I don’t understand Hinge, and other almost 30 confessions

Who has two thumbs and is mere weeks away from turning the big 3-0?

manny

Source: buzzfeed.com

This girl.

And who is also feeling less and less technologically savvy the older she gets?

no idea

Source: jezebel.com

Me again!

I am really feeling my age lately, especially in the world of online dating. New sites and apps pop up all the time and it seems like every five minutes there’s a new fad: taking it offline, group dating, matching based solely on (possibly lewd) pics, and now connecting through people you actually already know. Through all these trends I have continued to just kick it old school with my tried and true Okcupid, but then suddenly I looked around and all my single friends were on Tinder, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel and God knows what other hip new services that I don’t even know about. I can’t keep up! I’ve just been sitting in a lonely corner of the internet, sadly connecting to AOL via dial up and thinking about popping in a Blockbuster VHS tape later.

That may be a slight exaggeration, but I do feel totally late to the party on a lot of these sites, particularly the social media based dating apps like Coffee Meets Bagel and Hinge. They’ve always made me suspicious, and in case you haven’t already gleaned this from our paranoid blog musings, we’re a naturally suspicious group here at StuCu. I just don’t like the possibility of my dating life being broadcast on Facebook (clearly I prefer to voluntarily broadcast it to the entire internet) or some app mining all of my pictures, post history and personal info. And I know I know, that’s “not how it works”, but I don’t trust that douche Zuckerberg. Never have; never will.

However, after co-blogger D experienced mild success on Coffee Meets Bagel, I decided I had nothing to lose (besides my privacy. And my dignity. No wait, those are both long gone). And I liked the concept of the site:

cmb

Great! Amazing! I signed my single self up. And then… promptly rejected pretty much every single ‘bagel’ they sent me. Seriously, the pickins were slim. First of all, most of my bagels (naturally) lived in NYC. Second, most of them weren’t even friends of my Facebook friends, so basically it was REGULAR ONLINE DATING except with a much tinier pool of guys. Eventually I got tired of looking at a lame match from Brooklyn every day at noon, so I started to just ignore my daily bagels. This went on for weeks, until:

bagel1

bagel2

slow clap

Source: giphy.com

Bahahaha. You guys, I was kicked off of Coffee Meets Bagel. And honestly, I respect that. I was on their site but totally inactive, just annoyingly taking up space. Good for them for escorting me off the premises, because mama deserved it. Now, if Coffee Meets Bagel worked as aggressively on recruiting some actual eligible single dudes for their site as they did on getting rid of the dead weight like me, maybe people would be getting dates. Just a thought, CMB. I’m full of ’em.

The other sosh meeds connected site I joined was Hinge, which at first appeared to be slightly less useless than CMB. There were actual matches within 20 miles of me! Also, having a way to confirm that my matches weren’t going to allow me to use their girlfriend’s beauty products or you know, murder me, was a delightful bonus. I signed up, but immediately noticed that the typical demographic looked something like this:

hinge 24

hinge 24

youths

Source: giphy.com

Please note that I’m connected to the last guy through L. Um, here’s hoping he’s a friend of her younger sister’s.

Seriously though, I’m already feeling old as dirt with a milestone birthday around the corner, and now the average age of guys on this site is making me feel straight up like….

I don’t even like to date guys who are my age, because I personally feel that they need to have at least a few years on me to help combat the wild immaturity, funemployment, and lack of desire for an actual relationship that I’ve encountered time and again with the male species. Even significantly older guys I have no problem whatsoever with (remember the 40 year old who I comically went to see ‘This is 40’ with two years ago?) But when that age difference is in the other direction; yeah, no.

mrs-robinson-gif

Source: mattsko.wordpress.com

(RIP Mike Nichols.)

Back to my maiden Hinge voyage. I browsed through my alleged matches, swiped no on a handful of awful-looking/sounding youths before closing the app and ignoring it completely, for weeks, just like Coffee Meets Bagel. Then one day I was opening my Dunkin Donuts app to score free coffee after an Eagles win (the only thing football has ever done for me), and I thought huh, I guess I should get back in the ol’ Hinge saddle see what’s what. Lo and behold, I came across someone I was actually interested in. Which then made me realize that I had no idea how the app actually worked. So I Gchatted D for help.

