Thought Catalog

Why Real-Life Dating Is Just As Brutal As Online Dating

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You’ve swiped, you’ve matched and you’ve conquered. And as fun as dating apps are, sometimes the hopeless romantic in you wishes you could just find love at first sight (without a screen).

So you get dressed up on a Saturday night. You actually put effort into your appearance to the point that you almost look as good as your default pic (a headshot from two years ago, at the height of your diet / borderline eating disorder).

You make all the right moves. You are overdressed, and go to a sports bar where the guy-to-girl ratio is in your favor, because A) you don’t have a hook-up at clubs anymore and B) Gross. Clubs. Not to mention the dim lighting makes you and your bestie look like the most attractive girls in the bar. Your competition is slim, girls still in jerseys from daytime drinking and jaded girlfriends trying their best to be “one of the guys.”

It doesn’t take long before you see your target. What do you call swiping right in real life? Oh right, locking eyes. You did that. Then he approached you. Of course he approached you, if your ensemble was a Halloween costume it would called, “slutty bride.”

Then you get to talking. It’s been so long since you’ve flirted in person. What’s a winky face emoji in real life? Oh right, just winking. Weird. Now you look like you’re having a stroke.

It’s weird meeting someone who in person you find attractive, as opposed to finding someone whose sepia filter made you do a double-take. You don’t know anything about this person other than what is standing right in front of you. There aren’t 4-5 photos to cross-check, no hints of having a dog, a gym membership, a car or even the traces of him “finding himself” on a journey to Thailand where he discovered the meaning of life while posing with a sedated tiger. There’s only a very tall man standing in front of you who claims he isn’t on any dating apps (which explains why you haven’t seen him before). A guy who when you squint kind of looks like Elton from Clueless, and who agrees with your thoughts on John Mayer, in other words your soul mate for the night.

You don’t typically go home with guys you meet at bars.

Anymore.

Okay fine, we’ve all done it. Any girl who has been single, like spooning with pillows, re-watching all of Sex & The City, sleeping next to her iPhone in hopes that he’ll text you single, has been there. You’re not better than the one-night stand. Heck, maybe you try to turn what was obviously a booty call into an instant boyfriend with a simple brunch or the classic, “I swear I’m not a slut second date that feels like a first.”

I could go on justifying a one night stand with feminism, the woman’s right to choose, and girl power, but for some reason, and maybe it was that last shot of Jager, you decided to go home with this handsome stranger, it’s as simple as that.

At first, he seems great. He has a car! He has a vinyl player! He likes to cook. Until you see the red flag: a framed Nickelback ticket. Not like nosebleed “hey, wouldn’t it be funny if we went to a Nickelback concert” ticket…nope, a large, front row center ticket. You think about going home at this point. But your phone is dead, and you can’t call an Uber. You’re too drunk to figure out how to charge your phone, so you decide to spend the night.

You wake up and everything seems great, you talk more, and you’re convinced he’s falling in love with you. (even with the mascara smeared all over your face and your morning breath). You exchange numbers. Which feels backwards, you feel like you know this person. He’s your soul mate, remember?

He promises to call you and some future plans are thrown around.

You get excited. Exchanging numbers with him in person is like the backward version of giving your Tinder crush your digits so you can stop talking on that delayed messaging system.

You assume once you give him your number he’ll just be blowing up your phone.

Until half way through brunch with your bestie…

Nothing.

She assures you he’ll text. She saw the fireworks. He was totally into you.

So you go about your day, checking your phone more than usual, nervous, because he wrote your number down. What if he wrote it wrong? What if he messed up on of the digits? What if you were so hungover that you gave him the wrong number?

There are a million things you want to text him throughout the day but can’t cause you don’t have his number.

A day passes.

Nothing.

“You can’t get upset until Wednesday, cause of the three day rule.” Assures your best friend. “That’s why they call it hump day,” she promises. (This is probably not true).

So, you do what any sane well-adjusted single girl would do. You refer to your copy of He’s Just Not That Into You on your nightstand.

“He’s just not that into you if he’s not texting you.”

BUT WHAT IF HE LOST YOUR NUMBER.

He’ll text, you tell yourself.

So you do the only thing you can do.

You follow him on Twitter.

You do the social media stalk that you would normally do before meeting up with a Tinder date. You find the mutual friends you interview the mutual friends.

One of your mutual friends says she dated him once, when you ask what went wrong she said he was “too clingy.”

That’s weird. Maybe he got that feedback before, and is working on it? Yeah that’s it. He’s playing it cool.

Three days go by.

Nothing.

Fuck the three-day rule.

So you pretend he doesn’t exist. You accept he’s not going to text you. You go on doing you until a week passes by.

Bing.

It’s him.

He texts you some lame excuse of why there was a delay. You assume he was busy and he’s into you still. He said last Saturday was “fantastic,” after all. Wouldn’t you want “fantastic” again? Maybe even date “fantastic?”

After waiting a whole thirty minutes (after your friends advise you to wait a day) you text back a flirty “all good. Lets do it again sometime.”

Nothing.

A day passes.

Nothing.

You decide to add “or not,” that’ll show him.

Nothing.

OH FUCK THIS.

The gloves are off. You draft a text with your friends about how you were wrong about him, and how you’re “not that kind of girl.” (Better make yourself look good while you’re at it.)

Nothing.

Then you get…

A voicemail.

One minute and 41 seconds.

Still in your delusional state, you assume the voicemail is an apology, he’s old fashioned and perhaps he’s asking you out to dinner this Thursday.

It’s not.

Instead it includes gems like, “I think you’re a fun a cool human being,” and “if I was ten years younger, we’d probably date for a while.”

So basically not girlfriend material, just “have fun with material.”

And then the final stab that slays you in your now little black heart:

“I could see after spending a long night with you that we weren’t quite right for each other.”

Ouch.

And here I was planning our life together. Well, ya know what, buddy? I also realized during that long night that we were not right for each other. Because any grown man without air conditioning is not “quite right” for me either.

In conclusion, assholes are everywhere, online and in person. And while one night stands are liberating, and you totally have the right to do them, do note the biggest issue with the one night stand or soul mate for the night, isn’t that a guy will think you’re slutty for doing so (if he does, fuck him.. wait, never mind, you already did that) the issue with the one night stand is that you’re sleeping with a stranger who could turn out to be the enemy. Sure sometimes strangers are “just a friend you haven’t met,” to quote the Simpsons. But in egocentric cities like Los Angeles, statistically, strangers are assholes.

What I’m trying to say is your soul mate has central air conditioning. TC mark

featured image – L!fe Happens

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