Some say dating can feel like a full-time job. We think it’s a lot more fun than most jobs, but like real work, it is better when shared with friends and colleagues. In this series, Tinder users give us VIP access to one week of their swipes, first lines, and in-person meetings. You’re in good company, don’t you think?
Monday, 11 a.m.
After a lengthy hiatus from dating, I recently resolved to return to the scene in earnest. Truth be told, I find dating to be a tough pill to swallow. Between the nerves, the uncertain expectations, and the conversations that feel like job interviews, it can all feel a bit exasperating. Still, the possibility of meeting someone interesting and discovering a genuine connection — or at the very least having an engaging chat with a new person — can be exciting.
In an effort to improve my attitude about the whole song and dance, I’m trying to focus on the positive aspects of dating and romance, an area of my life I’ve historically neglected. I can only offer up cliché excuses like, “Oh, I’m just focusing on work right now!” as rationale for so long.
Not anymore! I bite the bullet and redownload Tinder.
Monday, 1:30 p.m.
I receive a message from Harry*, who it turns out grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the city where I went to college and a place I am extremely fond of. He immediately endears himself to me with an opening line that makes appropriate use of the hand emoji, a gesture Michiganders use to point out where they grew up given the state’s geographic likeness to an outstretched palm. We message back and forth nostalgically about Michigan things for a while. He seems like a nice Midwestern boy, which, unfortunately, I am a sucker for.
Monday, 9 p.m.
My foray back into the Tindersphere takes a turn when I open the app and spy a message from James*. Upon closer inspection, I realize he’s a good friend of someone I had a bizarre rendezvous with not long ago. Leave it to Tinder to make a city like New York feel incredibly small. James and I have never met, but I’m certain it’s him based on previous discussions I had with said friend. He clearly has no idea who I am, and I freeze for a minute trying to decide whether to engage. I opt against it.
Tuesday, 9:45 p.m.
I figure if I’m going to go through with this whole Tinder thing yet again, might as well go big or go home (or in this case, stay home, I guess). I decide to upgrade and give Tinder Gold™ a try.
The concept of seeing who Liked you first feels somewhat like cheating — if you can cheat on a dating app — but I must admit it also feels like having magic clairvoyant powers. (Or, as my friend put it, “It’s like playing Tinder God!”) I decide to try the Boost function, which increases the visibility of your profile to eligible singles in the area for 30 minutes. I am instantly overwhelmed by Likes.
Tuesday, 10:30 p.m.
Thanks to this whole Boost thing, I have become acquainted with Owen*. He has very pretty eyes. We exchange a couple back and forths, which include discussion of my bio that jokingly notes I was a sixth-grade archery champion.
Wednesday, 2 p.m.
Nothing further from Owen or even nice Midwestern Michael. Moving on, I start chatting with Greg*, whose profile reads “not a douchebag,” which makes me think… he might be? However, he’s fairly witty and I’m enjoying our banter. He asks me about being a reporter, and we start creating fake scenarios about undercover investigations we could work on together. Not a bad start.
Wednesday, 8 p.m.
It’s Wednesday night, baby, and I’m alive! Thanks to the powers of Tinder Gold, I discover a college acquaintance recently gave me a right swipe. I assume this is probably a nicety, the Tinder version of a head nod, and leave it. Still, intriguing.
I start chatting with William*, an investment banker. I usually veto Wall Street types, but figure in the spirit of expanding my horizons I’ll be a bit more open and less dismissive when it comes to finance bros. The conversation is fairly standard fare, slightly uninspired. I try to give him the benefit of the doubt as we go through the basics of where we grew up, what we do, etc.
Thursday, 11:30 p.m.
I receive a series of sexually suggestive — scratch that, they’re pretty overt — messages from someone named Doug* and am about to call it a day on the Tinder front when investment banker William asks what I’m up to. Apparently he’s just leaving work and would love to “grab a nightcap.” Seeing as it’s almost midnight and he hasn’t really impressed me thus far, I politely decline.
Friday, 6 p.m.
I take myself to the movies. Honestly, who needs a date when you can revel in the pure unadulterated pleasure of going to the movie theater alone and being completely off the grid for a solid two hours? Bliss.
Friday, 8:30 p.m.
I walk out of “If Beale Street Could Talk” and I am… feeling a lot of emotions. Afterward, I catch up with a friend over drinks, during which I receive a message from Greg, the witty conversationalist from earlier in the week. Expanding upon our previous conversation about mobs, I mention I’ve been thinking of starting “The Sopranos.” Perhaps an opening for Netflix and chill? He asks if I’m free for drinks tomorrow, and I say yes.
Saturday, 4 p.m.
Greg and I make plans to go to a bar he likes in Bushwick. I’m struggling to decide what to wear since it is exceptionally cold outside, and I’m anxious because it’s been awhile since I’ve been on a proper date. I’ve tactfully made plans for afterward in case it’s a bust and so I have a proper excuse to slip out. Always good to have an exit strategy.
Saturday, 7:50 p.m.
I purposely arrive 10 minutes early to gather my bearings, touch up in the restroom, and find a seat. The bar is a traditional Brooklyn dive with lots of eclectic decor, which is very much my scene. I decide to just post up at the bar and order a beer. I’m trying to look casual for when he arrives.
Greg walks in and we go for the awkward hug. We contemplate moving to an empty booth, but the place is starting to fill up, and we agree we’d feel guilty taking up a full table space, so he joins me at the bar. The bar is poorly heated so we leave our coats on, which gives the date a sort of stilted start, but we ease into conversation. He’s nice, has a lot of questions about my job and my life, and seems genuinely interested. But I’m just not feeling a vibe.
Saturday, 10 p.m.
After the second drink, Greg asks if I want to get out of here to “watch a movie and eat soup.” I thank him for a nice evening but turn down Netflix and soup, explaining I have plans in Manhattan. He walks me to the subway, where he gives me another awkward hug as I descend into the depths of the L train.
At drinks with friends, I explain I didn’t exactly meet my future husband this week, but they nonetheless commend me for my brave return to the dating scene. Dating in New York can have its challenges, and I feel grateful to have friends who keep me sane.
*Names have been changed to protect innocent daters everywhere.