I blamed the two glasses of wine but the truth is I had been pondering about diving into the dark world that is Tinder, so I didn’t protest when my friend took my phone and started installing the app.
“Now you can only choose one horse photo. Which is your favorite?”
I pointed to my favorite show picture, us jumping a sizable coop where my equitation looks baller. She frowned.
“No, that won’t be impressive to anyone else. Here… I like this one. It hides your mouth and adds mystery. What else?”
“Well, the majority of the pictures I’ve taken in the past 10 years are with my horse or my husband and the day I looked the most bangable was at my wedding.”
“DO NOT PUT A PICTURE UP OF YOUR WEDDING.”
I laughed. I may be a Tinder novice, but I do know that much. Instead I pulled up a quick picture I snapped before our work holiday party where I uncharacteristically have on red lipstick and think I look quite dashing.
“No, mirror selfies are bad. Let’s do this,” she selects a picture of me hugging a cardboard cutout of Clifford at the NC State Fair. “It shows you’re fun and spontaneous. And this one too…” she selects a picture of one of my best friends and I at her wedding.
“I’m not sure I should randomly put a picture of my friend on Tinder?”
“Oh believe me, you need to show that you have friends.”
After some deliberation,
we she selected six photos and it was time to move on to the profile description. This is the area where I had the most trouble. If I were being honest, my dating profile description would look something like this:
Moderately traumatized young professional seeks someone who does not want to lock her in a bunker. Bonus points if you’re just getting out of a terrible divorce or are otherwise emotionally unavailable. Must be bold enough to make the first move while simultaneously never seeming aggressive. Prefers someone with no advanced Googling skills or who hates reading online personal blogs. Swipe right!
My friend did not think this was a very good start. “How about two truths and a lie, have you met any famous people?”
“Have you had any crazy life experiences?”
I think, besides finding my husband dead? Instead I answer simply, “No. I am slightly above average in all areas of life.”
She tilted her head. “Hmm, maybe we can use that… no that sounds weird. How many countries have you been to?”
“That doesn’t sound impressive enough… how about we do ‘My dog is cuter than yours.’ She typed it up and hit save.”
“Are you sure that’s enough? That kind of says nothing about me.”
“It’s perfect. Never change it.”
Spoiler alert – I changed it. After my friend, who quickly and appropriately dubbed herself my Tinder Godmother, gave me a brief tutorial on the app I was ready to find
“Remember,” she warned. “You only get out of the app what you put into it. You have to do a lot of swiping if you’re ever going to get any matches. Have fun with it!”
At first I did have fun. See, Tinder has taken off because the developers have gamified dating. It has a simple interface and after about five minutes begins to feel more like Candy Crush than a dating service. I don’t know about you, but I really get cracked out on Candy Crush.
When I first began to think about what I wanted in a man, I left my options pretty open. The list was short – tall and a non-drug user. Tinder let me quickly realize that perhaps I should narrow in my standards a wee bit more. Within one night I found an immediate pattern with 95% of the Austin male dating pool. Everyone…
- Has elaborate facial hair
- Is a musician
- Works in food service
Often, they fit all three quite easily. It’s not that I have strong opinions about any of these categories, but they don’t exact make up my ideal. I was also pretty shocked to discover how many people are blurring the lines of monogamous relationships. So many are polyamorous. Others are open in their marriage or relationship, some men blatantly state they’re looking for an affair and other men claim to be single yet have a wedding band on in all of their photos. I’m fine with whatever people want to do with their sex lives, but I guess I’m more prudish in my life than I ever thought.
Swiping left (which is a “no”) over and over and over again is like combining my two favorite hobbies – people watching and judging. No to the guy with a pet possum. No to 28 year-old father of six. No to the sweet Christian looking to take his future wife two stepping. No to the man with a long story about how he ruins every relationship he is in by cheating. No no no.
Even if the guy was an attractive possibility, I couldn’t swipe right to anyone named Tim or Timothy. Occasionally in the hundreds and hundreds of pictures I browsed, I see somebody that looks like him. When that happens, my heart stops for a second.
Maybe this isn’t entirely like Candy Crush.
Of all the no’s, there were some yesses. Every time I get the, “You have a match!” notification on my phone, my ego gets a little boost. Let’s face it – this is a shallow app. It’s nice to hear that someone else finds you at least somewhat attractive.
The problem with matching someone is that the next logical step is to message with them on Tinder. I’d say of all my matches, I had maybe 20% that I messaged with. Some were frank.
Looking to hook up?
Others were dripping with sentimentality and made me throw up in my mouth a little bit.
Hello beautiful have you ever kissed in the rain? 🙂
Then there are what I consider to be life basics. Things like grammar and conversational skills.
What do you like to do?
beer and fishing
Early on in my Tinder adventure, I made a grave error. After briefly chatting with someone, he asked for my phone number. I sent Tinder Godmother screenshots of the conversation, and we agreed he looked harmless. My hesitation to give someone my phone # stems in a large part from this blog. You can find She Moved to Texas in under 10 clicks if you have my phone number, and that is a hot mess of crazy that I certainly didn’t think about when it came to dating or meeting new people. However, Tinder Godmother and I decided that I’d have to rip the bandaid off eventually and that guys were far less likely to do Google sleuthing than us females. So I got brave, and I gave Tinder boy my number.
Let’s just say the situation deteriorated quickly.
Sometime after he asked me if I would show him “my horseback riding skills,” I politely sent a ‘Thanks but no thanks’ text. Tinder Godmother said this was normal for Tinder, and that should be the end of it.
13 unanswered text messages later, I wasn’t sure if it would be the end of it or if I had developed a stalker.
Towards the end of the day, my phone quieted and I thought I was off the hook. I’d been playing phone tag with my vet for a non-emergency question about Simon, so when I pulled into my apartment complex and saw a 512 number flash on my phone I figured it was the vet.
It was not the vet. One exceedingly awkward conversation later, I learned to save certain numbers in my phone as “Dont Answer”.
Despite all of this, I found someone through this app that could construct a sentence and had an appreciation for indy Bill Murray movies. He wasn’t cocky, was interested in my brain and was fairly attractive. In short, a Tinder unicorn. Without seeming the least bit creepy, he asked me out for a proper date to a proper restaurant like a proper gentleman.
And I completely froze.
It seems that while I might be ready for Candy Crush, something real is not on my radar yet. I don’t know when it will be. I tried to politely tell Tinder Unicorn that while I appreciated the invite, I wasn’t actually ready to swim quite yet.