Listen, when it becomes harder to tell a man that you snore than where to put his dick, when you scroll past the dick pic to scrutinize the baseboards for dirty laundry and dust buffalos, to confirm if there is artwork or photography on the walls, to see if there are books on the shelves like John Waters warned us, you may be dating in mid-life.
And, if you are unlucky, one of these men might tell you about his hobby of honing very sharp knives.
In fact, the man you’re chatting with now is ruminating about metal and not in an endearing “Hey, I’m a smithy and/or Black Sabbath fan” way. No, you are not talking with a quirky blacksmith in ironic overalls at an outdoor picnic table where you eat schnitzel and drink saison and discuss what you’re reading as you listen to klezmer music and feel the sun warm your freckled shoulders.
No, the man you’re messaging is rambling about forging steel in fire, so much so that you Google his first name and the very specific profession listed on his dating profile, only to discover that he once had a girlfriend in southern Illinois.
Her sweet 21-year-old face greets yours as you watch her short life unspool in an eight-minute true-crime YouTube video. She was an artist and photographer. She answered his text to help him out of his puke-covered clothing, even though they had broken up, even though he drank too much, even though it was after midnight.
The man who allegedly slept through the gunshot that killed her and washed his hands and changed his clothes before police took him in for questioning is telling you about the difference between tool steel and carbon steel and stainless steel. Your hands shake as you hit unmatch.
Suddenly solitude and breathing seem preferable to this hot-mess hellscape of dating apps. You do not wish to broach the subject of snoring with him, ever.
Michaella A. Thornton is a fan of second acts, sweet and spicy tea, and soul music. She calls St. Louis, Missouri home. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Fractured Lit, (mac)ro(mic), New South, Reckon Review, Southeast Review, among others. You can find her procrastinating and dreaming @kellathornton [Twitter].