A week ago I did something I thought I'd never do: I joined Tinder. After swiping left on so many of my friends’ Tinder apps and thoroughly enjoying it, I figured I’d try it. I also figured since I’m rolling solo in Spain for the next month, maybe I could meet someone interesting to kill some time with in between work and sangria and tapas. Or maybe I could consume these things with one of the fine gentlemen I might meet on Tinder.
Joining Tinder is sort of a big deal for me. Aside from one week on OkCupid for an article years ago, I’ve never done the online dating thing in my life. I wasn’t against it, but it was just something that never crossed my mind. The romantic in me believed in meeting people organically IRL, like a scenario you might find in rom-com: We’re both leaving a coffee shop at the same time and my future boyfriend accidentally spills his coffee on me — and I’m not wearing white, so I don’t freak out, and love just follows. But, what I’ve come to realize is that I do not live in movie, which might be for the best. I’d probably demand a sequel that would flop at the box office.
With a few Tinder matches under my belt, a couple messages having been sent, and a possible date this week, I’m getting the hang of things on Tinder. I think. If anything, I’m definitely getting the hang of the fact that 90 percent of Spanish men have beards and tattoos... and this is a gorgeous thing and makes me want to move here permanently. But since I am so new to Tinder, I have a couple questions for the dating app. Here goes:
1. How Long Should I Wait To Message Someone?
After my first official match, I waited to see if he would message me. He didn’t. So, I messaged him about an hour later. I was friendly and nice… then I was unmatched from him. I’m thinking maybe I should have waited 24 hours. Or been less friendly? More friendly? I don't know. All I do know is that there's an Air France pilot out there totally missing out.
2. Why Do I Get A Match But Then They Go MIA?
Despite swiping thousands of times left and only 20 or so times right, I’ve had a few matches which is pretty exciting stuff! But then when I look at my phone later, the matches are long gone. I can’t figure out why this might be. Did they suddenly realize something about me that they didn’t like? Should I have messaged them? More importantly, why doesn't Spain have good pizza?
3. Should I Speak Spanish In Order To Get More Matches?
I get that I’m in a country where the first language is not my own, but considering I’m in a major city, I thought that some of the guys might have a minimal understanding of English (said the girl who only knows “cerveza” and “gracias”). I’m thinking if I want anything to happen, I should take a crash course in Spanish and Catalan. At least enough to communicate, “Wanna meet up? Because these messages are killing me.”
4. Is The Swiping Supposed To Be As Therapeutic As It Is?
Honestly, aside from my current location, the major reason I caved on the Tinder thing is the swiping aspect. I love to swipe! Granted, sometimes I go too fast and end up skipping someone I might have swiped right on, but the satisfaction of swiping left makes missing out on that person fine with me.
5. How Should I Phrase Things If I Just Want To Have Sex?
I’m not sure I just want to have sex or not, but I really want to know if there’s a phrase I can use to put that out there if that's what I decide. I like to think that maybe using the acronym “DTF” could get my point across, but I’m not sure if that’s coming on too strong and I’ll end up with a bunch of guys sending me dick pics.
6. If I Get Stood Up, Will I Get A Condolence Card?
Seriously, if I get the shaft from someone I meet on Tinder, is there any sort of condolences that will be sent my way? I’d like to know if there’s a complaint department where I can voice my disappointment in the caliber of their members.
7. When Someone Messages Me Does It Look Desperate If I Message Them Back In Less Than Five Minutes?
I really want to know what the protocol is on this one. If I’m interested, I feel I should just get to the messaging, but if I message too soon, I might look like I’m sitting around staring at my Tinder waiting for someone to get matched with me… which I am. I kid! Or do I?
8. On Average, How Many Right Swipes Should I Do To Get At Least One Match?
I have swiped left on easily a thousand people in this great city of Barcelona. Which, honestly, might be pretty strange because with all these tattoos and beards, I’m in heaven. But, that being said, if I did right swipe more I’d like to know if there’s a percentage of people that are guaranteed for every certain amount of right swiping. I don’t know if there’s any math behind it yet, but it would be interesting to find out.
9. How Long Should I Be Messaging People Before We Meet Up?
As I'm typing this, I'm also messaging with Marc; a bearded fella covered in tattoos who happens to be a criminologist. With my very limited Spanish and his very limited English, we're trying to negotiate a wine date. It has literally taken us four hours to get to this point and neither one of us has actually suggested a day or time. I'm only here for a month; I'm basically running out of time.
10. Is It Weird That I Didn’t Put Much Effort Into My Photo Choice?
I have read that the best photos for online dating are ones where you’re looking directly at the camera. However, when I look directly at the camera, I look a little aggressive. But I went with a direct eye-in-the-camera photo and just let all the other ones from my Facebook filter on in, because why not? If it's decent enough to be on Facebook, then it's decent enough to be on Tinder.
11. Should I Up My Emoji Game?
I’m realizing in my messaging that emojis are used A LOT in Tinder messages. I'm not an emoji person. But since I am a sarcastic person, I wonder if emojis would soften my delivery a bit. It seems to soften the delivery of guys who make bad jokes. However, I feel like a total fraud when I use them. In fact, I feel even more sarcastic. I guess I need to work on that.
12. Should I Take It Personally If I Message Someone And They Disappear On Me?
Although I spend my days and nights writing, I don't think I come across well in messages. Since that feels like an issue for me, when I message someone and don't hear back or, even worse, they unmatch me, I take it personally. Which, I'm thinking, I shouldn't, but I still can't help it.
13. Exactly How Much Longer Should I Give This Tinder Thing?
After a week of this, I'm not sure what to make of Tinder. I realized even before I joined that it might not lead directly to love or sex but, similar to meeting someone in a bar, would involve a back and forth dance of sorts. But I wonder how much longer this swiping thing will remain therapeutic and fun. I also wonder how long it takes before I get a cramp in my finger... or how many more days I can go without proper pizza. Yeah, things are really complicated for me right now.
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