My fellow Manhappenin’ members fell upon a fantastic idea one night during one of our meetings: to assign a member of the team to attempt to go on as many first dates from Tinder as possible before the end of the Fall semester. Luckily, I volunteered myself, as I already owned a Tinder account.
To preface, I first downloaded Tinder out of boredom. The app is addicting, and to me, the swiping feels like a fun, ego-boosting game. I downloaded Tinder with no goal other than to occasionally match with someone I find cute and feel flattered that they also found me at least somewhat attractive. However, as a hopeless romantic I am always intrigued by the matches that actually ask me on dates. Therefore, this series was the perfect opportunity to dip my toes into the waters of online dating.
There are a few rules to this series. First, my identity will remain anonymous. Second, the dates’ identities will remain anonymous. Thirdly, I will not rank the dates or dehumanize them, because the point of this series is to learn about myself and provide you, the readers, with insights into the online dating world. With that said, let’s begin!
Date one took place in my hometown. My date drove an hour and a half for a first date with someone he texted for a whole two days. I found this move both bold and a red-flag, as I would never drive more than twenty minutes to meet someone I have no understanding of beforehand. However, the date let me choose the restaurant (a sushi place), and he held solid conversation the entire time.
The date lasted around two hours, and the last hour I was antsy to leave the entire time but couldn’t think of a good, and nice-enough, excuse to leave. When 9 p.m. came around, the date offered to continue hanging out, either on a walk or at my place, but I not-so-smoothly told him I had an early morning the next day–which was not a complete lie.
He walked me to my car, as any normal person would, and I could feel him wanting to kiss him. Me, however, being awkward but simultaneously confident, swerved the kiss and went for a hug. When I got home, my mom asked me how the date went and I responded with, “Eh. I don’t want to go on a second one.”
The next day, I texted him and told him I had fun but was not interested in continuing the relationship. To my surprise, as I’ve had several horrendous experiences with rejecting men, he responded with a collected response, and we went our separate ways.
As someone in their early twenties, my self-esteem suffers. Being able to tell a man I’m not interested, especially when he drove an hour and a half for a first date, gave me newfound confidence in my ability to not jump into the first relationship that comes my way. Secondly, texting someone and telling them you aren’t interested saves them, and you, time and energy.
Finally, and arguably most important, I learned that first dates are awkward. You never know exactly how to dress, what to talk about, who will pay the bill and so on. However, the awkwardness is what makes them human, and learning how another person navigates the awkwardness gives you important insight into who they might truly be. Pay attention to their mannerisms, and you will be a-okay.
Graphic by: Madison Wooderson