I joined Tinder this past summer while living up my Carrie Bradshaw moment at an internship in New York City. It was an adventure I embarked upon shortly after being dumped by a guy who, given we had been dating since the eighth grade, I thought would be my forever. Newly 21 and recently single, I was ready to “find myself” in a city where all dreams are said to come true. And I did go on one interesting date over the summer. He was a complete gentleman, so handsome, and bought me drinks. I called this my one date of fun and getting back at my ex, deleted Tinder, and moved back to Iowa to return to Iowa State University for the fall semester.
I came back to school so excited to test the waters and see what men would enter the picture. Well, it wasn’t too exciting. I didn’t want to lower my standards to hang out with a long-haired, dumb frat boy who cares more about his Instagram likes than I do. And after complaining weekend after weekend about the annoying Chads of the fraternity world, my sorority sisters convinced me to re-download Tinder and start chatting it up with potential bachelors.
4:00 p.m. Start swiping and am shocked at the amount of people I recognize on Tinder. I am nervous to like the cute boys who I’ve casually flirted with at the bar but have never taken it to the next level with. They had their chance. I decide to use the app to talk to guys I don’t know. Truthfully, I am surprised at the amount of matches I’m receiving, and it’s definitely boosting my ego. As I sit through my accounting class, I find myself intrigued by the number of boys on this app who live minutes away from me!
8:00 p.m. Right off the bat, I connect with a guy named Ryan*. Ryan is on the Iowa State Football team. He has potential and the thought of cheering on a player is exciting.
11:35 p.m. Having extremely interesting convos with Ryan. How can I describe him? Big guy, big heart. He is genuinely interested in my schooling, what makes me the person I am, and who I want to become. I’m shook. I didn’t know I would hit it off with a guy on Tinder right away. We chat for hours, and I weirdly enjoy it.
8:45 a.m. Ryan said “good morning” at 6:45 a.m. It was the first of several texts he sent before I woke up, and he continued to spell every word wrong. Not judging, but high-key the most annoying thing on the planet to me is when people don’t know how to text and can’t spell anything right. I’ll let it slide. He is very genuine, just a bad speller.
9:30 a.m. Ryan messages me again saying he will text me after “Rocks for Jocks,” a science class that is supposedly so easy that even jocks can pass it. The fact he recognizes that is true is interesting to me.
1:41 p.m. Got the “Hey cutie” text from a new boy, Seth*. By the looks of his profile, he is a cutie, has cute friends, and has taken some serious hiking adventures. My kind of guy! Right off the bat, we start real talk about school, which is kind of refreshing. No “Netflix and chill?” comments. Not saying I need a genius, but it is a step up from Rocks for Jocks.
8:15 p.m. I match with a guy named Brian* who I am v. excited about. His pictures are flawless. I mean, sometimes I don’t understand where this type of man can come from? He has lots of shirtless/ab pics that some may call douchey, but I call hot. I give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he has an extremely nice and sweet personality to go along with that body.
He begins the conversation telling me that he is “sore af.” I play along, and I honestly do think it’s funny. Obviously, we know his priorities: protein and crunches. He lets me know right away that he is a competitive athlete and a gymnastics coach. I figure I’ll throw in that I am “basic af” and do hot yoga multiple times a week to, you know, get on his level.
9:55 p.m. Dylan* comes in the picture. Attractive is an understatement. He immediately asks me for my phone number because messaging on Tinder isn’t “convenient.” I tell him that was a fast move but decide, why not?
10:00 p.m. “I can move faster,” reads a text. I know it’s Dylan right away. Now, ladies and gentlemen, hold onto your seats. Seconds later, he calls me. I haven’t even saved his number yet. He then tries to FaceTime me. I connect the dots and realize that it is Dylan. I message back and ask him if he just tried to call me. He says, “trying to move faster tho.” I very quickly let him know I am not trying to move that fast.
10:34 p.m. Seth and I have talked all day, like, constant convo. We flirted and learned about each other and what we are doing here at ISU. He also called me out for not following him back on Insta. Oopsies. Who knew guys could be so good at responding?! He is starting to pique my interest.
11:15 p.m. Brian lets me know that he lives in West Ames — that’s the best part of this small town I live in because it has some of the best restaurants and fun bars. However, I would say that the two most popular restaurants on ISU campus are in West Ames, and he doesn’t know either. Currently wondering if this is a real person.
11:40 a.m. Seth messages me to let me know he is studying for a quiz.
12:20 p.m. Ryan messages me back. Clearly he doesn’t know that I am thinking about ghosting him after his 6-in-the-morning message stream. I mean, who wouldn’t? But, he is super sweet. He asks me what I am doing tonight, and I respond by telling him I would never miss a Thursday night mug night. He responds seconds later with his Snap and says he will be there.
Questioning if I regret telling him that or not. But, I think, screw it! It’s college and I am usually a better flirt with a couple of drinks in me.
12:29 p.m. Brian asks me why I am on Tinder. I respond by throwing the question back at him. I figure we are probably on for the same reason — to meet new people. He lets me know that he is looking for a relationship. I am shocked. It’s a blunt thing to say, but props to a guy who knows what he wants. It’s kind of attractive.
