Guys are pretty horrible to one another but at least it’s direct. Like if I had a friend in college who got in a fight with a hookup and at one point she screamed, “Your breath stinks” then that would become his thing. My friends and I would talk about his smelly breath for the next semester, continue that conversation over emails during Christmas break, and this would go on for years. At his funeral I’d turn to another friend and say, “At least the world will smell better now.” But girls are horrible to one another in a totally more horrible way. Take for example a conversation I overheard last weekend. Four girls sitting together, one explains she’s on Tinder, another girl says she’s now on Bumble, the third girl asks about Bumble, and the fourth girl stops the whole conversation to state, “I don’t use dating apps.” That’s when the conversation awkwardly ended. Somehow that fourth girl goes on to talk about her boyfriend and I’m left sitting there, wearing headphones with no music playing, completely enraged for these other three girls. Why didn’t someone call her an ass? Why didn’t the three friends make fun of her sexless relationship?
What she did to her “friends” was way worse than telling a guy his breath stinks for his whole life. All he does is become the lifetime go-to guy for gum. What she did was quietly elevate herself above the group. Being on a dating app is a completely normal thing done by normal people. By saying you don’t participate (and never will), you’re saying that you are exceptional. She really didn’t even need to say that in the situation explained. She could have just sat and listened to what I’m sure would be some fun tales about guys who think their Halloween costume profile picture was original. Nope, she spoke up to say that she’s smarter, classier, and hotter, in the most passive aggressive, cleverly disguised way. And the group bowed.
But is she really “better?” She met a guy in college and avoided the fact that he cheered too hard for the football games. “He’s just really passionate” she texts her friends as her request to do something else on Sunday before the game got ignored. She graduated and they moved to different cities. She spends most of her time and money on traveling and texting about traveling. She’d see bars in her neighborhood but only to meet up with other girls for drinks. The breakfast place everyone talks about is something she wants to experience with her guy but there’s always a line and they only get so much time together. A year goes by and she moves from a city she never really knew and left a job she never really tried to move in with the guy. She’s happy, he’s happy (she thinks), and life moves toward weddings, babies, suburbs, and death. A straight line with no deviation. No mistakes. And, as she puts it, “Thank god no dating apps.”
My version of the “No dating apps” girl’s life is extreme, but it mirrors the lack of courage avoiding the dating app experience represents. The dating app girl is a warrior. She should be proud. She looked at the Everest-like mountain of social media dating and started climbing. I want to date the girl that was texting a guy about favorite foods and then suddenly got a message saying, “Sit on my face.” I want the girl who has been on bad dates. I want the girl who got too drunk on the date with the guy she didn’t really like and, for some reason, gave him a hand job. I want the girl who met a guy on Bumble, hooked up for a few months, thought he was the one, and then never got a text back about how the weekend went. That girl has seen challenges. That girl wasn’t just checking boxes on her way through life. That girl waded through a swamp of weirdly lit dick pics and came out the other side with real, honest-to-goodness, taste..