Two Poles in the Pond

Comments 32
I may catch fewer fish. But at least they won't look and smell like this.
I may catch fewer fish. But at least they won’t look and smell like this.

My neighbor Ryan is going to be so disappointed in me.

I changed my mind and canceled my online dating subscription yesterday.

At midnight tomorrow, it’s gone.

I just wrote a week ago that I was going to renew my subscription. And under normal conditions, I really prefer to do what I say I’m going to do.

But I feel good about my decision which probably means it’s a bad one.

I wrote to one final girl yesterday. We have a lot in common. She’s pretty.

My note was charming and funny.

She didn’t write back.

Maybe she didn’t like that I’m a dad.

Maybe she didn’t think I was tall enough.

Maybe she thought I looked fat and ugly.

Why I’m Quitting Online Dating

Yeah, sure, it’s one of the Three Poles in the Pond.

But I’m done. Or at least going on a long hiatus.

Here’s why:

1. I’ve reached my rejection threshold

“You’re too hard on yourself, Matt.”

“You should hold your head up high, Matt. You’re a great catch.”

“You’re amazing. You really are. Any girl would be extremely lucky to have you.”

I hear this crap all the time. From married women and old friends and my grandma.

It’s nonsense. I appreciate their endless concern and support. I like to say nice things to people too.

But I’m me. I’m the guy walking around in this bag of bones. And I need you to accept this as truth: Whatever life skill I possessed that attracted girls in my youth (physical fitness?), I possess in much less quantity now.

2. I like the old-fashioned way better

My best trait is my kindness and friendliness.

I can be a little obnoxious and over the top, sometimes. I’m not for everyone.

But occasionally, I do charm members of the opposite sex with my personality.

And despite my ability to string grammatically correct sentences together, women online still apparently prefer the 6’2” meatheads who type: “ur hot. we shoudl meet so u can play w/ my uncircumsized penis.”

Just kidding. Those clowns can’t spell “uncircumsized.”

3. It’s lazy

If I’m really motivated to meet new people, I need to be out in the world doing it. Not stuck behind the same computer screen where I spend so much time punching the keyboard typing things I hope people I don’t know will read and people I do know, won’t.

I need to be out. Smiling. Having good times. Being adventurous. Feeding off the intoxicating energy of others having fun.

I went to a party at my neighbor Ryan’s house this past Saturday. I met a girl named Stephanie. Ryan incorrectly assumed I was trying to sleep with her, even though she is his fiancée’s oldest childhood friend, 10 years younger than me, and I have a conscience.

But it was nice meeting someone and having a good time. She had made Jell-O shots. We ate a bunch. We snuck off to smoke cigarettes. She was my Beer Pong partner despite having a complex about how poorly she plays it. It was fun.

And those are the moments I want to keep having, rather than having scary women reach out to me online. And that’s another thing…

4. Only women I would never date like me

It’s like a sick joke. Honestly. It’s not that NO women like me. It’s just that no women I like back like me.

“Are your standards a little high, Matt?”

No. Piss off. I like what I like.

“What kind of girls are reaching out to you, Matt?”

Is it mean to say fat and stupid even if it’s true? I think it is. I HATE being mean. Hate it. I’ve carried on email conversations for a couple weeks with a few women I would never date but just didn’t have the heart to tell them so.

“What is it that you’re looking for?”

A. Kindness. B. Intelligence. C. Attractiveness. D. No more than two children. (This is purely a financial decision.) E. Similar life philosophy. F. Relatively close proximity.

Forgive me Person Who Thinks I’m Reaching for the Stars, but I don’t think this is that much to ask for.

5. It sucks ass

And I’m going to stop doing things that suck, not counting bill paying. I’m just going to stop. Things that suck do not enhance my life. And damn it, I’m in the market for some life enhancement. Not male enhancement, Viagra Spammer. Life enhancement.

Who do you respect more? The art history professor or the artist?

Who do you look up to? The college journalism instructor or the crime beat reporter at the local daily?

Who do you aspire to be? The person who’s well read or the person who lived? Really lived?

I don’t want to be one of the railbirds. I want to play in the poker tournament.

I don’t want to watch Sideways. I want to drink in the vineyard.

I don’t want to look at women on a screen. I want to wake up next to one.

I want the next date I go on to be with someone who wants to be there.

Someone I at least kind-of know.

So when she tries to pull some stupid shit like doubling all the guacamole ingredients, I can step in and save the day.

For both our sakes.

32 thoughts on “Two Poles in the Pond”

  1. Pingback: Online Dating: To Fish, or Not to Fish? | Must Be This Tall To Ride

  2. Not that you asked, but I think this is a good step!
    I recently took a road trip with a divorced friend and she was telling me about her adventures with online dating and I have to say, I was getting bummed out on her behalf. It made me want to cling very tightly to my own beat up clunker of a marriage. And my friend is smart and tall and blonde and lives on the water! I don’t envy either of you.
    And now for my unasked for, clichéd advice that I also gave my friend which is I think you should renounce dating altogether.. You should stop looking. You do not need anyone else. Period. If you can actually believe this, I think that’s when you’ll finally feel the tug on your line. Yeah. I have no idea how you would do that, either. It just seems to work out that way for a lot of people I know.

    1. 1. In a way, I do ask by putting this stuff out there for scrutiny. Plus, I categorized it Stuff I Need Help With.
      2. You’re not the first person to say this to me. This idea of just being a lone cowboy and letting math and nature take their course.

      Here’s my defense of what I’m doing, though, right or wrong: I lived in a loveless marriage for more than 18 months. Sleeping alone. And hating it. It’s nice to feel liked. It’s nice to have someone to do intimate things with. It ranks very high on my Things I Want to be Doing List. It’s hard for me to not try to take some action on solving the problem of what’s been missing for so long. As much as I want to do exactly what you’re suggesting, I instinctively crave the connection that’s been missing for so long.

