For those of you who don’t know me, my obsession with “F.R.I.E.N.D.S.” drives every one of these little snaps of insight / flashes of ludacris…ness (which is a word I just invented). The one problem when trying to connect the themes of that show to dating today, is that it aired in an era in which people didn’t really have and/or use cell phones/texting/tweets/etc. For as recent as it feels, it was – technologically – quite in the past (I’ll refer you to the episode in which Phoebe spent half the episode waiting for her pager to beep and contributed to the title of this article.) Anyway, at one point, Chandler engages in online dating (he and his internet lover ‘hh: ‘hold hands’. It’s quite endearing) and it ends up not going quite the way he wanted (spoiler alert: it ends up being Janice. Say it with me: Oh. My. God.).
This got me thinking about how I date… mostly the fact that I eschew (good word!) dating apps. And when I say that, I’m including the apps that aren’t primarily used for… dating; the apps by which people attempt to locate ‘hot sexy locals’ who are interested in engaging in the horizontal mambo, but who are not, for example, interested in knowing what your major was in college, how many siblings you have, your astrological sign, your favorite food, or whether or not you are close to your parents. (By the way: sociology, 1 older brother, Taurus, orange chicken, and it’s a work in progress).
People think I eschew because I am prudish. And, to be fair, I am prudish. I actually get reverse slut-shamed (‘slut shaming’, by the way, is a topic about which I will write very soon cuz some of you have lost your minds – but I digress). And it’s fine with me. But I do frequently get asked why I don’t Scruff or Grind or Jack or Flurb or Poot or Smorch or whatever. And my answer is usually one of the following replies (you can tweet me and tell me which one you like best):
1) I don’t want to go on a date with a torso.
2) What if there’s no chemistry? I can’t just send em home (sidebar: I have been told that you can, indeed, just send em home. But I don’t think I could do that…)
3) I’m not entirely comfortable with strangers knowing how many feet I am away from anything, let alone my next orgasm.
But I eschew because, as someone who is gregarious and forthright, if I see someone I like – I’ll talk to them. I don’t need the buffer of technology to assist. I have Trader Joes. Or just being, you know, outside. That said, I’m also trying to be more open-minded, and as I am also someone who believes it’s easier to write about things that you have experienced – I joined Tinder. This choice was appealing to me for a few reasons (again, tweet me and tell me your favorite):
1) I found the swipe and NOPE interface quite whimsical.
2) It is what I am calling a ‘socially acceptable level of slutty’. (I was told that, for the most part, people on Tinder are looking to date and then maybe get naked… not the reverse. Which has turned out to be mostly true.)
3) It’s free – and I have yet to see an ad.
Also – I recently went through a pretty tough break-up and I don’t know if i’m lonely or horny… so I figure I’d start with Tinder. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I am going to share with you – verbatim – my Tinder profile (which I have since learned is called a ‘card’). Ready? (Oh – a quick note… for those of you who don’t know, Tinder only allows you to show your fellow Tinder…ers (?) pics that you’ve posted on Facebook – so unless you’re kinda slutty on Facebook, no one will see your torso. And also full disclosure: I have a shirt that says “I’m only slutty on Instagram.” So there’s that.)
Ok here we go:
“TV Writer. Reluctant actor. Perspiring gym-goer. Aspiring chef. Funny (allegedly), handsome (apparently?), and an awesome cook (definitely). Integrity and positivity are awesome. As are broad shoulders. Unless that makes me shallow. In which case they’re not. Moved to California 7 years ago via Georgia, and before that Indiana, Iowa, and New York. If you must see a shirtless pic, please enjoy my IG profile: beefinthetrifle. Bonus points if you get the reference.”
So I put that up, along with 6 pics from my Facebook profile and I started swiping. That first night I matched with about 12 people (which I chalk up to ‘new meat Syndrome’). I have matched with several more since, and as of today, I have had 9 first dates, 3 second dates, and 1 fourth date. (Right? We’re all rooting for that guy.) I have gotten what I call “horalizontal” (yes – you know what that means and no I don’t think “whore’izontal” is as good) with 3 of them. Oh – and I actually got stood up once. (But he wore man tights to the gym with nothing over them, so really – bullet dodged.)
Over these couple of weeks, I’ve learned a few things about Tinder… the first being that swiping people out of your life who aren’t really in your life is surprisingly cathartic. Guy looks like a douchebag? Swipe. Bye! Guy who uses the word ‘successful’ in his ‘card’? Swipe. Bye! (No – not because he’s successful, but because in my experience people who describe themselves as ‘successful’ are either not at all successful, or they are almost entirely driven by money. Also, ‘successful’ is one of those words that you shouldn’t use to describe yourself, but it’s ok if other people use it to describe you. Other words like that include ‘hirsute’, ‘charming’, and ‘bon vivant’. If you told me you were a ‘bon vivant’, I’d physically swipe you away from me.) Also, I was surprised to find that Tinder is surprisingly diverse. Like… ethnically. Like 50-60% of the guys on there are of a non-Caucasian persuasion – which is so NOT the ethnic breakdown of the social scene (read: bars) in LA. Kind of nice to leave the world of Jonathans, Taylors, and Thomas’s and see some Malcolms, Jamals, and Warners.
I also learned quite a bit about what I don’t think people should do on dates. Like – more than I was prepared for. So, not that I am perfect – far from it – but were you to go on Tinder, here are some things that you might want to avoid doing on your Tinder dates. Consider these pieces of advice… Tinderventions.
1.) Talking about doing meth
2.) Asking your date how many Tinder dates he’s been on
3.) Demanding to see who else your date has matched with and then grabbing their phone and looking for yourself
4.) Bragging about your car to said date who honestly couldn’t care less and thinks you’re kind of a douchenozzle
5.) Having a profile that says ‘Not looking for hook-ups’ but then asking if you can skip dinner and get to the ‘good stuff’. And then winking. Pointedly.
6.) Telling your date ad nauseum about your meal prep and your macros
7.) Did I mention meth? I’m mentioning that again… it’s just a good rule, like, in life. Not to talk about meth. Like ever. Also don’t do meth. If you didn’t know that.
Anyway – my point in all of this… is this: pre-emptively eschewing things can be good. Like, for example, I don’t need to go to Burning Man to know I’d hate it. I’d absolutely swipe left on Burning Man. Eschewed. That said, when it comes to dating – in a world where you can literally get anything online, why not take a few minutes out of your day and try to find a connection that can lead to something substantive and real… off-line? And these connections, like those jeans you saw online and just had to have but they don’t quite look right when they’re on, may be fleeting. But when someone does indeed fleet, you can hop back on Tinder (or Scruff/Grindr/Poot/Smorch) and find someone who may be more amenable to your interests… be they vertical or horizontal. And I, for one, will no longer eschew the thought of dating through apps.
Except you won’t find me on Tinder anymore. I deleted it. It wasn’t for me. And I bailed on 4th date guy. I’m the worst. And I might join Scruff. Turns out I’m lonely and horny. Who knew?
Dan has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Master’s degree in Higher Education. He worked as an Assistant Dean at Emory University for 5 years before moving to Los Angeles in 2008 to pursue his lifelong dream of writing television. Since then, Dan has written for ‘Make It Or Break It’ (ABC Family), “Pop-Up Video” (VH1), and currently writes for ABC Family’s hit show ‘The Fosters’, and he says he’s going to finish writing his first movie any day now. You can find more at beefinthetrfile.blogspot.com, and you can reach him on Twitter and Instagram at @beefinthetrifle