The Shallow Pool

In my last post, perhaps I didn’t articulate clearly enough that I am not getting a lot of matches.

It was said, often, in the comments, because I am too picky.

But, its pretty hard to be picky on Bumble.  Since, all you really see, is a 100 word description (if that) and photos.  I have mostly given up on Tinder as it has defaulted to an entirely hook-up driven app since last year.  The quality of men has deteriorated beyond what I have patience for.

Bumble is ok.

I still don’t love POF or Match but will load up a new profile this weekend in any case.

My criteria for speaking to someone one on the Bumble app is easy: some attraction, the appearance of height (I’m a big girl and do not like being bigger than my man, period), and a preference for a white color job if it’s indicated.  I don’t pass  on men because of their jobs, but have yet to find a decent enough man that is a match for me if they are too far off from corporate America.  Generally speaking, that gap tends to make men get fussy fast with the things I like.

For instance, I matched with a seemingly decent man late last week.  He started too soon with a sex comment, I joked it off and he didn’t pursue, seeming to get the hint.  He had a holiday weekend semi-full but wanted to meet me as we don’t live far apart.

He suggested a quick drink on Friday night and asked where I would like to meet so I chose two bars I like in between his town and mine.

Immediately he said those bars were a little too fancy for him and he didn’t want to get dressed to have one drink.  He said he was taking his younger daughter to pizza and wings after 7:30pm and he would be casual dressed.

So here’s where the chasm comes in.

In my humble opinion, casual dress can include a decent button down shirt and shorts.  His opinion of casual dress was a sweatshirt and basketball shorts.  He insinuated we meet at a sports bar.

That’s not my kind of guy.

How do I know?  One: if you are interested in meeting a woman, even its for an hour, you will take the time to look decent, not like you are tossing back beers with your buds.  Two: It’s generally too loud and low class in a sports bar for me, I don’t drink beer or eat wings normally (not to say I never do).  So, that’s how my judgement works.  If you don’t feel it necessary to even attempt to try and impress me a little bit on our first meeting, then you are not for me.

And if you think a sports bar is ok, you are not for me.  It’s not my scene.

It seems that some people feel I am too judgmental about my choices, and that’s why I can’t match.  But what’s the point of matching with anyone who is too different from me?  A man like this will immediately think I am spoiled, rather than just having preferences for things I like.

That’s exactly what happened.  This seemingly nice guy went from pleasant to crazed in a series of perhaps 3 text.

He agreed to meet at one of the bars I chose and then said “I will stand out like a sore thumb in my sweatshirt and basketball shorts.”  So, why agree to this bar if you know how people will dress at this bar?

My reply was, you can still wear a nice shirt and shorts to take your daughter for pizza and wings…and he went off the rails:

It’s Friday and what do you expect me to be wearing?  We are not doing something.  I can promise you I am not wearing a nice shirt.  I’m fitting you in.  You are not my evening activity.  I am not dressing up to go to a pizza place with my daughter in the rain.

Unlike previous years, my response was fast and easy: Block and Delete.

If it was so stressful for him to “fit me in” and “put on a nice shirt” he isn’t the one for me.  Period.  I believe these small behaviors are just indicators of bigger issues behind them.

I’m sure many of you don’t agree, but it’s my date and there’s no point in going out with anyone who doesn’t have some of the qualities I like.  And that sure means: don’t get upset when I want prosecco, oysters and a decent bar.

I can spend time at a sporting event, in a sports bar, or in a grungy bar with the best of them.  But, not often and certainly not for a first date.   Of all the first dates I have had, one thing I have learned for sure: if the guy thinks I am too “uppity” they will be much too similar to my x and I can’t deal with that.

As my son tells me : “You like what you like, yo”  Clearly my little man knows his Momma just likes things the way she likes them.

And so it is.

I keep plugging on.  I have had a few other nice conversations and some potential dates lined up this week.  They seem like nice men and we seem aligned with the things we want in dating.  I realize that the chances of finding a Bennett again may be slim to none, its a rare thing to check off every single box on your desire list (but, so Bennett did).  But I have to start with the things I know work for me.

Meanwhile, I still have some period of tears here and there.  I do feel lonely.  I can’t get my act together fully to not be depressed.  Bennett still sits too much in the forefront of my thoughts.   I’ll get there, it just takes time.

Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

26 thoughts on “The Shallow Pool”

  1. Madeline, I feel the same way – and have almost virtually the same criteria. Height-check (I’m tall), education/job-check, someone who cares enough to go beyond sweatpants for a first date/meeting. I’d like to see a man who is criticized for wanting a woman with certain criteria. It doesn’t happen. Stand strong, stand tall. It’s better to be with someone you want.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I actually think men who dare say something about only being willing to date a woman with a specific physical criteria would get fully crapped on. This isn’t a criticism of Madeline’s height restriction (she knows at 6′ she’s limiting 85% of the male population in the US), but it’s far more acceptable for women to say they want a man to be 6′ than a man to say he doesn’t want a tall (or larger) woman, or something else along those lines.
      Our demand for height is why men lie about their height online (proven by anyone who has dated and also by the stats collected by the creator of OKC). And their demand for youth is why women lie about their age.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You always seem to be so fixated on my height request. I will entertain anyone. 5’10” and although I have yet to meet someone that height that has other qualities I admire. A 5’10” stocky frame would probably work for me. As long as I don’t feel bigger. I have had PLENTY of men ask my size so I no longer feel guilty. I don’t have to lie about my age because I know I look better than most women who are younger than me.

        And I would entertain an older man equally as well if I could find one that was attractive to me!


      2. I believe I said in my comment it wasn’t a criticism of your height requirement (which yes, you more recently relaxed)… I was making a general comment that men in fact are roundly criticized for the same thing that is acceptable for women to do. And that the height requirement is common for women, like age is for men. The age comment wasn’t directed at you. I wasn’t fixating on anything but used the height because it’s a common example for women and happens to apply to you.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s practically the only one women use while men have been using multiple requirements for years. It’s about time women did the same.

        And, your comments did sound like a criticism as you continually point out the one thing that really tends to be a deal breaker for me. If and when I find a man under 5’11” that rocks my world I will Let everyone know. But that man remains elusive to this day.


      4. It was an example, Madeline. Hence why I took the trouble to say it wasn’t a criticism of you.
        And I wasn’t making any kind of statement what was fair or appropriate for women (or men) to do. I think both straight women and men have unrealistic and deep seated expectations, including traditional gender roles and who plays what part. But that’s an entire other post.
        As Janelle said (as did I on your last post) you have every bloody right to demand whatever the hell criteria you want when it comes to dating. Just the more criteria you have, the harder it will be to find someone that meets them all. That is not a criticism of you nor is it unique to you. It applies to everyone who is seeking someone.


    2. I agree men are criticized less than women. It’s expected men want younger and thinner. It’s the reasons so many women have self confidence issues after years of watching young, Rail thin models be the face of everything society considers beautiful. It’s programming.

      So I don’t think much anymore when I ask how tall they are. I’ve been asked plenty of times my size. And frankly it’s much more about me…I’m a big girl who feels better when I feel smaller next to my man.


  2. I can’t say I blame you M for wanting what you want. I agree that it says a lot about a man who isn’t willing to dress appropriately at least for the first few dates. Nice jeans and handsome polo would do just fine. If you start settling and compromising your values then it’s all you’re going to get. That guy would have definitely gotten a hasty goodbye from me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes exactly Oceans! Just look pulled together for a first meeting – even if it’s a coffee date. I wouldn’t go out with a man in my sweats so I don’t want someone who thinks that’s ok to do. Even worse in a restaurant where it’s inappropriate to be in a sweatshirt.

      He didn’t even get a goodbye. It wasn’t worth the text. 😂🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your criteria for a dating partner are unique and your own, and most definitely you should you not compromise for a crappy date you know you will not enjoy. Being particular and choosey may simply mean a lot more patience and active searching to locate someone who meets your basic selection criteria and make progress dating.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Janelle. I have learned that even when I’m not attracted to a man on a first date, I can still have a decent experience and not make it a waste of my time. Small cues in the way they behave before a date are surefire clues to the way they behave all the time. I would rather wait than have someone not make me a priority by, at least, showing interest.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was obvious from the exchange about meeting locations that your priorities are completely different. It is hard to be patient waiting for someone suitable to show up on your radar, and writing about that fact tends to invite a lot of pointing out that you are specific in what you are seeking. Your perspective and priorities have changed as well from when you began blogging about your adventures, in that you are definitely seeking a relationship, not a casual hook-up or friends-with-benefits situation. From the complaints and lamentations I hear from all my single friends (male and female), meeting someone with minimum standard requirements with mutual interest is a huge challenge these days. I have seen several through the years settle for less on critical qualities and deeply regret it later.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I settled for less in my marriage and thought some of those “minor” or less significant traits didn’t matter. Unfortunately some of those are the ones to bite you in the ass.

