You Are Not About This App Life: The Ins and Outs of Online Dating Apps

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From HBO’s “Insecure:”

Issa: “I’m just saying, Lawrence hasn’t put it down in a very long time, okay? And maybe I need to get on one of those dating apps like you, girl.”

Molly: “Girl, calm your deprived ass down. You are not about this app life.”

Issa: “Try me. Bitch, I’m not gonna sign up. I just want to see what’s out there.”

Molly: “Alright. You asked for it.”

I just got my brand spanking new Amazon Firestick hooked up and have been binge watching all the shows I didn’t have access to in the past, like HBO’s “Insecure,” a huge hit in 2016 which is defined as a rom-com. I would describe it more as a show on modern dating from the perspective of young women of color, a more on-point description than “rom-com,” a term which reeks of happy endings and ribbons and shit. I prefer television/film that talk about relationships and love outside of the gendered and patriarchal tropes. HBO’s “Insecure” accomplishes that with wit, hip hop, and LA style. Nonetheless, as I was catching up with Issa and Molly, this specific scene stood out to me. Molly is talking about her experiences using online dating apps and I can’t lie, it struck a chord in me.

Yes, I have been on dating apps. So what? There’s this huge stigma of desperation about connecting with someone virtually and it makes me cringe. The same people judging those using these apps are the ones who think they’ll find love at a club a la Usher. That’s just as much of a joke as you think online dating is. Wanting to find a connection with someone is not desperate, it’s human. Here are some of my thoughts on online dating. Coincidentally enough, Molly and I agree on a few things.

Molly: “Check it, that’s OKCupid. It’s free, so it’s like ‘bottom of the barrel’ dudes. Tinder used to be cool but now it’s basically a fuck app.”

Most of these online dating apps have the swipe feature, where if you like someone based on their picture, you swipe right and if you’re not interested, you swipe left. Sometimes, you are able to click on the picture and it will take you to their profile, where if you’re lucky, they’ve written more than just “Ask me,” or “I hate filling these things out,” or “My IG: @kissmynuts75.” Almost like a virtual attempt at finding “love at first sight,” a laughable concept in and of itself. I call it “shopping for boys.” Another friend of mine calls it “browsing the balls.” To each her own.

Though I wouldn’t call anyone “bottom of the barrel,” I will say that you definitely won’t find Jason Mamoa or The Rock on Tinder. Nonetheless, there are plenty of attractive men on these sites….trust me. But they, too, have a buttload of their own issues. I’ll get to that in a second. My point is this: The entire swipe feature is based on the superficial and shallow part of us that some of us like to pretend doesn’t exist. No, I’m looking for a real person, someone I can really talk to. But, oh, his eyebrows look like a headband…swipe left, even if on his profile, he says he spends his free time volunteering at an animal shelter and he has a Ph.D. in microbiology. His eyebrows. Oh, she has a mole on the tip of her nose. Swipe left. Forget that she is studying law and has been saving to own a house in Italy. Her nose mole. 

Molly: “Basically, most of these dudes are not looking for a relationship. They’re just trying to fuck.”

Issa: “Really?”

Molly: “Yep.”

Look, that’s just kind of a reality on these sites. Let me list the types of guys I have met. There are the blatant ones who send you nudes as soon as you exchange numbers. They are the reason I downloaded Kik, a messenger app which doesn’t allow the person to have your actual phone number. There are the dudes who wine and dine you then disappear after they get a taste of trim, ghosting on you as soon as you become a conquest. I call these dudes Sam Wheat, the character that Patrick Swayze plays in “Ghost.” I would never call them Patrick Swayze. He’s too good for them.

Then there are the dudes who become psycho, the Norman Bates, who become increasingly insecure, begin behaving in narcissistic patterns, gaslight, or try to isolate you. The Norman Bates are awesome for a few weeks. Some can even pull it off for a few months. They seem secure, confident, and consistent. And then boom! One day they get pissed off because you haven’t answered the text they sent a minute ago, or curse you out for posting a pic on Facebook. These guys annoy me the most.

