Step one: download Tinder. Or it can be any app that our generation uses that allows you to meet young, attractive locals without ever leaving your bedroom.
Swipe right. Be sure not to swipe too far right and up or you might Super Like them, and how awkward is that to show someone you really, really think they’re attractive. It’s better not to give people the upper hand in these commitmentphobic times. Or worse, you might accidentally Super Like someone unattractive. Gasp. Undo! CTRL+Z!
Keep swiping right. It takes a few minutes/hours/days until you find a match. Well, hopefully not days.
Don’t look past their first picture. Dating is superficial. Keep it superficial. It’s too much effort to read their bio. You’re not in this for love.
Wait for the matches to pour in. Let them sit there. Don’t message any of them. Let one of them message you, “Hello.” Consider sending an Adele meme. Don’t.
Let an attractive person message, “Hey.” Look at their profile. Realize they’re not so attractive in their third photo. Unmatch. Don’t give a reason why.
Wait for someone to message you something interesting, beyond “Hey” or “Hello.” While you’re not in this for love, you’re also not in it for yawns. You need someone who can keep up. Answer their question. Say something witty back.
Don’t reply until five minutes have passed from their last message. Unless it’s your third message within fifteen minutes. Then it’s okay to acknowledge you’re both baited and into this.
Talk about personalities. Convince them to take a personality test. No, don’t ask them to take it. Just bring it up. See what they do. Don’t respond when they say they’re going to take a personality test. Let them send you the results. Then reply the next day. After you make sure your personalities are compatible.
Suggest you meet up. Don’t be specific. Don’t give your number. Keep this online. Remain strangers that just know random facts about each other that could also easily be deduced by standing behind them in a coffee shop line and reading their texts over their shoulder.
Make them say they agree; you all should meet up.
Make sure you both mention you’re busy and have random things going on this weekend, so let’s send each other our available times and see what falls in place. Say you definitely are busy on Friday/Saturday night, but you could do something in the afternoon. Daylight keeps things casual.
Make a joke about strangers meeting and it’s so weird, even though it’s 2016 and dating apps have been a thing since 2012.
Now that you’ve set a date, don’t message as frequently. Ask a question within the conversation and don’t reply for 18-24 hours.
Day of meeting, ask to move the time back. You’re that busy.
Tell yourself there’s nothing to be nervous about. You are meeting a stranger. There is nothing to lose. There is no audience to be embarrassed in front of. Your four mutual Facebook friends aren’t even real life friends.
Still get performance anxiety.
Wonder why you’re sweating and want to vomit on the drive to the date.
Wonder if this is even a date.
Question why we date. Remember you are content with your current life. You have friends, you have hobbies, you have better things to do than meet online strangers. But we persist in meeting random people because we’re looking for some person who theoretically makes our lives “more whole” or “better.” At least our mom and aunt say that.
Wonder if it’s all a farce or, worse, a social construct.
Ask yourself if it’s only the truly miserable who date.
Drive past the date place. Circle the block. You’re supposed to be there at 3 PM. Don’t park until 3:02 PM. Check your phone. Don’t get out of your car until 3:03 PM. You’re setting the bar low here. You’re asserting your apathy. You’re not here for love. You’re here because you’re bored and you do anything for an experience and you’re a liar and you’re nervous and your palms are sweaty and you hate yourself for being nervous because what is there to be nervous about?
See the person inside the coffee shop. Let your nerves go away. Because you realize it’s a person just like you.
Tell yourself you won’t offer to pay. Still offer to pay because gender norms require you to ask. Don’t argue too much when she says she’ll get her own. Make it a joke that it’s just coffee, not lobster. Let it break the ice.
Order something similar to them. I don’t know why, just do it.
Make a comment about the temperature. Say it’s really hot or you just went for a run. That’s why your forehead is sweaty. Duh.
Sit away from people so passersby aren’t secretly guessing if this is a first date (obviously it is), but close enough to others so that you have good people watching aka fodder for when the conversation lulls.
Ask what they’ve been doing that day. After all, they’re so busy. Be vague about your own schedule. You did this, then that, now I’m here. What about you?
Drop random facts about yourself that make you seem interesting and worldly. Remember you’re trying to get a second interview after this.
Ask about their pets, their siblings, what do their parents do, what is their job, how did they get into that, same.
Pull out your phone and show off pictures of your pets.
Laugh about something.
Maybe talk about the kid screaming at the next table. Talk about if you want kids. Insinuate that you think kids are evil.
Ask if they like scary movies. They don’t like scary movies. Say you love scary movies. Blame this when you don’t hear back from them.
Ask what they’re doing later. Say you have plans. But you actually do have plans so this isn’t a lie. But make the plans seem sooner so you have a reason to skedaddle even though the date is going fine.
Make subtle comments that you plan on seeing each other in the future, like, “We’ll have to try that” or “We should go there.” Obviously you don’t mean go today.
Wonder if you even like this person. You just met them. They’re definitely attractive, but their online photos might have been a bit more attractive. Think they’re funny. Remember they’re a stranger. Remember you’re a stranger to them. Think about how weird all this is.
But is it weird?
Say you have to go.
Have them say, “Don’t you have to go?”
Wonder if you’re going hug goodbye. You’re definitely not kissing. God, and please don’t shake hands. You don’t do that. Does anyone do that? Well, there was that one person. But you never saw them again. Probably because you shook hands.
Pause by your cars. Ask if that’s their car. Talk about the year of your car.
Say, “It was nice meeting you. Have a good night.”
Don’t mention the future. What is a future?
Get stuck beside them at the same stoplight. Don’t make eye contact. Or do. And laugh.
Turn right. Get the heck out of that intersection.
Obsessively check Tinder and see if they delete you. Debate if you should delete them to be mysterious. Realize you’re not that petty.
Wonder if you just think petty thoughts because you’re insecure.
Text them tomorrow some follow-up about what you talked about on your date and how was their evening and did they do that thing.
Don’t hear back from them.
Or maybe hear back from them. Exchange numbers. Wonder if you’ll actually meet again.
Write this blog post and consider retitling it, “How To Be Single: A Tutorial.”