        My choice of locale was his suggestion. I chose between us, with somewhere I was familiar with. He could have said “listen, I’m with my daughter at a pizza place later and it’s raining – what if we catch coffee so I can be dressed down?” I wouldn’t have thought twice about it because he managed it in a polite and acceptable way. He asked me to choose the place then attacked my choice.

        I know I leave myself open to criticism – but I’m not making poor choices anymore, just bemoaning the fact it’s hard to even get a decent match based on two simple criteria: looks and age. Everything else comes after the match.

        It’s so sad it’s the standard of dating in later years – we are all more particular and set in certain ways based on more experience.

        But, even if they were not for me, Bobby and Bennett taught me that a man can be found with the criteria I seek.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I, for one, am actually quite pleased to see the evolution of your date selection process. Obviously disappointment still happens, but you have learned much from prior experiences and are putting that knowledge into practice.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The dating has gotten better for sure. I see things now that many warned me about the first year but had to stick my own needles in my eyes! 😂. You know how I loved that!


  4. No one should have an argument with you in this post. What?? … first meeting in sweat shirt and basketball shorts?? This is utter bs. Casual is one thing … this is quite another

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. It sort of proves the point that he wasn’t in it to impress me nor did he care too. I always try on every single first date. So my expectation is so should they. If it’s a wash, well that’s fine, but my momma told me to put my best foot forward.


  5. At the risk of getting my head handed to me, is there some “girl rule” that says if you want what you want, you can’t ever change your mind about that? Honestly, Madeline, I don’t know whether to feel badly for you or to succumb to a fit of giggles.

    Is it really “settling” – which I understand some women today have some issues with – if you look at your criteria for someone and realize, either through logic or trial and error, that there are some… flaws or discrepancies that are causing the pool to be shallow – and make adjustments?

    I read this offering from you and, as I said, I didn’t know whether to be sad for you… or laugh, not that I’m trying to offend you – it’s because I hear of and/or read of so many women saying the same things you said, expressing disappointment with the dating scene, and then wondering why they can’t get what they want and in the way they want it.

    One thing you said in a comment did make me laugh (sorry, I thought it was funny): “It’s expected men want younger and thinner.” Not always but I know why this perception exits but since a lot of women believe this, of course, the women who don’t fit this general description wind up having issues with their self-esteem no matter what they might do in order to fit this general – and, it’s my opinion only – misguided description.

    The question is a “simple” one and, bear with me because this probably sounded better in my head: If you want what you want and in the way you want it BUT you find out the hard way that this just isn’t working for you, why wouldn’t you adjust some stuff so that it can work better for you?

    Again, at the risk of pissing you off – and all the other women participating in this discussion – this is why a lot of men think women are certifiably insane: You keep doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result… and I’m nervy enough to ask you, “Does this make any sense?”

    Okay… sweatshirt and shorts. Even I wouldn’t show up for a first date dressed like that; you kicked that guy to the curb and justifiably so. But when you start talking about how shallow the pool is – and you can recognize that it’s your own perception of “I want what I want and in the way I want it” that is bailing the water out of the pool, where is it written that you cannot choose or opt to change your mind about some stuff?

    Apparently it is written somewhere in the Girl Code. About eight years ago, I was in the car going somewhere and listening to a radio program about settling and what such a God-awful thing it is. Women from all over the area were calling in with their horror stories about settling and how no self-respecting woman would ever settle for less than what she wants.

    The show’s host offered this: There’s the person you want to be with… and then there’s the person you can be with and the women calling in went bat shit crazy because, to many of them, the person you can be with is, in “fact” settling for less.

    The host asked this: If you find yourself by yourself, wouldn’t it make sense that if you don’t wanna be lonely for the rest of your days, the person you can be with could work if you wanted it to?

    The calls coming in stopped as if someone had pulled a plug; for a moment, I thought I had lost the station until the host started laughing hysterically over the silence after she asked this question.

