Dating and your public image

Public image clearly molds your social life. How you present yourself from your attire, the upkeep of your grooming, even something as simple as how you pose in a photo, people notice the type of person you are and who you want to become.

After realizing that I was not meant for the online dating world, I tried YET AGAIN to make magic appear — apparently out of thin air. Maybe it’s the optimist within me to believe that something worthwhile would actually happen, considering that I’ve heard an occasional love story here and there. Or maybe it’s the fact that I get bored and feel like swiping left and right, up and down, or creating online profiles as if it’s a second job. Regardless, I took another leap of faith into a black hole.

In an earlier post, I mentioned how a young man in his 20s went about dating in the New York City area. He suggested a number of dating apps in order to relieve some of the frustration. Taking this into consideration, I decided to try another app since the previous experience was not necessarily fruitful. So, I hopped onto Coffee Meets Bagel. Supposedly, it’s a site for young professionals who are actually looking for a relationship. Men who seem to be about their business, mature with their life choices, and seem to be steady on their track of “adulting.”

However, my time on Coffee Meets Bagel was (is?) kind of short-lived. After downloading and setting up quite an elaborate (and impressive, if I may say so) profile, I never received any bites, or bagels according to their terminology. After looking through the variety of professional lawyers and businessmen, accountants, technological geniuses, I thought that maybe I just didn’t peak their interest. Whatever. Fine. Maybe I wasn’t worthy of their intellectual conversation. So, I gave the app a rest for a few days. After logging back on, I had a number of bagels to choose from. The next issue was realizing that the app included way too much math than I was expecting. I was rewarded with beans for each day of logging on, and I had to spend these beans in order to like a guy, and spend more beans to see who we knew in common, and I couldn’t like any more dates if I didn’t have enough beans. Personally, I’m not a fan of “buying” men — with actual currency or cyber beans for that matter.

At this point, I was kind of desperate in the online dating game. This has become the dating scene of the millennium, so why couldn’t it work for me?

My next choice was to try something that I heard a number of people use and have results: OkCupid. It’s owned by the Match people, the same group that governs Black People Meet, Plenty of Fish, Tinder and the like. Even though I just had cyber penpals in the past from my experience with Match.com, I thought OkCupid could’ve been different. It had a younger crowd and a wider variety of users. But it wasn’t better. I wanted to delete the app within 12 hours of downloading it. I created an extraordinary profile, pageantry standards to be honest. I poured out my heart of the pictures I chose for the type of men that I wanted: Grown men, at least 27, no older than 35, someone physically fit because I try to be health conscious.

What do I get? 21 year-olds who are still in college or living with their parents and message minute after minute to see if I’m still online. Men who messaged me, I checked their profiles to see what they were about, and, quite frankly, I wasn’t impressed and would move on, but they would sulk and whine in my inbox about why I didn’t message them back and only viewed their profiles. Men who didn’t match anything on the level of my intellectual criteria. Men with ridiculous usernames that had to do with sex acts, food, size, and a combination of the three. I was immediately turned off, slightly entertained, but definitely turned off.

So, it made me wonder: What type of image am I presenting of myself to the public? Who do I appear to be in order to attract certain types of people or for certain groups to act one specific way towards me.

Just keeping it funky, Coffee Meets Bagel had men of higher professions. They carried themselves a certain way, that is if I ever had a chance to interact with them on account of the financial literacy that I had to endure. Still these men were not necessarily as forward, but their bios were more interesting, and it felt as if I had to do majority of the work (ie: spending all of my beans on them). But when it came to OkCupid, I was some huge catch to a more working-class of men, saying how beautiful I was and how they wanted to marry me, but there was a bit of social uncouthness. In both situations, it seemed as if I would have to be a teacher of some sort: Whether it was teaching a group of intelligent, distinguished men how to be less socially awkward and take charge, or teaching proper decorum to another group who could probably care less but would tell me how well they perform in bed.

So, I’ve realized: Men see me as a teacher and mother. Point blank. I’ve had this situation arrive a number of times when I had to tell a man how to dress, how to act in public, teach him about politics and culture. It gets tiring. I’m looking for a man, not a grown child. I do not plan on picking up on the pieces where another parent left off. It’s not fair. And I do not have the patience for it.

After coming to this conclusion just based off from online dating, I could only imagine how I appear in person, face-to-face, when a man approaches me. Do I automatically attract men who need some level of guidance in their lives? And how does this carry on in “gender norms” when the man, supposedly, is the leader and more dominant in the relationship? Has it just come to the bottomline that men truly rely on a woman to fine-tune them, or have I just missed my calling of being a young mother?

With this in mind, my dating life has become more strained as I look for possible matches. Not only do I have to be on the lookout for a guy who takes care of himself, has goals and ambitions, and adores me, but I also have to include that hidden category of whether or not he should’ve left his parents’ home just yet. And honestly, I don’t date men who live with their parents (unless there has been some major life change). And I definitely will not tolerate a man who thinks that he can throw an elementary slumber party on my life. Issue is, I just have to figure out how to change my stance when these grown-little-big-male-children approach me. That is, if they are even able to without me having to take charge.