friends say I’m self-centered to the extreme, but did you see my shirtless selfie?”
Or how about a new app?
It would be for the 40-and-over crowd and would narrow down the search filters. By this age most of us know what we’re looking for in a significant other, or what we’re not.
If you’re male you could categorize yourself from this selection:
I’m wealthy, but not fit
I’m fit, but not wealthy
I’m wealthy and fit
I’m neither wealthy nor fit
I would argue the last two don’t need to be on a dating site, but the choice would be theirs, and hers.
For women the criteria might go something like this:
I’m all trophy wife: Yes to sex, and no to cooking.
I’m all wife, Yes to cooking, and not so much to sex.
The truth is, I know exactly what I’m looking for. I either want the sheriff from “Stranger Things” or Jerry Seinfeld. A man with a British accent could also sweep me off my feet. Oh, and I love a Canadian.
Last year at this time, I had my first match on Bumble so it was up to me to initiate the chat. I suddenly felt the fear and terror most men must feel from 13 onward.
“How’s your New Year’s going?”
“All 15 hours of it have been great. Thanks for reaching out. How’s yours?”
“I’m killing it.”
“Always leave ’em wanting more. We should stop now.”
I now think he was joking that we should stop the new year, but because this was my first chat of this nature in 18 years, I thought he meant I should stop chatting with him. I did. I wonder if I left him wanting more.
I swiped “no” so many times Bumble said we’ve run out of men for you.
Just contemplating dating after 18 years of marriage is horrific.
Familiarity did not breed contempt for me; it brought comfort. Having to navigate the torrential waters of L.A.’s dating life at this point in my life? This was not the plan.
This year, I’m taking the initiative and sending “Happy New Year” messages to my matches.
My motto for 2019 is “Have Fun!”
(What’s more fun than getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people? Staying in your pajamas and watching “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” on repeat, that’s what.)
But I’m doing it. I’m putting myself out there. I’ve offered myself on the Bumble Buffet. I’m working hard on not choosing the half-eaten, 2-day-old hot dog that fell on the floor and instead initiating conversations with the jumbo shrimp in cocktail sauce or the baked eggs with Canadian bacon.
Maybe I’ll ask one of them to see “The Favourite” at the Santa Monica ArcLight with me?
The author is a screenwriter living in Santa Monica. You can find her on Instagram @mcafee97
L.A. Affairs chronicles the search for love in and around Los Angeles. If you have comments or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.
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