Wanted: Masculine, Sans Toxicity

Your Favorite Sweater
4 min readMay 30, 2019

Patterns have answers

Photo by Brianna Santellan on Unsplash

It’s been a few months since I repeated the vicious, “delete and then sheepishly redownload Hinge,” cycle, and it has yet again been banished from my phone. This time it’s not just digital dating that I’m taking a break from, but dating in general. I’ve come to realize my issues go deeper than the ones associated with convenience-swiping.

My last foray was particularly disappointing, but it stung considerably less after the 6-month slew of disappointments that came before it. He was kind, smart, and charming — full of personality. He was ambitious, insightful, and attractive — full of potential. He was another mid-20s Denver transplant — full of insecurities.

It started off optimistic, but soon enough became painfully familiar, so I had no choice but to take some time to do a little self reflection.

My girlfriends react the same way every time I get the boot. First, there’s shock. Then there are the affirmations, “you just have horrible luck,” and, “it’s not you, he’s stupid!” But at some point, when you start to notice a pattern, you have to ask yourself, is it me?

Yes, and no.

Every guy I “date” comes off as eager, if not at least interested, just to flip a switch and either ghost me or turn me down with a half-ass excuse. That much has been obvious up to this point. What I recently discovered though, is that I have a type: smart, masculine, and stock-full of potential.

I once had a wise coworker, in his mid-40s, tell me this:

“In college, guys are full of potential, everyone is full of potential so dating is easy. But after college, if a guy is still full of potential, and not actualizing that, women see that. And they don’t want a dude sitting on a bunch of potential, they want someone with something to show for it.”

And this isn’t to say I haven’t come across some dudes with great accomplishments or cool stories. But in my own growth and the time I have spent developing my character, potential has come to encapsulate so much more than how good someone is at their job, how well read they are, or how refined their hobbies have become (I’m looking at you, back-country ski and snowboard “Send-it” bros).

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Your Favorite Sweater

Creative outlet for a young professional in a very non-creative field