“Left. Left. Left. Right. Left.”
Call out the above and it could be a military training march, but in my case, from the comforts of my room in Boston, a city somewhere between a snowmageddon and slushfest, it’s an approximation of my swiping pattern on the most infamous of relationship apps: Tinder.
My travels across the Tinder-verse started as a joke one Friday night in October. Two weeks until midterms, I was out with some classmates at a pub in Central Square deciding between a pint of hard cider versus something a little stronger to drown the sorrows of my somewhat newly-single self. One of the guys, a bit of a joker in my MBA cohort, discovered my changed relationship status and took it upon himself to remedy my situation with opportunities for a rebound. A bit of a joker, this guy is one of the most memorable people from my classes in the fall (Pacifics, think accounting) so I let him hijack my phone to set me up with an account.
Growing tired and wary of fraternizing within the Sloanie social scene, I figured the "Notorious T.N.D." could be a great way to meet some interesting people, assuming I catered my content appropriately to weed out the insufferable perverts and weirdos. I chose pictures that showed the full spectrum of my appearance in real life from girl-next-door to glamorous go-getter. Despite my tiger pride, I didn’t include any Princeton photos so I could avoid the more frustrating assumptions associated with where I went for undergrad. I said I was getting my MBA, warding off the types who would be intimidated by a Type-A, strong-willed woman. But as someone who so used to being the one who makes the first move, I included the final line of “Take the lead.” I would message first on many a man, but I loved the idea of someone else taking the initiative for once. I kept the profile short, expecting many of the men swiping right not doing so on account of reading what I had to say about myself, but wanting to give those deciding to read about me something that piqued their curiosity.
I aspired for an aura of intensity and mystery—as to whether that was successful, I’d have to go through the tinder-dex and ask the gentlemen I’ve met over these past six months. (Or maybe I should put a survey link on the next iteration of my tinder profile and do some data analysis in true MBA and MIT fashion). At any rate, vetted by eyes of three MBA men of varying ages and maturities, on October 3, 2014, my Tinder profile was born.
I told myself I’d never do online dating ever again, especially after some very negative experiences with okcupid when I first moved to Boston. But two years older and wiser, and two weeks away from fall break, I soon found myself swiping. Oftentimes, the conversations that began were over mutual friends or interests. One person went to school with my best friend from college, another lived a few doors down from the author of my favorite webcomic, and yet another turned out to be my neighbor a few buildings over.
Sometime in the following weeks I found the courage to take my first conversation offline and into real life. Nearly six months, mountains of messages, and several dates later, here are seven things I have to report:
- Frat boy narcissists who work in finance and love football often are just that: frat boy narcissists who work in finance and love football, and sadly not much else.
- Musicians give the best massages and serenades. When you’re good with your hands, you’re good with your hands. And when you can sing, I swoon.
- Don’t believe the ones who say they’re yoga teachers. Unless they’ve got the pictures to prove it. And even then. Just trust me on this one.
- If I have a type, it remains “ambitious”, "aggressively creative”, and “ethnically ambiguous.” Entrepreneurial spirit? Yes, please. Hybrid accents? Do you really have to ask?
- 80% of the men who claim they are 6’3’’ are under 6’ and often by a fair amount.
- Boys will be boys and aren’t worth the tears. In my case, no boy is worth losing an earring over.** As for men, I’ll let you know.
- Romance isn’t dead. I have the stories to share of a guitar lesson, a snow angel in the middle of Boston Common, and a bottle of champagne enjoyed on the docks of the Charles in twilight, among other Tinder tales.***
While many a date has gone up in flames, metaphorically speaking, Tinder has been perfect for someone like me at a time like now: my attention span is at a record low, my focus on academic and professional ambitions exceptionally high, and my patience and emotional bandwidth too precious to expend on anything or anyone less than worth it. Paraphrasing the words of a dear friend, "Tinder may or may not find me a Mr. Right, but it has certainly finds me a Mr. Right Now." And in my case they've largely been good ones.
So to anyone reading and contemplating taking the plunge, or walking into the flames as it were, I won’t seek to convert you. There are plenty of wackies out there and your wariness is legitimate.
But you have to admit: you’ll never really know if you don't swipe right.
*Other post titles considered: "Reflections on Six Months of Inflammation,” “A Grievous Case of Tinder-nitis,” and "Confessions of a Tinder-ella: Lessons Learned from Swiping Left and Right and Wrong."
**After a full month of texting with a particularly handsome and charming boy (who got my full name and number and friended me on Facebook--very rare for Tinder) came the night of trying to make plans. The boy became totally unresponsive the night we were supposed to finally get together when I returned from San Francisco in January. Getting off my plane in Boston and seeing no response regarding our evening, I pulled my baggage from the overhead bin in such haste and frustration that I knocked out one of my earrings. These weren't just any earrings: I had spent my first paycheck at my first job to buy them. One of those little emerald butterfly studs has flown away, never to return, much like the man-child, who is somewhere in New York City now, also never to return. (Though seriously, why bother getting my name and number and friend-ing me on Facebook if you don’t want to meet me?)
***To the gentleman who humored watching '50 Shades of Grey' with me in theaters and then listened to my feminist and BDSM community analyses of the franchise, no matter what happens between us, you’re going down in my dating history as an eternal champ.