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?

Sunday, 7:31 p.m.

It’s a rainy Sunday evening in Seattle, and I find myself where I have found myself time and time again. I am curled up on my couch drinking tea that I have accidentally over-sweetened, “watching” “30 Rock” while I dedicate the majority of my attention to voraciously flipping through Tinder. This ritual is near and dear to my heart.

But honestly, this is one of my favorite ways to combat the Sunday scaries. Looking at eligible men on Tinder is a nice distraction from the inevitable anxiety that comes with returning to work after the weekend. Maybe I won’t be doomed to another grueling and repetitive week after all. Maybe my time on the clock can be broken up by happy hours or trivia nights with men I have met online. Maybe this is the week that everything changes for me because maybe this is the week that Nick Kroll comes to town, logs onto Tinder, and falls in love with me!

In this episode of “30 Rock,” Liz Lemon has fully leaned into her spinster identity. I have two cats and am thus already halfway there. Not wanting to end up in Liz’s shoes, I am laser focused on my phone screen.

Sunday, 10:38 p.m.

I’m not going to lie. Tonight has not been the most fruitful evening. There is a lot of exceedingly scholarly research out there claiming that Seattleites are significantly less attractive than residents of other metropolitan cities. I often use this as an excuse for not finding people I’m into on Tinder, but then I remember, I am a Seattleite! I should be on an even playing field with these people! So why do I find them to all be so terrible?

I do not yet know why this phenomenon exists, but I do know that I need to free myself from the Tinder vortex and go to sleep. Maybe I will have some new matches waiting for me in the morning. (Kroll, I’m counting on you).

Monday, 7:03 a.m.

I wake up to a text from my friend saying that she was “majorly turned down” by a girl she was interested in. This week in love is off to a rough start. Happy Monday, folks.

However, I check Tinder and see that I do, in fact, have a couple of new matches, one of whom is an account baring the name “Joseph-William*.” This is not, as I originally thought, someone from old money with a painfully pretentious dual first name. Rather, it is two friends who have a smattering of absurd photos together with the following bio:

 

I am not usually into guys with an overtly goofy sense of humor, but I think this concept is pretty hilarious. I send him (them?) a message, “This is really tender tbh.”

They respond, “How tender? Like medium rare? Or really rare?”

“Practically raw,” I quip in return.

Monday, 11:38 a.m.

I check back in on Joseph-William during my lunch break and we continue to have some solid banter. I had originally Liked them as a joke, but now I kind of want to meet Joseph-William (or J-dubs, as I affectionately call them). Luckily, it seems they feel the same way. They suggest that we grab a drink later this week.

“All three of us, right?” I reply.

He finally clarifies that I have been speaking to Joseph thus far. I have to be honest: I would have gone on a date with either of them, but for some reason I feel like I should not share this with Joseph. We exchange phone numbers and agree to meet up on Friday evening at a barcade in Fremont. But wow, Friday is so…long from now. I should try to get something else on the books before. I open Tinder again.

Tuesday, 12:02 p.m.

I have a new message from Jason*, 27, whom I must have matched with at some point yesterday. He opens with “Damn, you pull off a decent Post Malone,” referring to what has easily been my best Halloween costume in the 25 years I have been on this earth. I thank him for fueling my ego and let him know that my BDE was absolutely off the charts that night. We end up chatting for a bit and discover that we went to the same college…and graduated the same year…with the same degree. Should I ask someone else from my program about him? Nah, he’s probably fine.

Jason asks if I want to grab “lunch or coffee or a drink sometime.” Offering up all three options seems a little excessive, but I choose to ignore it. (Do people go on first dates during their lunch break? Is that an actual thing? This is a serious question. Please let me know if you have done this). I let him know that I would be totally down to grab drinks this week. He immediately responds! Multiple times!

Tuesday, 12:55 p.m.

Jason, believe it or not, I am not able to immediately respond to every Tinder message while I am at work. This is a major red flag, buddy. I prefer to date aloof, emotionally unavailable men, and you are coming on pretty strong. Nevertheless, I still text him, ignoring his frantic last message.

Jason, what? No! I am agreeing to get one drink with a stranger. That is all I am willing to commit to when I have never met you. I am beginning to rethink my decision to hang out with him at all, but as usual, my thirst overpowers my ability to make reasonable decisions and I decide to simply brush it off by saying, “Cool, sounds good to me!”