This brings me to a comical display of my confusion/general cluelessness.

hinge

Jesus, now I know what my mom must feel like when she calls me to help her format an Excel spreadsheet (love you mom, but Microsoft Office is not your strong suit).

Then it hit me: I never even filled out a profile on Hinge, nor did I choose profile pics. What had this guy been going off of when he ‘liked’ me?

I clicked on my profile. The main pic was my Facebook profile pic, which was to be expected. Then I realized there were more pics of me, like at least 15 more, which again I did NOT pick. To my horror, I began scrolling through a gallery of vintage ph0tos (I’m talking almost a decade old) featuring yours truly at various stages of college pregaming, day drunk and red in the face.

Why, Hinge? Whyyyyy. I flagged poor D down again.

hinge pics

hinge sarasota

Never mind that ‘love your pictures’ is the tried and true pick up line of killers the world over, but why had this stupid app chosen such old pics anyway?? Even if some were my profile pics wayyyy back in the day, like any narcissistic millennial I have dozens of newer ones. And it’s my personal opinion that it should be a FEDERAL OFFENSE to post dating profile pics that are a decade old, let alone more than two years old. In fact, I should speak to L about hiring her vigilante task force to police this law. 

Okay, I thought. Some dude messaged me, and he possibly thinks I look 10 years younger than I actually do, so even though I personally believe I look 900 times better than I did in college (seriously, it’s all about the eyebrow shaping, people), I should probably still address that. So I sent my Hinge match a message to the tune of ‘haha thanks, I’m new to this app and it totally chose weird outdated pics of me drinking in college/switching them up now/isn’t the internet a WHACKY place?’

Minutes later, he responded:

hinge liver

Thaaaanks…? Damn it, was this another tea totaler? Grouchketeer, is that you?

And while I’m on the subject of things I don’t understand, feast your eyes on Hinge’s collection of inexplicable pre-written profile tags:

 

hinge tagshinge tags 2

So, they provide users with this list of jokey categories to use on our profiles and I guess help us appear cool…?. Is this something the kids are doing now?

out of touch

Source: knowyourmeme.com

Really though, goody two-shoes? Sailor? After partier? Midnight toker (cool it, Steve Miller Band)? LEISURE DIVER? Who would self report as any of these things with a straight face? Then I realized that everyone, literally everyone, was doing just that and putting these things on their profiles. So I figured, WHEN IN ROME, do as the youths do, and picked a few of the less douchey ones, figuring no one would care about which ones I chose, anyway. And then…

hinge road tripper

  1. Witty little opening line, Hinge. Well played. Except it took me approximately 4 messages to realize that Hinge was writing these and not my matches. (In my defense, every opening line is different, so it wasn’t clear at first! I know. God, I’m old.)
  2. Oh my God, these stupid tags. Here’s the problem, though: are we actually supposed to talk about being “r0ad trippers”? With a straight face? Because what does that even mean? Obviously I enjoy a good road trip every now and then, but who doesn’t? It’s like making a ‘pizza lover’ tag: unless you have some weird dietary restriction, it’s just assumed that you enjoy pizza, because only a serial killer wouldn’t. So thanks, Hinge, for creating the most useless faux-conversation starters ever.
  3. That last comment. I….’ve got nothing.

So I know what you’re thinking: “it’s Friday, S, and I’m ready for happy hour. Get to the damn point. Have you actually gone out with anyone from Hinge?”

Fair question! The answer is a big fat resounding:

nope

Source: www.reactiongifs.com

Literally what I’ve shared in this post is the furthest I’ve gotten with any dude since I joined. No dates, and almost no actual real conversations. I’ve gotta say, at this point I’m just going to take that as a sign that I should stick with what works. True, I haven’t actually gone on more than two Okcupid dates with the same person since…April (yikes), so whether that’s actually “working” is debatable. But here’s hoping that changes in my 30th year, and here’s hoping you all stick around to find out.

PS do any of you single readers out there use CMB or Hinge? If yes, leave a comment and tell us about your experience. Am I missing something? Am I doing it wrong? #old

Have a great weekend, readers!

