Tag Archives: Embarrassment

Hypocrisy, Dating & God Hating Me

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(Image/thishappened.podbean.com)

So, I met a girl.

She seems to like me.

It’s weird, because that never happens. (Yes, that’s hyperbole.)

But it’s also not weird because when it DOES happen, there’s always some obstacle, major inconvenience or unusual challenge attached to it. Always.

It’s The Matt Way®. Things can never just be normal and easy. Not with me. Luck might have something to do with it. Maybe ADHD, too. But all signs seem to point to this unfortunate probability: God must totally hate me.

I’m an asshole. Let me put that out there. I don’t mean that I’m mean and treat people poorly. I just mean, in a 50-percent-serious, self-deprecating sort of way, I’m an asshole.

Why am I an asshole, you ask?

Because I met her on an online dating site, which you might consider strange, if not impossible, since I swore off online dating more than two years ago and have constantly railed against it as shitty and horrible and unnatural and couldn’t POSSIBLY have an online dating account! And that makes total sense that you’d think that.

If it’s any consolation, I promise I’m really embarrassed about it, and that it’s not my first time being kind of a hypocrite.

A few weeks ago, because I’m a shitty planner, I let a weekend sneak up on me without making plans. One of my friends and I were going to go out for a few drinks. But then he got sick and needed to stay home. And then, because all my local friends are married and/or have children and don’t live in Asshole Single Guy World where smart planning has forsaken these lands, everyone already had full calendars and I ended up spending most of the weekend alone in my house, and that was that. I’d had enough.

Some people like being alone. I’m one of them, sometimes. I was an only child, and I love writing, reading, and poker—all things best accomplished alone or among strangers you don’t really want to talk to. Creeping up on three years removed from my marriage, I’m totally fine being alone.

The flipside? I’m ridiculously social. If I could ONLY choose company or solitude for the rest of my life, I would choose company for sure. Maybe even a lot of people. A lot of people is good. I like energy and connectedness and togetherness and all that shit. Very much. It’s life-giving to me. I’m at my very best in a room full of 40 people I know and love who brought along 10 strangers for me to befriend.

But there I was, watching HBO and football, and writing from my couch two weekend nights in a row, and I was done.

This is bullshit, I thought.

Match—the online dating site I used for a few months when I wasn’t emotionally ready to be dating two and a half years ago—had sent me one of their crap emails telling me someone had winked at me, or whatever.

I texted my friend: “Remind me again that I hate online dating and don’t want to do it.”

Huge mistake. He’s super-smart and I usually listen to him. Even worse? He is more than a year in with a new girlfriend (an excellent one) he met through Match.

I don’t remember what he said, but it felt like a two-handed shove toward the vortex of suck, and I fell in.

Also, I want to deflect some of the blame.

I used to whine here that no girls liked me on Match.

But then I read my profile that was still live from spring/summer 2013. It sounded EXACTLY like an insane, insecure, whiny, crying mess of non-sexy loserness had written it.

Good God, this is bad. No wonder that shit didn’t work.

I rewrote it.

I can’t be certain it’s the best-written Match profile of all time, but there’s a fair chance it’s the best in my 50-mile radius. Girls liked me. I talked to some of them, but there was nothing there. Even though it wasn’t a rejection festival to the degree it was more than two years ago, it still sucked ass.

I’ve said it a hundred times: I’m either someone who passes your primal attractiveness test, or I’m not. And if I do? You’re probably going to like me because, cocky as it may sound, I don’t make it hard. I’m not the smartest, funniest, wittiest, sexiest or most charming, but I have enough of all that stuff to make it work in real life.

But not so much on Match. And that’s what I hate about online dating. It takes away the one thing I tend to excel at: one-on-one interaction.

Even though I’m kind of a hypocrite about online dating, I’m not a hypocrite WHILE online dating. I try hard to be fair. And it’s perfectly fair for women to want to date tall, never-married, childless men. Those aren’t unreasonable preferences. I have preferences, too.

Match would be amazing for casual dating. If it was all about dating simply for the sake of having something to do. And I’d be all for that if I thought legitimate platonic friendships might result from doing so. But it doesn’t work like that. And if something can’t end well, I have a hard time investing in it. Even when I really like the other person and believe it could go somewhere if things were different.

People hear me say that and assume I’m wife hunting.

Not true.

I don’t crave marriage. It’s scary. I don’t even crave a committed, monogamous relationship. That has never been my objective, or even my hope.

My only hope?

To meet someone so amazing that I would want those things with her.

I’ve met some great people since becoming single. Under other circumstances, things could have gone differently.

But no previous encounter had a viable happy ending. Single parents put their children first. And when your loyalties are (appropriately) with your children, it often makes single adulthood more challenging.

Not that this thing now is less challenging.

She lives three hours away, even though she used to live in my town, because God’s hilarious.

