02 April 2014

Love me Tinder?

The men I've dated thus far in my life, I've met in a number of different ways. Internet dating has not been one of them.*

If I'm honest, the thought of internet dating has never floated my boat. I'm not against it but I've never considered it a good fit for me. Perhaps a brief explanation of why I'd convinced myself of that might help?
  • People liken internet dating to meeting someone in a bar or club, perhaps just with extra information. But I've never really been interested in meeting a guy in a bar or club.
  • I can be pretty cold with people I don't know. Not good first date material surely?
  • It's a scenario in which everyone is being their 'best self'; inadvertently answering internet dating profile questions with the answers they expect will make them more attractive. Without realising it, I'd probably end up being what I think a good date is supposed to be rather than actually being myself? e.g. not sarcastic. I envisage a point where my date declares 'You're not like your profile...'
  • It all feels pretty contrived. I realise life is but usually not in an ever-present sort of way.
  • Maybe I'd assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that the ginger hair wasn't going to work in my favour.
  • My attraction to men has often been independent of their looks. No, I'm not saying I fancy ugly men. I am saying, in the past, a gent's personality and sense of humour has (genuinely) raised them dramatically above my initial evaluation of their appearance. This is the same reason I am rarely attracted to celebrities; I know little of their personality. Yes, I am saying personality and sense of humour are what ultimately hold my attraction and attention.
  • I came to a realisation that I desire a minimum level of intelligence in a man. As such, I don't have a physical type but definitely an intellectual type. But I've convinced myself it is unfair to actually judge potential suitors on this. Or at least, it makes me feel like a bad person. But surely, it's no different than a height preference? It's just a bit easier to ask someone their height compared with how many GCSE's they have. (I wouldn't actually ask that. Well, not like that...)

I realise my hang-ups with internet dating are all quite possibly in my head? But I continue on in this fashion.

Cue a discussion in the pub last week about the internet dating app currently causing a frenzy; Tinder. Assuming it's just another variant of the same old formula, the above points instanteously run through my head and I almost stop listening. Several demonstrations later and assurances that it's fun and has produced results, I realise I am intrigued. The idea that it presents the opportunity for an ego-boost I personally find less compelling but it was agreed by all that being 'matched' with someone does give one a lift in the confidence arena.

How does it work? Simple; you swipe someone's picture right if you like them/their description/photos, left if you don't. If that person also swipes your picture right (i.e. they like you), you're 'matched'. If two people don't right-swipe each other, neither of them are any the wiser.


And so, I went home and I downloaded it. Yup, someone convinced that internet dating isn't for them. After all, what harm could it do? And I told myself if I don't enjoy it, I can simply uninstall and carry on with my life, carting my internet dating hang-ups in tow. In the very least, it would be something of an experiment and perhaps a worthwhile blogging opportunity.

But they were right; it is fun.

There are a few things that will certainly make me left-swipe (and there are enough examples of these):
  • Photos of you with a child / children. I am not going to spend the time trying to ascertain if you're a father. I'm not ready to be a mother to my own children never mind someone else's
  • Text speak and typos
  • A long list of your social media usernames, especially your Blackberry pin and Snapchat
  • Some blurb about your company, website or the charity you are fundraising for. Just no. 
  • A selfie of you in a vest at the gym / in your bathroom / in bed
  • Photos of you with someone we can safely assume is your ex

So far, I've swiped left a lot (I'm choosey! And that whole not being compelled by someone's looks alone thing isn't helping...), had a few conversations and been invited for a drink later this week. An invitation I found myself accepting.

We'll see how this pans out...

Jen

* That was one time, I was 14 and it was idiotic travelling 12 miles to meet someone I'd met on the internet! At least I had the presence of mind to make the meeting place a busy shopping centre and to take my best friend with me!
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Image credit: Denis BocquetCC BY 2.0

14 comments:

  1. I met my boyfriend through a well-known dating website, although (as I have told him!) when he came up as a potential match I did delete him as nothing stood out on his profile! It was only when he contacted me and asked me a question about our university (he had graduated from the same one I was studying at) rather than a standard opening question that I realised he had potential. We emailed and texted each other incessantly over the next few days, started speaking on the phone and via Skype, within a matter of days we'd arranged to meet up, he drove the 6-hour drive to come and stay with me (he did have a hotel booked in case it had all gone wrong!), and 10 months later I moved down south to be with him! But I completely understand your feelings about internet dating, Ben's the only person I've met through internet dating and I think if I hadn't have met anyone quickly then I wouldn't have renewed my monthly subscription - it is quite artificial, and you're aware that if you're on your best behaviour then it's safe to assume other people are too! I also completely understand what you mean about wanting to be with someone with a certain level of intelligence - it's an important thing, but quite hard to neatly quantify!

