Confession time: I dipped my toes back into the dating scene; specifically, the dating app scene.
It started innocently enough. I was away at a corporate retreat. It was after midnight, I was in a small meeting room that was transformed into our makeshift office. I was the only sober person in the room because I had a presentation to give at 10 the next morning.
The presentation wasn’t finished and I was in the room at a little past midnight waiting for my presentation partner to return so we could finish our PowerPoint and I could go to bed.
I was also freaking out. “I don’t like public speaking” is an understatement. At a little past midnight in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by my buzzed-to-drunk co-workers, I was wondering out-loud about how likely it was I could gone-girl myself in the next nine hours.
To take my mind off of framing my co-presenter for my death, one of my co-workers suggested we get on Tinder to see which of our co-workers were on the app.
Like I said, we were in the middle of nowhere. If you drop the radius to under a mile, the pool should have been limited to just those at the retreat.
The problem is none of us were on Tinder.
So, I downloaded the app: it really is incredibly easy to set up a profile so long as you are on Facebook.
The bad news was none of my co-workers were on Tinder. The good news was my co-presenter finally returned, we finished our presentation, and the next day I didn’t make too large an ass of myself.
But now Tinder was on my phone. And in the not so distant future, I found myself in a cab, a little tipsy, bored after already going through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and so I opened Tinder and started swiping.
These drunken taxi ride home Tinder swiping sessions lead to a couple of messages from out-of-towner looking to grab a drink and see what happens next, but nothing more. Still, I wasn’t daunted. Because now I was addicted to swiping and there was Hinge.
Hinge was just like Tinder, except instead of introducing you to random strangers in a pre-set radius, Hinge was introducing you to strangers in a pre-set radius whom you had common friends on Facebook. This was awesome. If anything were to happen with one of these guys, I would want him to get along with my friends. If this guy was already friends with one of my friends (or at least Facebook friends) than that is one hurtle cleared.
That is, in theory. I will never know if this is a reality. Maybe all of my Facebook friends are friends with their much younger siblings (and their much younger siblings’ friends) or maybe it is because I’m friends with all of our former assistants; but whatever the case, all of my matches were in their 20s. And not, maybe-they-are-turning-30-soon 20-somethings, but the I-started-college-the-same-year-he-started-kindergarten 20-somethings.
Fortunately, right around the time I started to wonder if 25 really was too young, an internet article introduced me to Bumble. Bumble was like Tinder but the women had to start the conversations and only had 24 hours to do so. At first this terrified me, but then I realized this was awesome. After all, once you matched with someone on Hinge and Tinder the question immediately arose: now, do I IM him or wait for him to IM me? How soon is too soon to IM? Does it look aggressive* if I IM him as soon as we match?
But Bumble sorted this all out. The woman had to make the first move and she had to do it quickly. Sure, you have 24 hours so there is still some timing quirks to work out but this finally felt like the dating app I had been waiting for my whole life.
And yet, it wasn't.
Because while I was matching with dudes and reaching out to them, they weren’t getting back to me (a phenomenon I would love a dude to explain to me). I tried varying my first text timing and my messages and yet nothing seemed to work. Well, that is not entirely true, I did get one date from Bumble. With a very nice guy. Who was 5;6”.
So, while I continued to vary my timing and messaging on Bumble, my coworker Abby** told me about an even newer dating app that her friends were all gushing about. Coffee Meets Bagel.
Coffee Meets Bagel lets you be more specific about what you are looking for in a match than the other sites and then sends you matches that have already swiped right on you every day (these are your bagels). You can also see other bagels who have liked you that didn’t meet your entirely too high standards as well as bagels who haven’t liked you (or whose standards you might not meet). But to IM those bagels you need to pay beans. You earn beans by logging in every day (you can also buy beans). Women are the ones who must make first contact and if you reject a bagel you were matched with, well, that will also cost you beans.
If this all seems wildly complicated that it is because it is. This could be why Coffee Meets Bagel turned out to be the final straw.
The reason I quit dating seven or so years ago was because it was time consuming and emotionally exhausting.
Well, setting up profiles on dating apps doesn’t take a lot of time, nor does it take a lot of time to check in (on most), and there certainly isn’t a great deal of emotion invested in swiping right or left. But I was also seeing no return on the time I was investing (which started to compound with every dating app I downloaded). And there really wasn’t anything more I could do to make it worth my time.
So, I deleted them all.
*And of course, by aggressive, I really mean desperate.
**Not Abby’s real name.