In the immortal almost words of Ke$ha, “It’s going down… I’m now on Tinder!”
I’m no stranger to online dating, and like most I’m no stranger to the potential disappointment that online sourcing of dates may bring. From JDate to Match.com, online dating is a pretty acceptable way to put you out there. When I mentioned Tinder to friends, their reaction was very different to my other online efforts. The general consensus is that Tinder is just a hook-up site. I believe that ANY online dating site can be a hook-up site… if that’s what you’re seeking. My approach to Tinder is the same as my approach on other sites- to find quality people to date.
The bottom line to Tinder or any other online relationship-sourcing site is that although it’s a tool to get into the game, the playing field is an actual date.
One of my Tinder matches was Gerald. His profile pictures were great, and the texting was, in the exact words of my pal Dateologist Tracey Steinberg, “fun and flirty”. We decided to get together after the holidays, seeing that both of us were pretty busy. The Saturday after the New Year was the perfect time to meet for a coffee.
When Gerald arrived, I was very pleased that his profile pictures were obviously current. He was a great looking man with a very nice smile. As we waited in line, Gerald and I inspected the baked goods in the Starbuck’s case.
“Anything look good to you?” I asked.
“I always go for the vanilla scone,” he responded.
“Never tried that before. I’m eying the chocolate covered graham crackers.”
“You should give the vanilla scone a try.”
I ordered the vanilla scone and my usual Venti bold, and we grabbed a table. As we started our conversation, I couldn’t help but notice that Gerald seemed to be a bit reserved. Friendly yes, but definitely on the quiet side. As the conversation continued, I realized that Gerald was extremely introverted. Being introverted is fine, but it’s sort of like a magnifying glass that makes my own extroversion seem even bigger.
As I ate my vanilla scone, I thought that maybe Gerald had a case of the first date nerves. As a potential antidote, I started asking him questions about what he likes to do in his spare time.
Typically, when talking about pets or hobbies or other things that jazz you results in letting go of the conversational trepidation, removing the barrier potentially caused by first date nerves.
The result? It worked. Gerald told me about making smoothies with kale, puppy sitting for a friend, and that he enjoys meditational retreats. The thing that scared me was that his vocal inflection never raised, nor did his level of enthusiasm. Gerald was flatter than a Flat Stanley. Perhaps he thought our date was a meditational retreat is what I thought to myself as I polished off my vanilla scone. Eating the scone kept me awake during an exchange that was dryer than the Sahara.
Ke$ha’s lyric of “One more shot, another round. End of the night, it’s going down” didn’t apply to my date with Gerald. I didn’t want a refill of coffee, and I had my fill of vanilla. The scone was actually tasty, but it didn’t have the melt in your mouth chocolate savor of the graham crackers. Nothing was going down with Gerald. As I said goodbye to him, I thought to myself that my dating life is really no different than my hunger for sweets. I crave something with a bit more of a punch.
Regardless of your choice of “service provider”, online dating has some pitfalls. As you begin communicating with someone via text, you may feel a connection with the person. However you need to ask yourself… is the connection real?
If you are feeling the groove with an online match, take the communication from texting online to getting on line for a coffee at Starbucks.
The dialogue you share via texting is a great start, however nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. An actual date will allow you to add not only their voice to their words, but also their expressions and level of enthusiasm. You’ll be able to experience your date’s laugh, and the sparkle in their eyes.
Or perhaps not… as in my date with the Vanilla Scone. That’s why it’s important to take if off the computer screen to into a first date venue sooner than later. Don’t lose site of the mission- it’s about making a connection on a date, not on your screen.