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When a stranger sexts

About 1 month into joining OKC, J messaged me.  After just one or two back and forths to establish neither one of us were serial killers or hunchbacks, he asked me out. I appreciated his straightforwardness (I HATE prolonged messaging).  And, his profile was very promising. Why, you ask? Two things stood out to me:

1) He was legitimately good looking and tall.  Like over 6 feet tall. (Unless of course, he was using fake pictures.). There were multiple pictures of him, all looking tall and handsome and even one of him playing sports *cavewoman sigh.* And tallness gives you major points in my book. The average height listed by men on their OKC profile is probably 5’8. But, most men add 2 inches to their height (and when they are caught, they say things like, “Oh, I thought they meant when I was wearing huge shoes???Or when I’m standing on several stairs?”). So I think in real life, it’s more like 5’6. Which is only 3 inches taller than me. (Editor’s note: Boo fucking hoo, L. Some of us are 5’9 and struggle to even find a dude their height, let alone someone who’s 3 inches taller. xoxo – your tall, militant co-blogger) Point is, tall men are rare. Tall, attractive men, even rarer (Editor’s note: preach). Score! I marveled at my good fortune.

2) His profile was actually interesting. S and D and I will definitely get around to doing a full analysis of good vs bad profile content, but here is a little teaser. Most guys’ profiles are really boring.  They feature statements like, “I love to eat delicious food and travel and watch sports,” and “I’m looking for a sweet, cute girl who is high energy enough to go to bars with me but also low key enough to spend a laid back weekend at home.” Newsflash gentleman–you’ve just described 75% of the male population and like, actually 60% of the female population. But J was different. For example, he listed “gmail, snarky liberal blogs, and whiskey and ginger ale,” as things he couldn’t live without. Creative, and, all things I love.

So, armed with these two pieces of info, I gave him my number. He texted me the next day and we scheduled the date.

sexter 3

All good so far. This guy has a life, but he’s not a flake, and he’s capable of scheduling something. (I’ve learned that scheduling is a surprisingly rare skill for men to possess.) Our conversation continued briefly…

sexter 2

Perfectly normal stuff to talk about to a stranger. And he sounds like fun. Maybe this will be a great date.

I felt like we had ended the conversation on a good note.   Focused on the busy weekend ahead of me, I temporarily forgot about him. The next night (Saturday), I was enjoying some G rated fun at a friend’s house–hanging out in PJs and opening her bridal shower gifts. Around midnight, my phone beeped. It was J. 

sexter 1

What? I read it three times to make sure I was not hallucinating. I.was.not.  When I had come to grips with the fact that this was a real text, I imagined one of three things had happened. (Listed in order of most acceptable/least plausible to least acceptable/most plausible).

1. His friends stole his phone and were having some good, old fashioned fun with him at my expense. Immature, sure, but, this is the risk you take when you are dating 20-something guys.

2. He meant to text someone else. Who knows how many numbers this guy has in his phone or how many girls he is messaging on OKC? It’s possible he had a great date last night, and is just following up with some (hopefully liquor induced) banter. It’s not particularly flattering or uplifting to know he is seeing and sexting multiple girls, but it’s not like we are in a relationship or anything.

3) Unfortunately,and most likely: he actually meant to sent me the text. Why do I find this horrifying?

– First of all buddy, what do you mean “can’t lie?” No one asked you to tell the truth! It’s not like someone was cross examining you and they said, do you want this woman? Please remember you are under oath and committing perjury could result in jail time!” In fact, no one even asked you a question. At all.

– Second of all, why do you want me? We haven’t met yet. You’ve seen a couple of IPhone camera pics of me online, that may or may not be real or recent. And you’ve never even heard my voice. I’m basically the equivalent of a picture in a magazine at this point. This text made me feel one step below a Craiglist personal.

As you can see, I did text back the next day and give the dude one chance to explain himself. I was desperately hoping he’d say “I am so sorry and so embarrassed.” Or, even, “got too drunk last night. Hope you won’t hold the creepiness against me.”

But no, he’s just gonna say “my bad.” Which is what my 4th grade students used to say when they were caught breaking a rule or using the scissors to “tatoo” someone’s arm. Not good enough J.

So I decided to cancel the date. I feel like I’m already out on a limb online dating, and if I get ANY evidence of a potential weirdo, I should take it seriously. The sad thing is, if we had gone out ONCE, just ONCE, I would have been totally fine with, even flattered by a sext. But having never him, it just conjured up a sad, gross image of him sitting in front of his computer on a Saturday night and… and further more, how do you start a conversation with someone whose already said that to you? “Hi, I’m L, the one you can’t lie to?” or, “Hello, are you J, the one who wants me?” Too weird. So I texted him and called it off. He didn’t seemed too broken about it. (Though perhaps, in other cultures “K” actually means, “I’m so disappointed and can’t believe I blew this chance with an amazing woman. One can hope.)

