Friday, March 18, 2016

My Tinder Adventures

Profile pic from round 3
This week, I saw a blog post from Artista called; Dating as a Pole Artist. It got me thinking about my recent dating adventures. See, I have two strikes against me: dating while fat AND dating while being a pole dancer.

I got out of a six year relationship in August. I didn't feel compelled to start dating again immediately. In fact, it wasn't until mid-December that I finally decided to give it a try. Several people had suggested Tinder as a good app to try. Although I had heard it was just a hook-up app, several people promised that regular guys looking for a relationship were also there (not that I was looking to jump back into a relationship but I was hoping to meet someone who could at least pretend they wanted to be friends and get to know me before they tried to get me in bed). So began my Tinder Adventures.

(Side note: About six weeks ago, I also tried for about 12 hours and absolutely hated the stalker aspect of it. I also tried Bumble this week, and the quality of the men appeared to be higher, but there weren't many on there, so I ended up deleting after only making four matches in a two day period.)

Got it, Bruce Lee doesn't do karate, right?
I first set up my Tinder profile with perfectly safe and lovely photos. I felt like I proved I was no average Tinderella - I showed off my quirky personality without revealing my pole dance hobby, which I hoped would keep the freaks away. I also made it clear that I was a big girl and was looking for someone to appreciate my body, not tolerate it. I thought I was honest yet funny. I started receiving messages immediately and corresponded with (and met) a few guys. I also started receiving the expected hook-up messages. Guys will say the craziest things, and a good number of them love to show off their penises. You can't send photos over Tinder but I gave my number (or my user name for another messaging program) to some guys and was a little surprised how quickly some would send over a picture of their dick. I guess they thought I would be so impressed, I would invite them over for an immediate play date? Don't get me wrong, I got great pleasure out of critiquing their photos, so I'm not sad they sent them. Hey, if they need to send photos, I want to provide a service.  For $10, I will remind you to take your socks off, throw your kids' toys out of the shot, or not let your tighty whiteys hug your balls during your photoshoot. Towards the end, I even started asking for photos if I knew it was someone I was never planning to meet. However, just for the record, generally, I do not actually want to see a photo of your dick until I have met said dick in person.

At some point, I got overwhelmed (more like frustrated -- disgusted?), so I canceled Tinder. But Tinder is like a drug. It is an addiction. Swiping on these guys is like playing a card game (in fact, I gave up my Angry Birds addiction after I downloaded Tinder). I have a pretty high rejection rate -- probably 90% or better. So I was swiping left way more often than I was swiping right. But man, when you swipe right and "ITS A MATCH" pops up on the screen, it's like you won a prize! I craved it. I needed to play the slot machine again. I missed those Tinder boys!

It didn't take me long to set up another Tinder account. This time, however, I decided to play it a little differently. If these guys were going to act like fuck boys, I was going to treat them as such. I only put up super sexy photos, including pole pictures, and wrote stupid things on my profile referencing being tall enough to ride this attraction, taco salads and driving a tractor. I also did a callback to an article written by a girl who did a 1950's style profile where her objective was matrimony. I guess I thought it was funny to have all these sexy photos then pretend I was looking for my husband on Tinder. I did not give a single fuck on round 2 because I was there to play the game and win. I was not expecting (nor prepared for) the onslaught of attention. I received over 70 matches in 24 hours (previously, it probably took me five or six days to get that many matches). I believe I had 20 or more super likes in that short period of time (super likes are when people can't rely on the game of chance so they let you know that they really want to talk to you). I also had probably 60% of those initial matches message me almost immediately (previously, I probably heard from 20-30% of my matches).  Well, holy shit. Apparently, on a hook-up app, sexy photos are popular. That being said, I actually met some really nice guys this round as well. It felt ugly baiting some of the fuck boys to say stupid shit. I don't always like being a mean person and so round 2 was weird for me.

(Interesting side note: I received fewer unsolicited dick pics...perhaps they were intimidated by my photos, believed I had seen A LOT of dicks and didn't want me judging them? Or perhaps, previously, they were trying to help a good girl go bad?)

(Another side note: Can we discuss why men get so angry when I say I'm generally interested in men taller than me? That's about my insecurities, not his. I don't need to hear about how we are all the same height when we are horizontal.)

For even (or especially?) the nice guys who contacted me, this created a conundrum in my mind. I had a similar experience after gastric bypass. Once I lost 165 pounds, I started receiving a lot more male attention. I had a really difficult time trusting men because I would always question whether they would have liked me when I was fat. So, with these Tinder Adventures, I started questioning where these guys were when I just had normal photos up. It was really a bad situation and pissed me off. Dating while angry is never a good thing. Tinder had to go again.

