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This week, a woman browsing sperm donors online and looking to a matchmaker to set her up on virtual dates: 42, single, Dumbo.
7:30 a.m. I’m trying to maintain as much routine as before, so that means waking up and working out. Most mornings that’s a three-mile run. I know everyone hates the joggers right now, but I wear a mask and go early enough that I barely see anyone else. I run down to Red Hook and back. I listen to ’90s hip-hop. I try to feel normal.
9:00 a.m. I’m at my computer working feverishly, and I’ll be working at this speed until 7 p.m. I started my own consulting company ten years ago. I have huge clients and make good money. So far I haven’t had to lay off any of my six employees. We are busy.
2:00 p.m. I take a few moments from my home office to have a call with a matchmaker I hired last year. She has me going on a FaceTime first date tonight with a guy named Ted. It’s my first “date” since the pandemic. She wants to give me a little info. Ted is divorced, a finance guy, bald but handsome, short but sexy. This seems to be the mold for most of the set-ups from her. This will be my third. I remain open-minded. I don’t care what a guy looks like. I’m looking for someone who is ready to settle down and a genuinely nice person.
7:00 p.m. I make myself stop working so that I can get ready for this FaceTime. I pour some wine and put on a little makeup.
8:30 p.m. He’s really nice, funny, smart, and cute. This is fun. We say good night after an hour on the phone and he says he’d love to do it again tomorrow night. I’m practically beaming as I put down the phone.
7:30 a.m. There’s a text from the matchmaker. Ted really liked you but he decided to take things further with someone else he’s casually seeing. Onward! I get upset for maybe three seconds. I’ve built up a tolerance for this stuff. Dating is really, really hard when you’re 42 and living in New York and want kids and stability. If I wanted to be in a polyamorous relationship, or something purely sexual, I’d never be lonely. But I’m looking for the traditional thing and that’s just hard to find in my age range.
10:00 a.m. I go hard at work as to not think about Ted. Rather, not think about what I did wrong on our FaceTime date. Clearly he just wasn’t into me …
8:30 p.m. I have a Zoom thing with my closest girlfriends. Everyone is married with kids except me. My friends are cool. They know I struggle. They don’t make it weird. They don’t pretend my life is better than theirs in that condescending, “Ugh I wish I could be single!” way. No one wants to be single at 42.
10:00 p.m. I loved the Zoom session. My friends make me laugh. Even though I don’t have kids or a husband, I love hearing their stories. So far, I’m not a bitter person.
12:00 p.m. The matchmaker clearly feels bad about the Ted thing so she’s on the top of her game sending me options. The only guy I tell her I’m not interested in meeting is the one who definitely doesn’t want to have kids. I’m not wasting one minute of my time with that. I froze my eggs years ago and will have kids one way or another.
3:00 p.m. We work out a FaceTime date with another finance guy, Matthew, tonight. He sounds great on paper. We’ll see. It’s hard to keep up excitement about any of this.
8:30 p.m. Matthew is very nice. He has this thing that I’ve noticed in men who’ve been too single for too long in New York in that I think he kind of hates women. There’s anger there, as if he feels like too many women have wronged him. That said, it’s a nice enough chat and I’d have another one in the future if he’s game. Let’s see what the matchmaker says.
8:00 a.m. Matthew would like to “meet” again. Cool. Whatever.
9:00 a.m. My friend gave me her password for a sperm bank so every now and then, I browse the donors. They’re all really … high end? I don’t know the right word. Based on reading some of their profiles, they’re all well-educated, over six-feet tall, and “together” seeming. I have a few friends who have had babies through sperm donors and I really admire them; it just never feels like the “right” move for me. Being a single mom by choice would not make me happy. Maybe I’m just not ready.
12:30 p.m. Virtual dermatology appointment. What a weird time this is!
8:00 p.m. I order in Thai food and catch up on Bravo.
8:00 a.m. I’m FaceTiming with my parents who live in Boston. My brother’s kids keep them very busy and happy. I think they worry about me, although they’d never tell me that. They mostly just flatter me with how amazing I’m doing with work. They’re kind people and I love them very much. I only wish I had children who would someday know them. I know it’s not too late, but it’s this line of thinking that makes me really sad.
3:00 p.m. My last serious relationship ended about six years ago. We were together for five years. He cheated on me with a work colleague. It was a one-time thing, allegedly. He regretted it, and begged for forgiveness, but I couldn’t forgive him. I thought leaving him was my only option at the time. You know, “once a cheater, always a cheater!” I loved him very much though — and often wonder if I should have stayed with him and worked it out. I try not to know what he’s up to, but I do know he’s married with a new baby. It’s hard to think about it — so I don’t.
8:00 p.m. I have another FaceTime thing with Matthew tonight. I make myself look pretty, which is more for me than for him.
9:00 p.m. We’re on the call. I don’t know. This guy is underwhelming. He hates his job. He’s kinda whiny and he thinks he’s being a funny, neurotic New Yorker but it comes across more like he’s a huge bummer to be around. It’s like, has it come to this? A boring, angry guy whom I can’t wait to stop talking to? Nah. I won’t have another date with him.
9:00 a.m. Technically it’s the weekend, but that doesn’t mean anything anymore.
2:00 p.m. I’ve decided to bake something, so I make homemade cupcakes. I leave a few for my lovely neighbors next door who are really struggling with homeschooling their kids. As soon as I drop them off, I realize they’re probably going to throw all my cupcakes away, because germs. Oh well. Hopefully they’ll be happy I thought of them.
9:00 p.m. I check in to a Zoom comedy show. It’s not funny. None of this is funny. I turn off my lights and go to sleep.
8:00 p.m. The matchmaker texted last night that Matthew is really feeling me. I tell him I’m not interested, but to keep ’em coming. I’m not going to give up, as much as I hate all this.
11:00 p.m. I go on a masked jog and feel sad and anxious and trapped. Some days are harder than others. Today is dark for me. It will pass …
8:00 p.m. I rejoined Tinder tonight. It’s been a year since I wasted my time with online dating. But if I’m stuck home for months upon months, I’m going to need more than the matchmaker to keep my dating life alive. It’s as depressing as it is exciting to get in the Tinder game again. If I’m being honest, it makes me feel kind of sick. But I have to keep looking for him. He’s out there. Somewhere.
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