When I suddenly found myself in my early 20s single and ready to mingle, online dating was taboo.
It’s no secret that everyone tried it, but no one wanted to admit they were talking to strangers online, trying to avoid the creeps, and sometimes actually meeting up in real life to share a meal and awkward conversation with a stranger who likes ’90s rap music and cats.
I am no exception either; I’ve totally done it. After watching the episode of Packed to the Rafters where Rachel tries online dating, my housemate and I thought it would be a laugh so we jumped onto Oasis Online (because it turns out eHarmony costs money and we weren’t that committed).
Believe it or not, I actually met some really cool and somewhat normal guys. I spent many evenings chatting to one in particular on MSN (because apparently I spent a lot of time on that particular program) swapping music suggestions and hazy life advice. It was never technically online dating, as we had no intention of ‘dating’ one another and we never met in person, but he was, and presumably still is, a rad guy. Plus he never stalked me and introduced me to The Avalanches! Wins all round.
Just meeting people online in general seems to be a bit frowned upon though. I used to dread telling people that my boyfriend and I met through Facebook. I always told people “Oh we just met through mutual friends…” But I mean that we literally met through the ‘mutual friends’ function on Facebook; the person I told just never knew that bit. (It’s ok Mum, I promise I don’t always go on dates with strangers I meet online.)
These days, however, every person and their dog seems to be online dating. That’s not a joke either – there are websites out there for your pet to meet it’s fur-ever friend. I’m serious. (I wish I wasn’t.)
But forget RSVP, OasisOnline and eHarmony. Those sites are old school man! Tinder is where all the cool kids are at.
Let’s get this straight – Tinder isn’t serious right? Isn’t it just a place for people to act like sleazebags, post selfies and provide amusing screenshots for the internet to enjoy? You might want to make sure you’re sitting down for this revelation, but no – no it’s not. You can actually find real, long lasting love on Tinder.
I can hear you scoffing from a mile away, but push aside your skepticism for just a moment and hear me out because the proof is in the pudding – and the pudding is my dear friend Susie*.
One night over dinner with a friend at the local Chinese restaurant, Susie was grumbling that there weren’t any decent guys to date when her friend introduced her to Tinder. She downloaded the app there and then, and within minutes was on her way to meeting the next great love of her life. Or perhaps laughing at lousy profile pictures. Let’s not get too specific on the details.
Susie got chatting to her ‘matches’ and eventually decided to meet up with one guy. Ok, maybe two guys, but as she told me, “you have to keep your options open and if you chat to one person too much, it just makes you look clingy”. (And then if one of your Tinder matches abruptly ends all conversation, you have back-ups! Bonus!)
Both the dates went well. Really well. They turned into multiple dates, which turned into multiple problems. After uhhm-ing and ahh-ing, and making numerous pros and cons lists, Susie eventually had to choose and when two became one, she officially kicked off her first Tinder relationship.
Six months later, following a mutual decision to break-up when said Tinder boyfriend left to travel abroad indefinitely, we had a girls’ night out at the local pub to take her mind off things. Of course, I jumped on Susie’s phone to ‘play’ Tinder (because unlike a large portion of users, I choose not to sign up because I am already in a relationship. Why do people sign up when they’re already in relationships? Do they feel they’re missing out that badly?)
I wish I could claim it was that night I swiped right the next charming fellow that caught Susie’s attention on Tinder, but alas, I am not cupid. Charming Tinder Fellow didn’t actually live within a 100km radius of Susie, but by chance they had both been in the same place at the same time and matched, when in reality they live almost three hours away from one another. Coincidence or fate? I’ll leave that one up to you.
To cut a long story short – they met, Charming Tinder Fellow brought her home baked cheesecake (oh snap!), they fell in love and the rest is history! He also has a killer beard and all of her friends, including myself, approve (of the beard…yeah ok, of him too. But mainly the beard.)
See! I’ve proved you wrong! You can fall in love and live happily ever after on Tinder! But here are a few pointers from Susie for the next time you jump onto the world’s favourite dating app to meet your Prince Charming or Cinderella.
The Seven Rules of Tinder
- Don’t swipe ‘right’ to any guys (or girls) who have purposely taken topless selfies.
- If you’re female, please don’t include ‘I’m very aware my cleavage is falling out of my top’ selfies. They are creep magnets.
- Keep an eye out for fun and social photos – traveling shots, people out at parties and photos with friends indicate the person has a life outside of good lighting and even better angles. You can see what kind of lifestyle they lead, which can be also be a good conversation starter.
- ‘You look good in that photo’, however, is not a good conversation starter. Neither is “Hey babe, want to (extremely inappropriate suggestion).”
- One word answers are conversation killers. So are things like saying ‘nm’ instead of ‘not much’. Show us you care! Spell out the whole seven letters!
- Don’t give out your address to anyone from Tinder on first dates. Meet in public places. Let your friends know where you’re going. Screenshot your date’s Facebook profile beforehand and send it to your friend. Take a photo of their car’s license plate and also send it to your friend, especially if you’re going camping in a remote location that screams Wolf Creek. (For the record, Susie had met this Tinder guy in person numerous times and known him for six months before she agreed to go camping with him.) (But even so, please take caution.)
- Don’t swipe right to people who admit they’re in relationships. WHAT ARE THEY TRYING TO DO? SOMEONE TELL ME PLEASE?
So the big question – would Susie Tinder again? (And God forbid she ever be in that situation because we LOVE her boyfriend’s beard…I mean her boyfriend. We love her boyfriend.)
Susie said she doesn’t think she’d use Tinder again because she admits it is hard work trying to get to know people based on their photo and irregular messaging, and she does think she fluked finding so many nice guys.
BUT – there is always a but – Susie said she would use the more traditional methods of online dating; the theory of matching people based on their interests and personalities, rather than finding people nearby that you judge on their looks. (You know you’ve run out of potential mates in your local area when Tinder tries to match you to your brother. True story. That happened.)
Her advice to people who aren’t quite sold on the whole online shebang? Susie says to give it a go! What have you go to lose?
And even if you don’t find the perfect boyfriend or a half decent date, look on the bright side!
At least there’s a good chance you’ll end up with some amusing screenshots you can post to Facebook for your friends to laugh at and realise that maybe, just maybe, being single is actually better than dating inappropriate people on Tinder!
Win win guys. Win. Win.
*not her real name because apparently I got it wrong and people don’t actually like to admit to online dating.
Banner photo courtesy of AskMen.