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Welcome to The Mystifying World of Modern Dating

Truth be told, I have no idea why I did this

To set the scene: I had recently gotten out of my last long-term relationship and was finally moving out to start my life anew on my own terms. My ex and I were on (mostly) good terms, still operating as friends and giving each other life advice (and maybe a little dating advice) so it felt like a good time to test out the dating app scene. He'd been perusing the waters of Bumble and Tinder, but I wanted to see for myself just how strange and difficult this land of online dating really was.

The Experiment:

The first dating app I installed was Hinge - their slogan is literally that they are designed to be deleted, they promise lasting results that fast. Within two hours of creating my profile and answering three conversation-hook questions, three different guys and one girl were trying to match with me.

1. Let's call this guy City Pages - since he's a freelance writer for this local publication. We spent a day or two chitchatting about space operas and overall writing methods when he suggests a coffee date. I reluctantly agree. And then he ghosts me. Looks like I won't be checking out Claddaugh on West 7th any time soon...

2. This next guy I'll call Maze-Hater, since he had some serious beef with Labyrinth and had The Neverending Story on a ridiculously high pedestal. We argued about which film had a more developed MC arc before the conversation just sort of...vanished. A lot like The Nothing.

3. Oh hey, a breath of fresh air! Mr. Cleanshave* and I actually managed to keep a conversation going and out of the bunch thus far is probably the only one I'd consider meeting up with in person. Stay tuned for updates on this situation.

4. There's a stereotype about Asians who play piano, but I had a hard time remembering what it was while scrolling through photos of You Killed Kenny's abs and biceps. Boy is fit. He also likes ramen and follows me on Instagram now. Cool beans.

5. Dan the Man was a gorgeous Korean dude that wanted to talk about himself and ONLY himself.....I really don't care about your linear algebra final or that you're not sure if Computer Science is going to be a fulfilling career choice. And then you tell me you don't really like words, books, or writing. Hard pass, darling.

 I definitely wanted to delete Hinge after a week of using it, but not for the reasons they were hoping.

𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀

If the first ten minutes on Bumble taught me anything, it's this. Just swipe left. Why are most straight white dudes so unbelievably boring - every other photo features a dog, a large fish (what are you compensating for, son?), or a sporting event. If he's got blue eyes and a sandy blonde crew cut, I'm already going to assume those hobbies are a given, so how about telling me about something I don't know?

The lack of diversity on Bumble also surprised me - I'm getting more ladies in the rotation, but the cast here is still largely white. I'll just pretend that's a side effect of being in Minnesota and not indicative of a larger, systemic issue in which people of color often have bad experiences with dating apps.....

Let's dive in.

1. Johnny Rotten seemed a wee bit promising at first - he's in a band, y'know? The dude also has cats and has been a tattoo artist for a good number of years. He's straight-edge and a vegetarian though, two things I'm definitely not. Swipe left.

2. I gotta swipe right on someone, right? Hello Danielle! This gorgeous brunette is an early childhood educator and has some lovely tattoos. We also both think Allison from Hocus Pocus is cute - works for me. Let's see if she matches or not. (She didn't.)

3. Joe Dude is an account exec for a prestigious law firm here in the city - he is a fan of World of Beer (I can respect that) and wants to meet for drinks. Except the dates he's available keep shifting and let's be real...I'm not super available during the week either.

4. Switching up the game a little, I hopped over to Bumble BFF and met Kristin - who's looking for gals in the city who want to meet up for yoga or hiking. Outdoorsy activities are fun - and it's the perfect season for it now so I may take her up on that some afternoon!

5. I've also swiped left on about a million and one Kyle's, Nate's, and Dan's. Frankly, I'm just so over it at this point. I'm gonna bumble my way on outta here....

𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀𝌀

Last, but not least - Tinder. 

It needs no real introduction, so let's just get on with it shall we?

1. My first match was with Jun - a nice fellow who lives in Detroit and was only in town for a bit, so while we had a nice text conversation about Kdramas, it went no further than that....especially since I wasn't going to take the light rail all the way into Minneapolis to meet a stranger just once for drinks. On a weeknight?! Lord, no.

2. Jay from South Korea is on Tinder looking for friends - but it's hard to maintain a friendship if you can't (or won't) communicate more than a few words in response. And it wasn't for lack of trying on my end - he was slow to respond or only replied with two word answers. I wish him all the best, but I don't think he's friendship material for me.

3. And then, D-Man - California transplant new to the MSP scene; he's able to carry on a conversation and is not shy about his interest in 80's music, reading, and exploring the nooks and crannies of a town. Most promising Tinder option yet. Bonus points for excellent grammar.

4. Of course, Tinder has its fair share of the ladies, so I would remiss not to include at least a few that struck my fancy. Enter The Ashen One - at 24 she's a bit young for me but I could see myself having a drink with her and chatting about graphic design and cats.

5. At approximately 7:43 am, The Blair Witch Project matched with me and sent a cheerful "Hi :)" - distractedly, I asked him how his morning was going and never got a response. I'm guessing it wasn't great.



Testing Predictions:

Here's the thing - you can't determine whether or not a dating app works unless you actually...well...go on a date. My selection process for this round was surprisingly rigorous (taking into account length of time conversing online, shared interests, whether or not this person made me feel threatened or unsafe in any way, etc.) and narrowed it down to about two, maybe three, people.

