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I Have First Date Jitters

I'm not a fan of the new Instagram trend of posting trashy dating app messages hoping to become an influencer. Most of those accounts are run by people who are trying to become internet famous by turning online harassment into entertainment. Nothing about sexually graphic or otherwise inappropriate messages sent by men to women is funny. It's gross and needs to be dealt with properly - by banning said users and making it more difficult for them to pester and verbally assault other users.

Shaming these people doesn't work. In fact, it does the opposite. Engaging and promoting them gives them what they want: attention. The process should be block, delete, report, buh-bye. In that order. The messages aren't funny or even interesting. They're just pedestrian attempts to be shocking. Responding the way many people do with the intention of posting their replies to get head pats on social media is equally low-brow. How much of a thirst trap must you be to engage internet trolls for likes? Nobody needs to be barraged with examples of how gross and frustrating dating online can be. We all have first-hand knowledge of that, don't we?

Ahem. Sorry. Not the point of this post.

My last relationship ended back in May. Since then, I've made little attempt to get back out there. I've half-heartedly swiped left and right on Tinder and Bumble. Most of my matches either never messaged me or never replied to my messages. But I kept at it, at a pace that was comfortable for me. After years of pursuing and sticking with ambivalent and wishy-washy men, guys that actually seemed available were triggering for me.

As they say, nothing changes if nothing changes. With that in mind, I paid the Tinder subscription fee so I could view the men that had swiped right on my profile. (I've said this before: focusing on people that have initiated interest is the best path to dating app success.) One man in particular caught my eye so I swiped right. Boom! Match made. He sent me a message a few hours later, and of course I made excuse after excuse not to respond. The tumult in my stomach wasn't because I didn't find him attractive or thought he seemed too eager. Neither were the case. What scared me was the possibility of leaving my safe zone - alone with no risk of being hurt or discarded - and being disappointed.

It almost feels like hope is a dirty word these days, doesn't it? It's like getting our hopes up is a sure-fire route to being hurt. That's how fraught this process has become. We feel safe immersing ourselves in the negativity because at least we know what we're getting, right?

So, in the spirit of being the change I want to see, I pushed through my fear and said yes. Maybe it'll work out, maybe it won't. That's not what matters. These days, just getting to the first date is an accomplishment. I'm not embarrassed to say I'm even a tiny bit excited to meet this person. If it results in nothing but a pleasant conversation and great wine, then that's a win, too.

Now I just need to find something to wear...

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