The internet ruined dating for me. Ever since 16-year-old me, already desensitized by years of childhood exposure to weird porn and AOL chatrooms, tricked my mom into giving me a ride to Orange County to get deflowered by a girl I met on MySpace, I’ve consistently used technology as a crutch for dating. Thanks to websites like OKCupid and apps like Tinder, fooling around with no strings has never been easier. The problem for me has been my complete inability to start, build, and maintain a relationship with a girl.
I’m a writer/actor in Los Angeles, so it’s easy to point the finger at the empty Hollywood culture that comes with working in the entertainment industry or Los Angeles’s ultracompetitive ratio of 90,000 more single men than women (most of whom don’t have Battlestar Galactica posters and panic attacks).
That’s what I tell myself anyway. Truthfully, I know it’s a cop-out and that it’s probably my complete lack of ability to read certain basic social cues. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m a short, gawky nerd. Or maybe it’s because I lived at my parents’ house until three months ago and asking your friend to let you borrow his apartment to watch Being Elmo with an aspiring model who clearly isn’t interested in you is pathetic. Who knows?
I decided to speak to four women who rejected my advances to get to the bottom of where I’m going wrong.
GIrl #1: Emily
Emily is a waitress/singer-songwriter from Sherman Oaks. I interviewed her while driving her home, 20 minutes after she told me we should just be friends.
VICE: How did we first meet? I forgot.
Emily: The first time we met was at a diner. I had seen Project X really recently before that and you looked kinda familiar to me but I couldn’t figure out why.
So you spoke to me because you recognized me from Project X?
No. You looked familiar but I couldn’t, like, place you. I wasn’t sure if I’d met you before or what it was. When I was leaving, you were like, “It was nice to meet you! Buy Project X on DVD! I need money!”
I did NOT say that.
You did say that!
Ugh. Was I drunk?
You were very drunk.
That’s so fucking embarrassing. I have no self-esteem at all.
I thought it was hilarious.
Anyway, some time later, you came to my place to hang out and we ended up making out on my couch, but that was as far as it went.
We made out because we prefaced it with saying that it was just because we like to make out.
What is it about me that makes you go, “I will not sleep with that guy, but I’d make out with him?”
The number-one reason that I won’t sleep with you is because, in all honesty, you look so much like my brother.
Uh, does that mean when we were making out, your brother popped into your head?
No. It was kind of an after-the-fact realization.
But once I realized it, I was like, oh, yeah that’s not really OK…
Do you usually figure out if you wanna do more than make out with someone pretty instantly? Or, is it a slow burn?
Oh, yeah. It is a fact of life that women know within seconds of meeting a man whether or not they would have sex with them. I’m into guys that are overtly confident. I dated a guy once who I had very, very, very strong feelings for. I was crazy about him. The first time we hung out we had sex. And afterward, he walked into the bathroom that was attached to the bedroom and took a shit with the door open.
I could see him. I could actually see this guy while he was taking a shit right after he slept with me, and for some reason, I just remember being like, “You know what? I respect how much nerve you have.”
Was there anything I did wrong that turned you off?
I don’t believe so. I mean, I had a lot of fun hanging out with you. All of my most successful relationships have had a dynamic where we acted like best friends.
If you had advice for any guy looking to meet a girl, what would it be?
Just be authentic and confident in yourself and go into it with the thought that, I might look like a total fuckin’ idiot, but hey, what can you do? Because, that’s really important. It’s really, really important to show that you’re confident in yourself and all of your quirks. Because, until you accept them and yourself, no one else is going to accept you.
GIrl #2: Victoria
Victoria lives next door to one of my best friends. She’s an actress/model from Portland, Oregon. After going out with her a few times, it became clear that she wasn’t interested in anything besides friendship.
VICE: So, are you seeing anyone right now?
They come in waves. They all get shipped away.
What do you mean?
I don’t know. I feel like I’m a lucky charm for the guys I’m seeing. All of the guys I’ve seen in the past six months have been actors, and they all get booked on something and get shipped somewhere.
When we went to that party together, I thought we were on a date. But you didn’t think so.
I know, I know. I felt really bad.
No, you shouldn’t feel bad! I should have known. Also, you kept comparing me to your autistic friend.
Oh my God, he’s not autistic!
You said he had Asperger’s.
No, he was misdiagnosed with it. He’s one of my best friends.
What do I have in common with him?
You’re both extremely intelligent; you’re both really insightful. You’re also both really funny.
What makes someone attractive to you? Do you have any types?
I guess I’d know if I’m attracted to someone from the very beginning. I have several types.
What’s a deal-breaker for you, physically?
It’s not like something I can put my finger on exactly.
Sure, but there’s gotta be something you’ve seen on someone that’s made you go, “That’s not attractive to me.”
Maybe it’s just because I’m self-conscious, but if a guy is way smaller than me, I become over-aware of myself.
I don’t know. Everyone in this town seems to be midgets. Everyone’s really small. That’s a hasty generalization but there’s a lot of tiny people. I feel like a giant.
How tall are you?
That’s not that tall. Do you feel that you could never date someone shorter than you?
I don’t know. I don’t think I have.
What about fitness? How important is fitness?
Fitness is kind of important. I’ve danced all my life and I’d want someone who could keep up with… my stamina.
I just recently learned that the pill can really alter who you’re attracted to. I found that who I was attracted to when I was on the pill may have been different to who I’m attracted to now I’m off. Also, now the type of guys I’m attracted to can be really affected by the time of month.
Like, week one, I’m only into Mexicans? Week two is tall dudes with big feet?
No. It’s more like at a certain point, during ovulation, I’m not really in sync with it yet, but there’s a certain point where I want a bigger guy to throw me around and stuff. During that moment I find myself more attracted to manly men.
