I Tried Using Only Susan B. Anthony Quotes On Tinder, And Here's What Happened
I've been on Tinder long enough to know a thing or two about right swipe regret. You know, when the millisecond you spend scanning a person's profile seems like enough time to make a solid judgment call, and then you find yourself sucked down a hole of despair while the person you thought was a marginally decent human being floods your inbox with messages like "hey there sexy, can you be discreet?" Is this degrading type of treatment the sort of thing history's famous feminists had in mind when they fought so hard to win women visibility and respect? What would Susan B. Anthony, the ultimate voice of women's suffrage, have to say about this kind of crass interaction? No seriously, what would she have to say? With International Women's Day on the horizon, I decided now would be the perfect time to try a little experiment — I would only use Susan B. Anthony quotes when talking to people on Tinder, just to see how matches would respond.
Granted, the majority of people I come across on Tinder are not tone deaf, sexist creeps. But, the dating app also isn't known for generating deep and meaningful conversation, either. I figured that by playing Susan B. Anthony, I would at least have an easier time filtering out the people who didn't share my values, though honestly, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I imagined at the very most, I would probably receive a few "lols" from people who didn't totally understand what game I was playing, or otherwise, complete silence. But, Susan B. Anthony did not become one of the most badass women in the history of humankind by backing away from a challenge, so I figured the least I could do was casually message a few people with bold declarations demanding equality between sexes and see what happened. After compiling a list of 20 or so of my favorite Susan B. Anthony quotes ranging in topic from equal pay to education to maintaining morale in the face of hardship, I was ready to channel my favorite 19th century feminist icon and see how her words held up in 2016. Susan B. Anthony and I were just two single ladies, and together we were going to take over the millennial dating scene.
The premise of my experiment was pretty simple. I would only respond to people I matched with on Tinder using quotes attributed to Susan B. Anthony, and with the occasional emoji when applicable (I like to think Susan B. Anthony would have liberally doled out the twin dancing girls to emphasize her message of women's equality, had the option been available to her). But, before I could even start swiping, I had to tweak my own profile a bit to help me get into character. I wanted to stay true to myself, while also highlighting the qualities Susan B. Anthony and I have in common — most obviously, the fact that we're both feminists, and that we both respect and employ the power of the written word. I also included a Susan B. Anthony quote I thought was equal parts vague and inspiring, hoping that it held just enough intrigue for matches to ask me about my plans for making the world a better place. Because oh, did Susan and I have plans.
With my profile perfected and in place, it was time to see what kind of love awaited me. I pumped myself up by looking in the mirror, staring myself in the eye, and repeating a mantra once uttered by Susan herself: failure is impossible.
In total, I messaged and interacted with 12 people. Here were the best — or at the very least, most interesting — responses.
Guy Number 1
The first person I talked to seemed to be pretty into my message of freedom and equality for both men and women — or at any rate, he was amused. I thought that maybe, depending on how far I could get with this conversation, I could ditch my Susan B. Anthony cover, and let my own personal charm take over to ask him out for a coffee date where we would evenly split the bill, and fall in love brainstorming strategies to break the glass ceiling. He seemed pretty DTF with a proud independent woman such as myself... until suddenly, he wasn't.
Maybe I came off too strong, or maybe he was just too tired on a Sunday night to join in my pledge to achieve gender parity. Either way, I didn't hear from him again, but who has time to sit around wondering what could have been when there's a whole patriarchy to bring down, you know?
Guy Number 2
Rather than jump right into talking about the wage gap, I decided to go in a different direction with my next match and discuss what it is I'm looking for in my ideal partner. I have to say, this struck a brief chord of deja vu. I feel like I've had this exact conversation with people before, normally during family gatherings when well intentioned friends and relatives ask me when I think I might "finally settle down." This guy, however, responded in the best way one can respond to pretty much anything — with a Ryan Gosling GIF. I briefly considered sending him a Susan B. Anthony GIF in return, but a.) that would have given my game away, and b.) those don't exist. Instead, I decided to silently extract myself from our conversation and join the throngs of men and women who will forever be known as The Ones Who Got Away.
Guy Number 3
But apparently, my war cry wasn't something he wanted to discuss, so instead he deftly managed to change the subject...
OK, so I broke character. But I can't just sit there and pretend like I don't love food, you know? (Side note: is "loaded potato" a euphemism for anything? I was too afraid to Google it.)
It's also worth noting that as this conversation was taking place, I was also chatting up another man we'll call "Brian" about the bread of independence. He did not find it interesting. Instead, he blocked me.
Guy Number 4
I wanted to take this person seriously almost as much as I wanted him to take me seriously, but his liberal use of emoticon smiley faces made both of these things difficult.
Guy Number 5
Don't let his feigned innocence and befuddlement fool you. This guy knew exactly what we were talking about...
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen — the most successful Tinder interaction I have ever had in my entire life. Only time will tell if I end up marrying this human. We'll have to check if we're taco compatible, obviously, but of all the people I messaged, he was the only one to immediately pick up on my strategy. And not only that, he was willing to play along with it. I received this message from him the next day:
See? Feminism hasn't killed romance.
Guy Number 6
This next person wins my eternal admiration for refusing to give up, despite his enormous confusion.
In my experience, anytime I bring up the words "revolutionary maxim" in conversation with someone I've just met, it's usually in attempt to get that person to go away immediately. But this guy never faltered.
Um, hello bro, the message is the whole point. Honestly, though, I think if we had kept going like this, I could have won him over in the end. His energy and curiosity were more upbeat than most of the people I've encountered on Tinder, and he genuinely did seem interested in what I was saying. Whether he knew it or not, he was falling for my feminist flirtations. Well, Susan B. Anthony's feminist flirtations. That woman had more game than anyone ever gave her credit for.
Did Susan B. Anthony help me find love? Not quite — but in my book, this experiment is going down as a success. I spend a lot of time on Tinder — we're talking a lot of time — and although I wasn't speaking with my own actual words this time around, the conversations I was engaging in were in fact leagues more interesting than some of the exchanges I've had using the dating app before. Usually, it's a never ending dance of "hey," "what's up," and "did you have a good weekend," followed by a quick swap of phone numbers, and then a first date that still manages to be a disappointment even though you swore you had no expectations going into it in the first place. But during my experiment, even though I was using someone else's quotes, I was still using them to convey beliefs that I feel strongly about, and want people to take seriously. The only difference was that I was using those beliefs to lead conversation, rather than resorting to meaningless chit chat or small talk. If someone didn't feel comfortable engaging, chances are that person was never going to be a proper match for me in the first place.
In other words, Susan B. Anthony was the perfect wingwoman. Her quotes may be more than a hundred years old, but they still managed to resonate in the wacky world of dating apps in a way that was engaging and thought-provoking, and not intimidating. I figured that I wouldn't be able to get anyone to interact with me after a second or two of pretending to be the OG suffragette, but I was wrong. Her words still carry a powerful message, and people can't help but listen.
And it's also possible I got a taco date out of the deal, too.
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Images: Wikimedia Commons; Kathryn Kattalia