The idea sounds easy: 10 Tinder dates in a time span of ten days. My results? I’ll never complain about being unable to meet a guy again. If any of you feel that you no longer have a chance at finding love, or a date at least, I challenge you to the “10 in 10 Challenge.” It is NOT for the weak or lazy.
It was my dear friend Madge who set me off on my Tinder challenge. “Stop moonwalking.” She said one Saturday afternoon as I sobbed into an almond latte over my single status. “Stop going backwards, move forward. You hate Tinder but that’s because Michael—the non-committing-con-man was the ONLY guy you ever went out from that app. Exes don’t count. Start fresh.”
She had a very valid point, since my divorce my encounters were all “recycled goods”. I went out with guys I knew, or had a questionable hook up history with. Sometimes we need a friend to give us tough love. “All you have to do is log back on and NOT swipe right on exes. Find ten guys and set up dates in ten days. We’re lucky we have this technology. Now go make this happen.”
I ventured back into the wild. Keeping with my mantra of “10,” I swiped right ten times, the first four men “liked” me which opened up the grounds for communication on the app so I kept on swiping right until there was a portal of 20 mutually interested men to choose from. Then I went back and actually read what was on each of their profiles. Yes, each one was shallow. I was going on looks alone after all. But surely everyone is guilty about auto reflex-swiping right, if it’s pretty, we don’t care what the words below the photo have to say, right?
All of my single girlfriends lived vicariously through my journey to right-swipe my way to true love. Seeking extra tips, the person to ask was my online dating expert friend, Gwen. The only woman I know who has enjoyed successful relationships purely from using dating sites and apps alone.
“Let me look at your profile,” she grabbed my phone, furiously going through what I had posted. “This is good,” she said critiquing my short, sweet and simple profile. “You sound cool, and the pictures are good. Now you ask everyone the exact same questions, and then wait for your phone to go crazy with notifications.” So I copied and pasted the identical message to ALL of the men I contacted:
“Hi! Want to meet up tomorrow or the next day?”
The responses came rolling in. Most of them expected me to trek to wherever it was that they resided. Were these standard Tinder rules, I wondered? Since I was the initiator of contact, maybe this was normal. Tinder is known for more of a hook-up app than a marriage-finding app. Typical responses were: “Hey, I’m in Brooklyn, I can maybe meet you halfway in the East Village…oh if you’re coming to Brooklyn it makes sense if we meet here. Hit me up, I’m off Lorimer.”
*“Hi, gorgeous. Want to come to Hoboken for a drink tonight at 9:00?” Followed by a red heart emoji. Wow. This was already serious.
What about my wants and needs? This guy didn’t even ask me what borough I lived in. Did he honestly expect me to take the PATH to meet him? The only picture of a person on the profile was blurry and looked like one from a stock photography website. His other two were of a mountain and some trees. He could’ve easily been a murderer with a fake profile.
“Let me get back to you.” I responded.
“Okay lovely.” Again, another red heart emoji. I had already lost interest.
“How are you? I love this warm weather let’s go have a drink outside.”
I didn’t mean to ignore the message, a few hours later he wrote back.
“Why don’t you tell me what your biggest fantasies are. What makes you go crazy?”
“I fantasize about the weather being consistent for the next few weeks.”
I did not hear back from him.
“I’m at airport going back to France. You tell me something about you. We have drinks. Maybe you come to France?”
“Are you offering to fly me to France? That’s very nice, I’ll accept, but I can’t promise you anything.”
“Hey let’s meet by my office in Soho for happy hour.”
Who the hell was this? I did not remember swiping on him but I went along with it until I remembered a work event, but he quickly agreed to meet the next day. Then he messaged me something very sweet that gave me cause to pause and reconsider my experiment.
“I googled you and read some of your work and it really struck a chord with me. I hope this doesn’t sound creepy. I’m looking forward to meeting you.”
I realized I had made the fatal mistake of saying I was a journalist/writer on my profile. I had meant to change it to yoga instructor, nutritionist or something vague. This man was no longer just a swipe. He was a human being looking for a real connection. I was not on Tinder for that reason at all. Suddenly the vigorous date schedule I had planned to consolidate my 10 dates into a week or less seemed overwhelming. My therapist was concerned:
“This doesn’t seem to be as fun as you were hoping. You sound really stressed.”
I promptly deleted my profile. Before I had a chance to contact the guy who complimented me on my writing, to let him know there would be no date, he beat me to it. He Facebooked me: “Ha, you unmatched me! Lol! All gravy, but kind of curious …guess it doesn’t matter. Anyways…peace out.”
I did not respond, and I take responsibility for being the asshole in this situation.
The outcome of my venture? I can go on Tinder and score a hook-up in a matter of minutes, if that’s what I’m looking for. The app is not going anywhere. But I discovered a truth that I intend to stick to; cerebral, intriguing people are my types, the kind I meet unexpectedly yet hit it off with. These people become more attractive to me (or less if it doesn’t work out) over time, depending on what they have to say and how they react. That’s not something you can measure from an app. Instead of discovering my inner fun bunny, I found that I really need something much deeper from the next man in my life.
Ironically enough, after deleting the app I ended up going out with an intriguing male I met in person a week earlier through a friend. We didn’t talk that much, but he was interesting. Later that evening I bashfully asked him out on Instagram Live, he happened to be the only person watching my live video. So maybe there’s a happy medium of apps combined with in-person encounters. The date went well and that’s another story for some other time.