RAGAZZI: I dated them so you don’t have to.

Based on probability, if you get a big group of people concentrated in one place, there is a good chance that there will be a few trash-ass dudes in the mix. Though, for every trash-ass dude, there are a few really good ones. It’s called statistics or something. Dating, I think? Either way, nobody wants a romantic story in 2018. It’s just too boring now. Maybe that’s why I like being single and dating so much.

I’m a rock solid millennial so dating in the technological age is normal to me. However, at first, it wasn’t. I met my first boyfriend on a “smash or pass” page on Facebook where I deliberately typed “SMASH” under his photo. Romantic. I would disguise this initial encounter as “meeting through mutual friends.” Not long after breaking up, I would meet my second boyfriend through Instagram. A really romantic story involving a series of comments, likes, and DMs that would be disguised, once again, as “meeting through mutual friends.”

Looking back at it, I ask myself: why did we hide it? Is there still something taboo about meeting online, despite living in the age of information? Everything is digital now. Flirting now can mean double tapping a few pictures in a row. Sending memes has developed into a love language of sorts. Meeting people on dating apps has become a cultural staple in the new age. It’s the new normal.

Nonetheless, online dating apps expose us to a milieu of wild-ass people so I can see why some folks would like to keep it low-key. I like people, variety, and technology so using Bumble or Tinder isn’t beyond me. It’s right in my stratosphere of how I believe dating works now. It always was. It’s convenient. It was made for dumbasses like me who enjoy sitting on their couch, stoned out of their mind, reading profiles and swiping left or right on a Tuesday night. So, why lie about my dating app use? I’ll admit to you, fuck it. I’ve swiped. I met them online. There. I said it.

It really do be like that. Drawing by me.

For me, it’s been a crazy-ass ride to say the least. From two long term boyfriends in a row to living as a bachelorette in Houston for the past year, this is the longest I’ve been single since high school. I don’t know how to act but I’m figuring it out.

Over the past 14 months, I’ve met men who ran the gamut from American Dream success stories; men who work hard; men who don’t work at all; ill-mannered grown ass men; musicians; DJs; European dreamboats; stereotypical Latin lovers; mid-life crisis-ers; drug dealers; cocaine addicts; ex-addicts; professional models; athletic trainers; talented writers; expats; yuppies; comedians; one-legged men; men with fame; men with infamy; and even men who never really existed at all.

I don’t want to kiss and tell. Some people I’ve never even kissed, anyway. But I’m a firm believer in the power of human connection and the belief there is always something to gain from somebody. From the most banal encounters to the most intimate, somewhere in there is a lesson. Maybe it’s the writer in me that looks for messages and meaning in everything. Maybe I’m just fucking trippin’. Either way, I gotta tell you all about it.

Sharing my stories with y’all means more to me than getting swiped right by some guy whose bio (like many others) sounds like this: “I love The Office, whiskey, margaritas, brunch, traveling, working out, and dogs. Please fuck me, as I have reduced my personality to these basic and universally enjoyed things.” So, while my dream is that my stories are enjoyed en masse, my bigger dream is becoming a big enough pariah in the online dating world that nobody ever swipes on me again and never have use Tinder or Bumble for the rest of my life. Just because I admitted I’ve used dating apps and I live in the digital age doesn’t mean I want to use that shit forever. Maybe after reading these stories, you’ll see exactly what I mean.

However you want to say it: boys, men, hombres, or ragazzi. It doesn’t matter.

I dated them so you don’t have to.