Some people don’t think that’s a big deal, but I intentionally don’t date people who live even an hour away. Want to know why? Because that’s three hours, roundtrip on a wintry Tuesday night for dinner and a movie, and that’s some serious bullshit.

I don’t do it because I’m selfish and I want to actually see and spend time with the person I like.

I don’t do it because I think, fundamentally, long-distance relationships are unsustainable.

So, here’s the deal: I’m breaking a ton of my dating rules on this thing. But I’m not compromising ANY values. Not one.

Whether it was radical differences in life philosophy or personality, insurmountable geography, or a bunch of really bad timing, a fatal flaw in any potential relationship tended to rear its head immediately.

But not this time. Even with all the rule breakage. Not this time.

She lives three hours away.

She’s an insanely busy person, personally and professionally, which keeps communication comparatively infrequent.

She’s a mother of three. (I had a no-more-than-two-kids rule, because I already have enough trouble with time- and money-management.)

She might be a fraction of an inch taller than me. (Classic, right?)

Any of those four things would filter you out of my online dating preferences if these hadn’t been particularly unique and unusual circumstances, quite possibly orchestrated by a God intent on smiting me. “Hey guys, check out this dude, Matt. I kind of hate him. Watch this!”

And then, fa-la-la-la-la-la! Alakazam!

This thing.

And it’s way too early to know what “This thing” is, but I insta-turned off my Match account after meeting her and that felt like something.

And it’s way too early to be scared, but it still feels scary.

And it’s way too early to make judgments or predictions about anything, because really? Who knows anything, ever?

I only know that it’s different.

No matter what happens next, this time’s a little bit different. Because I’m still single. But I’m not still available. And that feels like something, too.

Wow, two and a half years feels like a lifetime ago.

Wow, this is crazy and different.

Wow, I’m going to hit Publish.

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Must Be This Old To Ride

Is she 19? Is she 35? Who can tell!?!?

Is she 19? Is she 35? Who can tell!?!?

I wasn’t particularly confident or unconfident when I was a kid.

But something changed mid-high school, and whatever social fears people sometimes feel mostly melted away for me. I was nice. I was smart. I was in excellent physical condition. And I had plenty of friends.

The only thing to be afraid of was bigger, tougher kids beating me up, but since I treated everyone pretty well, I never had to worry about stuff like that.

I was friendly and flirty with girls. Some liked me. But that’s not the important part of this story.

“What’s the important part of the story, Matt!?!?”

I never had a problem knowing how old a girl was.

When I was 16 or 17? I was never accidentally attracted to a 13-year-old or made the mistake of thinking a 26-year-old was my age.

You could just tell! You looked at a girl, and you knew whether it was age-appropriate to be interested in them.

That was an under-appreciated skill. 

Now? Not So Much        

And I’m a little confused about why.

In virtually every area of my life, with running fast for long periods of time being the notable exception, I am INFINITELY better now than I was 20 or so years ago. At what? Everything.

But you know what I’m not better at? Identifying a woman’s age.

This isn’t very important most of the time, but now that I’m a single guy again, this has been coming up.

I spent a while talking to a totally cute waitress at my favorite lunch spot today. One of my friends and I met her about a week ago, speculating early to mid-20s.

I just came out and asked her today how old she was because I’m a curious person.

You know what she said? Of course you don’t. She said: “I’m 19.”

Nineteen.

NINETEEN, people.

19!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This isn’t the first time this has happened.

And honestly? That’s scary. Frightening, even. Twenty years ago I could nail the age within a year or two every single time. Appropriateness was never in question.

But now? Holy shit. I repeat: holy shit. I can’t be chatting with teenagers(!!!) and thinking they might be of appropriate dating age.

CAN’T HAPPEN.

EVER.

I’m embarrassed. I’m so embarrassed I didn’t want to write about this. But then I remembered that if I’m experiencing something, then thousands of other people are, or have, too.

What’s my dating window? As a 35-year-old. It’s 25-42ish, right? That’s a 17-year margin for error!!!

I find this unsettling. And I feel a little dirty. And I’d like to know how this could happen.

Are female humans evolving whereby younger women look older than they did 20, 30, 40 years ago? Can that be part of it?

Or as we age, do we have a youthful image in our minds that makes us think or feel as if we’re younger than we are?

There is nothing about a 19-year-old girl that interests me. (No, not even THAT, gross person.) I hope you believe that because it’s true.

But I’d really like to know what’s wrong with my brain that I don’t just instinctively know how old someone is like I was able to in my youth.

I told my buddy this story over a text. He laughed at me, shared my surprise at her age, and said: “Must be this old to ride.”

Then I laughed. “Great headline. But I’m too embarrassed to write about this.”

“Just write it,” he said.

Fine. Dick.

*Publish*

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The Underwear Problem

Pretty much this sort of thing.

Pretty much this sort of thing.

Sometimes I wear embarrassing underwear.

