Modern dating is kind of the worst. I’ve been catfished by someone I thought was a hot British journalist, been ghosted so hard I question these guys existed to begin with, and recently discovered that I’ve also been a victim of “breadcrumbing.” Don’t know what these terms mean? You’re one of the lucky ones.
Now I’ll be the first one to say that I’m at fault for getting myself into these situations. At one time I had three dating apps on my phone and I would rely on them for the majority of my interactions with the opposite sex. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s addicting.
But what I’ve learned from my friends, and through stories from friends of friends is that we resort to these apps to connect because people simply don’t interact with each other in the same way anymore. We’re so used to hiding behind our screens that the simple act of going up to someone and introducing yourself in person is not only petrifying, it’s unthinkable.
If there’s one belief modern dating has instilled in me is that I am replaceable. You better be absolutely perfect because one wrong move and you’re out of here. You’re left swiped, ghosted, unmatched. You better not seem too interested because then you’re desperate, weird, even crazy. But if you seem too hard to get, he’ll get bored, honey. He can find someone to take your place with the swipe of a finger so you better not mess things up for yourself.
If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. We normalize the concept of spending time with someone, getting to know each other, giving the impression that we’re interested, and then vanishing without a trace. It’s rude and unfair, but the worst thing about it is I’ve done it right back. Last week I was walking to class when I simultaneously crossed paths with a guy I had ghosted and a guy who had ghosted me. It’s a weird and shitty thing to do, but we continue to do it because we’re scared.
When did we get so scared that ignoring someone until they get the hint has become the norm?
Listen, I’m not here to tell you that romance is dead. I strongly believe that it is alive and out there for those who seek it. Although dating apps have certainly twisted the concept of dating, they are not the issue. The issue is letting our own fear compromise the standard for how we treat others.
Modern dating is exhausting. It can be infuriating to keep up with the games and the new technology created to find your next boyfriend, next hookup or next person you text for a while only to end up constantly making awkward eye contact for the rest of your college career. But modern dating is still dating. It was weird and awkward and scary back in the “good ol’ days” and it’s weird and awkward and scary now. There’s just a few more pixels involved.
My name is Spencer, and I have spent A LOT of time in the dreaded “Friend zone” over the last 4 years. Just how much you ask? Over the last 4 years I have been Friend zoned by 13 different girls. No that wasn’t a typo, and no, you didn’t read it wrong. I’ve been Friend zoned 13 times over the last 4 years . Pretty much everybody in the world knows what the Friend Zone is, but for those of you who don’t know I’ll help you out a little bit. “In popular culture, friend zone refers to a platonic relationship wherein one person, most commonly a man, wishes to enter into a romantic relationship, while the other does not. It is generally considered to be an undesirable or dreaded situation by the lovelorn person.” The term Friend zone itself came from the popular TV show Friends when Ross, who was lovesick for Rachel, was described by character Joey as being the “mayor of the friend zone”. MTV even had a TV show called Friend Zone, fortunately (or unfortunately), I never made an appearance on the show.
The point of this blog post isn’t to tell the 13 (highly entertaining and fairly embarrassing) stories about how I got Friend Zoned, no, the point of this blog is to tell you what I learned from those experiences. I think many of my close friends would in fact call me the “Mayor of the Friend Zone” as well. So without further ado, let me tell you the valuable lessons I’ve learned about women, relationships, and myself over the last 4 years.
1. The end of high school, and especially the summer before college, is not the time to make your move. You’ve already had 4 years to make your move. In many cases if those 4 years weren’t enough, three more months won’t really help the situation. Plus, everyone is getting ready to go off to college in different states and not many people want to enter a long distance relationship at that time.
2. The first 2 months, or even the first semester of college is a crazy time and you are meeting a lot of new people. Before coming to college I had been told by one of my friends (who I actually happened to friend zone 2 years before) that everyone comes into college looking to find a significant other. I can tell you this is totally true. In my opinion there are two potential outcomes in this situation. You either meet someone and stay with them until graduation (I know several couples in this boat) or take another route. The other option is to try to confess your newfound love to every girl you meet and get friend zoned (this was the approach I took, obviously).
3. Sorority girls stick together. I learned this one out real quick. Girls in sororities will always stick together, especially when it comes to guys. Of the 13 times I’ve been friend zoned, 8 of them have come from one sorority.
4. Even if you’re 1,000% sure she’ll say yes, there’s always a chance that she will not, and will friend zone you.
5. Girls will tell you that they like the dad bod, but they don’t. I fell victim to this trick last year. The dad bod hype was going full force and I figured, with a little work, I too could have an amazing dad bod (I even went so far as to buying a “dad bod” tank top”). Girls got so comfortable around me, and I got so comfortable with the dad bod, that they actually just started calling me dad. Trust me when I tell you that if anyone calls you dad, they see you as NOTHING more than a friend, or like actually a paternal figure in their life that they can come to with any issues.
