First of all, I’d like to preface this article by letting you know a little bit about me. I am 29 years old, single, with a career and a dog. I would’ve liked to say by the time I was reaching my 30’s, I would’ve been married, with two kids, and a white-picket fence. But, that’s not the way things worked out. Instead, I am nearing 30, my dog is my child, and I don’t even have a yard to put a fence around. To paint even more of a picture for you; I am not a perfect person whose got it all figured out. To be honest, I’m typing this in sweatpants (and my BB undies of course), I can’t remember the last time I brushed my hair, and I have a pimple patch on my chimple (aka a giant pimple on my chin) because the stress of a pandemic is a lot. The stress of trying to date in a pandemic, is a lot a lot.
Anywho, over the past few years, I have tried dating in every which way. In the times we’re living in, it has become super hard to meet anyone organically. And in a pandemic, in which everyone is required to stay 6-feet apart, chances are no one will approach you at a bar (if the bar is even open). So, online dating it is! I have proudly been a member of every dating app. I’ve swiped left, I’ve swiped right, and I’ve shaken my phone to reverse my decisions in times of desperation. I’ve gone on blind dates. I’ve even auditioned for multiple (yes, you heard me correctly) dating shows, in order to find love. Through these experiences I’ve learned a thing or two, and I’d like to share my insight with you, in the hopes that at least one person reading this can relate!
I’m just going to come out and state the obvious; modern dating is HARD. I have been on so many dating sites and apps, my eyes are blurry and my thumb hurts. But I have put in the work for the greater good, and have brainstormed a list of my top 3 favorites:
- HINGE I love this app. Along with the others, you swipe right or left (pending whether you are interested in the guy/gal or not. Hinge allows you to develop a pretty detailed profile regarding education, religion, career, hometown, current location etc. But it also allows you to give more insight regarding your personality. For example, you can write two truths and a lie. I find this so intriguing! So, 9 times out of 10, I will message a guy solely because I just NEED to know. For me, it provides great conversation starters, which is helpful when trying to meet and fall in love with a complete stranger.
- BUMBLE This one is a little different than most apps. You still swipe right or left to your liking, but the cool thing about this one is once a connection is made (you have both mutually swiped into the “like” zone), the GIRL has complete control as to whether the conversation continues. The girl has 24hrs to message the guy back before the connection is lost (ie: the match disappears into the abyss and the guy gets bitter). I think this is fun! The pressure may be too much for some people, but I think it also applies some motivation for women who may usually be too timid to start the conversation. If they are interested enough, they will have to speak up! Adds a little fire under your butt at least.
- MATCH this site is highly advertised, and I do like it! I can’t say that its my absolute favorite, but I do feel like you may get more serious contenders here. It is an app that you have to pay for, and when money is involved, people get a little more serious. But I did find that the pool of men was definitely on a smaller scale than the others. But worth a try for sure!
Things to keep in mind before the date..
EAT! When you go on a first date, don’t forget to eat! If you’re anything like me, you will most likely order a drink (or 3) at dinner to calm the nerves. That is in addition to the pre-date glass of wine you had at home while getting ready. The last thing you want to do is get too drunk to even remember what the guy looked like. So, eating is crucial. For some reason, I tend to choose sushi as a first date meal because in my mind it seems less messy than a burger or spaghetti. But, I always regret it when I can barely use chopsticks and I try to fit a whole roll in my mouth at once. Not the cutest. But hey, do you girl. I don’t care what you eat, just make sure you do.
WEAR WHATEVER YOU WANT. Of course, you want to impress the guy (or gal) but most importantly, you want to be comfortable. If you feel good about how you look, you will increase your confidence, and your date won’t even notice your outfit because you will be glowing regardless. So, wear the dress, wear those heels, wear that lipstick you’ve been dying to try. Most importantly - make sure you’re wearing your fave BB set underneath it all and get on with your bad self. But trust me, your confidence will be more attractive than your outfit label, I promise.
BE PRESENT. I don’t know about you, but I know I tend to overthink, literally EVERYTHING. I think about whether my hair has poofed from humidity, whether I have something in my teeth, am I talking too much, am I talking too little, am I asking enough questions, am I drinking too much, am I rambling (probably could answer that one for ya)…I could go on and on (#rambling). Sometimes, my thoughts are so loud, that I can’t even hear my date. I am so focused on what might happen next that I forget to live in the moment. I used to spend the entire first date being so nervous and consumed with my thoughts, that by the end of the date, my primary feeling was that of relief rather than excitement, and I still couldn’t even tell you the last name of the guy I was out with (but we really only need to know that for the instagram stalk, right?). Nonetheless, it is so important to be present on a date. Try not to worry so much about what might happen, and focus on what is happening. Listen to what your date is saying. Observe his actions (is he laughing at your jokes, is he checking his phone). All of these things are important. But it is so crucial to pay attention and really take it all in to gauge how you really feel about the person. PS - please put your phones away.
