A Life Worth Binge Watching

S2 E10 Check Yes or No

I remember when I was a young girl in school when a boy would pass me a note that said “Do you like me?  Check YES or NO.”  These were also the days when I would talk for hours on the phone,  go to the movies and wait for that awkward moment when the boy would ask me to “go out” or in other words,  be his girlfriend. Yes, these were the good old days when people would also communicate face-to-face, men would bring flowers when they picked you up from your house and women would let the man open a door for them.  Fast forward to the current digital age, where the art of courting(dating) has been reduced to using apps and a swipe right for yes, or left for no. Whether it’s Tinder, Bumble, Match, Hinge or a host of others, this is the new normal.  

Clearly, I did not expect to be 50 years old and single, but here I am trying to navigate this crazy swiping frenzy.  Over the last couple of years, I have dipped my foot in the water of a few of these online/app dating sites just to quickly pull my foot out and vow to never do it again.  Somehow, I get sucked back in.  It seems like a good concept, as I don’t have a lot of time to meet people and honestly I’m not really interested in finding someone at a bar.  Mr. Right has also not been on the produce aisle at my local Publix or at church, so what’s a girl to do? I guess I either stay single forever, or surrender to the dating app world. So with that in mind let’s  explore some of my online dating stories.  

I remember my first experience with what seemed to be a very nice guy.  We chatted for about a month or two (my first mistake) and finally agreed to meet.  We had great conversations, so surely it would be fun.  Well it would’ve been, if he had shown up. Five minutes before we were supposed to meet, he sent me a message that he ate bad chicken and was sick.  It must’ve been really bad, because that’s the last time I ever heard from him.  Did he die?  Who knows.  A few months later, I gave it another shot.  This guy appeared normal and was even a pilot for a major airline. This time he showed up, but he was wearing an ankle bracelet which he said was a magnetic cuff that was treating his calf muscle. For some reason he also had to be home by 8 o’clock. Bachelor number two, dismissed.  

I’m not sure why I even tried again after that, but I thought perhaps a different app would be better. Surely, if people were paying for the subscription it would be a better experience. The first person I met was very nice on the phone but when I got to the restaurant it took me a while to realize he was sitting across the bar from me. I had to look at his photo about five or six times and squint my eyes to determine that this was the same person. If the photo was actually him, it was from 15 years ago, when he was 90 pounds lighter and had hair. He immediately recognized me and waved since I actually look like my pictures.  Reluctantly, I took my drink over to say hello, but made a quick exit.  My next date actually started out well. He looked exactly like his photos. We laughed and talked for hours over dinner and drinks and planned to see each other again the following week. Wow, this might actually work I thought!  A few days later he called and said that he would not be able to go out because he injured his back helping his grandma move. How awful, I thought, but so nice of him to help his sweet grandma.  I decided to check out his Facebook and when I typed in his name his profile picture was with a woman and two young children. It could be his sister, I thought,  as I scrolled through more photos.  I realized that indeed it was not his sister, but his wife and kids. To top it off, the guy did not even live here. I guess what my mom says is true.  I have a bad picker.

I really don’t understand how people can be so deceitful on these apps. If you’re going to meet someone in person, they’re going to find out what you look like or if you are married!  Sadly, I did not learn my lesson and had a few more bad experiences with fake profiles.  One guy stole one of my guy friend’s photos from Facebook and pretended to be him, while another one claimed to be in the service and suddenly had to run for cover from enemy attack during one of our conversations. We were texting when all of a sudden he said that he would have to talk to me later as they were under fire. I’m serious, you can’t make this stuff up.  There are so many scammers preying on innocent people.  Just watch The Tinder Swindler on Netflix.   I know I am not the only one who has these experiences.  I have heard some crazy stories from both men and women that I know.  I have some great guy friends who have the same problems online with women misrepresenting themselves.  I could write a book about all this deception and insanity!  

I honestly think that for a lot of people using these apps, it’s just a form of entertainment.  They’re bored at home or work, so they sit there on their phone and just swipe and swipe and swipe. They may not ever intend on meeting anyone in person which is evident in many of the conversations I had with people that never wanted to actually meet. On the other hand, I know people who go on dates with a different person every day of the week.  Heck, at this point, I can’t even find one person I want to meet!  I feel like this whole social media generation has really messed things up in a big way. No longer do people actually put effort into getting to know one person or trying to impress the one that they are with. To be quite honest there are just too many options out there.  People cannot commit to one person when they are afraid someone better might just be one swipe away. But here’s the thing, we are all at fault.  Until we, as a society decide to bring back good old-fashioned values, honesty and commitment, it’s only going to get worse.  We accept the things that we tolerate.  

I don’t know who else feels this way, but I am not going to settle for this anymore. If I cannot find someone organically,  I guess I will stay single.  I want the romance, the butterflies and the thrill of being chased by someone who truly wants to be with me. If you are fed up with the digital dating dilemma, stay tuned.  It’s not going away, but maybe, just maybe, we can make it better.  Next week I will show you how we can get started.

Melodye Lewis is a Friday columnist for Flagler News Weekly giving you something to talk about over lunch. Follow @ALifeWorthBingeWatching on Facebook. #ALifeWorthBingeWatching

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