Dating in your 30s as a female is a very steep, very slippery slope that may very well lead you to crash into a tree, so do yourself a favor and learn how to at least use skip poles when you feel off balance, which you will. When you decide to get real wild and step your game up and head down a double black diamond, the challenge of online dating- or what is now known as the swipe life into your arsenal of mate-seeking tools there is one more warning sign you’ll see: Don’t even think of skipping out on wearing a helmet.
The roaring, evil biological clock is going “tick-tock” and not so gently nudging you to get hitched and pop one out. Because as society says, you are in your 30s, and not 24 anymore. Yet there is still a loud whisper in your ear luring you to evenings of drunken debauchery, casual, meaningless sex with two little words: “Let’s go.” Your family is begging you to try dating a nice guy for once and give up your crown as the Queen of dating Lord Douchebags.
And when I say you, I’m really referring to myself.
As a chronically single 34-year old, I’m in my third decade of dating. No matter the shituation, I’ve been there. I’ve been ghosted by men who I was convinced were THE ONE (there have been many who I thought were going to receive the title “the one.” I’ve been catfished and endured dates that I concluded by texting a friend from the bathroom begging her to call me in five minutes and declare that her boyfriend has just dumped her and she is completely inconsolable and can’t simply be alone for another minute. But more often than not, it was visits to the Heartbreak Hotel from men with longish, shaggy hair, devil eyes and smiles that could kill. And usually a big dick to boot. What the hell had these men done in a past life to hit the jackpot in this life’s lottery?
Recently, I promised myself I would give a nice guy a chance. As my friend Mario told me, “You’re going to lose your looks anyway, so who cares.” Mario had a point.
I was swiping away one evening and stumbled across one of those cute guys peppered with nerdiness on my torture platform of choice for evening, Bumble. Let’s call him Pablo even though in real life he’s skinny, pale, and Jewish. Pablo and I start conversing and eventually he tells me to message him on What’sApp. This is red flag number one. Whenever someone on a dating app tells you to message them on What’s App, it’s a bot.
However, to my surprise, Pablo was real, so far. We agreed to meet at a bar the next night for drinks. I was surprisingly entertained throughout the evening, which was probably slightly vodka induced, but when he invited me back to his house to play darts or some crap, I said sure, why not. All the bars had closed early, since it was only a Wednesday but I wasn’t ready to head home. I ended up staying the night, but I kept my legs shut. Swear to god, I didn’t even take my jean shorts off. In the morning, he asked me to come over Friday for game night with his friends. Game night? Friends? Wow, maybe I found a stand up gentleman.
Game Night comes and his friends like me. More importantly, I like them. I sleep over again after everyone leaves and even keep my legs shut again. In the morning, he makes me coffee and suggests we drink it outside on his patio since it’s a lovely December Florida day where it’s still hot and humid.
I know you’re thinking, “This sounds good.”
Ha. Ha That’s what I thought too.
As we sat under the sun on lounge chairs with what I noticed were really small cups of coffee, Pablo starts doing what I would soon learn he does most of: the talking. Long after I’d finished my coffee and craved a Bloody Mary, Pablo was still talking. I can’t remember everything from his soliloquy, but there were three take-aways:
Lack of ambition: At 43, Pablo had hustled throughout his 20s and 30s but now wasn’t working. He was living off his capital gains from volatile stock market investments, so that’s obviously sound.
Every woman in South Florida is out to get every man and are all lying gold diggers. As he said, “I’m not here to replace their Daddy’s.” Pablo lives a frugal life, and doesn’t want to support the future Mrs. Pablo. Slight cringe.
Having a mental health condition or a dietary preference isn’t kosher. “My ex-girlfriend was bipolar type 1 rapid-cycling, she was absolutely insane.” “Oh, you’re from LA? If you were vegan, I would have ended our date early.” So for obvious reasons, I didn’t jump to tell Pablo I had an eating disorder that had reared its ugly head in my life on and on for over 15 years, and was also bipolar, just type 2.
That evening, I relayed this information to my aunt and uncle who were visiting from New York while we had a cocktail at my parents before our dinner reservations.
“Next,” they said unanimously when I had concluded my third observation.
“But-” I half whined.
“Next,” they said, this time more adamantly.
Months later, I wish I had listened. But because I was on a quest to find a nice guy, I assumed Pablo was the last one on Earth so I needed to make this work, or at least “explore” this situation. You know what I did get to explore?
I got to endure Pablo feeding me stale salad from Target drenched in dressing when he promised he’d cook me dinner. Later that evening after deciding to watch the world’s dumbest movie, Pablo yelled at me in the middle of the night when I apparently had farted.
I witnessed Pablo open the Palm Beach County yearly coupon book to find just the right deal as I stood at his kitchen counter starving, which he knew. And then, when he had finished selecting just the right coupon for our dinner which turned out to be a smelly sports bar west of the turnpike, Pablo insisted in going through the rest of the coupon book and showing me all the free car washes he was going to get for the year.
Eventually, Pablo learned with distaste that I take antidepressants and mood stabilizers, he just didn’t learn what for. When I hadn’t been able to orgasm after we’d had sex about seven times, Pablo blamed it on my meds. God forbid he accept responsibility for his less than average fifth appendage. Let’s just say that since we weren’t exclusive I went out one night and discovered real fast that my meds do not affect my sex drive or performance one bit.
When discussing the reality that I like to write, Pablo simply responded with, “I don’t like to read books. I read encyclopedias.” I pursed my lips to conceal my seething.
I’ll skip to the good part: he ended up ghosting me by neglecting to contact me after I went to Tampa for a girl’s weekend. Well, sort of. When I hadn’t heard from him for five days, I texted him saying, “You’re 43 Pablo, isn’t that a little old for ghosting?” He responded with a laundry list of excuses as to why he was busy and he’d call me later. This was coming from the guy who called about 18 times a day just two weeks earlier. At this point, my aunt and uncle’s words were screaming in my head.
To his credit, Pablo did call later. I didn’t answer. I had wasted enough time.
Time is our most precious commodity. I would have saved myself some if only I had just listened when they said, “Next.”