6. Smirnoff Ice, Mikes Hard Lemonade, Reds Apple Ale, Twisted Tea, Lime-a-Rita’s, and Angry Orchards are the way to a girl’s heart, I mean friendship. They are also an excellent way to bankrupt yourself. When you have a never ending supply of sugary malt liquor drinks on hand people start seeing you as more of a bartender, and friend, than a romantic partner.
7.Not all relationships are meant to be. Looking back now, there is no way that I would have had a good relationship with several of the girls who friend zoned me. Of course at the time, I was heartbroken and wanted to know what was wrong with me. But as you get older and wiser you start to see that things do tend to happen for a reason, sometimes.
8.Every failed relationship (or successful friend zone) teaches you something about yourself. It’s important to take a step back after getting in the friend zone and figure out why you were put there. Some of the conversations I had were tough, but it’s important to stay positive and be open to change and criticism. It really is eye opening to find out what other people honestly think about you.
9.It’s actually not that bad to have girls who are just friends. There is no tension in those relationships. You can talk to them about other girls, or really anything for that matter. Some of my best friends are girls who friend zoned me 2 or 3 years ago. It is always nice to get another perspective in life and being friends with girls provides you with that opportunity. I can still remember my mom telling me this back in high school and I thought she was crazy. Looking back now I wish I would have followed her advice. Maybe if I did then I wouldn’t be “the mayor of the friend zone”.
The modern world of dating is a god damn war zone. It’s hard enough to meet a decent person in real life, but trying to meet someone online is a whole different realm of chaos. For those of you that don’t know, Tinder is a mobile dating app that allows losers like myself to “swipe” yes or no on other, equally as pathetic people. If we both swipe right, it’s a “match” and the floodgates of communication open. Basically, this app allows you to waste your time sifting through profiles, hoping to stumble across someone who seems relatively normal and is half way decent looking.
When I moved to Portland this summer, I thought Tinder would be a great way to put myself out there. I had just gotten out of a relationship and it seemed like a fun, easy way to meet new people. Boy, did I have no idea what I was in for. Of course I always took the proper precautions when I went out (talking with them extensively beforehand, meeting first in public, etc.). but nothing could have prepared me this. After much thought and deliberation, I give you seven very real accounts of the worst dates I’ve ever been on, no thanks to Tinder.
#7. The Guy Who Was Actually Nineteen
In my defense, he definitely seemed to be a few years older. He was smooth, mature, intelligent, and seemed to have a lot going for him. That is… until he started talking about his football team. I asked him if he played for a college, and he got red in the face and quickly changed the subject. It was only after a few minutes of prying that he finally blurted out that he was a senior. In high school. As I got up to leave he tried to justify that he “only told me he was 22 because he thought I would never go out with someone who was younger on my own accord.” You were correct, sir.
#6. The Guy Who Was 2 Hood 4 Me
When I was greeted with, “Aye! Wass good lil mama!?” I immediately realized that I’d made a grave mistake. I smiled back and weakly replied that I was fine, thank you. We had met up for ice cream at Salt N Straw on NW 23rd Ave in Portland, and there was a long line. The next forty-five minutes were agonizing as the sun beat down on my forehead and I internally cringed at almost everything he did and said. His poor grammar, the lack of manners, the fact that there were small children scattered all around and he cursed every other word. As we moved further up the line, he told me about his life growing up in the projects (his language, not mine) and how he aspired to “make enough dollas to neva eva go back.” I, too, aspire to neva eva go back.
#5. The Guy Who Photoshopped His Profile Pictures
I should have really looked into this one more before I agreed to meeting up. First of all, his name was Leonardo, so that’s problem number one. Second, he talked about his looks a lot (like, a lot) which should have been a red flag that there was something wrong. He told me all about how tall he was, and how much he weighed, etc. but I thought nothing of it, because they seemed to be normal measurements and I am not too concerned with that in the first place. What I am concerned with is when someone extensively photo shops their own pictures in order to make themselves look taller and not morbidly obese. Well guess what. Leo was approximately 5’6” and at LEAST 200 lbs. He even wore those god awful tight skater pants that exposed just how out of shape he was. I was really irritated that he had lied about this, but then felt bad and thought maybe he could be a nice guy who just really needed a date. Nope. His personality was just as awful as his photo edits. I’m not proud of the fact that I sat through four beers with Leonardo because he was buying, or that I agreed to go to a future Trailblazers game that I knew I’d never attend, but hey. At least I was honest about who I was.
