By Nellie Umutesi-Vigneron
My dating life has been suffering a slow and painful decline that will only result in an unfortunate and untimely death if I don’t take action and attempt to resuscitate it. In short, I am single! Please spare me the following comments: the right guy will come along, sometimes it’s best to be alone than in bad company, be patient, cultivate a relationship with yourself and learn to be happy first (rolls eyes). As if implying that me wanting to date MUST mean that I, somehow, MUST be unhappy or getting impatient (again rolls eyes).
This post is not a sappy post. This post is about me and my funny attempts to resuscitate my dating and love life, while I still have some good years left in me!
In the beginning of this year, I decided I’d be intentional about dating and make it a priority. The first person I went to for advice on how I could make that happen was my work husband (he is awesome and you can read all about him here). ‘Nellie you never smile. You appear mean and standoff-ish when people first meet you’, those were his exact words. Was I surprised? Not in the least! I have heard this all of my life. But what could I do to fix it, be more approachable? I was ready to learn.
‘First things first, you need to smile more!’ he adds. DONE! I spent the whole month of February smiling and no results except a strained jaw. This smiling shit is not working. I need to pull out the big guns.
Lightbulb moment: ONLINE DATING!
So many platforms to choose from, but heard Tinder was super popular. Gets phone. Finds app. Downloads app. Starts filing out my profile.
First are the pictures, I need to find pictures that accurately depict me, right? I am a mother, outdoorsy, wine and laughter is my moto and I love my family and friends. I need pictures that say all of that and to my surprise I find 4 that capture all of these elements, except motherhood!!!
I find myself hesitant in posting a picture of myself and my son as part of my profile. Would I be overlooked by men because I am a mother, is a question that pops up in my mind. Where is this feeling/notion coming from? I make a mental note to go back to this feeling and really explore it, but for now I need to upload these pictures.
Tinder asks me to describe myself in 3 words. I choose: witty, adventurous and a badass. Is “badass” too much? Is cursing lady like? Scratch badass, I go for a more feminine term: nurturing. Ah! That will do the trick.
Would you like to BOOST your profile and have it seen by more people? Apparently for a small monthly fee you can ‘boost’ your profile, which means increase your chances of being ‘matched up’. The feminist in me says hell no! I shall not be made to parade in front of people for an extra fee, seems desperate and I, ladies and gentlemen, KNOW MY VALUE AND WORTH.
This moment of revolt and bravery only lasts a few minutes and in goes my credit card information.
After bypassing the middle age men still wearing saggy jeans and baseball caps profiles, the guys whose main profile picture is him and his buddies (who exactly am I dating here – is this group dating!?), the open relationship profiles, the guys who post pictures with their mom and dog profiles, I finally get to a few guys that catch my eyes. I likes!!!!
And within an instant I see the words ‘MATCH’ come across my screen. Actually I have two matches. Hold on three, then 4. OMG I am up to 6 matches! Talk about a self-esteem boost.
Surely, as a lady, I will wait for them to say “hello” first!
“Where were your principles when you were paying for the upgrade Nellie?”…but I will deal with my self-critical voice later. Now all I need to do is wait for one to talk to me.
But isn’t that how I got into this predicament in the first place? By leaving it up to men to approach me. Wasn’t I here to try something new? So I make the first move and reach out to my first match. I will call him Chris. He is super excited that I reached out and thinks I’m cute (of course you think I’m cute, you liked my photos, duh? I keep reminding myself, “Now is not the time to be sarcastic, Nellie.”). Then he asks me how my day’s going so far and have I been productive? My wise ass response is: “If sleep is productive, then I’ve been hella productive!!” I proudly hit the send button. Then he proceeds to UNMATCH ME… I guess a sleeping girl is not his thing. Loser! This girl got to get her beauty sleep.
I quickly recover from this epic fail when a second person reaches out to me. I will call him Karl.
Karl goes right in: where am I from, my interests, what do I do for fun and within two days he asks me out, to the movies. Going a little bit fast aren’t you?
How about coffee at a local, PUBLIC coffee shop, I respond – but leave out the principle speech for later… if he makes it past date three.
My first date of 2017. I somehow envision that it would have happened differently, but sometimes there is fantasy and reality. And this was my reality: I was going on a date with someone I met online.
The day is here. The day I am no longer an online dating virgin and ‘Karl’ is my first. For some reason I am not as nervous as I thought I’d be. I get dress and realized that I am in ALL black. Could it be my subconscious mind mourning the death of me dating the old fashion way. I’m still cute though, so off I go.
Even if nothing comes out of it, I am super proud of putting myself out there.