- BE HONEST. I cannot stress this enough. It is so important to be honest with your date, and yourself, about what you’re truly looking for. If you are looking to get married and have two kids tomorrow, tell your date that. Yes, that may be scary for most people to hear. But if it’s what you want, you have to be honest. If it scares the guy, then they aren’t right for you. Laying your intentions out on the table is important. If you are not looking for the same things, it will not work. I promise you that. I have been in many situations in which the guy wasn’t ready for something serious, and I thought maybe I could be the game-changer. But unfortunately, life is (*typically) not a Hallmark movie. This has been one of the toughest pills for me to swallow, but if a guy tells you he is not ready for a relationship right now, BELIEVE HIM. You are too amazing to waste your time hoping for someone to change.
Things to keep in mind after the date…
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “BAD TEXTER”. Let me say it again for the people in the back. There is no such thing as a “bad texter”. It takes less than two seconds to respond to a text. If a guy wants to call (or text) you, he will. If he doesn’t, he won’t. It’s really as simple as it sounds. Don’t believe me? The next time you are out for dinner (whenever the world opens up again), I want you to take a look around. I guarantee that 95% of people in that restaurant will either be looking at their phone in hand, have their phone in their back pocket, or have their phone sitting directly next to them on the table. You honestly believe that the guy you are dating “didn’t see your text” for days? Trust me, I have come up with many scenarios and justifications as to why he hasn’t texted me back too, but let’s get serious.
Hey sis, are you sitting down? I’m about to drop some hard truth.
- His phone was not dead for days (everyone has a charger and no one will go that long without finding one)
- His phone was not broken are dropped in a toilet (most likely)
- He did not lose your number
- If he says he didn’t see your texts, and yet is posting on Instagram or Snapchat.. move the F%$# on. You deserve better.
A DEALBREAKER IS CALLED A “DEALBREAKER” FOR A REASON. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of dating and the hope of what might be developing, that we lose sight of what we want or need. Even though the guy may look like Michael B Jordan (insert heart-eye emoji here), you need to make sure you are keeping sight of your standards. Now of course, I am not referring to physical attributes. I am a firm believer, that it is so important to date outside of your comfort zone when it comes to physical type. You may typically date men that are 6’2” and your soulmate may be 5’7”. However, it is important to always keep sight of your fundamental beliefs. If the guy tells you he never wants to have kids, and you do, then it most likely won’t work out. You can’t expect your partner to change their beliefs if you won’t either. These things have to go both ways. If it’s something your partner can be flexible with, then you must be open to being flexible too. If you or your partner won’t budge, then it’s a dealbreaker.
YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO PROVE YOUR WORTH TO ANYONE. Unfortunately, I have found myself in this situation more times than I’d like to admit. I will be so into a guy that I feel like I need to make him understand how great I am. I will put in so much effort to show him that I am thoughtful enough, cool enough, funny enough, to be with him. Then I take a step back and realize, what the heck am I doing!? Why am I fighting for his attention? Why am I working so hard to show this guy that I am worth his time? We’re all guilty of this. Yet, we should never have to PROVE ourselves to anyone. If the person you are dating does not know how great you are, using their own observations, then they are not even worth one more second of your time. What you really should be thinking about is if HE is good enough for YOU. If he ever makes you question yourself, then the answer is hard NO.
- DON’T FORGET TO MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of a new relationship. It’s easy to get consumed in the hope and the endless possibilities you create in your mind. But what happens if it doesn’t work out? If you’re like me, you probably spend so many minutes of your day thinking about what might become of this new guy; maybe you can go to that new restaurant opening downtown, maybe you can binge watch your favorite show together, maybe you can cook dinner for him (haha who am I kidding, I don’t cook). Regardless, I spend so much time thinking about the future, that if/when things don’t work out, I feel lost. I feel like I completely lose sight of what made me happy before I met this guy. That being said, it is so important to stay grounded and find things to focus on other than the guy. So, watch that show, go to that restaurant if you want. You may want the guy, but you don’t need the guy. If you like to read, keep reading! If you like to paint, keep painting! If you like to dance around your apt in your BB undies, keep dancing! Make sure you continue to find happiness within yourself while looking for someone to share it with. That may sound cliché, but it’s unbelievably true.
If you’ve stuck around long enough to get to the end of my rant, I want to say thank you for listening. Dating should be fun! If it becomes a chore, take a break. Trust the process. Trust the timing of your life. Everything will fall into place as it’s meant to. So, keep on swiping, give that guy a chance, put on those heels that have been collecting dust in your closet, or spend the night in with a facemask and a glass of wine. Whatever it is you chose, do what makes you happy.