Each time I do, I’m gambling that no women are going to jump out of nowhere and tear my pants off, or that I’m not going to be in one of those multiple-hostage bank robberies where during the heist the bank robbers make everyone take their pants off.

I saw that in a movie once, so now I’m pretty sure all bank robberies involve hostages being forced to remove their pants.

I do not wear women’s underwear. I hope you weren’t thinking that. But I do sometimes neglect my laundry long enough where I get through all of my respectable boxers. And what’s left?

Novelty boxers that my mom enjoys sending me around the holidays for reasons I don’t understand.

M&Ms. The Bumble from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Nintendo Wii. SpongeBob SquarePants. Valentine’s Day-themed boxers with hearts all over them.

I have one pair of M&M boxers that say “Bring on the Chocolate” across the ass.

Those embarrass me the most. I don’t know why.

Sometimes I have a bunch of clean clothes folded in the laundry basket two floors away from me. The choice: Walk down to get some normal boxers? OR. Wear these random silk boxers with hearts all over them?

I always ask myself two questions:

1. Is a woman likely to take my pants off today? Yeah, probably not. Okay. These should work.

2. But wait!!! Am I going to a bank where I’m almost certainly going to be taken hostage along with 15 other people and be forced to take my pants off and just stand there while all the bank robbers, employees and other customers laugh at me??? Probably not! But I better run downstairs and get some regular ones just to be safe. If I don’t? I know I’m gambling. Someone might see!

The girl thing is totally scary.

Just imagine it.

Eyes locked. Fingers and lips touch. Just the right amount of teeth and tongue. This is totally going to happen.

Hearts racing. Bodies pulsing. Both people breathless as they lose themselves.

Buckles unbuckle.

Fasteners unfasten.

Zippers unzip.

A shirt flies off here.

A bra flies off there.

And then—whoosh!—pants off.

<insert vinyl record screech noise here>

And then she sees your SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas boxers.

Then she pulls out her phone and snaps a photo of you trying to hide your underwear and your erection.

Then she runs out of your house laughing hysterically.

Then she posts the photo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and tags you in all of them and everyone laughs at you for the rest of your life because you wear SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas boxers EVERY DAY, apparently, and now no one will ever want you.

They’re all gonna laugh at you!

That could totally happen.

Which is why my boxers are a very respectable solid-color blue right now.

Whew. It’s probably gonna be a good day.

I dream up random crap all the time and then worry about it.

It’s really useful for things like protecting my little son from danger and driving safely.

But it’s mostly pretty debilitating like that one time when a few people in the United States contracted Ebola and I worried about a pandemic happening.

I used to think I was the only person that did this, but now I know even without asking that most people probably do it because we’re really not so different once you strip away all the stuff that doesn’t matter.

What Do You Mean You Don’t Have Attack Pants!?!?

My stepsister, who I don’t like calling “stepsister” because she’s family, had just picked up her and her husband’s bedroom.

As they were getting ready for bed, she noticed he’d set out a pair of pants in a spot she had JUST picked up.

“What the hell? I just put those pants away,” she said.

“Yeah, but I need these here,” he said. “Just in case.”

(I’m totally making up this dialogue, by the way, but the spirit of the conversation is absolutely accurate.)

“Just in case… of what?” she asked him.

“Just in case bad guys break into our house and attack us.”

She stood there looking at him.

“You mean, if bad guys break into the house, you want to have pants on hand to put on real quick before you fight them off? These pants—they’re your ‘Attack Pants’?”

And then they both just stood there laughing.

The next day, she asked me if I had Attack Pants. I don’t need specific Attack Pants, because I always have a couple pairs (pants too clean for laundry, but too dirty to be folded and put away) around and ready to throw on in an emergency.

I never thought about them in the sense of needing pants during middle-of-the-night combat. BUT. I have absolutely considered the possibility of fire.

Smokey. Frightening. Smoke detectors going off. Maybe my son would be there. He’s my only real priority. And maybe the fire is hot and raging. And maybe there’s no way to get downstairs and out the door safely. Maybe jumping out the window is the only way.

And maybe there’s no time to put on pants.

Maybe the entire neighborhood will gather outside and watch my house burn down. Maybe newspaper photographers will be there.

And I’d be standing there. Probably during winter so my penis would look smaller.

But no one would really care, because they’d be too distracted by my M&M boxers. Bring on the chocolate!

“Why does his underwear say that?” all my neighbors and the firefighters and the media would be wondering.

And then everyone would post the photos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and tag me in them and everyone would laugh at me for the rest of my life because I apparently wear silly M&M boxers with writing on the ass EVERY DAY, and now no one will ever want me.

They’re all gonna laugh at you!

Right?

That could totally happen.

Do any of you guys keep Attack Pants handy? Does anyone else wear bad underwear sometimes and worry about anyone seeing it? Do you also worry about really bizarre, arbitrary things that are highly unlikely to happen to anyone, ever?

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