What Guys Want You To Know About Online Dating, According To Comedians Jake Hurwitz & Amir Blumenfeld
It's 2016 and meeting someone through a friend or serendipitously running into your old crush at the DMV has been replaced with a strange and unusual mating ritual that begins (and often ends) with a swipe, match, and “hey there ;)”. The dating scene for straight Millennial women now consists of an endless supply of men within a five-mile radius who've all volunteered in exotic lands, enjoy a magnitude of socially acceptable hobbies that are best enjoyed shirtless, and are "laid back with a bit of a dorky side." Technology has provided, right?
Turns out, that despite the initial thrill of possessing the equivalent of a Sears Christmas catalogue of "partners in crime" on your phone, the contradiction of choice overload mixed with legions of chill bro clones has led to a dating scene that can feel downright depressing sometimes. And what's worse is that the struggle to find love online has magnified the gender divide. Rants about how "guys on Tinder are the total worst" are the new mimosas of brunch conversation. I'll be the first to admit that I, a single woman who's unsuccessfully stumbled through the online dating scene for five years, self-identify as one of those finger-pointing, man hatin' ranters (but not at brunch, I don't do expensive eggs).
Enter comedians and my new forced friends Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld. You may know them from their long-running CollegeHumor series Jake & Amir or from their weekly podcast If I Were You, in which the self-attested unqualified duo provide advice on everything from losing virginity to unread texts to their loyal listenership. Back in April, they launched Lonely & Horny, an original Vimeo series that explores online dating and Millennial dating culture, albeit through the eyes of the embarrassingly horrible protagonist Ruby Jade.
With all that's wrong with today's dating culture on their mind combined with their experiences as 30-something men who've dated in both NYC and LA (surprisingly, neither of them are Aziz Ansari!), I thought they'd be the right guys to answer my most pressing questions about online dating from a guys' perspective. But first, check out their appearance on Bustle's Sex and Relationships podcast, I Want It That Way:
1. What Guys Swipe Left On
All humans are prone to being judgmental monsters. Science even agrees, with researchers determining that first impressions are made in only 1/10th of a second, a phenomenon that explains our urge to haphazardly reject person after person on dating apps. But what moves our thumbs to the left is different for all of us. Amir is staunchly anti-screenshot. “If a lady has a really low-res photo as her main picture, then the next photo is the same photo but in a slightly different position, that’s an automatic left swipe for me.” (Confession I have the exact same policy, and I stand by it.)
As for Jake? He claims to be less critical overall but still admits that he finds it suspect when every photo is a selfie and recommends that we should display a variety of photos, lest the swiper ask themselves “Does this person even have friends?”
2. Profile Photos Dos and Don’ts
There's no debate that the first picture is make-or-break, and while they both gave a stamp of approval to the hotly debated group shot, they disagreed on whether it qualifies as first-picture material. Amir is on team no, while Jake thinks they’re worthy of prime real estate because not only does it prove you have friends, but “it’s like playing a guessing game.” Why not soften the pain of dating apps by adding an element of suspense and childhood fun? Genius!
3. The Best Opening Line Strategies
When faced with no more than an empty chat box and a person who is at that moment no more than a combination of their best pictures, your mutual friends, and witty caption on a screen, breaking the ice can be pretty tough.
Amir has one line that he finds effective enough to call his go-to: “If the other person has a name that's spelled two ways, like "Sarah" I'll say. "Hey Sarah! Don't you hate Saras?" and nine times out of 10, they do!” So get out there and try this line on all of the Johns, Bryans, and Zachs of the world.
Jake’s strategy is simple, but effective. “My only consistent go to is that I'll often allude to something from her photos or her bio. It shows that I did the smallest amount of making an effort. And since most guys on Tinder are deplorable, any effort stands out.” True, Jake, true.
4. How Guys Really Feel About Women Making The First Move
As if the existence of Bumble wasn’t evidence enough, men are not turned off each time a woman makes the first move. In fact, Jake and Amir assured us that it's not only a turn-on—it can be a welcome relief. Jake said, “Yeah, I don't even think twice about it. Sometimes it's nice to have the pressure taken off a little.” But think twice before sending a simple “Hi” because as Jake goes on to explain “All any opening line really has to do for me is ask a question. It's tough to respond to "Hi" with anything substantive.”
