Dating in college kinda sucks. So much so that every Sunday, my friends and I sit in a circle as we recount the week’s horror stories. (Turns out, the boy who “actually wanted something serious this time, promise!” also wanted something serious with two of my sorority sisters, and it was just a matter of days until he ghosted all three of us). Maybe we’re just cynical juniors, or maybe it’s our inability to stop chasing stupid frat boys who, it seems, screw us over time after time. Either way, it’s gotten to the point where I’ve eagerly entertained the idea of dipping into a new pool with dating apps. So I downloaded Tinder. I was ready for my shining swiping moment.
12:00 p.m. I’m pleasantly surprised and kind of shocked to notice that what seems like all of campus is on Tinder. You know those cute guys you constantly see on your daily route to class but who seem to disappear into the abyss once the sun sets? The unattainable athlete you routinely stare at during your math lecture? Brad from Phi Psi who rudely ignores you on campus, even though you once shared that super romantic dance-floor make-out? They’re there.
3:34 p.m. I didn’t realize how addicting this would be. I quickly “nope” those who I just don’t want to see. Looking at you, Brad from Phi Psi. But many of these men, especially those who I don’t go to school with, seem kind of promising.
10:15 a.m. Not to brag or anything, but I have like 100 matches and 10 Super Likes. This is actually a pretty great confidence boost. I start to explore my matches.
8:00 p.m. A flood of perfectly entertaining pick-up lines continue to pile up in my inbox.
Here are two of my personal favorites. So. Many. Question. Marks.
1:30 p.m. Most of my matches are either surfers, self-proclaimed actors/Instagram influencers, or some form of frat boy. Often, they are all of the above. I don’t know if this reflects poorly on my taste in men or on the remarkably un-diverse pool of single men in LA. Probably both? I filter out the just okay dudes and stumble upon a few seemingly chill guys.
7:30 p.m. Finally, a boy who may actually be worth pursuing comes along. His name is Ben*. He fulfills my requirement of having at least one nature-y photo (can’t date a guy who doesn’t like the outdoors, sorry) and has a sense of humor. Our conversation starts off well, until he asks asks if I want to come over to Netflix and chill. Maybe I should think about being clearer in (or just actually completing) my bio.
9:50 p.m. Nonetheless, I call him out, and our witty banter continues. He offers to take me on a “real date.” I’ll consider it.
10:15 p.m. The next guy who piques my interest is Chris*, a really pretty Australian water polo player at my school. It just so happens that things I’m obsessed with include Australia and water polo. Am I already planning our oceanfront Australian wedding? Maybe. I tell him about my plans to study abroad in Australia next semester, and he gives me some recommendations. He’s obviously planning our wedding in his head too, because he asks if we can continue our conversation via the classiest form of communication: Insta DM. Who said romance was dead?
3:00 p.m. Turning on and off my push notifications so they don’t pop up at the absolute worst times is a skill I have yet to master. I get a funny smirk from the boy I’m studying with for my journalism test thanks to all this action blowing up my phone. Oh well.
8:50 p.m. A conversation that started out pretty dull with a guy named Peter* begins to escalate. We bond over our love of “The Disaster Artist.” He even makes an “oh hai mark” reference. Heart eyes! We then realize that said reference was both his old Tinder bio and my old Instagram bio. So basically, we’re meant to be. Update: no longer planning my wedding with the Australian water polo player. Sorry, Chris! Peter asks for my number. Yay!
12:00 p.m. Chris and I start talking via Instagram DM. He’s a really slow responder. Quite annoying. I purposely like one of his photos from five days ago in the hopes that he’ll reply more quickly. It doesn’t work. Getting an actual meetup planned in a timely manner is harder than I expected.
6:00 p.m. I start ignoring Ben because our text conversation is not as riveting as the one on the app — it also annoys me that he didn’t bother to ask me a single question about myself before asking to meet up, not even the mundane “where are you from?” or “what’s your major?” nonsense. I also shamelessly do some Instagram stalking and find there’s just not enough available content of him.
9:34 p.m. I’m mostly excited about Peter. He’s a really good texter and makes me completely forget the fact that he’s essentially a total stranger. He quickly brings up that he wants to hang out on Friday.
10:30 p.m. I make a joke about how I’m going to have to make the impossible decision of whether he’s worth missing a frat party for (I’m half serious though; it’s a love/hate relationship with Phi Psi). He doesn’t answer, which makes me think this joke probably hurt his ego.