1:09 p.m. I ask Brian if he goes to Iowa State and why he feels he needs to use Tinder to find a girlfriend. Most guys here I know are total Chads, and once they say they are in Delts (Delta Tau Delta), girls fall on their hands and knees to get their name on the frat’s registered Saturday party list. He bluntly tells me that he used to go to ISU but is only 21 and that he is socially awkward.
2:15 p.m. Now Brian says he doesn’t like big groups and won’t talk to girls in person. Next, he asks me out on a date! Way to make me want to sit across the table with a guy who is scared to talk to girls. But I am trying to meet new people, and he is very attractive. He gives me his Snap.
5:50 p.m. Seth and I are still talking about homework. Love the school effort but come on now, this is just silly. I have never talked about school and Excel worksheets more in my life. Sorry, Seth, but you might get ghosted if this convo doesn’t get more interesting.
8 p.m. I Snap Ryan a picture of my girlfriends and write, “Leaving for mug night!” I don’t want to make anything official and figure I will let fate take its course. I put on my typical going-out look: black crop top, leather jacket, and black jeans. He Snaps me a picture showing he is already out at the bar I am going to. I don’t respond.
11:15 p.m. Ryan has been spotted at the bar. I gather my girlfriends up, point him out, and make a plan. I know I want to meet him and see how the interaction plays out. I walk up to his table, reach out my hand, and say, “Hey, I’m Grace!” He replies by introducing me to his entire table of friends as his “Tinder friend” while giving me a side hug. Clearly, he is hammered. He takes me to the bar and buys me a drink and a shot of fireball. He is taller and bigger than I imagined, but honestly, I am kind of into it! He keeps telling me that I can’t tell anyone he was there because of his game Saturday — I guess he isn’t supposed to be out. I bring my drink to his friends’ table and get to know them and what they all do at ISU. They continue to say how great of a guy Ryan is and how much he has talked about me. I do get to learn a lot more about him, which I’m happy about. He is super sweet and makes me feel really comfortable, but I know that it is more of a friend-type hangout than anything else.
12:15 a.m. I tell Ryan I need to go find my friends, and he offers to help me look for them. We scope the bar and he pulls me onto the dance floor, where he gets a little too touchy for my liking. Yep, for sure only friends. I yell in his ear that I am going to find my friends and go home to bed. He asks if I want to go home with him. I slip away and say maybe next time.
9:00 a.m. Wake up to a missed Snap from Ryan asking why I didn’t stay over last night, and I don’t reply. An hour later, he unmatches with me on Tinder. Rude right?! But I’m not too disappointed. I am actually kind of relieved I won’t have to see him again. Looks like I won’t be cheering in the stands for his number.
3:59 p.m. Seth reaches out to me with a “Heyyy.” I am just so curious as to what he is doing with me. He tells me again that he just got out of class. I don’t understand what he uses Tinder for.
5:00 p.m. Getting a little discouraged. But, I am going to keep my head up and just keep having fun. It really is fun to constantly have people wanting to get to know you. I feel so popular!
5:30 p.m. Someone new is thrown into the mix. A boy from Drake University – around 45 minutes away. His name is Owen*, and he is as yummy as one could get. Tall, blonde, and has green eyes — totally my type. I am more than excited and he is beyond flirty — finally the fun I have been looking for. I tell him I am just looking to meet new people and have fun. He lets me know that, unlike Brian, he is not looking for a relationship and immediately asks what I am doing tonight. Owen’s messages are a little too much for my liking, so I tell him I am busy.
I take a break from Tinder. My parents come to town to go to the game with my friends and I, and we all go out to some of my favorite bars that night. I don’t want another Ryan situation to happen while drinking with my ’rents. I honestly am getting frustrated with my chatting record. Not sure if it’s the lack of romantics at ISU or my desire to meet a guy who actually wants something real.
5:17 p.m. I reach out to Seth and ask him how his Sunday has been and what he has been up to. Out of all the boys so far, he is the most consistent with being a good mixture of cute and awesome at replying. Yeah, we talk about school a lot, but after this week of messaging other guys, I realize that maybe I shouldn’t complain. We bond over how ready we are for break. I consider asking him if he would ever want to do homework together since we seem to have a weird connection over that. We will see.
12:02 p.m. Seth asks how my day is and at this point, I feel like I know a lot about this guy. He is super sweet and has taken a full week to get to know me, which in today’s world is a lot of time. I actually really have appreciated that he has come back to talk to me each and every day.
10:07 p.m. Seth calls me out again for not following him back on Insta. Major mistake on my end, lol. I do not go on Instagram a lot and totally forgot.
11:58 p.m. Our conversation trails off, and I really feel like this guy might be a little scared to make the first move. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I really like talking to him. I am all about female empowerment, so I think I might take the first step and see if he’d want to hang out.
As for Brian, he is very attractive, could be a kick-ass workout partner, and is honest. I think I am going to continue to chat with him, too, and see if it plays out into something more. I am open to opportunity.