Ferreting Out Subtle Misogyny On Basic Ass Dating Apps

Hinge is cool because it seems to have an algorithm that learns what I’m swiping right on, so I’m getting more suggested matches that actually align with my taste (as opposed to an endless sea of skinny white boys with thinly veiled conservative political views). It’s nice, but now that I’m actually taking the time to look at what my matches’ profiles say, woo, boy, there is some weird shit in there.

For example: Must know how to make a home cooked meal. Well, seeing as I mastered the art of scrambling an egg last year, it’s not that I don’t know how to make a home cooked meal. Sure, my culinary skills are pretty fucking basic, and I feel shy about that sometimes. But having this be a primary ask on your dating profile is a bit much. Probably because when I see this I know I’m exactly not the type of woman they’re looking for, so obviously I’m a bit piqued. I’m really good at paying for meals – does that count for nothing?! Can’t I have a career and not enough time to know how to make ribs?I mean, I guess I could learn how to cook more interesting meals, but the expectation that I should already have mastered this fairly complex skill when they’re offering me – what? What are they offering me that I don’t already have? *scours Hinge profile* Yup, can’t find anything on here that merits me cooking for this man. Out of all the things a guy could put on his dating profile, this one red flags as “I’m looking for a servant not a partner” to me. Eh, maybe I should take more pride in my culinary abilities. Not because I want to be a better Hinge match, but because, fuck you! I can do anything I set my mind to, and I’ll still be too good for whatever basic ass bullshit blows my way on these basic ass dating apps. God damn it.

Anxiety Dating

I want him to love me. I want him to be in love with me. And I’m probably willing to do anything to accomplish that. Fuck. As I’m sitting there in my gold teeth, Chanel chain, lavender Mongolian lamb coat, and pink velvet ankle boots, I realize: I’ve probably overshot the mark on this one. As usual. God, why am I such a fucking try-hard. I’m trying to be witty and winning and funny in this otherwise unremarkable sports bar on a Tuesday night, feeling slightly awkward and out of place. Kicking myself for shooting so low, yet again, with my romantic ambitions. Yes, his dick is huge, but woman cannot live on dick alone. I’m putting all this effort into appearing girlfriendly, but what the fuck is he doing for me? I’m desperately trying to seem lovable, but does he even want me to love him? Or just fuck him. Sigh. Eye roll. Whatever.

This is just who I am. Or, this is who I have become after being raised Catholic. I still can’t seem to separate myself from all that early childhood indoctrination I endured. I should be a good wife! I should cook! I should clean! I should bear children! All of which I rebelled against very thoroughly, but, in retrospect, it wasn’t a very effective rebellion because I just found myself in relationship after relationship with men who echoed those sentiments in post modern, pop culture iterations. Suck dick! Be obedient! Behave yourself! Do as you’re told!

God, I can’t stand this. This man is probably just like every other man I date: depressed, nonfunctional, brilliant but bogged down by the confines of society. They say that you date the parent that you had the most problems with, and as I look at the roster of exboyfriends and exlovers, I can’t help but realize: damn, I did not know my mom was that fucked up of a person. Poor girl.

I want something better than that. I want something that doesn’t require a bottomless pit of effort in order for me to feel like I deserve love. I just want to relax. To wear my ridiculous outfits and not feel like a fucking spectacle. To be witty and weird and not constantly feel like I’m saying the wrong thing. I just want to be myself and have that be okay. Instead of constantly trying to hide myself because that’s the only way anyone will ever love me.

I’m probably overthinking this. I mean – I’m definitely overthinking this. That’s just what I do. It’s why I’m dressed up like a cream puff in a sports bar talking too much about the long and rich history of Emeryville, yet again. Mulling over in my mind how can I use every day conversation to build rapport, to build trust, to demonstrate my character, to be vulnerable, to be strong, to build intimacy and generate attraction. All of these things should add up to this person liking me. But he’s here, so he must like me on some level, even if this entire process feels inscrutable, and there he is, a mystery laid before me that I must crack open and understand. God, it’s so much work. Why can’t I just find a cheat code and skip to the part where I get to find out if this is a good decision or not. Why do I have to put all my weeknights and weekends into discerning: who the fuck is this person? And do I like myself when I’m around him? What if the answer is no? What if this is a massive waste of time? Should I be playing the field more? Fucking a million other people? How the fuck do people even get into relationships?

Okay, okay, calm down, it’s not that difficult. People do it all the time. Maybe if I just relax my way into this, I’ll yield good results. Although, no, I don’t want to slip and fall into another relationship because that was horrible. Must set goals for myself. Which feels so transactional, but fuck it. If I don’t have a vision and I don’t have direction, then I’ll wind up falling off an emotional cliff just like I did last time. Focus. I need focus.

