Tinder Is Not a Place to Make a Love Connection…Or Is It?

Everyone knows Tinder is only good for one thing: shirtless selfies.

A friend recently asked me which dating apps I was on. I listed three: Hinge, Bumble, Tinder. That’s down from the eight apps I was on at peak desperation.

She then asked which ones I was serious about. That knocked my preferred apps down to two: Hinge and Bumble.

She was appalled. How could I possibly not consider Tinder a primary app for finding love? She knew “many” people who had found love on one of the oldest dating apps in the App Store. I should reconsider!

My experience with Tinder has not been great.

Almost every match starts with banal chatter and ends with a man I’ve never met telling me about his sexual fetish.

There was one guy who seemed normal enough to go on a date with. However, when I arrived for said date, I discovered he had T-Rex arms (a visual refresher), spoke with a lisp, and used “like” after every, like, other, like, word. He also picked an upscale restaurant for our date and then showed up in a wrinkled t-shirt and jeans. Check, please!

That was my first and last Tinder date…until last weekend.

After my friend gently berated me about giving up on Tinder, I decided to give it a try with true intentionality.

I swiped right on the first guy with a nice smile, shirtless photo, and zero information in his profile other than his name (we’ll call him Gus), age (36) and employer (self-employed).

BOOM! It’s a match! (Tinder lingo, not mine.)

He messaged me first.

“Hi Erin. I’m glad we matched. You are stunning!”

Gus was off to a great start.

After the standard exchange of locations, he announced he was going to bed and that I could text him the next day.

🤔

Um, okay. Text, sir? I don’t even know your occupation. Or your favorite football team. Or what you do for fun?! There is no way I’m going to text you…on your actual cellphone. Who do you think I am?

So I sent him my number instead and told him he could text me. 🤦🏾‍♀️

Well, he did. And we hit it off right away.

I found out that he’s an electrical contractor, never married, with a 9-year-old son. He prefers football over baseball. He practices jiu jitsu and has for ten years. He’s looking for a relationship because hooking up with random women doesn’t set a good example for his son.

Had I struck Tinder Gold (if you are active on Tinder, you see the joke there)?

We made plans to meet for lunch on Saturday at a local spot near the beach.

I arrived first to grab a good spot at the bar and a drink. He arrived right on time looking twice as handsome as he did in his pics. (And, trust me, he looked very good in his photos.)

The conversation was good. His smile was fantastic, but I could not get a read on him. Was I smiling too much? Laughing too hard? Out of his fucking league? In the moment, I decided I could only be me and continued to do so for the next two and a half hours.

When we finally parted for the day, he leaned in for a kiss. It was very reminiscent of being kissed on the playground in third grade by the kid who just threw dirt in your face (but he likes you!), but it was sweet.

I expected never to hear from him again.

But I did! He texted me not long after I drove away from the restaurant.

“I had a wonderful time with you. I hope I wasn’t too awkward. You’re beautiful.”

Apparently, my “Like” meter was way off.

Date #2 is scheduled for this weekend. Maybe Tinder isn’t so bad after all.

(But given the name of this blog, let’s assume it will be all down hill from here.)

A Marathon First Date Runs Out of Gas on Mile 1

Could a six-hour first date signal a promising new beginning? Ha! Do you know the name of this site?

I went on a first date Saturday night (and the first date since Anthony dumped me).

It lasted six hours.

Let me start by saying I didn’t want to go. I debated whether or not to cancel most of the morning. If I’m being honest with myself, my heart just isn’t in it. But my good friend Alexis convinced me that I should go with the intention of having a good time and making a new connection — even if it’s a new friend. (Editor’s note: The idea that you’re dating to make new friends is dumb. That’s not why anyone goes out on a date.)

So off I went to meet Clinton (not his real name).

Despite my rule of not crossing the Hudson River for love, Clinton lives in Queens. We matched on Hinge while I was spending time in Jersey City barhopping with a friend. (Yes, I matched with someone on an app while I was out in a setting where there were hundreds of people in the flesh around me.) That is dating in 2019 in a nutshell.) We chatted for a bit over the course of a few days before we made plans to meet for “coffee or drinks.” I, of course, chose drinks.

Clinton asked where I wanted to meet, because in reality, we live very far apart. I settled on Jersey City because it is pretty much the midpoint for an NJ-NY interstate romance.

