But I’m betting it can be written.
Three years ago, I made an ill-informed, possibly malformed, decision. After a respectable stint of coupledom mediocrity, I chose to wade back into the dating waters. And was silly enough to be excited about it.
Although I didn’t do the research before breaking up, I did do a deep dive before taking the swim. Unbeknownst to me, I learned I had piqued nine years prior at the seasoned age of 18, the fate of most women. OkCupid actually had to write a puff piece to encourage men our own age to give us a shot. What’s more, I discovered I was a member, soon to be cat owner, of the rarified doubly doomed demographic. Not only was I in my thirsty thirties, I was African-American. Still am, truth be told. OkCupid stats divulged not even my own Black brethren would respond to my efforts to rise above a mediocre love.
In the early days, I panicked. And I questioned that ill-formed, now confirmed malformed, decision. But I’ve made out just fine. Despite my Double-D status, a cheeky profile coupled with cheekily subtitled photos has proven sufficient to ensure a steady stream of contenders.
I’ve now dated online for nearly three years. Not because I suck at it. But because I’m an optimizer. I’ll be damned if I left one mediocre relationship only to enter another. Having ransacked seven dating sites, I’ve come to the conclusion that chemistry optimization isn’t possible in an online universe of shitty profiles.
How am I supposed to unearth true love when my swipe destiny depends upon whether I included a cleavage pic? How can I hope to increase my desirability without a “day-to-night” shoe-transitioning skill set? Who the hell knew just over 91.1% of men want a chick who wears flip flops during the day and stripper heels at night? I’ve also learned that while no man wants drama, they all want chemistry. On demand. I don’t know of a man or woman alive who’s mastered the art of instantaneous combustion without drama.
Profiles recycle inane catch phrases. Questionnaires feel futile. Snapshot decisions become robotic. If diagnosing chemistry is the end game, dating apps need a new playbook. Chemistry can’t be calculated or swiped.
But I knew chemistry could be written.
In a rare forage of offline dating, I dabbled with seeing a former classmate. The dabbling was attributed to the large swathe of country between each of our coasts. I can’t recall who first made the suggestion. But to pass the time until said swathe became smaller, we embarked on writing a tale of erotica together. I wrote the first chapter. He then wrote the next. And so forth and so on we swapped, until we reached our climax. So to speak.
We never reduced the swathe between us, but that tale remains one of my most titillating memories. To this day, giving that story a read gets me hot, bothered and optimistic. Online chemistry is possible.
Moreover, I learned a little something about him. During our keyboard exchange, I discerned:
- He was clever. He realized anticipation was the main event and made a production out of it.
- He was sentimental. It takes writing prowess to keep the tale smoldering, while mentioning grade school exchanges of candy hearts.
- He could handle an unexpected twist or two. And for every twist, I was met with a creative turn.
- He kept it real. Let’s just say I learned he was an ass man.
In six chapters, I discovered more about this man than any dick pic could ever reveal. And the discovery felt more organic, more genuine, than reading someone’s carefully manicured responses to a questionnaire.
Whenever swiping chunks of my life away, I flirted incessantly with the idea of building my very own an app; an app that would set potential matches to the task of writing a tale of erotica together. Never mind, that I couldn’t code a lick. I still flirted.
After having eye-rolled my 374th “I love to laugh”, I made another decision. Whether malformed is yet to be determined. One year ago today, I resolved to learn how to build a web app for the sole purpose of building a platform to find love. Enter Happy Endings, my debut into the long and illustrious line up of dating apps.
- But instead of skimming pedestrian user profiles, potential matches browse racy first chapters.
- Instead of filling out questionnaires, potential matches pick their favorite genres such as BDSM, science fiction and furries.
- Instead of struggling to cross the virtual barrier, potential matches choose whether they’d prefer to role play their jointly typed tale or go on a first date.
- Instead of swiping right, potential matches write the climax of their very own happy ending. They’re able to let their love, lust or kink run wild, no matter the flavor, in a safe place and without judgment.
There’s no question I’ll have my kinks with this approach. I introduce myself, not merely to entice you to try the app when it launches; but to share the journey, the choices, and of course, the kinks involved when creating a cesspool for chemistry optimization. How will I manage to honor the #MeToo movement when possibly as many as 62% of women have rape fantasies? Should I classify race and sexual preference as genres or identities? And how do I persuade a guy to toss his profile pic next to the genre “hotwives”?
But these are the kinks I’ve willingly, even lustfully, embraced. How rough could this road be, given the current reign of Cersei and Jaime? And by airing these kinks, I hope to start a conversation that inspires a better dating platform. Will Happy Endings help potential matches find their soul mates? Maybe. Maybe not.
But at least they’ll get a good story out of it.
And to all men seeking instantaneous combustion… Don’t want drama? Don’t pick the genre. Pick comedy and MILF instead.
Share my frustration? Drop a comment. What do you love to hate about the online dating scene?
Until the next chapter,
Behind the Smoke and Ceiling Mirrors
I’m Harlem. Fully stacked, I’m on a quest to build a dating app that adds a little kink to your love story. Not yet satisfied? Join my mailing list.