What I Learned From Lurking Online Dating Sites: Men Are Bitter, Too
I’m tardy to the party, but I’m finally trying out online dating -- again. A few years ago, I made an account on Match.com, but deactivated it immediately after the trial period to make sure they didn’t draft $34.99 out of my bank account.
I’ve maintained that online dating isn’t for me after hearing a few friends’ horror stories, but recently my sorority sister suggested we do a dating challenge.
She, an online dating virgin, would report back to me, and I, not too crazy about the idea, but willing to try it again, would write about it.
A suggestion from another girlfriend led us to Plenty of Fish (POF). Apparently, it’s the new hotness in online dating (maybe not, but ChristianMingle.com was out of the question), and there’s even an app for that. Download it and chat (or as I call it, “fake text”) with guys.
These weren't your unattractive or average "nice guys" who are down to their last options for date-hunting either. They were pretty hot guys (to me, at least) who seemed to have personalities, be gainfully employed and know where commas and periods should go (some of them).
Yet after reading their profiles, my interest in them dwindled immediately. I found myself suddenly wanting to drink cheap wine straight from the bottle and listen to Carl Thomas' "Emotional" on repeat in sympathy.
Instead, I kept lurking and came across this gem: "...I am not angry, mad or bitter when writing this profile. I speak my mind the way I want to, and if you're a sensitive female, then you know what to do: HIT NEXT. No hard feelings.”
Before he listed his hobbies, interests and dating style like the profile prompter suggested, he made sure to give lurkers seven lengthy paragraphs about what he doesn’t like about women first.
Next up, "I need someone who won't waver in the face of temptation...sick to death of the bullshit women have tried to pull on me." And then there were the profile headlines that read, “I’M NOT HERE FOR GAMES" or, "Looking for love in all the wrong places…Why is it so hard to find someone?"
I’m all for disclaimers and being upfront with people, but beginning your About Me section with your do’s and don’ts and why you and your ex didn’t work out isn’t a good look. As I stared at my computer screen, all I could muster up was, “Bless his heart!” in my best condescending southern voice. Somebody, give these men some hugs immediately.
Let’s be honest. Women get a bad rap for a lot of stuff, especially when it comes to relationships -- on the Internet and in real life. We’re just too emotional. We can’t let go of the guy who we thought “completed” us or would give us a big, pretty wedding. When it doesn't happen, we're transformed into sour “bitter bitches.”
We refuse to move on past the hurt we’ve experienced from our old lovers. We only make ourselves feel better by vowing to make men’s lives hell on Earth or by complaining about the lack of good men (that’s not limited to weekly men-bashing soirees, posting crappy Tweetgrams on Instagram, leaving embarrassing and profane voicemails for exes, etc.) or even by paying thousands of dollars for billboards to publicly expose them for their infidelities (I thought that was pretty clever myself). That’s what the world thinks, right?
Meanwhile, men are easy breezy -- created to taunt us and tell us to buck up when it comes to our heartbreak. They scold us and tell us we shouldn’t make them pay for another man’s mistake (I agree with that), and most of all, please, don’t talk about that other guy and your failed relationship. Suck it up like a Bissell, ladies.
A man being just as emotionally scarred by relationships isn’t news to me, but it's especially jarring to see the words glaring at me on my lowly Toshiba. Experiencing hurt and disappointment is inevitable, but here’s a little secret: Women actually cope better.
How have men managed to shift the shame of mismanagement of emotions to women for so long? Maybe they haven’t been as vocal as we have. They don’t usually scream at the world, “Hey, I’m still hurting!!”
Some sleep with as many women as possible as a distraction from the pain, instead of engaging in another relationship that could actually work. Perhaps they disregard romantic relationships altogether and focus solely on other life areas. You didn’t really think “Bros Before Hoes” and “Fuck Bitches, Get Money” were just pop culture catch phrases, did you? They can become a way of life if allowed.
And then some of them, unfortunately, take to their online dating profiles. Excuse me, sir, but your bitterness is showing.
When someone hurts you, you should you feel empowered to voice that. Holding ourselves, as well as others, accountable for the mishandling of our hearts is necessary. Sometimes anger and bitterness is a part of the healing process, and that’s okay.
A friend once shared that he listened to Jay-Z’s “Song Cry” on repeat for three days straight after a bad breakup. Find that outlet that works for you, but don't pull women into your Bitter Fest on online dating sites when the objective is to find a companion. You’re turning us off before we can get to know you.
Simply put, it’s just not sexy. If we have to “suck it up,” so should you.