My initial experience with online dating occurred after the end of my first serious relationship. It was few months into my senior year of college, I had just read some Facebook status about my ex and his new girlfriend, the underage high school girl he left for. I then got drunk and subsequently created a match.com profile. Once sober, I never looked at it again. But it did lead to receiving a Facebook message from a guy in my English 300 class the year before. He saw me, recognized me, asked to hang out. We’d never spoken before, but we ended up getting pizza at a bar near campus. Five years later, Levi and I are still friends with some former benefits.
Last year, when Levi moved out of town during our ‘benefits’ period, I decided to try okcupid to fill in some of the down time between visits. Which is how I met Jeb. He is still the only person on that site who sent me what amounted to an actual letter. He’s also the only one I’ve met. However, Jeb also lives out of town. He became my banter buddy for over a year while we both dated other people. Recently, it fizzled out once I realized that during a mutually ‘single’ occurrence, I was becoming more invested than he was (i.e. I saw the hour distance as an potential obstacle, he saw it as a definite deal breaker), which cemented the notion that despite our periodic witty interludes he was like any other guy, just interested in the sex, which of course never happened. However, while Jeb was a disappointment, his ability to hold a decent conversation held me with steadfast optimism of online dating, even as okcupid began showing me nearby matches from hundred of miles away because I’d turned down everyone closer.
In DC, JR not only told me about Tinder, but he showed me how it worked and some of the girls, who were super fine. He even went out with a woman who worked for the Washington Post and spoke multiple languages. I certainly couldn’t expect that level of quality in profiles within a 100 miles of buttfuck nowhere, but I was in vicinity of a few bigger cities. I crossed my fingers and gave it a shot. It took little time to learn a few things about Tinder. One, if their first photo is a group shot (anything with two people or more of the same gender), they are inevitably the ugliest guy in it. Not to say they are always unattractive, but who wants to swipe right on a guy when you already think his friends are more attractive? Two, if none of their pictures are actually of them, don’t bother. Either they are trying to hide something (like they’re hideous or not actually single) or they have a sense of humor that, while amusing for brief period of time, will get grating very quickly. And the last observation may be unique to my podunk area, but unfortunately on Tinder, a majority of the guys fall into one of five categories: rednecks, single dads, thug wannabes, indulgent hipsters or military. I swear if I see one more picture of a dead animal from hunting or fishing or of a guy in front of some overdone car in a wife beater, I’ll burn my own damn phone. The hipsters are worse though with their thoughtful quotes or bizarre indecipherable wittier than thou jokes. Only the single dads and military men have my sympathy. I get it. It’s hard to date while building a person from scratch or getting moved from base to base. I have so much respect for both of those jobs. They are both more important than anything I do. However I swipe left every time I see one of those. Sometimes, I’m actually disappointed over it because their profiles seem really nice, like the kind of guy I’d be interested in, but I’m not interested in being a baby momma or being left behind with the next assignment. There’s a fine line between laying your cards out and withholding for the sake of getting to know someone. Not everything has to be immediately out the open. I could and have found my self more lenient on both those issues, only after knowing and liking the guy however.
As for the other downfalls of Tinder, the overt and inappropriate sexual proposals, coming across profiles of people you’ve met in real life and wondering if you should swipe right out of kindness and decency (I never do by the way), or the useless moments update, in comparison I find them small to the biggest problem of all on Tinder that all the guys are the same.
The app is not without potential though. And certainly not for a girl who likes to make stories worth telling…