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In Search Of: Inside Intel (A Man’s Perspective)
by Brook Sitgraves Turner
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September 7, 2018

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10 Minute Read

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In Search Of: Inside Intel (A Man’s Perspective)

“I’m your girlfriend, not your jumpoff. Let’s be honest, there’s no way you’re so good in bed that I’d just want to sleep with you. P.S. I’m six feet and would love to look up to you.”
A Wise Woman’s Bumble Profile

“You didn’t really say anything about yourself in this.”

I’d just shown my one straight, male friend my Bumble bio. We were mid-dinner and he took a break from chewing to address this. His reaction seemed to suggest that I couldn’t blame my lackluster matches on the stats for response rates to black women on dating apps — I was, more likely, the problem. How? I wasn’t quite sure, but I needed to know.

“Wait, what do you mean?” I asked.

“I’m just saying your bio basically screams, ‘You’re trash., I’m certain of it.’ And gives absolutely no details about yourself.”

“I said I was tall.”

“True, but then you basically said, if you’re short…don’t bother. It’s like you’re trying to be funny–but from what I know about you, it’s a defense mechanism.”

I was not defensive… I wanted commitment, dammit! Plus, as someone who’s had my fair share of not-so-great sexual experiences, I was totally over the arrogance of men who believed women would want to have casual sex with someone who didn’t care enough to locate the clitoris.

“Look, I’m not here for ‘waste-my-time-2018.’ And most of y’all want our time and bodies for so little in return.”

At this moment, he took personal offense.

“That’s a bold assumption,” he shot back. “When I met my girlfriend, I was looking for something! You always say I’m the cynical one, but I don’t know…”

“But wait, if I were a cheese, what would I be?”

He looked at me, blinking, before returning to his ramen. He didn’t know where to begin.

As someone open to criticism, I quickly took his advice and typed up a sincere account of my personal history and traits. I’m from Ohio. I ran track in college and moved to LA where I am passionately pursuing my writing career. I love the outdoors, my new puppy, spending time with family, and I am tall.

He took a look at my new bio, laughed, then said, “Better. So, do you trust me?” I did. Then he got to swiping for me.

He was convinced he’d match with more and, specifically, better men because, by his estimation, I also had to shift my standards.

Full disclosure — I’d been on the dating app for a total of three weeks. I downloaded it after a misguided attempt at “going back to the well,” or so the other male advisor in my life called it. Prior to this, I’d tried to reconnect with an old interest. It blew up. Like, an epic explosion — the details of which I will reserve for another column where four-letter words and explicit sexual descriptions can be used. So, back to my PG-13 story…

Since being on the app, I’d gone on 12 dates. I know what you’re thinking, how does a working woman find the time? My general thought was, a girl’s gotta eat. So, why not share a meal with a potential life partner? Well, several of the men downgraded our dinner to a coffee –– which, WTF?! Those who committed to dinner were hesitant when ordering off the menu –– one ordered edamame and nervously watched as I placed my order. Between the dinner and coffee dates, it was 50/50 on if they’d offer to pay. Oh, then there was the one prince who decided I should just swing by his house… at 11pm.

My friend was convinced I was attracting this negative juju because, on top of my subpar “about me,” I was looking for the wrong things. His process: Too attractive? Issa no, swipe left. Attractive men in LA are lazy. Too successful? Swipe left. They’ll think their high-powered career means they have their pick of women. For him, the key was finding someone not overly attractive and aspirational in their career. He wanted me to focus on interests. If those were the same, swipe right.

This was antithetical to how I engaged. Don’t judge…I checked the photos from jump–it’s the first thing that pops up! Second, I looked at college–did he attend and where? Then I looked at what they did… I know, I know. Once that was sorted, I checked interests. If there wasn’t a commonality–I’d still swipe right because maybe they’d forgotten to mention Gilmore Girls…

So he swiped. I was allowed to chime in and advocate for a right swipe, but I was almost always vetoed.

“You have a fucking checklist, don’t you?” he asked, quickly taking my privileges away.

Every woman in my family values education and has enviable careers. My grandmother, mother, and aunt earned their masters and attended Case, Barnard, and Columbia. My cousins are lawyers, entrepreneurs, and designers. Everyone held the men in their lives up to very similar standards. So I followed suit. Could I be blamed if the apps provided an easy way to move through a simple checklist?

“How’s it going dating a checklist?”

Not great. I wasn’t truly connecting with anyone. And when I thought about it, every time I’d met someone in the real world, I rarely considered the list. I usually got to know them first, and pretty quickly found the things I thought mattered didn’t. I supposed that, where the dating apps were concerned, having a list felt like a way to sift through a seemingly murky sea of fish. But he was right. Since I’d already taken his advice on opening up about myself, maybe it was time to reconsider what I was looking for.

“Brie,” he said, finally, “hard on the outside, soft on the inside” –– answering my earlier cheese question. Then he went back to swiping.

After 20 minutes and 15 matches he returned my phone–sure if he hadn’t found my partner this round, I’d find him by following these newly defined parameters.

What happened next? Well, for weeks I followed my friend’s rules–which really meant letting go of the superficial characteristics highlighted on profiles. I matched with a significantly higher number of people, went on a few dates, and…got burned out!

My plethora of dating-app matches felt like bots. Regardless of their photograph, alma mater, or profession, these details gave little insight into the human on the other end of this digital exchange. And, even if I’d thrown away my care and concern for “the list,” that didn’t mean my matches had. Nothing felt authentic. So, I deleted the app.

Instead of focusing on finding my person, I decided to focus on enriching myself. I’d participate in activities I enjoyed! Travel! Volunteer! Paddle Board (more on that later)! And, if by chance I met someone in the process, then I’d remember to throw out the list. I’d throw out the list, take chances, and stay open to the possibility of a serendipitous true love– because brie.

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