Why doesn't the guy at the grocery store ask me out?

Dating is my favorite topic to write about—I always have a lot of stories, thoughts, observances whirling in my mind about other things, but dating is the one issue that compels me enough to open a new document and write it out. It fascinates me. I think it’s because it’s something that I can’t just fix on my own, it takes another person. When my body feels unhealthy, I change my eating habits, when my spirit feels dull, I spend more time in prayer, when I need more money, I work harder. But when I desire a romantic partner, there is only so much I can do on my side of the street.

I go through waves of not wanting to deal with the difficulty of dating and happily go about my normal life, which is full of other kinds of love. But then I recognize that if my ultimate goal is to in fact get married, I am going to have to tread the waters of modern dating. What does that even mean?

You see, I’ve lived in Los Angeles for a year now and only one man has asked me on a date. One. And it was at a bar, which is a place I do not frequent. For the sake of making a point, I will say some things that I rarely admit. I am a pretty woman, a kind soul, a smart business owner, a God centered human, I speak fluent Portuguese, lived in a place where I was the only English speaking person for a year and a half, have lived in three major US cities and only one man in an entire year has asked me on a date.

(editor's note: I have had a few complaints from men who claim that they did ask me on a date in the past year. They have. Maybe I didn't make it clear enough. I mean aside from online dating. Online dating--I have been asked on dates)

A few years ago, I would be asked on plenty of dates. Men would give me their numbers on the train, ask me to go out in the line at the grocery story or at Chipotle, pursue me after meeting me in a group of friends. And now only one. So what gives?

I am going to fully out myself here. I made a Tinder profile. And I swiped. I swiped 1,000 times or more. I was in New York on a work trip for a few weeks and my friend was on Tinder. I felt comfortable signing up because I was “safe” in the fact that I didn’t actually live there so it wasn’t “real life.” So many men. So many handsome, employed men. At first it gave me hope because I sometimes feel like I’m the last one standing.

But then, it became overwhelming. So many men were interested in me. I have try to be very direct and honest when it comes to any online dating so I state some things that are quite counter-cultural. I write that I am a sober, Catholic woman looking for a loving and committed relationship. And they are usually still interested. I also tell the funny story of a recent occurrence: 

tinder-for-site

I have people giving me their numbers, asking me to go for donuts, to dinner, for a walk, for a drink, to grab some coffee.

I’ve been contemplating why it is that men are so quick to ask me out on online dating apps, but no one ever approaches me in real life (I’ve done some polling with my friends to see if they think that I am unapproachable and they have all said that no, I put off a very kind and welcoming aura). Anyway, I think I’ve figured it out. No one asks me out in the grocery store any more because they are too busy swiping on their phones. They are too busy messaging with their latest match. (I just looked up how many matches I have—166 currently—and don’t think that I’m not picky. I probably swipe right on every twenty men). That is a lot of distraction.

So I pass a handsome guy, maybe we make eye contact and linger a bit, and then his phone buzzes in his pocket with a new message and he returns to the hyperreal dating world (throw back to my sociology degree where I took some classes on hyperreality). I must add here after some thought today, I, too, probably am doing the same thing.

There is much less risk, less vulnerability on Tinder. You can’t talk to each other unless you have equally shown interest. By showing interest, I mean, in the half a second that I looked at your picture and noticed if you had a nicely shaped nose and happy smile. The rejection blow is lessened because if she doesn’t respond, there are 165 others.

I can’t blame them, really, but I would like to make a case. If Tinder has shown me anything, it is that there are so many people looking for companionship. For those of you who might argue that Tinder is only for people looking for a casual hook up, I will say that there a few sub groups of users—I happen to live with two men who use the app to look to meet a woman with whom to develop a relationship.

Okay for the case—look up. Look around. Be open, ask each other out, even if it seems like the scariest, most awful thing that you have to do. There is risk. And where there is risk, there is potential for great reward. I'm telling this to myself, as well.