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Dating in New York City – The Death of Dating & Emotional Zombies

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I sometimes think being single in New York City turns a person into an emotional zombie.  I don’t say that to insult single New Yorkers as I am single myself.  I have noticed though in the past few years that my personality has drastically changed when it comes to dating.  I used to get really worked about it, and now I’m a step away from comatose.  All emotion has basically been beaten out of me.  No one has physically attacked me of course, but any rough edges are now weathered down by a sea of apathy.  It’s as if the harshness of the dating scene washes over us like a thousand pieces of sand paper an smooths us down to smooth dullness.

After the first few dates, I blamed myself for being overly emotional or too screwed up from my recent divorce.  I was a complete emotional wreck and probably should have taken time off before dating, but it wasn’t just my emotional turmoil that was causing the problem.  It was an entire city devoid of authentic emotion. Not everyone, but most men  acted like the walking dead, ruled by their genitalia and nothing else. I was far more judgmental of this quality when I started out, then I realized it wasn’t so much a choice as a method of survival.  Like a nasty pandemic it spread throughout the whole city, neither gender spared.  I heard story after story from my male friends of women who acted the same way.  We were all reduced to little more than our zip code, our sexual preferences and lifestyles.  I was no longer a woman in my late thirties/early forties but Flatbush, straight, non-smoker with cats.  Everything else about me didn’t seem to matter anymore.

What caused this?  What turned an entire metropolis into the land of the emotionally dead?  Technology hasn’t helped.  Even though now we can connect in so many ways,  I can honestly say without irony that I’ve had more solicitations for cyber sex than actual physical contact.  When once a man might call me on the phone to chat, they now text. Communication reduced to broken phrases and emoticons.  Even typing in a complete sentence is too much effort for some.  Misunderstandings are common as tone is next to impossible to convey and sarcasm deadly.   Dating websites have evolved into  hook-up apps that promise little more than one awkward or thrilling evening to cut the boredom.

Eventually I’ve succumbed and became numb myself.  It must have been all the bad dates, the dick pics, the requests for immediate sex, the constant same day cancellations, and the judgmental pricks who think taking a train to Brooklyn is just too much to ask.  I officially gave up a while ago.  I’ve shut down all of my online dating profiles, I can’t even fathom joining tinder.  When I do date, which isn’t often, I find myself trying to smother any spark of emotions that are left.  I tell myself, don’t react, don’t care, show no weakness and maybe you’ll get through it.  Maybe if I’m dead enough, I’ll finally win at this game.

But in some ways my zombie infection is a good thing.  I used to put up with so much bad treatment.  When I would once make excuses for a man who didn’t text back, I now delete them from my phone.  I cut them off and don’t look back.  When a man is rude or snobbish about my type of employment he becomes invisible to me.  When a guy shrugs his shoulders at taking the Q train out to central Brooklyn, I erase him from my brain.  I have in many ways become the person I feared.  It’s not that I don’t have empathy for others, it’s just survival.  In a city where anyone can walk away and return to instant anonymity negative behavior thrives.

I’m less judgmental of people just snapping and hooking up with the next person who offers.  I understand the need for human touch that lies within us all no matter how hard we try to bury it.  We try to control it completely but all the pornography and our sexually heightened culture can’t control the need to just be next to someone if for a moment.  I’ll shuffle back to my own corner of Gotham and try to smother the beast inside who cries out for more.  I let the sea of apathy wash over me again and the numbness is comforting.

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Dear Stranger from out of town, I’m not an unpaid prostitute.

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Online dating is the social experiment that keeps on giving.  I’m always amazed at hidden agendas it reveals.  If I select that I’m looking for casual sex in my profile, I will literally get over 100 emails in a 24 hour period.  Men are looking for no strings attached sex, but few will be completely open about their intentions.  One of the strangest phenomena are men from out-of-town who seek sex with New York City women.  My inbox overflows requests like these, yet nothing on my profile indicates that I’m looking for hook-ups.  A typical email goes like this:

I think you’re hot. I’m going to be in New York City next week and I’d love to hook-up if you’re game for that sort of thing. If you aren’t, then my apologizes.

The straight forward approach is a bit unnerving, but they are easy enough to dismiss.   I always admire anyone who has the courage to ask for what they want.  As I’ve said many times on this blog, I wish more men were open and honest.  For every email like that one, I get about 10 of these:

I really think we have a connection. Even though we haven’t met, I can tell from your profile that you’re a caring and loving woman. Something about your eyes, and smile are so inviting to me.  I also think we have a lot in common, and we’d have a great time together.  I’ll only be in town for a week, and I really need someone to show me around the city. I know I could just sit in my hotel room in between my work, but I’d rather spend it with someone special like you.

Those make me want to vomit. It’s also an obvious cut and paste.  A guy will send the same email to dozens of women hoping one will bite.  My profile is mostly random movie quotes.  A savvier man will comment on the films I’ve quoted, or at least acknowledge that my profile is slightly unconventional.  Talking about my eyes, smile or the many things we have in common is intentionally vague.  Every woman has eyes, and most are smiling in at least one photo – so I guess a few might fall for complete drivel like that.  Others might realize the guy is a total phony but they think he’s attractive enough for a one-night stand.

Then we have the truly slime inducing ones:

Look, I’m going to be in New York City next week.  I’m going to be extremely busy.  Maybe if you’re hot enough in person, I’ll make some time for you.  You won’t regret it but you’d better be hot, or forget it.  I’ve got nine inches of pure manhood and I love to make hot chicks moan.

