I’ve been online dating on and off for a long time. A long time. Over 10 years, in fact.
Over that time, I have had many online flings. By that, I mean, having conversations with men. Sometimes they get sexual. Many times they don’t. The men love talking to me online. When I breach the topic of meeting in person for coffee or a date, I am told they aren’t interested in me like that, that they don’t meet women they met online, that they aren’t interested in dating. Oh, but they really hope we can keep talking.
We don’t. I cut them off.
About a month ago, I started a conversation with a man and he mentions a reading on the male body by Susan Bordo. I love Susan Bordo.
He asks me if I would like it if he stripped for me. I entertained his fantasy for a while – why not? He was also very keen on making the point that he would be doing it for me and my pleasure. No sex involved and I would remain fully dressed. I asked him, “Why me?” Was it simply because I answered (and acted interested in it)? Was it because I wasn’t like the other women he had dated in the past?
He eventually told me:
“So I think that’s part of the appeal here. It would feel taboo doing this stuff in front of you. I like that you’re literate, I like that you’re a bigger girl, and I like that you’re kind of a freak and not at all like the girls I’ve dated.”
He included, “I’m sorry if that sounds offensive.”
I had an epiphany.
That is what I’m good for.
I am good at having conversations that apparently are unlike the ones men have with other women. I am good at being the woman who is great to talk to, but that is not date-worthy.
A similar thing happened to me with the guy for whom the “Same Dude, Different Day” category is named. It wasn’t until this February – when I saw the new girlfriend’s posts on the guy’s Facebook for Valentine’s Day – that it really hit me. I did not give myself time to process and, I guess, grieve. At the time, I was trying to be the “cool girl” who was just fine with this turn of events.
After a break in talking to him in February, I asked why he didn’t tell me sooner and why I had to pull it out of him. He said it was because he loves talking to me and he didn’t want to lose that by telling me he was seeing someone. I am not sure at what point he would have stopped me from throwing myself at him via text. My therapist put her head in her hands when I told her his reasoning.
For what it is worth, the Stripper Guy was pretty upfront about not being interested in dating me. He really just wants to take his clothes off in front of a woman who is a complete stranger. He told me when we matched a month ago that he is “so sick of relationships” and “so tired of dating.”
I continued messaging with Stripper Guy in hopes that we might at least meet up for a drink some time to bitch about college students’ poor writing skills. I told him about the guy from this post. Guess what? Stripper guy also has a girlfriend. He says his girlfriend knows that he has a Tinder that he uses to flirt with other women. Uh-huh. He became quite a bit of a dick when I said I was not interested in exchanging salacious messages with a man in a relationship. I find that disrespectful to the woman he is dating and I don’t want to be even marginally associated with that.
I am aware that I need to take this whole dating thing less seriously. I need to not care and not put as much thought into it. There are obviously plenty of people around who do not care if their significant others get hurt in the process; maybe I should care less about those women, too.
I do know that it is hard not to get embittered when my words seem to be all I’m good for.
 Stripper Guy is way out of my league. I found his profile to be very amusing, though, so I swiped right on a whim. He is more of a James Franco-type guy when I am attracted to more of a Seth Rogen-type guy. *Gasp* I can look past bodies if I find a personality appealing enough. Note: That is Joe Manganiello pictured… Stripper Guy looks nothing like him. Stripper Guy is not Joe Manganiello-level out of my league.
 You might think that if I have a problem with exchanging messages with a man in a relationship, I must have a problem with a man in a relationship watching porn or reading erotica or some other way of getting off. Nope. The difference to me is that I am a real person. The women in porn are real as well, but they are performers/workers who have been compensated in some way for their actions. More power to those women and may the men and women who watch them get all of their rocks off.