Or how about the wannabe playboys, who post old ass pics of themselves when they were 20 year-old-male-stripper-gods. After a few weeks of chatting and digging their vibe you finally meet them and find out they are not gods; they are Gollums. Or they aren’t even the person in the pictures (hence the popularity of “Catfish: the TV show”). These dudes are the reason I ask for videos saying “Hi, Angelique,” if we haven’t met face to face. If they’re catfishing and you ask them for that, watch how fast they stop chatting with you. 

Lastly are the type I despise most out of all that have listed before: The Masks. The ones who are drop-dead amazing. The chemistry is amazing. You feel amazing around them. But they communicate mostly through text during work hours, or late at night. When they do call you they always seem to be outside or driving. They will be “extremely busy” so it’s difficult to sync your schedule with them. Weeks go by before you see each other. I warn you most seriously about the Masks. They usually are people in relationships looking for something on the side. And I mean legit relationships, maybe even married, at least cohabitating, possibly with kids. The Masks are the worst because they have no respect for anyone at all. They don’t respect you, their partner, or even their children. If they don’t go Sam Wheat on you after getting a taste, then prepare for a random phone call from someone asking you how you know their SO. Pay attention to the signs and stay far away from these fools. Thank me later.

Molly: “You gotta fuck a lot of frogs to get a good frog.”

Issa: “That’s not the saying. Or any saying.”

Molly:  “The point is it’s a numbers game.”

Molly’s on to something there, y’all. You can have 50 matches on Tinder and not one will reach out to you. You can have 80 people view your POF profile and not one will message you. It’s all about knowing that they could hit you up if they wanted to. It’s a huge ass ego stroke for men. A patriarchal ego stroke. And don’t think Bumble is any better. Bumble is an online dating app that tries to give control to the woman. A woman has to hit up the dude first if there is a match. Trust me, you can still find a shit load of Norman Bates, Sam Wheats, Catfish, and Masks even with that control in your pocket. Don’t sleep on the wiles of these pendejos, nena.

Quite frankly it gets very frustrating. When you watch Molly and her experiences on the show, you see just how frustrating it can be. You start to think that there’s not one decent person out there. Or worse, you start to blame yourself. Don’t think that. It’s not you, boo. It’s never you. You’re dope. It’s just a numbers game, is all.

Molly: “Check it, I’m going on a date with this frog tomorrow.”

Issa: “Mm…”

Molly: “He could be different. You never know.”

Online dating apps are definitely more misses than hits but there are some times where you just really hit it off with someone. There are some amazing people out there looking for the same thing you are: a connection, a REAL connection. And that is the most honest and human thing about it all.

Molly’s right about finding a good frog, though. You have to go through the bullshit and not attach yourself to the rejection if it doesn’t work out. And you have to accept that people are flawed and there is no perfect person out there. There are just people looking for a connection and sometimes there are people only looking for sex. That’s just the way it is online and offline.

I have met men that have been short lived flings or became really cool friends. I have met every type of bad frog I described to you. I even met an ex-boyfriend on an online dating app. We were together for a year before we ended it. At the end of the day, dating is a gamble no matter how you’re playing the game. But, just like Molly, you have to have some faith in the game, have some faith in the fact that there are some men out there that are actually good frogs.

I just started talking to someone recently that I met on Plenty of Fish. We had an amazing first date, laughed until we cried. It’s exciting and scary and brand spanking new. I’m looking forward to getting to know this person if it all remains consistent.

Like, Molly said, right? “He could be different. You never know.”

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About Author

Angelique Imani Rodriguez

Angelique Imani Rodriguez is a Bronx born and bred Boricua with an affinity for literacy since childhood. Known for what she calls her “Bronx card,” her addiction to coffee, and her obsession with owls and Wonder Woman, Angelique was the first Hostos Community College alum to be accepted into the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies program in 40 years, from which she graduated with a Bachelors degree in Multi-Ethnic Literature and Multi-Ethnic Women and Gender Studies. Angelique attended the 2014 and 2015 Voices of Our Nations Arts (VONA) writing workshops, participated in the 9 month long Writing from the Womb workshops, became a two-time student of Writing Our Lives and created the Boricongo Book Gang, a burgeoning online book club that focuses on works written by writers of color. Some of her work have been published in the So To Speak Online Feminist Journal and www.sweatpantsandcoffee.com, as well as the May 2016 issue of the James Franco Review. A participant of the #52Essays2017 writing challenge, you can see her work on www.penhittingpaper.wordpress.com.

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