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’s 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, 9:56 a.m.

Sometimes when I use Tinder, I feel like Joel Barish from “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Like him, I ask myself, “Why do I fall in love with every woman I see who shows me the least bit of attention?

I’ll catch myself tapping through a person’s pictures, reading her description, and crafting a (hopefully) witty opening line in my head, wondering what to suggest as a first date before I remember that I haven’t matched with, messaged, or heard back from her. Truthfully, she doesn’t even exist yet.

Oh, who am I kidding? Really, I’m just trying to meet someone. And that’s exactly why this is a rejuvenation week for me.

Monday, 5:14 p.m.

Soliciting feedback on my Tinder profile from trusted friends is turning out to be both a highly productive and highly demoralizing process. I’m getting a lot of shrugs and shrill ehhhhh noises in regard to my profile picture. The image in question has been my main photo on Tinder for the last year and a half, so this explains a lot about my lack of luck. What I saw as a white-hot picture of myself smoldering with James Dean-like confidence against a historic prison cell door in Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol — making me look worldly, moody and devastatingly attractive — was in fact just devastating. My baseball raglan shirt is too basic and grey and the door too creepy, I’m told. Also, I apparently look better when smiling, so maybe “smoldering” isn’t the look for me.

My bio is picked apart and scrapped. I’m accused of writing with the sole purpose of making myself laugh, and after looking through my saved history, I can’t entirely disagree. A few choice examples:

  • Just need somebody talented for a heist I’m pulling off soon. Undercover FBI swipe left.
  • Definitely not a cop. Tell me about your favorite outstanding crime you’ve committed recently.
  • The ship is sinking. The water is ice cold. I’m barely hanging on to this floating door. I just need the right woman to lie on it while I freeze to death in the Atlantic Ocean.

Monday, 9:22 p.m.

After a few hours of soul searching, I’ve finally landed on a new profile that gets nods of approval:

men on tinder dating experience read

And with that, it’s time to start using Tinder for real.

Tuesday, 2:56 p.m.

What’s the average number of swipes most people go through before they hit a match? I feel like I’m at quite a lot. Too much? Oh god, existential crisis incoming.

Tuesday, 4:22 p.m.

I match with Annet*. Based on the fact that she’s 3,896 miles away, I gather that she’s a Tinder Gold™ subscriber using the Passport™ feature to explore everyone New York City has to offer. That’s a lot of miles away. I spend a little time looking up the circumference of earth.

Tuesday, 6:21 p.m.

Next up is Sarah*, who declares herself a “vegan powerlifter” and if you’ve got a problem with that, well, buddy, you’ve got a problem with her. Her advice to you? Go ahead and powerlift that thumb to the left.

I ask her which of those two descriptions turns off more matches, since both sound great to me; she’s disciplined and takes excellent care of her body. Sarah says veganism irks more people by far. I congratulate her for making it to a full year then give her a break from the topic.

men on tinder dating experience read

Sarah and I keep chatting for a while, first about her favorite foods to bake, then I reminisce about a vegan chocolate chunk cookie for a while, until finally Sarah asks for my Instagram handle to continue her vetting process.

I invite Sarah out to a DJ set later that night with some of my friends. It’s definitely sooner than I’d have liked, but I’ve really enjoyed same-day dates in the past and figure the group setting might make it feel safer. Unfortunately, Sarah politely declines and says “maybe another time.” I tell her that’s totally fine and that I do think she seems cool. I give her my number in case she wants to grab coffee or a drink sometime. She thanks me for it, tells me to have fun, and wishes me well with a smiley. This is the last I hear from her.

Wednesday, 12:30 p.m.

Erin* pops in during lunch and it’s welcome. I always appreciate when a woman messages me first.

men on tinder dating experience read

This is in response to my bio, which includes the line, “an 8 back in Virginia, a 6 in New York. …OK fine a 5.” There’s an obvious dirty joke to be made here, but I’m just not that guy. I’m positive I would internally hemorrhage from the stress of going down this road. I don’t really know what else to say right now, and on second glance, Erin might not be my type, so I let her pass.