I arrived first for our 6:30 p.m. date and promptly ordered a glass of wine. When he arrived at 6:40 p.m., I could tell he appreciated how I looked in my high-waisted jeans and skin-hugging, burnt orange mock turtleneck — the same shirt I wore on my first date with Anthony (I’m trying to make new memories here!).

Clinton was dressed in a grey chunky, cable-knit sweater and looked just like his photos – a real rarity. His eyes were sparkling blue, his biceps filled out the sleeves of his sweater nicely, and his beard was perfectly trimmed.

Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea to go out after all.

He ordered an expensive tequila on the rocks while I moved on to a spicy blood orange margarita (It was excellent, by the way.). The bartender asked if we would like to see a food menu. He said he wasn’t hungry yet. I agreed.

For the next hour we talked about our favorite things: sports teams (we both love the Golden State Warriors), television (we both love “The Profit” on CNBC), karaoke (“Benny and the Jetts” is his go-to), and travel (he doesn’t, but would like to). We also discussed his desire to move to California; his search for a new job; and how many people from dating apps we’ve been out with since Sept. 2018 (my number is seven; his is more than seven, less than 25 😳). It was nice.

“Nice.” This is how I describe dates I have zero interest in. Getting the “nice” descriptor an hour in is not a good sign…and yet the date continued for five more hours.

Why did I stay for another five hours? The answer is simple: Clinton was easy to talk to and it felt good to be out with someone of the opposite sex in a romantic setting who found what I had to say interesting — or who could at least pretend to.

After ordering food — he had a pizzetta, which he noted was not part of his keto diet; I had mac & cheese because I like carbs — he paid the bill and we headed to another bar. I know! I should have bailed, but he asked and I agreed.

I won’t bore you with the details of our conversation at the next bar, but I will say that we sat very close on a couch and I never once felt the urge to casually graze his knee with mine. Ugh. Attraction and physical chemistry cannot be forced.

Look, Clinton will one day make some woman — or man (a post for another day) — very happy. His future partner will find him charming and handsome and smart — all of which is true. But I am not her (or him).

I decided to call it at 12:30 a.m. — six hours after we met, and five hours after the point I knew it wasn’t going anywhere.

When it was time to depart, I hugged nice Clinton the way you’d hug someone you just met whom you’re never going to see again. As he walked toward the PATH, he turned and yelled over his shoulder, “Next time, let’s go do karaoke.”

There won’t be a next time, but at least I’m back in the race.

Is This Thing Broken?

Someone call 9-1-1. My thumb is dead.

Some wise person once said, “The best way to get over a man is to get under another.” In the aftermath of the breakup with Anthony, I decided to take that advice — minus the directive to sleep with a random dude — and headed back to the apps.

The fucking apps.

Tinder ✅
Hinge ✅
Bumble ✅✅✅

I re-downloaded the usual suspects to the discreet “Dating” folder on my personal matchmaker — also known as my iPhone X — and got to swiping.

A funny thing happens when you match with someone on a dating app, meet him in real life and then ditch the app because the living, breathing version of a man is better than the one-dimensional version: you forget how crappy it is to shop for a companion.

Maybe my standards went up after dating Anthony, or maybe all of the decent prospects were picked up while I was in the off-season, but it seems nearly impossible to find one guy I would even consider allowing to think about possibly asking me to contemplate him tempting me to go out on a first date. For real.

A girlfriend and I spent a recent Happy Hour siting side by side at a bar, legs crossed, heads down, frantically swiping. Up, down, left or ❌. NEXT! Repeat. The only time our eyes gazed upward was to help guide our hands toward the awaiting alcholic beverages. Occasionally, one of us would hit on a “good one” and eagerly turn to the other for approval.

He’s alright. He has a nose with character, though.

YAS! Where is he from? Brooklyn?! Nope.

Oh, he has a cute dog…and lives with his mother. 🙄

Sigh.

If this is how I’m supposed to get “under” a new man in order to get over Anthony, then consider me still standing…alone…swiping left.

The Benefit of Being Friends

Should you remain friends with someone you’ve dated?

You match with someone on an app. You chat for a bit before setting up a first date. Said first date arrives, he is nice enough, but there is no real spark. Three hours later, the date ends, and he leans in for a kiss. It is hot. (There’s the spark!)