I think I made the right call, but through consulting everyone in my social circle on this experience, I learned that people have different reactions to sexting strangers. What do you think readers? Was I justified in cancelling the date? Or is stranger sexting the romantic currency of the new millenium?

My best first date

This is the story of the best first date I ever had. But don’t get too excited, readers, as this story does not have a happy ending. Fast forward about 5 months from my very first okc date. I’d had some decent first dates, but nothing truly awesome. At that point I wasn’t convinced that there was such a thing as a great first date. Enter N, two years younger than me and pretty damn cute. He sent me a great first message, just the right combination of funny, charming, short and sweet.

N asked me out after a few messages back and forth. I was leaving for a work trip so we scheduled a date for a few weeks later, which meant there was a lot of build up before we actually met. In that few weeks we did some texting, but it wasn’t annoying, it was actually nice. We joked, flirted, and shared our favorite music. I was officially into him.

Finally, the night of our date arrived. I met N at a Thai restaurant in the city (his pick). I had learned pretty early on to push for just drinks on a first date, so if it turns out to be awful I can escape quickly, but when he suggested dinner I didn’t protest. We had hit it off so well online that it had to be good in person, right?

It totally was. N was cute and (miracle of miracles) actually the height he claimed to be in his profile. He was funny, smart and sweet in person, just like online, and our chemistry was good from the beginning. The conversation flowed easily: he told me about himself but also asked lots of questions about me and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. We drank Asian beer. We shared Pad Thai. There was enough snappy dialogue between us to fill an Aaron Sorkin script. Not to sound like a conceited asshole, but I made him laugh. A lot. I could tell he was into me. It was the closest I’d ever gotten to those fictional dates from movies and tv. Shit. Was. Great.

N had a good job in an interesting field and what sounded like a fun life. We talked about music, movies, books, college, our families, and the city. Finally, as our meal wound down, he offered to walk me towards my place since his apartment was in that direction.

It was drizzling as we walked and I wondered if N was going to kiss me. We stopped at our destination and he smiled, telling me he had a great time and would definitely be in touch. I agreed, thanked him for dinner, and was just turning to leave when he suddenly leaned in and kissed me. It was a short kiss and the only truly awkward moment on the night; he did it so suddenly it kind of startled me. It was honestly no more than a peck on the lips. Then he smiled, said ‘Bye’, and walked away.

I walked home doing an internal fist pump. Success! I thought. That was so much fun. The last part was a bit weird, but whatever. I was excited to hear from him again.

Except I never did. Days passed and I couldn’t believe N hadn’t called me. I started to feel really, really, unbelievably, spectacularly stupid. Did I completely make up how great the date was? Was it totally one sided and he was never into me the whole time? He had certainly acted like he was having as good a time as I was. How could I have been so wrong? Also, if he wasn’t into me, what. the. eff. was that kiss about? I decided that one of three things had to be the explanation:

  1. He wasn’t really into me
  2. He liked me, but wasn’t attracted to me
  3. (my preferred reason) he was tragically hit by a SEPTA bus before he had the chance to ask me out again. RIP

I thought about calling or texting him, but it just seemed too… desperate. This one was a real bummer. I don’t even mean N; I met the guy all of once, so who knows if I would have even liked him as much after a second date. I mean thinking something had gone really well and then getting a cold slap in the face telling me otherwise. I mean getting excited and then being let down. Also, there are few things more embarrassing than telling your friends, co-workers, roommate, mom, barista, pharmacist, bank teller and mailman about this awesome date you had, and then having to update each and every one of them when they asked with, “Yeahhhhh never heard from him again.” Ugh.

Am I a pussy for not reaching out to N? A few people told me to just call him. But I never want to be “that girl” who can’t take a hint, and I’m not sure there’s a bigger hint than someone not calling you. If he had wanted to see me again, he would have made it happen. Justin Long at least taught me that much.

Date rating: 8/10 (funny, smart, cute, great conversation, minimal awkwardness, good chemistry)

Lesson learned: Don’t get too ahead of yourself when things go well, especially on a first date. Also, don’t broadcast the fact that you had a great date to everyone you know until you’ve actually heard from the guy again.