Just over a month ago, after going through a stupid dating situation with a stupid guy boy and reading an awesome essay by my BFF, I started to think more and more about online dating. Online dating has always been a fear of mine — very specifically because of my height. I’m 6’1” and can’t go outside without being reminded of it. I have been told a lot that it’s “intimidating” for dudes. I basically had this fear that having my height on my profile would be a constant red flag, especially on platforms that are based on the most superficial ways of meeting people. (Do I like their picture? Ok. Now I’ll learn more.)
I’m a busy girl, and my schedule had a lot do to with the end of my last relationship. I just started having this feeling of terror that if I continued to not make having a personal life a priority, I would wake up one day and be 40 years old and single because I had never made the time to meet anyone. And while there’s nothing wrong with being single, I want babies someday and that will be much more complicated if I never have a partner. It’s dramatic, I understand, but it’s a totally real possibility.
I read Madelaine’s essay and it definitely got me thinking about online dating. Plus, with my being single for a while and all, Facebook and Instagram are constantly showing me sponsored posts for a plethora of online dating platforms — a couple of which boast themselves as “the best dating app for young women.” I decided to conduct an experiment. I’d join the major dating apps, under a few guidelines, and figure out which one really was the “best dating app for young women.”***
For the experiment, I was to create each profile with the same photos, answer any overlapping questions with the same answers, and go on at least one date from each app.
While I exchanged numbers with plenty of people, I actually went on dates with 4 different people. They ended up only being from ¾ of the apps. (The Hinge crowd really wasn’t for me. Lots of finance guys in the J.Crew plaid shirt. Someone’s type, but not mine) Of the 4 dates I went on, I went on second dates with 2 of the guys and would continue seeing only 1. I know it’s not the largest sample size, but I came out of it all with a lot of thoughts.
One of the dates was a Tinder date. I was so excited for it because we had a great rapport over text and so much in common. But the second I sat down at the table I knew that the chemistry wasn’t there. That’s important to me. Unmatch.
Two of the dates I went on were from OkCupid with two different guys with whom I had more than a 90% Match and 0% Enemy. I mean, What could go wrong? But, again, while having a lot to talk about and a lot in common, there were no butterflies, no connection.
I’ve seen the last guy a few times now. He was my bagel on CMB and we went out with barely any conversation prior to the date. It was a weird one. The chemistry was there. Though we barely had spoken prior and even now barely know each other, I felt like I’d known him forever, so hanging out was really fun. His picture came across my OkCupid assorted match list, though, and it came up with 45% Match. FORTY-FIVE PERCENT! Fuck.
As an overthinker in life, you can imagine this all threw my brain for a loop. I mean, it’s not the biggest sample size ever, but out of a few separate dates the one person that I, like, have thought about when I wasn’t with them and who I maybe “like” a little bit is a 45% match? I can’t.
This sparked a new inner-monologue that’s now lasted weeks. What do I even want? I. Don’t. Know. I don’t have this surplus of time to dedicate to another person who is demanding that of me. But I do have some time, and I would love to spend that time getting to know someone, maybe even caring about them, maybe waking up with them and getting breakfast or something. And then take the seriousness of the relationship at a snail-speed that we’re both comfortable with.
There has to be a level of mutual trust and understanding and such. Every time I think of the answer to the question What do I want? I come back to the scene from GIRLS where Hannah and her drawn-on eyebrows are standing at Adam’s door and he asks her what she wants and she says, “I don’t even want a boyfriend. I just want someone who wants to hangout all the time, thinks I’m the greatest person in the world, and wants to have sex with only me.” Preach it, girl.
My couple of months of experimenting with online dating was well worth it, if only to conquer my fear of the whole thing. And while I understand the concept, at the end of the day the “spark” isn’t something you can measure over the internet or phone. Even when you find the “spark,” at least in my experience, you don’t necessarily know what to do with it.
***While I know I didn’t address this, my findings ended up being that I don’t believe there is a “best dating app for young women.” I think there is a best app for each person, and it just takes a little playing around to figure out which it is for you. I have plenty of thoughts on them all, though, if you want some insight before choosing!