11:44 p.m. Two hours later, he finally answers and says, “all gravy.” Huh? In an effort not to ghost every guy who does something I find to be even slightly off, I let this one slide. I’m glad I do because I catch myself childishly smiling at my phone as we text all night. We bond over our love of movies, traveling, and skydiving. (I haven’t actually been skydiving, but I still think it’s super cool that he has. Fifteen times.) I agree to the date on Friday after I decide that he’ll probably be more thrilling than the frat party. As much as I just love spending my nights in a sweaty room packed with hotter-than-me freshmen, unidentified sticky substances that always turn my shoes green, and lovely young gentlemen who feel like they’re entitled to grind with me, it can wait.
3:00 p.m. Wait, a date on Friday doesn’t work. Once I’m done with class, I lie about having to go “out of town with my mom for a beach vacation” in an attempt to move it up.
3:15 p.m. Peter doesn’t answer right away, which makes me nervous. Why did I use this lame excuse? Why isn’t he answering? Why is Chris the worst Instagram DMer ever? Ugh.
4:00 p.m. Meanwhile, Ben calls me out for my ghosting. He’s actually a really cute texter, and his persistence is impressive. I decide I’ll give him another chance at some point.
4:34 p.m. Peter answers! He calls my lame excuse “precious.” He then says we can reschedule for tomorrow. It’s his first day at his new job, so we’ll have to celebrate. Aw.
2:00 p.m. Peter and I have a date today, but he still hasn’t texted me. Should I be concerned? Do I cancel?
3:00 p.m. Still no word from Peter. However, Chris is finally showing some interest. Why do things always work like that? A meet-up with him would be much simpler since he’s on campus. But no, that would be too easy.
4:00 p.m. Peter still hasn’t reached out. I give him a break since it’s his first day at his new job. I have to explain to my mother that even though she flew across the country to see me, I have to prioritize my Tinder date. She’s not pleased. Also, if Peter were to ghost me right now, that’d be so mean.
5:24 p.m. He finally hits me with a “we still good for tonight?” text.
7:02 p.m. He sets a time and place. Then, he sends me a video of himself to warn me of his “mountain man-like beard.” I tell him I’m terrified of mountain men. Is this a red flag? Well, it’s too late to cancel now. It’s also fine because he seems really cute in the video, and his voice sounds exactly how I imagined it would.
8:30 p.m. FML. I accidentally just napped for an hour and a half. I wake up all dazed and confused. How is it 8:30 already? I haven’t started getting ready, and I’m supposed to meet Peter at a bar 15 minutes away by 9:15. I jump into the shower, put on my go-to date outfit (black jeans and an off-the-shoulder black shirt), and attempt to fix the absolutely unacceptable situation going on with my hair. My friends yell at me, exclaiming that they would have been ready two hours before their date. One adds, “OMG, you’re totally going to meet the love of your life tonight!” No pressure.
9:18 p.m. Peter texts me, “I’m here.” Oops. I haven’t left yet. My hair is only half straightened. Friends are still yelling at me for my typical behavior. Why am I like this?
9:52 p.m. I am a record of 37 minutes late to this date. I would hate me. I would also probably storm out of the bar after sending a series of passive aggressive texts. But I guess Peter is a kinder person than I am. I find him waiting outside — he hasn’t even gone into the bar without me. Also, he’s just as cute in person. And the beard he warned me about isn’t that bad. We walk into this cool, speakeasy-type bar. I’m nervous/excited.
10:30 p.m. Date is going really well! At one point, Peter tells me I don’t make him nervous, which is either a good or a bad thing. I can’t really tell. He’s really kind, and actually respectful — a nice breath of fresh air from all the Phi Psi Brads I’ve been enduring.
11:15 p.m. I make sure to inform my group chat that Peter isn’t, in fact, a serial killer. I’m actually having a lovely time, which is why I tell everyone not to respond to this text. If they do, he’ll surely see what’s going on in my phone at some point, and I’d prefer not to embarrass myself.
11:30 p.m. I am a self-fulfilling prophecy. What do my brilliant friends do? Like the message. The “Guys, date is actually SOOO GOOD” text that I sent pops up on my screen right in front of Peter. Multiple times. He makes fun of me, but in a cute way.
12:00 a.m. We both have an early morning, so we decide to call it a night. Peter offers to take me home, but we decide that his 23-year-old self, complete with mountain man-like beard, might be out of place dropping me off at my sorority house. He calls me an Uber, opens the car door for me, and kisses me goodnight. He doesn’t even try to get me to go home with him. I’m embarrassingly smitten.
12:15 a.m.: I look at my phone and see Peter has already texted me to tell me what a good time he had. No games. This is a big deal.
*Names have been changed.