After my vetting for Tinder’s rich potential to connect singles in a most prehistoric, postmodern nod to the rules of organic dating, Jessica Schiffer took one for the team, swallowed her pride (and dignity), eschewed her violent aversion toward e-dating and joined the popular App. Below, the details of her findings.
My entrée into Tinder proved unusual. Not only because I, the fiercely anti-online dater, submitted to dating à la social media but also because it revealed a novel fetish involving avocados that apparently exists in this wacked-out world. Have I lost you already? Stick with me for just a second and it will all become clear.
After falling hard and fast and getting my stupid heart trampled on, I had practically drowned in the desperation pool. Since my idea of post-graduate fun involves my bed, a cup of tea, and various good books, there weren’t many obvious life rafts to help me stay afloat. During this bleak period, my friend met her new boyfriend on OK Cupid. Before I had time to judge them, their too-good-to-be-true-but-very-very-true affection for each other made my heart melt [and then explode with benign envy and rage]. Their capital L-love eschewed my entrenched opinion meeting-via-technology, and I considered living on the virtual edge.
So I joined Tinder, which seemed like the least-irritating and most straightforward option. I won’t deny I almost immediately perked up post-induction. Anyone who says they don’t get a little kick out of potential suitors deeming them attractive is straight lying. Though superficial, Tinder was wholeheartedly enjoyable and strangely addicting. I convinced my friends to join and we shared stories, typically in the form of screenshots consisting of 19-year-olds sending blunt “DTF?” messages. But I had yet to encounter any of the aforementioned messages, priding myself on my seemingly “normal” conversations.
And then I received the crown jewel of Tinder messages.
“Damn girl, you so cute, I just wanna douse you in green paint and spank you like a disobedient avocado!” the message from a certain Daniel read.
I responded, “Um, no thanks,” to which he replied, “No appreciation for creativity!” and then proceeded to block me. I was genuinely disheartened. Now I could no longer converse with or psychoanalyze the avocado enthusiast. Freudian urges aside, Daniel teetered toward confirming my initial beliefs–that finding love online was probably an extreme rarity, but I couldn’t really judge until meeting someone in person, right?
The first contestant for face-on-face interaction seemed promising. Dylan, the twenty six year old humanitarian, was cute in a hippie, mountaineering way. I figured things couldn’t go monstrously wrong, but his eagerness quickly metamorphosed from intriguing to annoying when he took it upon himself to pre-plan sleeping at my place before meeting even me. When we eventually met, he was a chubby chain smoker dressed like the worst version of Michael Scott who spent an inordinate amount of time discussing the intoxicating scent of my pheromones. Here I was, on a date with one of Tinder’s token, vintage-profile-photo-strick weirdos. I had to get away, so I fell back on the old, Charlotte-from-Sex-and-The-City cultivated, “I must go save my best friend from the throes of evil!” He still texts me almost weekly about my pheromones.
I should have deleted my Tinder right then and never looked back, but then I met Jim, the writer who resembled a modern day James Dean. A match made in heaven—if heaven were the interwebs and a sham built to fuck you over in the end.
We met each other with friends in tow, which I recommend to anyone looking to dabble into this biznass. Unfortunately, I liked his friends much more than I liked him. He was paralyzingly shy and when I tried to open up to him, my words seemed to fall flat into his lap and disappear. I’ve never known someone so at ease with his own awkwardness. In looking for a man of mystery, I had apparently overshot things, landing in a territory more in line with mute.
Plenty of other weirdos contributed to my Tinder experience. Highlights include a dude who said “Rawr” before and after every statement, which lead me to believe that he was probably in with RuPaul, and the 37 year old who asked me repeatedly if I was aware that he was old enough to be my uncle.
I did make two genuine friends, which is irrefutably nice in a city so crowded, yet often so lonely. But if your endgame is romance, well, I don’t know.
I am now back at square one, preaching to the old-fashioned choir of IRL encounters. Nothing quite compares to that inexplicable locking of the eyes across a room, that unspoken “I want you and I’m not entirely sure why yet” glance. The getting-to-know-someone-by-chance, not by some predetermined and hyper-analyzed plan. I know there are exceptions, but they are just that—exceptions. And to those of you who disagree, I really commend you. Cue “We Found Love” by Rihanna and Calvin Harris, because when it comes to modern dating, Tinder might be that “hopeless place.”