5. The Best First Date Spot
Now that you’ve finally made it offline, where to? According to these two, activities are in, but only if you’re both likely to bomb at said activity. In an endearing way, naturally. Amir suggests a bar with ping pong or pool, while Jake is all about the bowling alley, a venue with the golden trinity of drinks, food, and a sport most people suck at. However, Amir does advocate for night dates, warning that “daytime hangs feel a little too much like a job interview.”
6. When To Text After The First Date
What should you do when you want to express your interest post-date? Amir responded as if this was a non-question, saying "I've waited a few days and I've waited a few minutes. Each has their pros and cons, and there is no rule. If you guys both had an awesome date there's no need to wait." This is great, but it seems too easy for a guy to say, as someone who has not been subjected to the sexist advice women often get about having to wait for guys to make the first move.
Jake, however, was a bit more sympathetic to the plight of an anxious would-be texters. "It's all the worst isn't it?" he says. "I am a fan of just texting when you feel like it. Even if it's been just one day and you wanna see someone. I always think asking something like, "You up to anything fun this week?" is a nice way of hinting that you want to see someone. If date two is fully on life support my go to has been, "Hey ______, I'm going to _______ tonight with some friends from _______. If you're around you should come by!" It's a lot easier to invite someone to a fun thing than a date, and a fun thing can easily turn into a date if you peel off from your crew."
7. How To Turn Someone Down
The popularity of online dating has resulted in rational people suddenly believing in ghosts. And I'm not talking the spooky transparent Civil War soldier kind. You connect with a guy over your mutual love of Freaks and Geeks and then suddenly, ::poof::, your Devon Sawa becomes Casper. So what should you do if you're not interested in someone?
The ideal case, as Jake immediately points out is that "you [go] on a date and neither of you had a good time. Then there's not really a point in writing a rejection text. No one needs to have a bad date and then get broken up with." But in the case that you're not interested in your date and they reach out to you to hang out again, instead of ignoring their text, Jake advises to "deflect and see if they get the hint."
And if they don't? "In the rare case that someone doesn't speak the encoded dating app language I have invented in my head, I usually text that I had a great time meeting them but I'm not in a place where I want to go on more dates at the moment." This advice stung a bit as these were techniques that guys had used on me in the past when they became disinterested. So while I would prefer a more direct approach than deflecting invitations, what I will take from his advice is that guys aren't actively trying to hurt your feelings. In fact they're trying to avoid it.
8. The Benefit Of The Juggling Act
My severe case of incurable oneitis forces me to date one guy at a time and live under the willful delusion that I'm also the only girl he's dating, despite all evidence to contrary. For example, my assumption that a date had deleted every other girl's number from his phone after the first date was once burst after two texts from girls confirming dinner dates appeared on a guy's phone while he was in the bathroom.
As far as the best way to properly and respectfully keep a dating rotation, Amir advises, "If you're single, there's no problem dating multiple people a few times. It actually helps you put less pressure on each individual date knowing you have other ones lined up. But once you're in the three-five date range it's probably time to start choosing your favorite. Or at least letting all parties know what's going on. Maybe they don't care!"
9. When Should You Have Sex With Someone New?
When to sleep together in a new relationship is probably the most discussed topic amongst me and my friends in regards to relationships. An unfortunate truth is that we live in a world where everybody's doin' it, but women are basically told that they'll die under a pile of cats and empty Metamucil cans if they do it outside of the golden window of three dates/one month/before marriage.
Amir takes the more traditional approach of waiting for three dates before having sex: "It's probably safest to wait at least three dates... especially if you like that person. The pre-sex phase is a fun era of a relationship, there's no need to rush through it! And the longer you wait the better it'll feel when it does happen."
Whereas Jake retorts "I don't believe in that. If you want to, and they want to, then everyone wants to and that's really all that matters." I'm still trying to determine where I stand on this issue, but I was relieved to hear that the issue is so divided, so like with many things, it's all about stumbling upon that person you see eye-to-eye with.
The Final Piece Of Advice:
"Most people on dating apps suck," Jake says. "But not everyone! After all, YOU'RE on there and YOU don't suck, right? Try to weed people out through chatting as much as possible, it'll burn you out to go on a ton of bad dates. Don't give up. At the very least apps can serve as a nice distraction as you wait to run into your actual soul mate at an adorable coffee shop." Ah Jake, you make it sound so easy!
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To learn more about how guys experience the battlefield of online dating, check out their new Vimeo series Lonely & Horny.
Images: Giphy, Lonely & Horny