Tinder for conversation

By Cazey Williams Dating apps need no introduction. Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge: Your friends are on them if you aren’t. I have a friend who broke up with a dude because he was on Tinder while they were in Italy! Monsieur, what the hell.

I originally downloaded Tinder because – true story alert! – I was looking for a way to (ethically) meet a girl who was a student in a class I was TA’ing. Amy, I’m still looking for you.

For the uninitiated (though I’m calling your bluff if you’re single and aged between 18 and 26), you generally swipe right or heart a person on these apps if you think you might enjoy their company (read: looks). And then if the other person feels the same way about you, it’s a match, and you’re encouraged to chat, meet up, make babies, etc.

If you’re a female, matching with someone is considerably easier. “Instant gratification” is how my friend put it. You basically will match with anyone you say yes to.

That’s not to say I don’t have matches as a male; I just won’t share my number, not that I’m insecure or anything. In my defense, I am a selective swiper righter. If you have more than one selfie, no. If you like sports, I’m intimidated, so no. And if you are “a hot mess on a regular basis,” you are basic like the guacamole you love and eff no. (Though someone once wrote they love pho, and I almost said yes until I noticed their face.)

I actually sought out apps with better filters than what Tinder provides because of my requisites like grammar skills and a photo of more than your cleavage in bad lighting. On these classier apps like Bagel Meets Coffee, I can find my potential match’s height and occupation along with whether they have a trust fund or student debt.

So when I do find a match, they must be special, and I must be proposing right away. Wrong. Enter the classic commitmentphobe.

Many a-matches sit neglected in my inbox waiting for Prince Charming (me). I’ve messaged, like, five of them. I usually find them either blah or nonresponsive. One I did ask on a date (at my roommate’s urging) only to have it canceled before it was even scheduled. I believe her exact words were, “I can’t do this, I’m sorry.” Me either.

I suffer one crucial hang-up when it comes to initiating anything past “What’s up?” – and it has nothing to do with judging people who online date because I don’t. Essentially, I don’t know if I want to date. So I don’t know where I want this to go, so what am I initiating here? I’m not about that hookup culture, especially through an app (maybe I would be if this was Care.com and there were background checks).

Of course, I could just invite my hypothetical match (who never seems as appealing once we match as they did when I initially swiped right) to hang out and see where things go. But here, let us discuss the mainstream societal expectation that the man should pay on first date: Yes, not everyone believes this (phew), and also I agree there’s a gender pay gap so maybe it works out, but there is no bias in stipends for grad students, which is what I live on. Yeah, I could afford to cover coffee or no-strings-attached drinks (that means no appetizers), but the moment we say dinner, I’m thinking, “There goes the cost of my annual membership to the American Statistical Association.” And as you rise “to go to the bathroom,” I add, “That membership will pay the bills when we’re married.” Never married is what I really mean.

And if the date sucks altogether? I guess when the waiter comes, I could say, “Split please.” (<<<< Douche)

So for now I am content to collect my matches and stay busy with all the things I do other than chat with nearby strangers and pay for dates – and still keep looking for Amy.