  • Date #1

Mr. Cleanshave and I agreed to meet up on a Saturday afternoon for drinks and maybe food at a bar near my workplace. I was totally chill up until I got off the bus and started towards the venue. Then it happened - I had a moment where I wanted to turn and flee. This wasn't just nerves, it was intense anxiety. Is that what a first date feels like for everyone? Why do people do this?

What caught me off guard initially was his appearance - it was clearly the same dude in the photos but the strong beard game really took me by surprise. Unsure of what to think, I just kind of went with it...

I actually had a good time. His vibe was pleasant and he was easy to talk to. I didn't have to struggle too much do the eye contact thing and the conversation was engaging. He paid for my beer and I let him, offering to even the score next time. Would there be a next time? It was definitely implied, but people say one thing in the moment and then ghost you later, so it was hard to determine.

  • Date #2
I'm not the type of girl to stay out late on a Friday night. This introvert likes to be nestled in at home, recovering from the work week - so to inspire me to actually venture further from my home after a long day for a second date is fairly noteworthy. This time Mr. Cleanshave and I choose a halfway point between the two of us and checked out a couple of breweries. I had the upper hand this time as I was early, which definitely set me at ease and is perhaps a practice I should continue.

(I'm a houseplant with complicated emotions, let me acclimate please!)

Round 2 was decidedly more successful. The first location was a bit loud and overstimulating for me (making it really hard to focus on the conversation, sorry dude!) but once we got outside and headed for the next venue I definitely loosened up a bit. The booze flowed and so, too, did a variety of topics to establish some kind of common interest.

Plans were made for tentative future rendezvous, so I think it's safe to say I'll probably see him again.


  • Date #3

I guess this one was a long time coming - after weeks of online chatting - and I was tired of pushing it off. So I bit the bullet and agreed to a date with D-Man. We met at the Union Depot bar with plans to check out the Jazz Fest. I was one G&T in when he arrived, but that wasn't enough to calm the first date jitters so I had another one. And then, after strolling around Lowertown just a bit, we made our way on foot up to a different neighborhood and crashed all my old haunts. For more booze.

He was a perfect gentleman. Attentive. Considerate. Understanding. He even drove me home after all the buses had stopped running - yeah, we were out that late.

Will there be another date? I haven't decided yet.

I am still experiencing scheduling conflicts with You Killed Kenny, but a coffee date may be in the near future.




The Conclusion:

We've come a long way from scoping out old high school crushes on Facebook or crafting lengthy replies to semi-creepy dudes via OKCupid (the site, not the app - I'm old, okay?) and maybe there's a bit of appeal in swiping left if someone doesn't immediately tickle your fancy. We can afford to be a little picky, right?

Hinge was undoubtedly the winner. Not only was the app itself easy to use, but the level of diversity and ability to ♡ a prompt instead of just a photo put it far ahead of both Bumble and Tinder. It was also the dating app that yielded the most promising results in terms of interesting people to chat with and/or meet in person.

Tinder, to my shock, came in at second place. I've heard horror stories about Tinder, but in all fairness most of those stories are coming from users on either of the U.S. coasts. Not from humble Minnesota. And while I had to swipe left on way too many DudeBros - I came out okay in the end with at least one or two decent humans to chat with.

Bumble, the app designed to benefit women primarily, was the least favorite. I'm not a huge fan of making the first move. I'm much more content to kind of sit back, see what the other person's going to do first, and then kind of match the vibe. Bumble does not let you do that - you are in the driver's seat. #empowered, right?

What was the lasting dating app you tried out? Tell me all about your successes or failures in the comments below - this science brain requires anecdotal evidence from a larger sample size.

*Disclaimer: Mr. Cleanshave is a moniker chosen by the man himself, I had no part in that decision.


Comments

  1. I met my husband through a common friend and, having been with him for almost a decade now (time sure does fly), I never got the chance to experience a dating app for myself. I know people who have though, and I know those who have had great success with OkCupid.

    Kathrin | Polar Bear Style

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just meet people the old-fashioned way? Haha!

      Delete
  2. So I also remember the OkCupid website, although I didn't use it to find dates- do you remember those quizzes they used to have?

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's actually super weird to come back and read this again. I don't really want to edit the original post - so here are my updates:

    You Killed Kenny got one date - we had a few drinks - and that was pretty much it for me. There was no spark, but I'm happy to count him as a friend, because he's nice.

    Mr. Cleanshave acheived a total of four dates, plus he attended my housewarming party. I haven't seen or spoken to him much since then, which is a shame.

    D-man was the plot twist here. Could not have predicted the outcome of that at all, largely because he's not even remotely my type. But y'know...when it works, it works. *shrug*

    ReplyDelete
  4. Every relationship I've had in the past 15 years, any relationship that lasted from 6 months to 2.5 years, was with a Canadian or a British man. No clue why that is. But I just don't seem to meet any/many American men who I click with. Not that I haven't tried with various dating sites, or in person. But after a date, maybe two dates, I just find myself discovering that I don't have anything/much/ enough in common with the North Dakota/ Minnesota/ American man.

    Either way, I'm 53 years old, single, and not really looking any more. Yes, some men have asked me out. But no, they don't interest me (enough) to want to pursue anything more than casual friendship with them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Goodness, I can certainly relate to a lot of this. I really don't click with men originating from the Greater Midwest region either, and it's like you said - very little in common.

      Delete

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