Daily texting follows, in addition to two more dates. Three weeks after your first date, he texts you to say he just isn’t feeling it, but would love to remain friends and grab drinks in a couple of weeks.

Um, what?

Excuse me if I’ve missed the memo, but I did not join a dating app (or several) to make new friends. I already have plenty of friends I haven’t kissed, seen naked, or slept in the same bed with. In fact, after a quick mental calculation, Facebook handily reminds me I have 637 friends I’ve only ever known platonically. (Actual number of Facebook friends is 640.)

What is the point in remaining friends with someone you once had feelings for — no matter how budding or deep — unless both parties are uninterested in pursuing the relationship further? Inevitably, if one party still has feelings for their newly-designated “friend,” there will be blood (fine, tears not blood, but you see where I’m going here). Unless you have been together for an extended period of time (more than just a few dates/weeks), have children together, or have co-mingled finances, why even try?

Below is an exchange I had with Charlie, a 33-year-old southerner who had been off the apps for more than a year prior to our meeting. He is the aforementioned.

In calling things off, Charlie (name has not been changed because IDGAF) tried to soften the blow by saying he had “a high opinion” of me and that he was “happy to have met” me, but he didn’t want to date me “romantically.” 🙄

“I want to say I am happy to have met you, but you are just another person on the list of people I’ve dated.” Ouch.

But it’s true. Sorry, Charlie, I don’t want to remain friends with you. You were nice enough, intelligent, easy to talk to, and one helluva kisser, but how does it benefit me to hang around a guy I want to date who doesn’t want to date me? Swiping right on a dating app is not my preferred method for finding new friends. Plus, we knew one another for less than a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race — neither the feelings, nor the “friendship” were that deep.

Surprisingly, after a little more back and forth via text, Charlie and I made plans to meet for a drink three weeks after we stopped seeing one another. Spoiler: it never happened and we haven’t communicated since the text exchange.

Tell me, readers: Should you remain friends with someone you dated? Does it depend on the circumstances? Let me know in the comments!

Am I Asking For Too Much?

Bumble is trolling me.

I’m just a girl, looking for a boy…and Bumble is trolling me!

I received the message above after swiping (all to the left) through about 20 prospects. Are my filters so limiting that I have filtered myself out of potential matches?

For the uninitiated, Bumble Boost allows you to filter your potential matches by a variety of criteria. Some are dumb (What is their star sign?) and others are more important (Do they have or want children?). In order to apply a filter, you must have answered the question yourself.

One might wonder why apply filters at all. Isn’t the fun of dating learning about the other person as you go? The answer is “yes” if we’re talking about dating in the 1990s before the dawn of the internet and social media. But with everyone posting everything about their lives on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., why shouldn’t I be able to specify that the next guy I go on a date with isn’t a smoker.

So what are the filters I’ve applied?

Interested in Men.

Age: Between 34 and 45

Distance: Up to 24 miles away (Unless you live in Brooklyn, Queens or Manhattan, because I’m not crossing the Hudson River to get to you.)

Height: Between 5’9″ and 6’2″

Education: Undergraduate degree; In grad school; Graduate degree

Smoke: Never

What do you want from your Bumble date? Relationship; Marriage
*Note: The other options are “something casual” and “don’t know yet.”

Do they have or want children? Don’t want; Have & don’t want more

Maybe it’s that last one that’s limiting my prospects, but meeting a partner who doesn’t want kids — or more kids if he already has them — is very important to me, because I don’t want to have children. Having that understanding upfront helps avoid an uncomfortable conversation when you’re on the road to a serious relationship and your partner is all goo goo gaga over babies and your uterus has a “do not disturb” sign.

Other filters I have not turned on:

Do they exercise?

What is their star sign?

Do they drink?

Do they have pets?

What is their religion?

What are their politics like?

It’s not that I don’t care about those things, but they’re not dealbreakers for me.

In trying to get over Anthony, finding a limited number of potential matches really has me wondering: should I drop my filters and open up my dating pool to the masses?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

In the Game of Love, Is the Risk Worth the Reward?

The Magic 8 Ball says…

I met a guy at the beginning of 2019. It was right after another guy I was seeing abruptly called it off. (And by “right after” I mean the next day, because keeping it moving is the only way to survive dating in 2019.)