Tuesday, 5:20 p.m.

Jason is relentless. I check my phone as I head home from work and see a text from him that says, “Do you do live shows?”

Huh? Do I do live shows? Have you ever met someone who, as a rule, refuses to attend any event that would be deemed a “live show?” Or maybe he was wondering if I frequently perform in live shows? In that case, is now a good time to tell him that I was a townsperson in my hometown community theater’s production of “The Music Man” when I was 12?
To clarify, I reply “Like going to them? I mean, usually, yeah!” He immediately responds, “Cool, there’s a couple of shows coming up this month. I’ll have to see if you know any of the artists.”

Needless to say, I will probably still meet up with Jason because I am really that thirsty.

Wednesday, 4:30 p.m.

Joseph texts me a photo of a jar of quarters and says “locked and loaded.” He seems funny, but I can’t help but feel like our date will be fairly platonic. I also can’t imagine that going to a barcade will facilitate a lot of meaningful conversation. And I don’t really enjoy playing arcade games. Basically, I am steeling myself for the absolute worst-case scenario. This has proven to be a great strategy in the past.

Wednesday, 5:52 p.m.

I meet up with a friend at a coffee shop on Capitol Hill after work and regale her with the bios and text messages of the two men I have agreed to go on dates with this week. She somehow breezes right by “two dudes who share a Tinder account” and demands to see a photo of Jason. She is serious and seems suspicious, so I immediately hand my phone over to her.

“Yep. This guy has been dating my coworker for two months,” she exclaims plainly, adding, “I know way too much about their sex life.”

OH GOOD.

Listen, I understand and respect the desire to go forth and sow your oats or whatever. But it seems like this girl is under the impression that she and Jason are exclusive, and that really bums me out. I think back to how he brought up that his Tinder notifications were turned off. I assumed that he, like myself, just doesn’t want his coworkers to see them while he is trying to show them sweet memes. I now realize there is another reason for his absent notifications, and her name is Julia and she is my friend’s coworker.

My thirst cannot not withstand this. I deem Jason to be unequivocally canceled.

Thursday, 12:46 p.m.

Jason texts me to see if we are still on for tonight. I tell him that something came up and I won’t be able to make it. Canceling plans is an especially exhilarating feeling when you feel like you are doing so in an act of social justice.

Friday, 8:19 p.m.

My bus breaks down as I am en route to my date with half of Joseph-William. What began as a $2 commute to the bar has quickly turned into a $16 Uber ride. Great start to the evening.

Saturday, 2:22 a.m.

Yes, it is, in fact, 2:22 a.m. right now. Joseph and I got along great and ended up going to a few different bars over the course of the night, but that is neither here nor there. We had one particular conversation that I am very caught up on.
You see, in said conversation, I discovered that we have a mutual friend — a friend who I have not seen in a few years but who I previously knew very well nonetheless. In fact, some might even say that I knew that friend biblically. His name is Matt*.

Joseph’s genuine excitement and surprise to learn that I also know Matt made it clear to me that he does not know the extent to which I know him. Is this something that Joseph should know? Would he ever want to know? Does Matt know that Joseph was on a date with me tonight? Regardless, it is safe to say that I do not see a real future for Joseph and me because of this.

That and the fact that he was wearing a large, brown, beaded necklace and matching bracelets.

Saturday, 10:17 a.m.

I receive a text from Matt enthusiastically endorsing Joseph. Nope, nope, nope. This is definitely weird.

Saturday, 8:30 p.m.

Sometimes I feel like the older I get, the more twisted in the web of Seattle men I become. What were the chances that both of this week’s prospects would be tainted by mutual connections? Will this continue to happen more often as more time goes on? How can I stop it? Should I stop telling my friends about my Tinder dates entirely? Should I ask that my Tinder dates not refer to any of their friends by name just in case I have dated or slept with one of them?

Dating can be discouraging sometimes. Actually, I find it to be discouraging most of the time. But that’s how it goes. So, armed with the motivational fear of Liz Lemon’s spinsterhood and the knowledge that I have absolutely zero mutual friends with Nick Kroll, I open my phone and get back to it.

*Names have been changed to protect innocent daters everywhere.