What makes a man manly?
Um, that’s a loaded question. Can I skip it? There’s a whole debate on masculinity and I don’t want to get into generalizations. Um, I mean, you’re obviously beautiful enough to be in the film industry.
That doesn’t mean shit.
Unfortunately, you’re… not my type [awkward laugh].
I know. I’m trying to find out exactly what qualities I have that can be off-putting to women.
Well, it’s not in your control. It’s a matter of pheromones.
It’s out of your control, man. The second you stop looking for it, it will just sneak right up on you. It’s like going out and looking for love when you really just need to look inside.
Girl #3: Raschel
I met Raschel through a group of friends in seventh grade. I asked her to be my girlfriend on the phone, and she said no.
VICE: You were the first girl in my memory that I ever asked out who said no.
Raschel: Really? We used to have most of our conversations on AIM. We were awkward with each other in person, so we talked about the shit we talked about online when we weren’t together.
We also role-played as ducks.
We made up stories about SamDaTalkinDuck and FayeDaTalkinDuck. I don’t even really remember what they did.
They were in love.
You don’t remember?
They were a duck couple!
I spent my entire adolescence and even my early twenties thinking of girls and women almost like aliens. These mythical extraterrestrial beings I couldn’t communicate with. The internet was easier for me than actual human connection. When did you figure out I liked you?
I think I knew pretty much off the bat, because you made it pretty obvious.
I had no subtlety. I also made it obvious to other girls at the same time. Did that bother you?
No, because I wasn’t interested in you as more than a friend.
You have a boyfriend now. Were you initially attracted to him when you first met?
Um, I guess not. Not especially. It wasn’t like he walked into a room and I… you know…
A girl I just spoke to said you just know immediately.
I wouldn’t say that. When we started talking, I definitely knew that he wasn’t disqualified, which a lot of people are.
Arrogance. Being controlling. Lying. Lots of things. Anything.
What about physically?
I prefer guys that are taller than me.
I’m five six. Being short has definitely cut out some options for me. It’s like, fuck, I can’t control that shit. I’ve lost a bunch of weight, but I’ll always be a short dude.
And neither can the girls you’re striking out with. It’s not like they’re just being a dicks.
But wallowing about it doesn’t do any good.
Stop being gullible. I was too, always letting people make me feel bad about myself because I always accepted their version of reality over mine. Stick to your guns, and you’ll probably be happier in the long run because people won’t hurt you as much.
Girl #4: Vanessa
Vanessa and I met while taking improv classes. She’s a comedian from Tucson, Arizona. After a year and a half of my pining after her, we finally got into a loud, drunken argument, and she put that shit to bed real quick.
VICE: I had a crush on you for, like, a year. Maybe longer. I mean, I’ve known you for what, like, two years?
Vanessa: Yeah. When we met, we went to Upright Citizens Brigade, then we went to go drink at Birds, and…
We saw Captain America.
Then we became good friends.
Well, I think that if anybody else had that day…
It did end up working out. It took a little while for me to get past some shit, but it did work out.
What are you attracted to? What type of guy do you like?
He has to make me laugh. Or think I’m funny.
I make people laugh. I think you’re funny.
Yeah, but… oh, I see what you’re doing here. I don’t know. It just has to click.
I feel like I’m attracted to 90 percent of the women I meet. I don’t know if that’s abnormal. Is that abnormal?
It’s your time to shine.
It’s not that. I just don’t have a choice. I feel like I’m undatable but a completely acceptable option to casually sleep with. It’s weird.
It doesn’t work out with anyone you fuck? Maybe you’re bad at sex.
No, I don’t mean that. I just mean that the longest relationship I’ve been in has lasted six months. I’m actually really good at sex. Seriously, you have no idea.
It’s OK that I have no idea. It’s for the best.
For you, maybe.
It would complicate things. It ruins relationships.
So, tell me more about the “click.”
It just kind of needs to work out the first time you hang out.
It has to be immediate?
There’s no such thing as being friends with someone and slowly developing it into a romance over time in the When Harry Met Sally style. Is that bullshit?
I don’t think it’s bullshit. I think sometimes it works out. Maybe it’s just because they were just getting to know each other, and it took that long to come to terms with how good that person is when in reality, they were that good the whole time. For me, it can’t be an arrogant guy. That won’t ever work. Looks barely matter to me. Well, not at first.
What’s a deal breaker in terms of looks?
Yeah. I honestly, and this sounds so shallow, don’t know how someone could date a midget and can’t see past it. Those are some nice people. I am not that nice. I just can’t get past it. Wheelchairs, too. Even like a little goofy limp. Definitely not those arm crutches.
What about one of those fat people motor scooters?
I used to date improv guys. I’d say 85 percent of improv guys are not good looking. I’ve heard guys complain that improv girls aren’t that great looking either. I guess it’s mutual. I always date someone beneath me, because I have self-esteem issues.
That makes me feel better about you rejecting me. I’m just a better human.
I just have to have the status. I dated those fat improv guys. They weren’t that fat, but they weren’t good looking on most people’s lists. But they won me over because they were funny and they were able to make me laugh and laugh hard. I would never, ever be able to date a guy who was ridiculously good looking, even if he was so into me.
Sure. Am I an unattractive person to you?
When we first met, did you think I was unattractive? Be honest.
Yeah, I mean, I didn’t think of you like that.
I mean in a general sense. You can know someone is attractive without personally finding them attractive. I know Channing Tatum is attractive. So, with that in mind, did you think I was attractive?
No. You weren’t ugly. You’re just not my type. We just didn’t click. If that doesn’t happen immediately, it never does.