#117 Playing the Feeld
Adventures in LA dating + announcing a new weekly series (gulp!)
As a general update, I’m temporarily back in LA for the time being. Knowing that I don’t plan to remain here for long, it didn’t feel right to date via Hinge, where most people are looking for a serious relationship. I, of course, am ultimately seeking partnership, but until I find a partner who’s willing to flee the country with me, I am open to flirting and flings in the meantime.
With that in mind, I decided to try Feeld—an “open-minded” dating app that’s more sex/desire/kink-forward. It’s a lot of ethical non-monogamy (ENM), couples looking for thirds (aka unicorns), and a dictionary’s worth of sexual acronyms. (For a taste of what you can expect to find on Feeld, I’d recommend googling the following NSFW acronyms, adding ‘kink’ to your search when necessary: CBT, CNC, and—my personal favorite—ABDL.) Instead of scrolling on Instagram, I sometimes open the Feeld app purely for entertainment purposes. Here are some examples of totally normal profiles:
In addition to being my new favorite entertainment service, Feeld has also helped me meet a handful of nice men. Here are all the dates I’ve been on recently:
Professor - My first app date in a very long time, let alone my first Feeld date. He was sweet and funny but only in town for his Winter Break. We got coffee and politely kissed goodbye.
Married Man (ENM) - We met up for coffee and I basically interrogated him about polyamory. He is a true gentleman, but I think we are both skeptical about our romantic chemistry. (Also, it just feels mentally easier to date single guys??)
Architect - We’ve been on two dates (coffee, Ethiopian food) and I really enjoy talking to him. However, no moves have been made and I wonder if we should just be friends.
46-Year-Old - We walked around and explored a big park for a few hours. He brought snacks and games for us, and even knows about permaculture, but I have yet to be convinced of our chemistry.
Then, a couple of hours later (that’s right, I went on two dates in the same day1 and was surprised to realize I had never done that before) I went out with…
Sexter - After talking for 3.5 weeks, we finally met at our local movie theater to watch Anyone But You (and eat an obscene amount of popcorn) and then got drinks at a tiki bar afterwards. Here’s a bit more context on him…
In mid-January, about a week into actively using the app, I matched with a very attractive and seemingly normal (in the context of Feeld) guy. He immediately made me laugh, and then one thing led to another (??) and suddenly we were sexting right there in the app (which is somewhat encouraged by its feature of timed, disappearing photos. Despite what you’re probably assuming, I did NOT send any photos of myself!). Having never sexted before, I took my two orgasms as evidence that this was perhaps an above-average encounter. The next night, a Thursday, we sexted again. He didn’t message much during the daytime, but the app is quite buggy and doesn’t actually notify you if you have new messages, so I chalked it up to that.
That weekend, I met the Professor and the Married Man. While they were both lovely, the banter and chemistry didn’t come close to what I had—albeit via a screen—with Sexter. By the end of the weekend, shocked that he wasn’t asking me out as fast as these other guys (wasn’t he trying to fuck for real?), I asked Sexter if he was interested in meeting (he said yes) and gave him my phone number. We texted a bit for a day or two (nothing beyond PG-13), but he would take hours to respond, often dropping off in the middle of the conversation. I was beginning to feel the all-too-familiar WHY-ISN’T-HE-TEXTING-ME anxiety reminiscent of fuckboys past. Not only was he not engaged in our conversation, but he also wasn’t even trying to sext anymore. Confused and disappointed, I could only assume he had lost interest and moved on.
After a week of not hearing from him (I refused to put in any more effort), I decided to unmatch him on Feeld because I felt he no longer deserved masturbation access to our steamy chats and my not-even-that-steamy profile pics. Having recently been unmatched by someone else, I knew that the app notifies you when someone unmatches (insane feature, if you ask me). I hadn’t saved Sexter’s phone number (I typically don’t until I really like/know/trust a guy) and I had already deleted our paltry text thread, so I now had no way of contacting him even if I wanted to. Boundaries! Empowerment! Feminism!
Well, the next day (a Friday morning), I woke up to a fresh text: “I know my silence might suggest otherwise, but I wouldn’t like to be done talking to you”
Me: Well that’s confusing
Him: I know it is. I’m sorry about it. If it’s too confusing to be worth it for you, I can understand that
Me: It feels like there’s something you’re not telling me about your availability.
If I hadn’t already stalked you online,2 I’d be convinced you’re a catfish
You’re the mysterious elusive one here
Him: I almost wish I was a married catfish just to keep the excitement alive
Reality is far less intriguing
[I reeeally didn’t intend to get into this much detail, but I also believe that context is essential. That being said, I’m gonna throw the rest of this behind the paywall. But before I do, I wanted to make a little announcement that I’m going to be using this inconveniently enthralling situation (spoiler: our date was great and I like him! Ack!) as an opportunity to commit to a consistent writing practice. In the weeks to come, paid subscribers will receive weekly reflections on the various emotions, triggers, insecurities, and hopefully revelations that come up for me during this time. Let’s see how this goes!
A.B.C.D.E.F.G. is how I keep my spread-out circle of friends updated on my love life. They say money can’t buy friendship, but in this case it absolutely can.