I’ve been single for a year now, although the whole concept still feels very new to me. When I broke up with my ex, we had been together for five years – meaning that this has been my first time as a free agent since I was 17. The five years between 17 and 22 are some of the biggest transitional years in one’s life, so in many ways I feel as if I am single for the first time.
I have spent the past 11 months of my singledom in New York, which – as I have learned from many wine induced conversations with fellow single women – is a pretty difficult place to be single. Alas, I have nothing to compare it to, so I’ve learned to adapt. I’m also very happy with my current single state, but I still want to talk about one of the most prominent fixtures in the life of a single New Yorker – Tinder.
I downloaded Tinder shortly after my breakup, simply because it was something that had always been off limits. I didn’t intend on using it for a while, and while I certainly had fun window shopping – I wasn’t in a terrible rush to try anything on.
Eventually I decided it was time to dip my toes back in the water, and I began talking to my matches, and even meeting up with a few of them. I’ve discovered that there is a nearly set pattern and timeline that most Tinder dates follow. Here are my findings:
THE TINDER PROCESS. SCIENCE.
1. Swiping: I read recently that the girl to guy ratio on Tinder is 38% to 62% – meaning that in the words of Effie Trinket, the odds are very much in my favor. But an endless stream of men to choose from has made me hopelessly picky – I will often swipe left for an hour or more without finding someone I deem suitable to swipe right. Truthfully, I’m just not interested in matching with people who I couldn’t picture myself meeting up with. I know other women who have different strategies – such as swiping right to everyone and narrowing down matches after the fact, but I prefer to reserve my right swipes for profiles that really catch my eye.
2. Small Talk: Once the connection has been made, the small talk begins. Where did you go to school? What do you do for work? What is your favorite movie? For the first few matches you get after you download the app, this is the most exciting part – you’re so excited to get to know each person. After a while though, redundancy sets in. You dread explaining your job in a way that makes it sounds interesting. You don’t want to talk about where you went to college. You are sick of explaining why Kanye’s ‘The College Dropout’ is your favorite album (just kidding, I never get sick of talking about Kanye). At this stage in the process, my personal retention rate is the lowest. If it lasts longer than three days, count me out.
3. Setting the Date: Let’s not call it a date though, we’re keeping this casual – I mean do we want him to think you’re trying to have his baby (note: sarcasm)? You’ve exchanged numbers, now you’re talking about meeting up for drinks, nothing more. “We should hangout sometime soon” he’ll say. Ugh. Could he be any less committal if he tried? If you want to see me, set a date, set a time…although apparently that’s “too serious.” Say: “Would you like to get a drink Monday when you get off work?” It’s really not hard.
4. The Big Day: You’re nervous as all hell at day at work. Why though? You know how this is going to play out. The subway ride to the bar: forget it. You’re a wreck. You get there on time, he’s late of course. The wait is excruciating. There he is. Awkward side hug. Get your drinks. Sit down. Repeat step two in real life. Get another drink. See who brings up Tinder first. Ask how many meet ups you’ve each had from the app – lie you’ve “only been on 2-3.” Get another drink. See who brings up their ex first. Try to steer the conversation back on path. Fail.
5. Saying Goodbye: “It’s late, I have to work in the morning” (not a lie…and now I’m going to be hungover for nothing because I came straight here from the office and have been drinking on an empty stomach). Walk outside. Walk a block together in the complete opposite direction of where you need to go. Pause – “We’ll, I’m headed this way.” Cue award goodbye make-out in the street. Cringe at thought of people watching. Go home and watch puppy videos and ask yourself why you even bother. Get text: “I had a great time tonight! It was great to meet you.” Reply: “Me too! Thanks so much for coming out :)” It wasn’t though.
6. The Next Day: 1pm, receive text about weather. Reply: “Oh yes, very weather, much [sun/rain/clouds], wow.” Cue small talk. Get pulled into work meeting. Realize you forgot to reply before you left your desk. Run out of fucks to give and tell yourself you’ll do it when you get home. You won’t.
7. Three Weeks Later: Receive text: “What’s up!” Don’t reply.