After recently calling off a long-distance relationship, I decided to get back on Tinder in time for my semester abroad in London. I’d used the app before at school and, truthfully, I didn’t love seeing so many familiar faces. It wasn’t until a few days before leaving for my four-month stint abroad that I realized how liberating it could be to meet new people in a city where I didn’t know anyone. Not only could I conduct a secret survey of American versus British guys, but I could also learn more about the British dating culture in general. After some urging from friends and in the hopes of eventually matching with a royal (dream big, people), I reinstalled the app in the airport as I waited for my flight across the pond.
11:16 a.m. First official day back on Tinder. I downloaded the app four days ago, but I haven’t had time to use it yet because orientation has kept me pretty busy. I whip up a gallery of selfies, and make my bio “Here for educational and entertainment purposes.” It’s not completely untrue. After Liking when I mean to Nope and vice versa a couple of times, I think I’m starting to get the hang of things again.
3:22 p.m. Finally racking up some matches. It feels embarrassing to admit how much of a confidence booster this is. Even though I’m navigating through profiles pretty quickly, I don’t feel brave enough to use the Super Like™ feature just yet. I let all of my new matches message me first, because truly, I don’t know what to say. In my opinion, only the strong will DM me first.
4:57 p.m. I’m happy to see a message from my first match, Greg*, who makes a joke about my bio. I check his in an attempt to come up with a funny reply, but his bio only briefly mentions that he’s a graphic designer, so I ask him more about his job.
7:25 a.m. The introductory DMs have really piled up. I’m relieved that I don’t have to initiate anything. Two new matches seem promising: Johnny* and Alfonso*. They take such different approaches to their first messages. Johnny is earnest while Alfonso is unoriginal.
8:55 a.m. Even though I like Johnny’s approach better, I decide to message Alfonso back first because I feel like he’ll respond much faster. We have a short back and forth, but I end up forgetting to answer him because I go sightseeing at the Tower of London for a couple of hours.
6:14 p.m. Greg does work for magazines. I’ve also worked for magazines, so I’m pretty excited by this response. I feel like because of our similar work experiences, we could have a lot in common.
10:29 p.m. Greg and I are chatting a bit now, and he tells me he works for the art desk at a really cool platform while adding some extra Emojis. He also asks questions about my work. Greg is pretty ambitious — he sends me three messages in a row, no shame. I’m just a little confused when he asks me if I’ve been “entrained” yet. I have to look up the definition of this word, and just respond “Entrained!?” He doesn’t answer me anymore after that. Epic fail on my part, because it’s not until after I respond that I realize he made a typo on the word “entertained.”
9:45 a.m. I’m taking a day trip to Oxford, so naturally, I’m on Tinder to entertain myself on this hour-and-a-half bus ride. I only Like two or three new guys because I don’t see many hot ones on this ride through rural England. I decide that I’m going to limit my phone usage during the tour so I can really enjoy the sights.
2:13 p.m. I couldn’t resist. In between a guided walking tour and our lunch break, I sneak away from the group to check Tinder for any new developments. I have some new matches and messages, but I refrain from engaging with any of them as I don’t have a lot of time before our next stop. While I’m on the campus, I try to evaluate the differences between Oxford guys and London guys but find it quite challenging as I make almost no verbal contact with actual Oxford students. It’s been much harder to casually approach British people than I thought it would be.
6:48 p.m. I write Johnny back and let him know I went to Oxford for the day. Hopefully he’ll realize this is the reason for my delayed responses. There isn’t much action from the other guys I’ve been messaging, so I’m hoping some of the new people I Liked today will pull through.
10:35 a.m. I’m chatting with a new match from UCL (University College London) named Jason*. He greets me with a simple “Hey, how are you?” Very direct, which I appreciate. I flip through his photos once more to get his vibe. He’s definitely a lot more stylish than the other guys. Also, pretty good music taste.
4:22 p.m. Circling back to chat with Friday’s match, Alfonso, who Super Liked me. I forgot to respond to one of his messages over the weekend, so now I have to make up for lost time. In a desperate attempt to recover, I ask him how to meet new people in London. He tells me he’ll hook me up. I’m unclear what that means. I make small talk and ask him if he’s met any fun architects (he goes to an architecture school) who we can go out with, and he assures me that he has.
5:32 p.m. Johnny messages me back and asks me how I liked the Tower of London because he’s never been. I unenthusiastically try to plug it. He’s definitely taking the time to get to know me, and he seems genuinely interested in everything that I’ve been doing thus far.