So I sip my gin and soda, smile, and see what the fuck happens. I’m having a good time. This is good. I like being out, so even if this turns out a total wash, at least I’m enjoying myself. Everything is going to be okay. I’ll be okay. Right?

Disgrace

“What do you have to say to the women who will never forgive you?”

“That sounds like such a horrible burden that they’ve decided to keep carrying.”

Vice Investigates recently aired their fifth episode, Disgrace. It examines the aftermath of the #metoo movement for two of the accused, Charlie Hallowell and Jay Asher. I was particularly interested in watching it because, well, I was a part of the lawsuit brought against Charlie Hallowell and my story was part of the original San Francisco Chronicle article that broke the story.

I have a lot to say about this. First of all, it’s really awkward and trippy to have a traumatic moment relived on television. When I worked at Penrose, Charlie came up to me, put his arm around me and asked me, “When was the last time someone came inside you?” Holy shit, it’s always really awkward to know that everyone who read about that and is watching this episode has been given a quick glimpse into one of the most awful, humiliating moments of my bartending career. How often am I going to have to relive that? I’m glad we’re making progress with feminism, and if this is the price I have to pay, then okay, I’ll live with it, but, omigod. That was not why I turned on the TV tonight. So that was accompanied with a wave of panic and shame.

Secondly, god, the entire thing made me feel so fucking gross. Initially, I only wanted to watch it because Karina, my friend and co-defendant, gave an interview for the piece. I guess I hadn’t thought about how nauseous and repulsed and creeped out the entire thing would make me feel. It felt like someone was trying to reach in my head and manipulate me through my television set. Not in the ‘all television is propaganda’ kinda way, but in a hyperspecific way that was aimed at exactly me and about thirty other women who stood up to Charlie back then. The quote above was what really got me – as though Charlie were trying to trick me into forgiving him as a way to seek validation from me in the most desperate yet condescending way possible. What a fucking con job.

Thirdly, I love Tarana Burke’s perspective in the story. She said that it is up to the survivors and the community to decide how the men come back. Throughout the episode, we are shown Charlie’s struggles, the time he has put in at therapy, the suffering he has gone through, his financial situation. He talks about losing two of his restaurants and the financial burden of trying to keep his other two restaurants open. In an attempt to be objective, I understand that his depiction of his business situation can garner sympathy. However, we, the survivors, immediately asked that Charlie step down from his restaurants. That was what we wanted. That was what we saw as the first step to redemption for Charlie. He didn’t do that. Charlie decided to hang onto his businesses, which, sure, I get it, it’s probably hard to walk away from an empire that you have built from scratch. But Charlie admitted in the episode that his attempt to hang onto that empire has plunged him into massive debt. The irony here is not lost on me: if Charlie had actually listened to us and stepped back from his restaurants, he probably wouldn’t be in the dire financial situation he finds himself in today. But he decided to do it his way, to try to save the restaurants. I’m not sure if that’s working for him, but if he loses all of his restaurants, then the survivors will have gotten what they asked for initially, and he will have gone about it in the most self destructive manner possible.

Lastly, a manager at one of his restaurants engaged in restorative justice with Charlie and welcomed him back because she didn’t believe that cancelling Charlie was the change she wanted to see in the world. In response to that, I would just like to state that the local restaurant world is indeed changing. I’ve been working in the bar and restaurant industry for the past eight years, and recently there has been an uptick in ownership and visibility of women, immigrant, POC and queer owned establishments. As Charlie has faded away, new stars have come into focus, and this place has changed. Cancelling Charlie Hallowell was one piece in the puzzle of making this industry an equitable and safe place for everybody. If anybody thinks that cancelling Charlie was the only thing that we have done to make these changes, then they simply aren’t paying attention.

“The Talk”

What are you into?

Oh, no. *This* conversation.

Well, it was going to come up sooner or later. But as I’m speeding down the 24 on my way home from an unchallenging day at work, I realize: here it is. I probably can’t charm my way out of this question, can I? But I try nonetheless.

I’m into pleasing you

How so? Be specific.

Ggrrrr. The specifics. Exactly what I don’t want to talk about right now. For a lot of reasons. Namely, the specifics are pretty fucking gory. They’re nasty. Disgusting. Perverted. The specifics usually scare off lesser men. And I like this guy. I don’t want to say something that’s too out there. He might run away. The sex so far has been good, and even if that’s as good as it gets, I’ll be fine with that. Why can’t I just hold onto that?

