God, Carrie Bradshaw and Co. made the whole dating thing look deceptively easy. So did Rory Gilmore for that matter. Pretty, intellectually stimulating guys just dropped in her lap. Real life is sooo different, especially for introverted bookworms. Recently, I started using a dating app and it’s been…educational. Some of the guys I’ve “matched” with have been perfectly nice and there are a few that I’m interested in. But the others? Let’s just say they’re reinforcing why I’m single.
Since I live in Texas, finding a guy who is not obsessed with guns, hunting, and whose views on relationships and acquisition of knowledge don’t clash with mine is challenging. There are also an odd number of couples on this app, trying to find a third to add to their relationship, which hey, more power to them. There are also an inordinate number of guys these days with epic beards that do absolutely nothing for me (I’m a scruff or clean-shaven girl).
Wading through that lot is fairly easy; however, it’s the others that have been a true revelation. A lot of these guys are on this app, knowing that women reach out first. They may even respond to a messages. Except that they are masters of the monosyllable. They don’t understand the basics of conversations–such as, you know, asking questions back.
Or, they seem really nice and charming until the conversation suddenly takes a sideways turn into the land of propositioning and creepy expectations. Seriously, have none of these guys watched a crime show in the last two decades? I know the sign doesn’t say NASA, but come on. I’m smart enough not to be alone with a guy I barely know in a private place, and I hope other women on these apps would be too.
If I were in any other business, the last month on this app would probably have me scurrying back into my hobbit hole, content to be the blue-stocking spinster that populates all too many books in literature.
But I’m a romance writer. Contrary to what the rest of the world might think, romance novels don’t give women unrealistic expectations of relationships. The expectations we have are fairly realistic. To quote the brilliant Tessa Dare “Women are constantly told it’s a fantasy to expect fidelity, respect, and orgasms in this life and to seek the same in our reading. It’s not.” But more importantly, romance novels teach us to hope and to not settle. They teach us not to be that girl who has a boyfriend for the sake of the cute Instagram pictures and to have a date to the trendy weddings. They teach us that independence and self-reliance are a virtue, because when you find the right man, he’ll stand by your side and be your partner, not your Lord and Master.
So I’ll continue my adventures in dating apps, wiser but undaunted. Maybe I’ll meet my hero there or maybe I’ll have some sort of meet-cute in the most ordinary of places. Either the way, the hope I’ve learned from reading romance novels will see me through.