#4. The Guy Who Only Talked About Work
First of all, I have to say that I truly appreciate when people are passionate about what they do. As a graduating senior this may, I hope to find a job that I love and want to share with others. But I could never live my work like this guy does. Now, I thought we would get along great because we were both Greeks and both business students. I am studying marketing, he went into sales. I don’t even remember what the hell it was that he sold, although I should remember. I should actually be an expert. Why? Because he spent the better part of two hours explaining the logistics of the technology behind it. And that is what we talked about. The entire time. He then begged me to come out with him for a night of dancing, and I should have stopped while I was ahead. But he was cute, and I thought maybe I could save the date. So while we were out, he got a phone call from one of his “best clients”, aka some rich old man who frequently bought speakers for his fleet of Malibu boats. My date then hung up the phone and exclaimed, “I’m so glad you’re dressed up! Steve is coming out with us tonight! I need you to impress him!” Um, what? The rest of my evening was spent with my date and a sixty something year old man getting black out drunk downtown and talking about boats accompanied by a slew of weird comments about my dress. I called an Uber home and never looked back.
#3.The Guy Who Only Talked About His Mom
Again, I think it’s great when a man is family-oriented. It tends to be attractive when a guy has a great relationship with his mother. But everything is only good in moderation. It is difficult to explain the insanely creepy obsession this guy had with his mom. To say she was his best friend would be a gross understatement. They got coffee together multiple times a week. She came over to his house to cook for him, do his laundry, bring his groceries etc. (by the way, how dependent CAN YOU STILL BE at 24 years old?). In short, he spent our entire date gushing about how wonderful his mother was. And when he asked me things about myself, he’d say things like “oh! My mom does that too! You have so much in common.” Please, no. It was such a bizarre experience. Like, I get it. I love my mom too. But you need to make some other friends. By the end of the date I felt like I knew his mother way more than I knew him. Oh and by the way she didn’t even sound that great. But I didn’t have the heart to tell him that.
#2. The Bastard Who Stole My Favorite Book
Oh, Michael. I really thought we had something special. We had such a grand time gallivanting through parks, exploring old dive bars and bonding over the fact that we both know an absurd amount about Greek Mythology. Yes, Michael was excellent. Until one weekend when he had to travel to California for work. I suggested he borrow my favorite book, The Alchemist, because I thought he would enjoy it on his flight. Well, I drove him to the airport and waved goodbye. And that was the last time I saw Michael. Weeks went by and I became incredibly offended. Not because I was distraught over his absence but because I wanted my god damn book back. It’s about self-discovery for crying out loud. Anyways, I never heard from him again, but a few weeks later connected that his ex-girlfriend lives in the part of California he was visiting. My theory is that she was so overwhelmed with his new view of life (that he clearly derived from MY book) that she took his lame ass back.
By the way, if you haven’t read much Paulo Coelho, 10/10 would recommend.
#1. The Guy With The Sith Lord Tattoo
There are some very strange people in this world, my friends. And the terrifying thing is that more often than not, they disguise themselves as cute quirky nerds and then lay wait for you in places like Powell’s Bookstore. I’m not usually into the sci-fi scene, but this guy was a very rare breed of cat and somehow made it all work. We hit it off surprisingly well, and spent the whole afternoon together walking around downtown and chatting. During this conversation we somehow got on the subject of our mutual love of Star Wars (by somehow I mean I guessed that he liked it and I slyly brought it up because my flirt game is just that strong) and we delved into a long discussion over the classics. During this time he made an offhanded joke about how he was a Sith Lord, which I thought nothing of at the time. He added me on snapchat a few minutes after we left, which I thought was a bit over eager but nothing that strange. Then I saw his username. Sithlord199-. Then he sent me a snapchat: “want to see my tattoo?” This was strange, since it was completely out of the blue and we had just got done hanging out less than an hour ago. I should have said no. I should have just said no. IF ANYONE EVER ASKS YOU IF YOU WANT TO SEE THEIR TATTOO, JUST SAY NO.
So I said sure, and the picture I received is still burned into my frontal cortex to this day.
Image a giant tattoo that covers someones entire chest and stomach.
Now imagine the tattoo is of Darth Mauls face.
I’m not kidding. It covered his entire body. The worst part is that he then went on to explain to me just how much he personally identified as a Sith Lord. As in, he psychotically associated himself with the dark ways of the force and was completely freaking nuts. He proceeded to go 0-100 and let out all the crazy, all at once. I think the reason it was so traumatizing was because we had just spent an entire day together and he had totally hidden this side of him. Needless to say, this was not exactly what I had in mind when I hoped to meet someone who shared my love of Star Wars. To this day I still don’t understand why he felt the need to share his terrifying chest tattoo with me, because it was something straight out of the nightmare zone. In fact, after I blocked his phone number I kind of just went home and crawled underneath my covers.
Although I’ve been on some of the worst dates of my life because of Tinder, I’ve also met some great guys. I certainly have a love/hate relationship with this app, and let’s be honest I’m probably going to continue using it. In fact, I actually have a date set up for later this week. Let’s call him The Guy Who Might Be As Sassy As I Am.
Details to come soon! In the mean time, happy swiping!
If you’ve had a funny dating experience, from Tinder or just in general, please leave a comment below and tell me about it!