On paper, this guy — let’s call him Anthony — is nothing like who I would have described five months ago as “my ideal man”:

He is over forty. ❌

He is divorced. ❌

He has two kids. ❌

But when dating men in their early 30s who’ve never committed to anything in their lives including adulthood without roommates, you switch things up.

Anthony and I matched on Bumble, the dating app I believe is the least wretched of the bunch. He had two too many car selfies and incorrectly used “to” instead of “too” in his profile, but I looked past my pet peeves because he was cute and his profile was otherwise amusing.

We hit it off on a Friday and, within hours, we had made plans to meet the next afternoon for drinks. We were on the same page about what we wanted out of a relationship (see actual Bumble exchange below).

Saturday rolled around and our schedules didn’t sync up, but we texted heavily for a couple of hours. The conversation flowed naturally. He was a smart-ass (so am I), but also thoughtful, vague enough to be interesting, and confident. Ding! Ding! Ding!

When we finally met that Monday, we both lived up to the other’s expectations, which when it comes to online dating, are very low. Basically, we both had all of our teeth, looked like our profile photos and could engage in interesting conversation for three hours.

After that first night, we began seeing one another about once or twice a week — a schedule dictated by his shared-custody arrangement. This was great for me, because to know me is to know I am always busy doing something. I have varied interests, love spending time with my friends and playing golf with my dad. A couple of days a week is all I have to give to a potential love interest.

Anthony treated me very well. He told me all the nice things: I made him happy; I made him feel loved and fulfilled; every time we were together was something to look forward to; he wanted to do things with me…in the future (btw, anyone want tickets to a comedy show in April?)! I met some of his closest friends. I even fell in love with one of his dogs (the other one is nice, too). We agreed not to date other people. Things with Anthony were different. I cannot explain it any better than that.

This relationship was headed in the right direction — if the right direction was a fork in the road on a NASCAR racetrack ablaze with heartache and tears.

Two months and 11+ dates later, Anthony hit me with the “I’m not ready for a relationship” text. Yes, text. [Editor’s Note: If you have been on more than five dates with someone DO NOT CALL IT OFF VIA TEXT. It is disrespectful.]

Now, I’ve been on the receiving end of the “I’m not ready for a relationship” text several times before. I believe men think it’s the easiest way out of dating someone — it is not. The easiest way out is to say, “I think you’re great, but I just don’t see a future with us.” Direct, truthful, and less painful than the modern day equivalent of “it’s not you, it’s me.” (No one ever believes that.)

Anthony’s text, though, knocked me over like a Kardashian finding out via TMZ that her baby daddy kissed her sister’s friend. I can’t say he was “The One” but he was definitely the one I could see myself with for the foreseeable future (whether that was short- or long-term was TBD). And I believed he felt the same way about me. But this was an overnight about-face.

I won’t share the exact details of the text, but he made sure to reiterate that he wasn’t interested in anyone else and that he really liked me. He said he just wasn’t mentally ready to give 100% to a relationship.

My hot take: He’s just not that into me.

Right?

Right.

Right???

I was hurt (was everything he’d told me about his feelings for me a lie? I don’t think so.), disappointed (I opened my heart up for this shit?!), and sad (am I really that unlovable?).

I repeat: AM I UNLOVABLE?

On it’s face, this is a dumb question. Of course I’m not unlovable. Many people love me, this I know. Some were forced into the endeavor because we share DNA, others came to the conclusion willingly because I give good advice and always have gum and Kleenex.

But falling in love looks so easy on television and in movies. I’m not naive enough to believe that’s how it is in real life, but I am a 36-year-old woman who has never been on the receiving end of non-platonic love. Cold, hard fact. Also a fact? This never bothered me BEFORE I set out on my dating quest.

Here’s a text thread between me and a very good friend of mine after Anthony broke things off:

Admittedly, that is some sad shit. But it is 100% real. I am tired of the hunt, the catch and the release. It takes a toll on my soul because, for me, being emotionally vulnerable is a Herculean task which requires energy, and I don’t have enough energy stored up to keep being let down over and over again. And even if I did have it, I’d rather spend it doing things I love with people who already love me, albeit platonically.

So…will I keep dating “for love” in 2019? Probably not. Should I? Maybe.

The one thing I won’t ever do, however, is not be “ready for a relationship” and pretend otherwise with the men I date. And right now, my heart is not ready, because it is stupidly holding out hope for Anthony.

What do you think? Should I keep up the fight? Let me know in the comments.