      The net result is all of the bullshit you read here. Which I really appreciate, by the way. That someone actually reads it.

  3. Ideally you could look both online and IRL without getting too emotionally invested in the online part. If you’re lonely I wouldn’t give up looking altogether. It sounds like you have a fairly rich social life. What’s wrong with the ten years younger girl? Why would that be unethical? It sounds like you two hit it off. If she’s 24 she’s not a blushing flower. My husband is 8 yrs older than I am and we met when I was 22.

    1. I’m a 34-year-old father of a five-year-old. A homeowner. All domesticated and whatnot.

      She was young and carefree.

      Just didn’t feel like the right thing. *shrug*

        1. 1. It was my first time playing beer pong. Ever.
          2. Don’t judge. We live in Ohio. We do things like this.
          3. I’m diverse. I like classical music AND hip hop. I like musical theater AND the movie “Ted.” I like fine dining AND Wendy’s. I like discussing worldly things AND playing Who’d You Rather?

          I sort of rule sometimes.

          But that doesn’t mean I should date 24 year olds. As a general rule, I gravitate toward older women more than younger.

  4. Pingback: Hey, Match Girls: Piss Off. You Had Your Chance. | Must Be This Tall To Ride

  5. Pingback: The Abridged MBTTTR Story | Must Be This Tall To Ride

  6. As I commented on another one of your blogs, I’ve tried the online dating thing, as well. My ‘favorite’ thing about it was all the spammy emails I got from third party sex sites saying all these super hot women wanted to sleep with me. Umm… no they don’t. I’m bald. I have a fat, hairy belly. My penis is small. Thank you emails, but I’ll get my herpes at the bar like a normal person.

    1. I feel certain I replied to this earlier. What a gyp.

      Loved this comment, Zach. You made me laugh a lot today. Thanks so much for that.

  7. Yeah, I’m still hanging around here trying to catch up, lol (I know I know, this is my second comment tonight and my third since I read your interview, but I will freely admit I’m being selfish and trying to cram my reactions in before the surely-approaching time when your popularity will prohibit your replying to all the comments anymore! :)).

    Here’s my unsolicited two cents, as a a divorced mom of five – I know we all have those dealbreakers in dating, and more than “X number of kids” is one of them for a lot of guys (I’ve lost out on a few great potential matches for exactly this reason). If finances are truly the only reason, consider that most single moms are surviving on their own before meeting Mr. Right, and don’t (or *shouldn’t*) expect their new man to be the provider for their whole family. Certainly a large family isn’t for everyone, but I would hope that if I meet a great guy he won’t run b/c he’s afraid he’s going to be paying for five college educations and three weddings out of his own pocket. 😉

    I know there’s sooo much more involved in trying to decide on just the “right” person to be with, so I don’t judge anyone else’s preferences, we like what we like indeed! 🙂 Just wanted to give you a little different perspective on that particular issue…


    1. Misha. Fun name.

      I did write that about two kids, didn’t I?

      I remember.

      I’ll reply this way.

      When I was looking for a house, I insisted on many things. Finished basement. At least three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Decent neighborhood and schools. And a two-car garage.

      In the end, I bought a house with a one-car garage. Because I fell in love with it.

      Then a huge wind storm blew through and knocked an 85-foot wild cherry tree down on top of it.

      And my insurance paid to have a two-car garage built.

      In a purely real-estate sense? Happily. Ever. After.

      I know you get the metaphor because I can tell you’re a smarty.

      I try to stay open-minded. I suspect most sensible men do.

      1. Ha! I love it. Yep – learning to go with the flow and see what life brings, one of those things we’re kind of forced to learn through these strange and difficult experiences!

        1. I’m going to just go ahead and see about getting a second date in 10 months before I get too hung up on the particulars. 😉

  8. LOL, I think we’re moving at about the same pace in that regard. And by the way, I also laughed out loud at being surrounded by people who say “You’re amazing, a real catch! Anyone would be crazy not to grab you up!” Uh huh. I’ve learned to call their bluff by replying with “Oh, so you have a secret stockpile of reasonably handsome, honest, decent, family-oriented guys around my age who *aren’t* taken? Do tell, I’m free Saturday night!” That usually stems the BS hemorrhage pretty efficiently.

    (and ditto reaching for the stars, the ones who want me are usually those whom I would never date – not that there’s anything wrong with living in mom’s basement, wearing a wife-beater, and having your hand down your pants in your bathroom selfie profile picture, but I do have some *minor* standards)

    Ok, no more ditto’ing or I really will be here all night hogging up all your comment reply time. 😀

  9. Pingback: Online Dating – Briefly Speaking | The Zombies Ate My Brains

  10. Pingback: Online Dating – Briefly Speaking | The Zombies Ate My Brains

  11. Pingback: Hope Changes Everything | Must Be This Tall To Ride

  12. I stumbled upon your enlightening yet extremely humorous blog via googling something along the lines of “how to not be an asshole husband” after a the motherland of shitty situations fell on my lap. I’ve been reading your Shitty Husband series with fervor and now your oldest posts, and this one just tickled me.
    I met my children’s father online and what you wrote on idiot meatwads being women’s focus just had me dying laughing.
    It’s refreshing to read someone speak so bare and what seems to be pretty unfiltered (shooting from the hip, if you will). Thank you for doing what you do, from the bottom of my cold, black heart. Reading your posts have given me perspective which I have been so hungry for through my “delightful” situation. But, I digress.. Please, never stop writing.

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Matt Fray

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