Wednesday, 11:50 p.m.

Siri* and I have been texting every few days in the background, usually late at night. She’s a stand-up comic, and I’m reasonably certain she just matched with me to get on my dating podcast, The Undesirables, which I mention in my profile. I don’t really know what gave away her motivations though; she was pretty subtle about it.

men on tinder dating experience read

Anyway, she’s very pretty and I get along well with other comedians, so we’ve been off-and-on late-night pen pals for about a week now. Tonight, we finally move things forward a bit more. Siri agrees to grab a drink with me, and I give her my number.

Thursday, 11:32 a.m.

Today I matched with Sonia*, who wrote a cute poem as her bio.

men on tinder dating experience read

I tell her a story about my poetry professor literally throwing the textbook at me when I didn’t know some relatively basic rules — a result of the class not requiring prerequisites and my last-minute need for a senior seminar. The story proves to be a miscalculation, and Sonia drops off the conversation.

Friday, 11:14 a.m.

Of all the queues in all the dating apps in all the world, she matches into mine. I’m thinking hard about what I want for lunch when Bianca* rolls into my life asking if I believe in ghosts. I super do not, but that’s certainly more interesting than “hey,” so I roll with it. Within an hour, we’ve coined the new politically correct term for ghosts (“ephemeral folk”), made plans to get shot down by the Coast Guard together, and discussed whether we’d be good roommates in hell. We would not.

men on tinder dating experience read

Friday, 11:56 p.m.

Bianca and I have been chatting nonstop throughout the day. We’ve already made plans for tomorrow to go to Spyscape, an interactive spy museum here in New York City. It has a laser field corridor, and I am very excited about it. Beyond that, we’ve covered other important texting topics such as the best rom-com (“About Time,” hands down) and why kissing in New York always feels cinematic.

men on tinder dating experience read

Saturday, 4:51 p.m.

Bianca and I meet up at Spyscape and immediately have the chemistry of a couple that’s been dating for a little while. We flirt, we laugh, we touch, we ruthlessly make fun of children; it’s fantastic. She demolishes me at the laser field corridor — twice — but it turns out that I’m kind of an expert code-breaker, so we’d make a good pair of spies.

Afterward, we go to a diner, share a banana split, and talk for hours. Deep in conversation, she starts playing with my hand and asks me a question. I try to answer, but she’s legitimately one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen and, embarrassingly, I lose my train of thought mid-sentence and need to look away to finish answering.

We share a few cinematic New York kisses immediately upon leaving the diner, make plans for next week as we walk to the subway platform, then share one last goodnight kiss.

Sunday, 1:10 a.m.

I’m just getting into bed when Adrianna*, who swung into my life like a wrecking ball a couple weeks ago, hits me up. She’s fiery — she loves to challenge over text, she’s explicit in what she wants, and she’s clever. We chatted on and off for a few days until she unmatched me for reasons I still have not discerned. But her card popped up again in my stack a couple days ago, so I shrugged, Liked, and didn’t think much of it. Now she’s back.

I’ve never really had a “u up?” buddy, so I don’t know how people go about this. It feels like wearing the mask of a more confident guy. We chat for a bit before she tells me to come over, offering the address “911 hell street.” It takes me a couple reads, but when I finally realize she effectively told me to go to hell, all I can do is laugh and tell her “well played.” She responds with a heart emoji and a “love you too.” After a little more banter, we call it a night.

Sunday, 6:40 p.m.

After a relaxing Sunday spent with friends, not (potential) dates, my week is almost over. It’s been exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure. Lots of opening lines went unanswered on both sides, and overall I’d say my profile rejuvenation was a resounding success. I’m chatting about it with a friend on the phone when I get a text from Siri.

I think next week is going to be busy, too.

*Names have been changed to protect innocent daters everywhere.