Granted, it’s hard for everyone to find the right person. But when you’re a Woman of the Gun and a Democrat, it’s even harder.
It was a lot easier to find dates before Bumble suddenly decided that you could no longer feature photos of yourself holding any kind of firearm, even if it was from a legitimate training course or competition. I didn’t know this when I signed up in the beginning.
I kept putting up a photo a friend of mine had taken at an IDPA event where I’m standing near the bays holding my rifle, just because I thought it was a good photo and it was also a recent full body shot. (You know how dudes are about that…no recent full body shot and you basically have I Have Something To Hide stamped on your forehead whether it’s true or not.)
The picture kept getting taken down with vague messages about how Bumble “wanted to maintain a tone of respect and keep it positive in their community.” I kept putting it back up and it kept getting taken down, but I never got a clear message about the fact that the problem was that there was a firearm in the picture, though I finally figured it out.
This forced me to use a good number of my precious 300 characters on my profile stating that I was a shooter of rifles and pistols. That’s left very little space for anything else relevant about me, and I didn’t have any pictures of myself doing yoga on Machu Picchu to make myself look cool, so the whole process was already hamstrung from the start.
Anyway, you meet a few different kinds of guys when you state on your Bumble profile that you shoot rifle and pistol. But you can’t not include that information because that may lead to someone vomiting in horror or possibly thinking you’re there to assassinate them if it comes out during a date.
Yes, I am serious. I have been asked multiple times, back in the days when I used to wait to disclose that during the date, if I was a secret agent, a narc, working for the FBI, there to kill the person I was meeting for coffee and/or running from the cartels.
How does a woman answer such questions? Let’s just say it’s a delicate situation. It’s very, very tempting when you’re a tall Asian woman with a dark sense of humor to toy with people like that. At the same time there are all kinds of problems that can arise from having people think you’re some kind of amateur version of Jane Wick.
So I decided to start disclosing that I was a Woman of the Gun. The hope was that I would only hear from men who were OK with that. It sort of worked. Sort of. That would lead, then, to coffee conversations that went something like this:
He: So…guns! You really shoot?
Me: Yes. Do you think I’d put that on there if it wasn’t true?
He: So what kind of .22 do you have?
When I would explain that I got rid of anything smaller than 9mm and now focus on that and 5.56 and .308, there would be a long silence.
No second date.
Apparently I needed to specify caliber on my profile. So I added it. That led to a number of dates like this.
He: So…you shoot guns. But you’re a liberal.
Me: Yes, that’s right.
He: So you’re against the Second Amendment.
Me: How did you arrive at that conclusion? I clearly own guns.
The evening would then devolve into a person I had never met before insisting that I must be anti 2A simply because I didn’t vote red. The concept of not being a single issue voter didn’t seem accessible. Not very fun.
Or, there was this:
He: You shoot?
Me: Yes, I do a bit. Practice a couple of times a week.
He: Oh. Well, I’ve been shooting since I was a kid. I build my own stuff.
Me: Really, I’d like to see. I have a membership to a range here and I can bring a guest with me to practice. Let’s go so I can see what you built.
Strangely, three of the four times that conversation happened, the guy scheduled the range date and then didn’t show up. And wouldn’t return my call asking if he was coming that morning.
Happily, I would just shrug and go ahead with my usual practice. The one time the guy did show up, he brought an illegal short barreled rifle with a fore grip chambered in 7.62. He was pulling it out of its case when something that looked like a colostomy bag fell out and landed beside it.
Me, politely: What is that? Do you have a medical issue?
He: It’s motor oil. This gun only runs on motor oil. It won’t fire or operate properly unless you lube it up with motor oil.
Me: Um. Regular gun lube or something like M-Pro won’t work?
He: Nope, nope. Only motor oil. It’s fine. It’s cheap, too.
Me: I guess I’ve just never seen someone show up at a range with a sandwich bag full of motor oil in order to run a SBR. Seems kind of inconvenient. Is it registered?
He: Why would I need to register it?
Me: Well, the barrel length and that fore grip. That build means you have to register it.
He: No it doesn’t, I built it at home.
Me: That doesn’t matter.
He: Yes, it does! I’ve been shooting since I was eight!
Since this person had just a few minutes previously informed me that he also owned a pit bull that he was training to be an attack dog for “when the zombies come,” I decided that this was probably not a good time to either upset him or press the issue.
The rest of the shooting session happened in silence. I spent the silence reflecting on how I actually joined the range I belong to in order to get away from people like this. That and people with gang tattoos on their knuckles whose hands shook because they were high on meth.
It was my own fault. I was so ready to date someone who accepted my shooting habit that I had failed to screen him properly. But what had I missed? I’d checked for everything I could think of, including caliber. Was I really going to have to add, “All of your firearms must be legal and your dog must not eat humans” to my profile?
At that point it was turning into a tiny instructional manual about something that wasn’t even about dating. All of that, and still none of these red voting guys thought I actually believed in protecting gun rights. The cognitive dissonance was getting louder than a Judas Priest concert, but it didn’t sound nearly as awesome.
After that experience I quit Bumble for a good while and focused on my carbine skills instead.
I’m happy to report that I’m finally in a good relationship now with a very fine man who I met on Bumble. He is fine with my calibers, enjoys shooting with me, and even orders boxes of ammo for me as presents. His firearms are legal, his dog is a sweetheart, and even though he says he’s actually looking forward to the zombie invasion, he’s more focused on trying to pass Jeff Gonzales’ Pistol 2 class.
So there’s hope after all. The moral: never lose heart when you’re looking for love.