I swiped left on a man because his Bumble picture was taken in a Joe’s Crab Shack.
It was at this moment I realized I might have a problem.
And that I might also be kind of a bitch.
It happened so quickly I barely had time to register what I was doing by the time it was done. My friend, Bumbling vicariously over my shoulder, yelled out, “No! Wait! It’s not Joe’s Crab Shack it’s Joe’s Steak House!” But it was too late. By the time she got to “crab,” my fingers were already flying across the screen to shield my eyes from the horrors therein.
I’m not proud of what I did, but it was instinctual. Visceral. My ovaries, folding in on themselves at the thought of mating with someone in an “I Got Crabs At Joe’s” shirt.
It wasn’t right, but it was real. And at the very least, it got me to ask some tough questions of myself, specifically: why do I hate every dude I meet?
Like any respectable, self-centered human, I of course blame my parents. My dad, presumably scared shitless at the prospect of raising two daughters, made certain my sister and I understood two very important lessons: 1.) Men are pigs, and 2.) Everything’s a rip off.
Could it be that his warnings worked so well, too well, that they guaranteed the end of House Clark?
I think it’s likely.
I think it’s also likely – perhaps more likely – that I am the problem. When presented with the opportunity to hand-pick a mate, I turn into the monster my father groomed me to be. That is to say, I rip men to shreds. I pick apart their profiles with reckless abandon, violently swiping away those who displays signs of romance (emojis) or outright insanity (“Ask me anything you want to know 😜”). Fishing photos, boating photos, baby photos, gym photos, and any sort of Jesus or CrossFit reference are also grounds for immediate and irrevocable elimination.
Once I’ve whittled my matches down to a small – but elite – group of sea-fearing atheists, the real work begins.
First, I test the waters with a GIF. Dwight Schrute and Buster Bluth and are my baits of choice, as both say “I’m casual, I’m hip and I’m probably a little left-leaning.”
If he responds favorably (Impossible! I hate everyone!) I find something wrong with it. If he responds unfavorably, it supports my theory that dating is dumb and why am I even on here.
My friends think I sabotage myself in order to prove there’s no one out there for me. I think no one gets my humor (see exhibit below), and that men are time sucks.
(On the left, Rex, the sea lion. On the right, me questioning Rex’s mortality. It’s been months and I’ve yet to receive a response.)
I get that a lot of this stems from insecurity. Make fun of yourself before anyone else can, reject people before they can reject you, blah, blah, blah. But, still. Why am I so unwilling to give someone a chance? Why am I terrified at actually liking someone and why, for the love of God, can I not get an update on Rex?!