No, I shouldn’t lie. Can’t set that precedent. I should be myself. If I like him for who he has revealed himself to be so far, I should want him to like me for who I really am, too. Let my freak flag fly. Who knows. Maybe he’ll show me some new stuff. Maybe he’ll broaden my sexual horizons. Maybe this conversation is the only thing standing between me and the best sex of my life.

Well, that’s a tall order. Which brings me to the last reason I’m not in the mood for having this conversation. The ex. Yeah. That one. Here he is, again, permeating all my thoughts. How do I have this conversation without thinking about my ex? I don’t think I can. Because up until now, he has been the person who showed me new stuff. The person who broadened my sexual horizons. The best sex of my life.

Every kink and every fetish and every sexual record I ever set has been with him. Sure, he wasn’t my first for a lot of things, but he did all of those things the best. As I’m playing back through my rolodex of sexual kinks, his name is on every card. Check. Yup. We did that. I can’t even begin to think about my sexual proclivities without thinking about him.

How do I say this. I guess I just gotta suck it up and let the mental sex tapes of me and my ex play back in my head as I recollect all the things that I’m into. This is how I make progress, right? This is how I make new memories. Memories without my ex. This is how I move on. So next time I think about puppy play, the most recent memory I have will be with someone else.

So here goes.

Sex in Public, bondage, golden showers, puppy play, anal sex, roman showers, crimson showers, breath play, anything that pushes my physical and sexual limits.

Was that the right answer? Was that what he was looking for? And is that really what I’m into? God, I just had to throw Roman showers in there, didn’t I. Just to feel cool. Ugh, what if this guy comes over and pukes all over my sheets in the middle of sex. No! Not cool! That’s not what I meant! There’s something very specific about that one! Maybe I should have prefaced it with that. Maybe I should have mentioned my well documented sexual philosophy. Or, maybe he should read my blog and does his own homework and figure out that, yes, I love kink, but kink isn’t something that you roll out on a first date. Kink is something you work up to. I’m not going from fucking him two times to letting him puke on me. Or, maybe he knows that? Maybe it’s implied? Is it implied? Sure, the only way you get from vanilla to kink is through communication. Are we communicating properly? Is this how you do it? Or should I tell him: I’ve only done Roman showers once, and it was with my ex, last month. We had been up partying all night, and I woke up the next day nauseous as fuck. I lay in bed for six hours, moaning and dry heaving. I think he had gotten pretty sick of me getting up once an hour to dry heave in the bathroom, so he followed me in, grabbed me by the hair and stuck his finger down my throat. It was so painful and so visceral and so frightening, and he made me puke five times as he shoved my head into the toilet. At the end, he rubbed the puke all over my face, pushed me in the shower and pissed on me. It was so fucking hot.

But, wait, no, I don’t want to talk to him about my ex! I don’t think that’s the communicating I’m trying to do. I’m trying to get away from that, really. Maybe I should tell him: I want you to look me in the eyes while you’re fucking me and tell me, “If you ever leave me I’ll kill you.” I was really into that one. With the knife at my throat. Seeing the hatred in his eyes. Seeing the beast inside the man. The viciousness. The violence. It was so visceral. So exhilarating.

I don’t know. That seems like a lot. I feel like this is a good jumping off point. A good place to, uh, start. Although, if he asks would I drink his piss tomorrow? I don’t know. Do we have that kind of dynamic? I can’t tell yet.

So I ask him what he’s into. What kind of stuff he wants me to do to him. I realize: hey, maybe I don’t have to be full sub on this one. Maybe we can switch. It’s been a long time since I switched. I haven’t tried my hand at topping in a while. I could get into that. That would definitely get my mind off my ex.

I check my phone. I can’t wait to hear what he’s into. My panties are all in a bunch over it. I wanna hear some nasty, dirty, low down, degrading bull shit right now. That’s really going to get my mind off my ex. I take a shower. I come back out. I look at my phone.

Nothing? Hm. Really? Nothing? I check the time stamp. Oof. Thirty minutes. Seriously? I mean, okay, well, am I – yeah, I’m panicking. I’m definitely fucking panicking now. Who leaves a laundry list of dog dirty kinks on read? Fuck. I know the answer to that question: someone who’s been turned off. Someone who’s not into that kind of stuff. Someone who doesn’t know what to say. Or, maybe someone who’s at work and busy. Or someone whose phone died. Or – ugh, who am I kidding. God damn it. There goes my fucking fantasy. There goes my major boner. Did I just play myself? Seriously? Is this it? He’s gonna leave me at “Roman showers” like some sort of fool? Ugh, I fucking hate this shit. Why can’t a girl just let her freak flag fly? I just want to find a nice, kinky, super hot and highly intelligent man who will fuck me for four hours a day. Why is that too much to ask for from the world?!