By Sarah Todd
Photos illustration by Virginia Tieman and Kate Oneal
A year ago if someone had told me that I would be single, online and app dating, and writing about it, I would have seriously considered having that person committed to some sort of mental institution.
Hi, my name is Sarah, and I’m a serial dater.
Last year I was dumped by my boyfriend of more than three years and after a couple months of pity partying and throwing myself into work and school, I decided it was time to dust myself off and test out my game.
I had just returned to the college scene to attempt a second degree, and had a few years on a lot of my peers (I’m just not into younger guys). I’m not interested in mixing work and dating, and after a few failed attempts at the good ol’ fashioned bar hook up game, I just assumed I’d lost my touch and dating wasn’t for me.
Then, one day while not paying attention in class a good friend was showing me the app Tinder. Since a couple of my favorite activities include looking at hotties and judging people I quickly became enamored with it.
Riding BART flipping through countless pictures of available Bay Area dudes. No. No. Creep. Hottie. In between classes. Shirtless pic, douche. Mmmmm tattoos. No. No. Yes. Waiting for Game of Thrones to start. No. no. no. Yes please.
I never thought I would actually meet up with anyone, but within a couple weeks I decided to throw caution to the wind. I had been chatting with this guy for a couple days and we exchanged numbers, texted a couple more days and then made plans to meet for a drink.
That particular story isn’t that exciting. We got tipsy, made out, and parted never to speak again.
But when I got home that night I felt like I had been given Jedi powers, the one ring to rule them all, like I had touched the magic basketball in Space Jam.
I had basically hand picked a hot guy, got multiple free drinks, an awesome make out sesh and went home thinking, “yeah, I still got it.”
Fast forward to a couple months later: I was, and am actively using Tinder and OkCupid and going on multiple dates a week. More of my favorite activities now at my fingertips. Dinners, drinks, baseball games, shooting hoops, being flattered, and not having to deal with sexual frustration.
I love meeting new people and hearing what they have to say, and for the most part, my time spent online dating has been enjoyable and satisfying. But listen up kids, this is not for the faint of heart.
At the beginning of the summer I was excited about this sexy mustachioed man I found on Tinder. He seemed totally normal, fun, genuine and we quickly set up a time to meet the next weekend. Then he asked for my email address. I thought it was a little strange since I had already given him my phone number, and within a few minutes I received an email entitled “Oh god, I just can’t hold it.”
Attached to the email was a video file. I’ve since been asked by many friends, “Why did you even open it?” Are you kidding me!? Risk not having this story? Not a chance.
I didn’t ask for the video, I didn’t send nude pictures. This was completely unsolicited. Still, I was in possession of a video of mustachioed man masturbating over his phone, complete with a messy, moan filled ending.
Alas, I did not meet up with mustachio man. But he has officially been included in the The Dirty storybook and provides me with a cringing laugh every once in awhile.
I’ve learned a ridiculous amount about online dating in the past year. Without a doubt if I could give any advice to people considering meeting up with potential matches from the internet, I would tell people to be honest. Online dating gives a massive opportunity to lie about anything and everything, but it’s my experience that the more honest you are the better the results.
If you are looking for a boyfriend or a girlfriend make that known. If you are looking for just casual sex or maybe a friends with benefits type situation, be straightforward about it. But, if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for and you’re just testing the water, that’s OK. It’s totally acceptable to tell someone, “I’m not really sure what I want out of this experience.”
Be ready to reject and be rejected. Not everyone will message you back or think you’re hot and interesting. Believe me, you won’t want to respond to every person that likes or messages you either. But here’s the great thing, it’s perfectly acceptable to ignore people on the internet.
Not everything is genuine, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. A couple of months ago, after a few dates with a local comedian, he told me that to get my attention he used a“copy and paste” on me. This is exactly what it sounds like. People will copy and paste the same line to multiple matches as a first message icebreaker in hopes that someone will respond. The one he used was “So, we should probably get married now.” I saw the humor and responded with “Obviously. Since we matched on Tinder, that’s the next step.” That turned into some of the best sex of my life.
Don’t be easily offended, it’s difficult enough these days to find a partner, or just get laid. Strategy is all part of it. Put yourself out there, be the first one to make the move and message someone. Confidence is always sexy, whether online or in person.
Bottom line, be yourself, be open to new experience and always remember the obvious: meet in public, and if it goes further than a meet up and turns into a hook up, protect yourself, don’t take someone’s word of “I’m clean.” Better safe than sorry.