    I'm very much looking forward to hearing how the drink goes!

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    1. That's a great story, Amy! And I am so pleased it work it so well. I am always interested to know just how many people have real success with internet dating. It seems quite a few based on the comments on this post alone. I shall certainly be writing a follow-up post. : )

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  2. Ooh, good luck! I met my partner on OkCupid, after years of intermittent attempts at online dating, all of which had ended very badly (I wrote about some of them, I swear they are all - sadly - true http://wordsthatcanonlybeyourown.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/misadventures-in-internet-dating.html)

    What worked for me, which relates to a couple of your points, is realising that trying to present my 'best self' instead of my 'real self' would only lead to mis-matches. So my final profile said straight up that intelligence mattered to me, that I was sarcastic and silly and would judge them for using poor grammar. I was completely honest about myself, and also got my two best friends to write a couple of sentences (I think they came up with something about my obsession with Haribo, being equally happy talking celebrity gossip or philosophy, being a raging feminist... nothing madly flattering, basically!). And the upshot of all that is I met a man who is quite literally perfect for me - a PhD student, an activist, equally into long train journeys and geeking out about them, as obsessed with reading as me. Even so, our first few dates (ok, first 10 dates) were super awkward cos we're both so shy. But, it can work!

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    1. I am loving how many people have said they've met their partners this way! And a great story for you to tell. Maybe I should've considered it more.

      I've continued to use Tinder and definitely tried to heed your advice about being my real self rather than my best self. Fingers crossed!

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  3. Internet dating worked great for me, the second girl I had contacted has been my girlfriend for three and a half years now. But I suppose it's much harder for women, though this app does look promising. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Thomas! It's good to hear success from the male side of things as well.

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  4. Apologies for this late comment. I have never tried internet dating but my brother and his wife met online. I suppose when I was your age (I am really old now), internet dating was in its infancy still. I remember emailing my now husband, it was sooo exiting and fast!. I would probably consider internet dating now. I met my husband (and a boyfriend before him) during a science conference, specifically during the poster sessions. Similar professional passions and scientific debates are a good starting point for a relationship. I am assuming that scientific publishing meetings are similar to research conferences? The likelihood of other shared passions seems high (although of course I have not empirically tested this!). Downside is that you might meet someone who lives on a different continent (we did) and that you are similarly specialised (we were), making it difficult to find jobs in one city. But 14 years and 4 children later we are still going strong. I have messed my career up but that needn't be of course. Good luck Jen. Cx

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    1. Oh no need to apologise Christina! Thanks so much for your comment.

      You're right, conferences can be good places to meet somone. Working in academic publishing, I attend quite a few conferences a year and actually met someone a year ago. We stayed in contact for several months and it all looked very positive. However, like you mentioned, I think the distance was too far. It wasn't the only reason but ultimately, it didn't work out. I wouldn't rule out meeting someone this way again but I think I would try and keep my wits about me a bit more.

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  5. It's your prerogative to be as choosy as you damn well like! But well done on being brave enough to Tinder, can't wait to find out how the dating goes (in a strictly non-stalkery, blog reading, healthy way).
    I'd be completely screwed if I ended up single again.
    M x Life Outside London

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    1. You're right. And I can be choosy as hell!

      Ha! Well I certainly plan to post a follow-up for you to read, in a strictly non-stalkery, blog reading, healthy way, of course.

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  6. We say, "Love comes when you are least expecting it". Good luck Jen.

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    1. Thanks ES! And you're probably right...

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  7. As Michelle says, I would also be completely screwed if I ended up single again. It all seems so much harder now. Hope the date goes well!

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    1. Thanks Angela! Well, sometimes I wonder if I'm not a little bit screwed, or maybe it's in my head. *shrug* Only time will tell. OK, I've become a walking, talking cliché! :/

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