    Do you, my dear Madeline and other women, feel that the question asked is a valid one? Yeah, I take the risk of drawing the ire of many women and I’m okay with that because while I don’t know about other men, I’m a guy who wants to understand, as best as I can, why women behave like this but are often complaining about not being able to be with someone. Yes, there is a “danger” in setting the bar too low – you get guys who wanna show up for a first date looking all bummy and unappetizing. Yet, if you set the bar too high, what do you think isn’t going to happen?

    Okay, flame away if ya want to but I am the guy who will question you about this…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think you are crossing any lines, Daddy. You always write very politely and never with ill intent. It never sounds like criticism even it’s meant to be.

      I have changed my initial “to meet” criteria and relaxed my so-called rules. My post was much less about meeting the “right” man than meeting any men. I’m not matching so maybe it’s me they don’t like.

      While it may be laughable, I can’t seem to cross the physical attraction line. I must have a physical attraction to someone. If I don’t there is nothing they can do to move me past it. So I start there. If there is an inkling of physical attraction I swipe right.

      I do have a job bias. I haven’t met someone yet who is secure enough with themselves to understand and appreciate my career. I’m not saying they don’t exist. I’m saying I haven’t met them even though I have repeatedly tried. So I did give up that form of insanity and eliminated that sector of men who I don’t think will gel well in my lifestyle. Every one I had given a chance to failed, so I no longer try to meet men that are too far away from my work personality any longer.

      Beyond that, the pool is shallow if I don’t match.

      It has to start somewhere and it’s not even starting. I am saying I am as equally unappealing to men as they seem to be to me.

      The men who do match with me do not get past the first hurdle of physical attraction. I have eliminated meeting men that don’t get past the photo stage because that never worked for me either. So another form of insanity I eliminated.

      What I find interesting about the blog is the focus on my being choosy as being a negative rather than learning the patience it requires to be persistent about what I have learned works for me.

      All the nonsense: like dress shirts, prosecco and oysters are just that – nonsense. That much I know but it makes for fun writing and surely is still a part of my personality. But not my guiding light to a future relationship.

      I don’t think agree that because someone wants to be with me I could make it work. I have done that in my life with at least a few men and it doesn’t work. My x would have stayed with me. My boyfriends before marriage would have stayed with me. None are bad people, bad looking or bad choices: for someone else. So I would answer no to the radio host question because if you don’t really want to be with someone all the way, you are simply delaying the inevitable.

      I think my bar is high, but not too high out of the gate. I don’t care if the guy wore sweatpants as much as I care how he behaved and replied to me – that was unacceptable.

      I have a few nice men lined up for potential dates. They don’t seem to meet every criteria – but I think are more than worthy of trying. I wouldn’t say I lowered my bar either.


      1. I rarely criticize because it can be like the pot calling the kettle black and I never mean to offend… but I will ask questions most guys wouldn’t. Everyone has to handle their business in the best possible way.

        It’s not you as the person someone could be with – it’s the person YOU could be with as opposed to the man you WANT to be with. There’s a distinction here that makes a huge difference in how shallow the pool is made.

        What I question is (again) if you’ve been using a set of criteria that takes a really deep pool and turns it into a puddle that barely gets the bottom of your feet wet, there’s something wrong and it might not be the pool or the denizens thereof.

        Is being so picky a negative? That depends on whether or not being picky has been successful or not… and I hate to say it but it doesn’t seem to be working all that well for you. Now, you have a choice: Stick to your principles even if they cause you to fail in ways you obviously don’t like… or do something about them, not to avoid failure – that’s almost impossible – but so that you don’t fail that often.

        Whatever you do is up to you; I just have the audacity to ask you if your head is really in the right place for what you want. When the question of why can’t I get what I want and in the way I want it comes up, the next question one might wanna ask themselves is, “Am I making this harder than it has to be?”

        And as food for thought, um, you might be. I will leave you (for now) with this gem a woman laid on me about what men want: A lady in public and a whore in bed and the less complicated and fussy, the better. I thought she was wrong – she wasn’t.


  6. “I’m fitting you in. You are not my evening activity.” OMG. He’s a special kind of asshole, isn’t he? A lot of good dialogue above, and it didn’t sound so much like criticism or calling your selectiveness a negative, but rather a talking point for you to think about. I think your head is in the right place. Life is too short, and while age is a number, it still does figure into the equation of dating… and I agree that there’s no point to lowering the bar “just” to find dates. Stick to your guns, M.


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