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How I use my online dating fiascos to turn ugly into art.

I have been using Tinder (and Bumble, and Match, and OKCupid...and, ok you get it) for years. Basically, since these dating apps became available in my city. Unfortunately I use them with little success. I remember fondly my first Tinder date. His name was Tomás. It was a miserable, rainy, Monday night in late October. It was also my birthday. I was feeling particular lonely and bad for myself, having celebrated all weekend, but ultimately being alone on the actual day of my birth. I decided Tomás was just what I needed to lift my morose mentality. We decided to meet at a local bar, which happened to be closed, because, well, Monday. It was at this point that I saw my date for the first time IRL. Instantly, Latin Harley-riding, leather-clad “Tomás” of my tinder-dreams became the pasty, volvo-driving, khaki-wearing “Thomas” of my suburban nightmare (plus 30 pounds just around his neck.). I knew that I could not continue. Call me shallow. But it was my birthday, and I would rather be drinking champagne alone in my apartment than bar hopping in the rain with Not-Tomás. So, we each got in our separates vehicles, and decided to try another bar down the street. Except I didn’t turn left. I make a sharp right out of the parking lot, and was home in my sweatpants drinking flat champagne in under 10 min. I never heard from Tomás/Thomas again. He was harmless though.  Thankfully I never heard from him again. 

I’m still looking for love and use the dating apps when I can to meet like-minded individuals.  The messages I am receiving from men have started to change though.  In this era of Trump, I find myself receiving more and more politically motivated messages on my dating apps.  Full disclosure - I do write quite plainly in my profile to NOT message me if you voted for Mr. Trump. This seems to be cat-nip for many trump supporters.  At first I was annoyed. Why are these idiots still messaging me when I clearly stated that I am not, will not, cannot be interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with someone who is ok with Trump’s rhetoric. Why do they seem insistent on mansplaining to me why liberals are evil, ignorant and out of touch? After months of messages blasting me for being a delusional snowflake, and denouncing the men I may be looking for as loofah-using pansies, it started to make sense. These men feel ignored, marginalized in our slowly but surely more politically correct culture. They just want someone to acknowledge them. Basically, in their minds, they have been emasculated by the rise of equal rights, gender equality and other #metoo movements. They feel like more rights for others mean a small piece of the pie for them. So they send messages like, “You’re kinda fat anyways”, “When was the last time you swallowed”, “Now I see why you’re single you hag” “You only have one more year to get pregnant”.  So many texts. So many creepy, mean and just plain cruel messages from strangers on every dating app imaginable. All unsolicited.  After a particularly nasty text message from a guy I had been on one date with, something clicked. I knew I wouldn’t reply to him, it would be beneath me, and my sense of pride as single woman. But I felt like I needed to take control somehow. I wanted to share my story, I wanted to prove to myself (and a few other people) that I wasn’t alone.  It became cathartic for me as a single woman to combine my passion for art and design with my rather large portfolio of online dating fiascos. I started turning all the terrible text messages I had received into typographic designs and illustrations. Shortly after I started my instagram account @sareytales.  Almost immediately I realized that this was something bigger than just my own dating mishaps. Women started reaching out to me with their own tragic texts. They felt angry, violated. Feelings I was all too familiar with. I decided to start taking submissions and began to incorporate other women’s stories into Sareytales. And more keep pouring in every day.   I’m beginning to realize that it isn’t just me, not at all.  But I think that turning these cruel texts into humorous and ironic works of art is a way to take back control of the online dating game.  Nevertheless I persist.  Despite weekly dick pics and messages intended to marginalize me I still look for love online.  Until then I will continue to turn ugly into art.

Sarey Ruden

Creator of @Sareytales: The Art of Online Dating

sareytales.cometsy.com/shop/sareytales

 


1 comment

  • Well said, Sarey!!! I’ve seen your work around online and the buzz you’ve created in local media – so proud of you!! Miss our days on the soccer field – your were always so nice and a great athlete! Glad to see you connected w/ Gina – she’s terrific (our kids go to school together). Best of luck in your continued business venture and online journey. It’ll fall in your lap when you least expect it. 😉

    Sarah Kernya

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