Luckily men like this are rare.  When I’ve gotten emails like these I’ve responded, “Why aren’t you on tinder” or “Hire a prostitute” or “I don’t need an out-of-town STD.”

Usually the men who proposition me for such liaisons aren’t exactly drop dead gorgeous, but a few have been.  I’ve still never taken the bait.  I’m not comfortable with these situations for a number of reasons.

  • Are these men married? Who knows?
  • Safety issues – Theft, sexual assault or worse
  • Drugs – Will I be slipped something that will knock me out?  Will the man be blazed out of his mind?
  • Privacy – Photographs, video, webcams – technology has gotten so small anything is possible
  • Unusual requests, unexpected kinky sex, inappropriate boundaries
  • BAD SEX

The last one is in all caps for a reason.  Sex with strangers is like rolling the dice, you really have no idea if you are going to have a steamy, hot night of passion or an awkward, uncomfortable evening of disappointment.  Simply put sex with a total stranger, is sometimes not just mediocre but downright scaring.  Most of the time when men have sex, they’ll at least have an orgasm.  Any woman knows we aren’t always as lucky.  A selfish or unskilled lover can make the entire enterprise one long night we wish we could forget forever.

Women also get hit up for free sex all the time.  If I want no strings attached sex I can probably get that from someone I already know and trust a bit.  I also don’t need a girlfriend or wife tracking me down weeks or months later when they’ve discovered an “affair” which was really just a random hook-up.

Overall these requests make me feel like I have no value.  A sex worker might put up with strange sexual requests, a selfish one-sided lover or an uncomfortable experience.  A prostitute at least gets paid, and usually quite well for their services.  Of course some women love the turn on of having sex with a total stranger who they will never see again.  However most women who want hot sex from out-of-town men are on hook-up sites like Adult Friend Finder and Tinder.  It’s a bit of a leap for any man to assume all women want this type of sexual experience.

Basically. if you want to buy shoes, don’t go to a hat store.  Plenty of women are waiting for your emails you just need to look for them on sites specific to your search.  Sex workers are also always available, they might be pricy but there’s nothing wrong with an agreed upon transaction between consenting adults.  Never assume the average gal on OKCupid or Match.com is waiting for your “Nine inches manhood.”  We know it’s probably closer to six inches anyway. 🙂

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Dating in New York: Mr. Spontaneous

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Texting (Photo credit: Joi)

One particular dating archetype that I have heard a lot about lately is Mr. Spontaneous.  I am sure there are women who do this sort of thing, but it is especially a problem with men in New York City.  Mr. Spontaneous is the #1 complaint that I hear from women about dating in the Big Apple.  What defines a Mr. Spontaneous?

  • Text – Late at night – Only on weekends – Expect you to come to their location
  • Refuses or avoids making plans ahead of time
  • When the tables are turned they will not drop everything to see you on a moment’s notice

Most men who do this will claim they are simply living in the moment or being spontaneous.  What they are really saying though is that you aren’t worth even a modicum of pre-planning or respect.  You are a girl on call, probably one of many, ready willing and able to drop whatever you are doing to come over on his terms.   If you already have established a mutually beneficial relationship of late-night, last-minute hook-ups that is one thing.  But if a man is pursuing you, and you don’t have boundaries established, it is extremely rude behavior.  It is not living life in the moment, or being spontaneous, it is just inconsiderate.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself

“Would I do this to a friend?” or “Would a friend treat me like this?”

If the answer is no, don’t put up with it from some random guy.  Would you text a friend at 1:30 at night to come meet you at a bar?  Perhaps, but it would probably be someone you know extremely well.  You know they will be awake at that hour, and maybe you have met them for late night drinks before.  If this man is new to your life, he should not be treating you like an unpaid prostitute.  Of course there is nothing wrong with taking the bait and meeting someone for a late-night sex session. Chances are though, the minute you allow this type of treatment, things will not improve.   If you want a no-strings attached sexual relationship, he should at least do the same for you.  You should be able to text him at 2 am and expect him to come flying over.  If he doesn’t drop him like a hot rock and don’t look back.

I really loathe the ridiculous dating guide “The Rules” as it sets up rigid guidelines about when a man should call and exactly how a woman should react to his advances.  I don’t believe anyone should live according to such an exact standard, and some of their advice encourages emotional manipulation .  However, I do think the authors do make a valid point; any man who doesn’t give some notice for a date is not worth your time.

Another sign that you aren’t being taken seriously are the following:

  • He needs a date for a social engagement – He has no interest in seeing you otherwise
  • Doesn’t want you to meet his friends, or meet your friends – Only wants you to come to their place when it is convenient for him
  • Only wants you to attend shows, gallery openings, band performances – Wants a groupie not a date
  • Put zero effort in seeing you on your terms
  • Has no interest in getting to know you better – He asks few personal questions about you.
  • He tells you very little about himself
  • Never move beyond text messages or email in communication – Phone calls are too personal

No woman should expect an instant boyfriend or partner, nor is that a healthy thing to desire.  Every relationship builds at its own pace and neither partner should rush into anything.  You shouldn’t expect everything at once, but you should also not feel disrespected.  If the shady behavior goes on for an extended period of time, there is a reason he is not letting you in.  You are simply a sexual plaything and you will never be seen as anything more.  If you are wanting more of a connection, allowing a man to treat you poorly is not going to get you anywhere.