6:44 p.m. Jason tells me he’s Turkish, and it’s only his second year in England. Finally, someone who can mildly empathize with my semi-outsider struggles. I let him know that it’s my first time ever visiting the U.K. He tells me about his brief trip to New York with some friends and a summer program he did in Rhode Island. New York is a pretty standard place to visit, but I’m intrigued by what he was doing in Rhode Island specifically, so I ask for more details.
9:23 p.m. Jason and I message a little throughout the night. He tells me that he studies philosophy and economics, and wonders if I’m on a gap year. I explain to him that I’m actually just studying abroad here and mention how nice everyone and everything have been so far.
10:12 a.m. Wake up to new messages from Jason, Jacob, and Alfonso. Jacob still doesn’t reveal to me what “entrained” means, but Jason and I are developing a decent back and forth about places we’ve traveled to. Alfonso is definitely the biggest flatterer of the group. He’s not shy on compliments, and he seems to be invested in his future career as an architect. He tells me that there are a lot of fun people at architecture school and asks me for my Instagram handle.
11:16 a.m. Update: Johnny is now awake. Out of all of my prospects, he’s definitely my favorite — easy to talk to and not as overconfident as the other guys. But, as much I love talking about everywhere I’ve gone sightseeing, I’m struggling to transition the conversation to something more personal. I decide to ask him about the nightlife and his friends in order to spice things up a little.
5:34 p.m. I’m done with class for the day, and I find some new messages from Johnny. He always comes up with really thorough responses that aren’t overbearing, which I appreciate. After going into detail about a bad hangover he experienced last weekend, he tells me a little about his first time in America. SOS, he’s so charming. His behavior is completely how I envisioned British guys acting.
10:48 p.m. I’ve had a busy day full of museum visits, so I’ve been a little MIA. Alfonso has asked for my Instagram, and Jason has asked me to meet up for coffee. Sadly, nothing yet from Johnny. I’m starting to get a little overwhelmed by the energy it takes to maintain lukewarm conversations.
10:23 a.m. I know ghosting is super cruel, but I can’t keep going with Alfonso. I know I should just tell him how I feel, but I’m not sure how to phrase it after such little conversation. I give him my Instagram handle, and he complains about how his friends never like his photos. I say that we can now message via Instagram, but I know in my heart I’m not feeling it.
12:31 p.m. Johnny has played a little hard to get by waiting until the next day to respond. He says his only experience while visiting my home state of New Hampshire was getting a burrito at a rest stop while on a bus trip. I respond, “I love that,” and I genuinely mean it. Cute guy and a burrito — I’m down. Like most of the other guys, he spent his first visit to America in New York, and he talks about all of the museums and great food he ate there.
6:36 p.m. Whoops. I forgot to answer Jason about the coffee date. What is my problem? He’s obviously feeling a little scorned by me. I tell him I’m sorry and let him know that I wasn’t intentionally ghosting, just busy with homework. I agree to grab coffee with him on Friday afternoon for an hour in between classes, because it seems like a pretty neutral first meeting situation.
I try to steer clear of Tinder altogether today, just because I’m not in the mood for any probing questions about what my Valentine’s Day looks like. To make matters worse, I have to go see a super long production of ”Romeo And Juliet” tonight as a requirement for one of my classes. I’m feeling a little forever alone, but to ease the pain, I’m grabbing drinks with some girlfriends. I’ll revisit the app tomorrow before my date with Jason.
11:14 a.m. Jason messages me asking if we’re still on for today. I assure him that we are indeed and that I’ll meet him at the coffee shop.
2:11 p.m. It’s 20 minutes until my date with Jason, and he messages me that he’s running five minutes late. Pretty unfortunate since we only have an hour to begin with, but oh well. I’m feeling a weird combo of excited and confused, mainly because I haven’t done anything like this before — that is, chatting with someone online and meeting them for an IRL date. Thankfully, if it doesn’t go well, I only have to tough it out for 55 minutes.
3:35 p.m. I just finished the date, and I can confirm the boy is quite stylish. We talked about a lot of things, like our love for Frank Ocean, his first impressions of New England, and our mixed feelings about Nando’s. He offers to buy my coffee, which is great because London is expensive and seeing the world doesn’t come cheap. Overall, Jason was a decent guy with a lovely sense of humor, but honestly, I don’t really see a future for us beyond friendship.
10:56 p.m. Even though I didn’t totally click with Jason in person, that doesn’t mean I won’t do better with someone else. On that note, Johnny just asked me to grab a drink this weekend, and I’m definitely going to say yes. After all, my time here is just beginning.