I saw a Facebook friend posting some of her online dating nightmares not long after and thought maybe it would be fun to fuck with those Tinder boys again. So, I essentially put up the same stupid profile as round 2. I was not quite as popular this time around, but I received plenty of messages and, again, met one really nice guy that made it worth the round. But I did get overwhelmed and, once again, deleted Tinder (just this week, in fact). Possibly for good this time -- three strikes and I'm out!

While I certainly have had many weird comments based on my pole dancing, I have also met plenty of guys who were perfectly respectful about it. I can't say I regret getting on Tinder, as I did meet some nice guys, but I really feel like I would like to meet my ultimate partner the old fashioned way -- drunk at a bar.

Dating this time around has been interesting. Honestly, it has been over 12 years since I have really been in the dating scene. That was also the last time I tried online dating. I got into a relationship when I was 27 and spent 4-1/2 years with that person (I did meet him online but made him chase me for two years before I met him in person). I dated another person for a few months (met him in a bar), then ended up in my six year relationship at the age of 33 (met him through a friend). I am now 39 -- facing down 40 single. (Oh, the humanity!) At this age, many of the  men in my age group have baggage that includes divorces and children. I'm here just trying to figure out which wig I'm going to wear to my next Chunky Girls event. And dating younger men hasn't proven fruitful as so many in the generation behind me are kind of flaky and non-communicative.

I also realize I am not everyone's cup of tea. I have a very big personality. I'm loud. I laugh big. I talk a lot. I use my hands and make gestures while I tell fantastical stories. I swear profusely. I'm silly. I can be intense. I bite back when I feel like someone is being a jerk. I need someone who can handle that. I feel like putting all of this into an online dating profile is putting a lot of pressure on that profile to accurately represent me without scaring men away. I feel like all of this is best experienced in person.

I know people get uncomfortable when I say I am fat but it is the truth. I am not a thin girl and not all men appreciate a bigger girl. That being said, a whole hell of a lot more of them appreciate me than I realized was possible, so that was a nice surprise. However, I have to wonder if I felt like over-sexualizing myself was a way to entice more physically attractive men into talking to me. It was a social experiment. Try being sexy to see what happens. Then I was disappointed that it worked -- my milkshake brought all the boys to the yard, and I was mad about that. I now realize I am worthy of the attention of attractive men and the ones who are deserving of my attention won't expect me to use tricks to get them. Who cares if I had 70 matches in 24 hours if, ultimately, none were worth my time?

Long story short, I learned a lot about myself and what I want from any future man that I spend my time with. I appreciate honesty and integrity over all else. I also believe that every person we meet is there to teach us some kind of lesson and I certainly walked away with lessons from everyone I met during these adventures. I also learned that, yes, it is okay for me to be a sexual person, but it should not be the initial person I present to any potential date. I do have a large personality and the right person will accept me as I am. I know he's out there.

I imagine the onslaught of "you should try ...this... dating site" messages will begin now. However, I have decided to enjoy some time with the people I have already met and also continue to re-learn how to be single. If you want to share your dating nightmares below, though, I would love to read them! I hope you are enjoying some of my favorite gems shared here.

I don't know how I passed on this gem. He takes rejection well.

Some version of round 2's profile


  1. Great topic! I've been on Tinder (and other dating apps) for a few months now, and it's been a disappointing experience, in general. I mean, the only guys you can expect to find there are fuck boys looking for hook ups and not much else. Althoough I personally know some couples who met on Tinder and are in relationships righs now, I think there are more of an exception to the rule.
    I decided not to post my pole pics, or any sexy pics, or even mention pole dancing in my profile because I didn't want to be viewed in a sexual way. I only posted pics of me on aerial hoop, which doesn't seem to have the same connotations, it's more associated with the circus, etc. However, the topic of pole often came out in conversations, when I was asked about my hobbies. It's such a big part of my life right now, that it's hard to hide it, really. What I noticed was that most guys got immediately turned on even at the mention of pole. I got the impression that they immediately viewed me differently, as somebody who would be more sexually adventurous and ready to hook up just because I pole dance. And while I'm a person who definietely enjoys her sexuality, I like dancing sexy, etc. that doesn't mean I'm willing to go to bed with total strangers.
    I think dating for us pole dancers is more difficult than for the average person, beacause we still need to put up with a lot of stereotypes.

    1. A lot of advice I'm reading is we need to avoid the free if I do suddenly feel like getting back on these crazy dating sites, I guess I'll have to consider the paid sites. But I am still holding out hope that I won't need to. :) And I will probably hold back the pole stuff until I know they can handle it. So many little boys out there. :-/