Well, well, well, what do we have here? A new blog post? Unbelievable. I hope you didn’t forget about me in my absence. But just in case you were getting the shakes from a serious case of Taste & Tipple withdrawal, throw me a follow on Instagram for more regular content and snarky commentary on the complete ineptitude of men I encounter on dating apps.
You’ll want to prepare this Honeydew Cucumber Agua Fresca Margarita and settle in for the latest instalment of “Yvonne’s Failed Dating Life” – it’s a doozy.
Yes, I’m still single. Much to my chagrin, I haven’t been spending the weeks since my last blog post holed up in my bedroom in the throes of passion with some hot slab of man meat. I’m expecting a team of vigilante nuns to descend upon my bed under the cover of darkness and claim me for the convent any minute now.
I have been making more of a concerted effort to connect with and go on dates with strangers from the internet. Unlike in my work as a sales professional, the effort put into online dating in Ottawa (when seeking the affections of straight, cis men) is not directly correlated to the outcomes. I have lost hours of my life sorting through the detritus floating in the shallow puddle that is Ottawa’s dating pool – almost none of it is edible.
Dating apps put unduly high stakes on first impressions, most apps allow you to put your best face forward in 5 photos, accompanied by a paltry bio which is more often comprised of a series of emojis than actual words. But given we live in an increasingly visual culture, with the omnipresence of Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok, you think it wouldn’t be so hard for folks to pick a flattering array of images of themselves that showcase a few key features such as: teeth, eyes, and hair.
And yet, some of the profiles I’ve flitted past recently are comprised of only one image – and it’s not of a person at all. I’ve stumbled across moody portraits of black cats, a bottle of Hennessy (not even tagged as a “paid partnership”), a black screen, the Milky Way, a table littered with an assortment of leather accessories which could be used in show-jumping or in the bedroom, and a single photo of black and white swirls with an exciting call to action in the bio, “Get hypnotized!”
Needless to say, some themes have emerged in my research and I’m prepared to share those findings with you today. First and foremost, the single straight men of Ottawa do *not* have an understanding of what they’re selling or who they are selling it to. Tinder is not an open casting call for cover boys for the next issue of Bass Angler Magazine but the sheer volume of photos starring gape-mouthed fish might suggest otherwise.
According to Statistics Canada data, there are more women than men in Ottawa and, in recent years, women have been participating and completing postsecondary degrees in much higher rates than their male peers. In Ontario, the ratio of men to women who hold tertiary degrees between the ages of 25-64 is 0.87 – meaning, for every 10 women in the province who earn a college or university degree, there are only 8.7 men.
Women are also more likely to have a preference to date men who share their level of education. All this to say, single ladies of Ottawa, the odds are not in favour. This creates what students at Sarah Lawrence College in New York have coined, “Golden Penis Syndrome”. Sarah Lawrence College was historically a women’s college and in 2020, first-year enrolment featured 55% female students and 45% male students.
In essence, this creates a supply and demand issue wherein men develop inflated egos due to the amount of interest shown in them by their female peers. Men believe this interest is the result of their innate desirability, leading to a deluded sense of self and a tendency to become “accidental Casanovas” with bad habits like cheating, ghosting, and chronic inability to commit – hence, “Golden Penis Syndrome”.
Ottawa suffers from a similar gender imbalance and I can say, anecdotally, Golden Penis Syndrome abounds. The three most galling traits I’m met with in my online dating misadventures – be it in the bio, in the initial chat, or on the first date in-real-life – are a sense of entitlement, incuriosity, and an antiquated notion of gender roles in relationships.
A couple of months ago, an acquaintance of mine set me up on a blind date with a friend of theirs. We were in the depths of lockdown at the time and the only option for social outings for a frigid walk outdoors. So, doing my best impression of the Michelin Man, I bundled up and endured the cold for a coffee and walk with a stranger. In the 40 minutes we spent in each other’s company, he asked me only one question.
I know first dates can be awkward and sometimes people are overcome by nerves. While he certainly couldn’t muster a convincing turn as Barbara Walters, he was pleasant enough and I decided to give him another shot.
For the second date, he hosted me for dinner – which was very obliging because I was doing Whole30 at the time and couldn’t consume anything other than meat and vegetables. After 90 minutes, he hadn’t asked me a SINGLE question. After the 45-minute mark, I stopped asking him questions, hoping the conversation would sputter to a halt and he’d have an epiphany and deign to ask me something, ANYTHING.
Nope. He managed to continue talking, fuelled entirely by his own steam for another 45 minutes. After dinner he offered me a coffee and asked if I would help him make some interior decor choices so his house would look less like an asylum (although I was starting to feel like a straitjacket and a padded room would have been preferable to his company), to which I replied, “If you want that to happen, you’re going to need to ask me a question.”
Him: “What?! That’s not fair, we’re getting to know each other.”
Me: “Are we? What have you learned about me?”
Good talk bro.
If you want to know what conversational waterboarding feels like, sign up for a dating app as a single woman seeking men. The torture tactics are myriad. You’ll find men who just want the serotonin boost of getting a match, with no intention of ever communicating with said match. Often you’ll encounter men who are only interested in answering questions, not posing them, like they’re on trial (see above). If you’re lucky, you might get a monosyllabic reply – regardless of the complexity of the question.
My personal favourite is the run-of-the-mill misogyny. Men, who open every dialogue with, “So, what are you looking for on here?” Quietly assuming that any woman over 25 is desperate to walk down the aisle and push out a kid or two ASAP.
Dear men: it’s not the 1950s. I can take out a mortgage in my own name, in fact, I already did. My sole ambitions in life are not to wed and bear children. Consider approaching the dating game with a little more finesse. How can you add value to my life when I want for nothing? I want to know that time spent with you is well-invested – you’ll be kind, considerate, stimulating, interesting and interested. Pretend like dating is an activity that requires two people to participate in enthusiastically to work well.
Putting up a singular dating profile picture that shows off your furry paunch, hypnotic swirls of chest hair, and crops out your head paired with a bio stating, “Not looking to get married, open a SPECIAL friendship or long-term bond,” is NOT the look baby boy.
Are you a single man or do you know a single man who could use a little help gussying up their dating profile? Shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a customized quote and action plan on “How to Stop Being a Fucking Turnip on Dating Apps”.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk. Stay tuned for the next episode of “Dating Tire Fires” and “My Blood Pressure is ELEVATED.”
Honeydew Cucumber Agua Fresca Margarita
A refreshing margarita made with a base of Honeydew Cucumber Agua Fresca – a classic Mexican combination of blended fruit, vegetables, and herbs. The recipe for the agua fresca will yield enough for 12 servings. Consider cutting the recipe in half if you don't want to enjoy that much agua fresca on its own or mixed into this cocktail.
- 2 oz honeydew cucumber agua fresca
- 1 oz tequila blanco
- ½ oz mezcal joven
- ½ oz orange liqueur such as Cointreau
- ½ oz lime juice
- Garnish: honey & Tajin rim
- Garnish: cucumber ribbon
- 4 cups honeydew melon chopped
- 2 English cucumbers peeled and chopped
- ½ cup agave nectar
- ¼ fresh mint chopped
Dip one side of a rocks glass in honey, dust with Tajin.
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into prepared rocks glass over one large ice cube.
Fold cucumber ribbon back and forth into an accordion, then skewer with a cocktail skewer or toothpick. Perch on the lip of the glass.
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve into an air-tight container, refrigerate for up to 2 days.