How Two Tinder Dates Revealed Their Misogyny To Me
This past weekend I was stood up by not one but two Tinder dates in a row. Since research on dating trends have long revealed that an increasing number of millennials are courting via abundant forms of the interwebs these days, my first sentence probably garnered yawns from a few of you. However, reading this statement as insignificant further exemplifies how the general American public does not take women or dating seriously.
Every few months, I begrudgingly lift my self-imposed online dating ban and redownload Tinder. Mass (left) swiping ensues and meticulous one-liners are thumbed out to those deemed deserving with a swiftness. Although most of my experiences on Tinder have been pretty neutral and primarily involve meeting up at a dimly lit bar to realize within minutes that the sparks aint flyin, a few have been straight up negative. The most obvious example occurred over a year ago when a date of mine got wasted and wouldn’t accept my rejection of his invitation to go inside his home, so he repeatedly explained how “easy” it would be for me to just “go inside and have sex” with him and not to worry because he would definitely still text me after. Refusing to exit my car for a full ten minutes before finally getting out, I cried the whole drive home and called out of work the next day.
Awful experiences be damned, having a boo by my side would be nice and I won’t let this traumatizing event control the terms of my dating life. So, I routinely come back to digital romancing (with precautions) because tbh I know no other way. When I had one of the first good dates in a really long time with a Tinder bro about a month ago, I felt like Millhouse.
Chemistry was good, they laughed at my weird jokes, and they also seemed open to being in a monogamous relationship. It seemed too good to be true and, as time would tell, it was. We both left the country for a while and when he came back last week, I gave him space to hit me up as soon as he was ready. I know that leaving town for a long time can be hard to transition back from, but he decided to ask me out again right away. We settled on Friday. In the days leading up though, he repeatedly missed deadlines he chose for himself on when he’d get back to me about ironing out details. I didn’t need to hear back in twenty minutes, but he’d promise to do so over and over. This was a red flag, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt again because of his recent travels and let it slide.
Eventually after a “soooo what’s the dealio” via FB messenger (I know, I’m slick af), we agreed on grabbing drinks before heading over to watch the 8 PM PT season premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Fast forward to Friday night at 6:30 PM and *crickets.* Living in the boonies makes so it takes like 30 minutes to get anywhere, so I was still in the mirror getting cute as I had a date with Ru, regardless of whether Tinder dude decided to join or not. Fifteen minutes later, I got a message from him on Facebook: See you tonight?
I explained I had been unsure if he had still planned on meeting up but that he was welcomed to come anyways. We messaged back and forth for a bit and I confessed that my confusion stemmed from the evening before, when he had asked to get drinks with me prior to the show. His apology looked like this:
On my way over, I called my friend to ask her to save us a seat. As can be expected at a public screening of a season 9 Drag Race premiere, they were all taken but I was fine with standing. I gave dude a heads up that there wasn’t any seating left but that I was still on my way. At 7:30 PM, he wrote back with “Dang. I guess I’ll catch you some other time?” and a stream of subsequent messages explaining how he was working through a lot of emotional stress unrelated to this and possibly a new bout of depression and that he’d be taking a few weeks to get his shit together before we could hang out again.
Later that night, I did what any self-respecting third-wave feminist would do and downloaded Tinder. Almost instantly, I connected with a good-looking grad student. We bonded over our shared disdain for the school-to-prison pipeline and love for scheming ways to get free money from the U.S. government a lá Matthew Lesko.
He asked me if I was free for coffee after my Saturday morning Naturescaping class (a srsly dope free intro course in PDX!) and we exchanged numbers. At 1 PM the next day, I texted him as agreed upon and asked if 3 PM would work. Between the time I sent this text and received a reply, he added some new Tinder pics and removed the funny bio that had drawn me in (ok fine, “Let’s go 2 Flavortown,” is admittedly still a very good bio in my eyes.) An hour later my phone buzzed with:
In less than twelve hours, I had been forgotten twice. In both of these instances, the men had been the ones who asked to set up dates with me. In both instances, they picked the time. And in both instances, their lack of respect for me and my time ran so deep that they forgot about the dates I had been looking forward to.
The following day, they both tried to save face and explain themselves further. Dude #1 sent a dozen Facebook messages in ten minutes with a “I dunno I’m sorry” sandwiched between the lengthy excuses. Dude #2 reasoned that when he replied “Ugh. Why you gotta guilt trip” to my text stating it was the second time I’d been stood up, he was JUST JOKING ;) Five minutes after writing this too, he played a pretty clear power move by dismissing me before I even had a chance to respond:
Please note that in both cases as well, the lexicon of these men included similar epithets of “Did I blow it” and “Did i ruin my chances” as if this was a fucking game. The way love is talked about in popular culture, it’s clear people think it is tho. :’(
Being straight up ditched would have been bad enough, but both dudes thought so little of me that they couldn’t even bring themselves to remember to carve out time for drinking beverages together in their damn calendars.
While I should know better than to place my sense of self in the hands of dick wads on the Internet, I’m a product of the world we live in. bell hooks explains this thought process in her second book on love, Communion: The Female Search for Love:
We learn in childhood that the roots of love lie outside our capabilities, that to know love we must be loved by others. For as females in patriarchal culture, we cannot determine our self-worth. Our value, our worth, and whether or not we can be loved are always determined by someone else.
And despite being a tough as shit, accomplished femme, these situations left me feeling hurt and cheap! If you sense an inkling of anger in my words, it’s because I am mad — both at myself and these men. That doesn’t render my critique of this treatment as any less legitimate.
Flaking out on folks exists beyond the scope of these two situations, and dismissing this behavior as something innocuous or to be expected minimizes the levels of respect we should hold for one another, whether said plans are romantic in nature or not. Misogyny reveals itself in many ways and devaluing the time of women is one (see also: ghosting.) Refusing to take accountability when called out on sexist behavior is another.
To all the Tinder fuckboys that have infiltrated the internet and are set on perpetuating the standards of patriarchal systems, women are not disposable even if seeing our beautiful faces on online dating platforms seems to make you think we are. Whether you’re looking for something casual or serious, there is a way to do that without leaving one person feeling like garbage. The key to both? HEALTHY COMMUNICATION. Here’s a great guide on how to achieve just that. The baseline starts at following through with plans you set up or properly apologizing if they mistakenly fall through.
My final word of advice for the Tinder fuckboys of the world interested in true reform: stop treating womxn like trash and get your shit together. It really really stinks!