By Christian Jay B. Quilo
Illustration: Enrico P. Santisas
LET’S face it, the dating landscape has changed from serendipitous meetings to online matches. It’s the age of dating apps and after a persistent convincing from my own sibling, I finally gave Tinder a go. Although I love a good meet-cute, I thought there was no harm in giving digital dating a try. This was unexplored territory but it was an interesting nonetheless. Just for fun, let me share my musings on my attempt at the dating app.
Setting the age limit
Is age really just a number? Personally, I’ve set my age limit between my age up to 30 years old. Although if age difference has no bearing on finding a date for you, you can obviously go younger or older. But since I’m new to this, let’s start with a safe age range.
On Tinder, you have a maximum of six photos to upload on your profile card and to impress your potential matches. Like a contestant of a Top Model franchise, you have to put your best photo/s forward or get eliminated (or in this case, get swiped left). A friend who used the app advised to curate a diverse set of photos — sporty, book-smart, outdoorsy, etc. — ones that show different sides of your personality. The problem was I didn’t even have good photos to choose from.
Writing the bio
Aside from the photos, there’s also the bio, which is equally crucial. This is where people put a brief description of themselves or their social media handles. Some are more creative when coming up with their bio, while others are safe albeit boring (like me and my “Who wants to go on a food trip?” one-liner).
Finding a match
I remember after hours of swiping, “It’s a match!” popped on my screen and I felt like I won The Bachelor. It’s not a big deal obviously (and full disclosure, it didn’t really go anywhere) but it did give me a pinch of boost in my ego. I thought, “At least one person thinks I’m swipe-able!”
Starting a conversation
Now that I’ve culled a handful of matches, now it was a matter of engaging with them. Clutching on firmly to my pride, I waited for one of them to send the first message, but alas, my waiting was in vain. So after some wise words from a dear family member (“There’s nothing to lose if you message them first”), I decided to send a very creative message to a bunch of them: “Hi!” Whether they replied or not doesn’t matter, it was a leap I’m glad I took. And honestly, it felt liberating.
Running out of people and likes
“There’s no one new around you.” or “You’re out of likes.” I’ve encountered both of these ordeals. When I was in the countryside, it didn’t take long before I was out of people to swipe. When I was in a big city, I was excitedly swiping left and right like my life depended on it only for my momentum to be halted because I ran out of likes. Swipe wisely, people!
Having no matches
I’ve been to a foreign city for a few days and had literally zero matches throughout my stay. Now that’s just cruel. But I brushed it off anyway. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me to give the app a rest temporarily and revert back to the old school way of meeting new people: by actually going out there and striking a conversation.
Seeing someone you know
This may not be a problem for some but personally, I have a bit of qualm about seeing someone I know on the app. I feel like when I see that person again one day, the first thing I’ll mentally blurt out is “Hi! I didn’t know you were on Tinder!” — and that’s such a great way to catch up with a friend.
Arranging a date
When you’ve done the pleasantries and small talk, it’s time to cut to the chase. Most often than not, we go on a dating app to find a date obviously. We put ourselves out there in hopes of starting or finding a connection with someone, whether serious or casual, longterm or overnight. So, the big question here is how do we meet? Maybe coffee for a quick rendezvous or if you’re feeling confident about it, a sit-down dinner.
Although I have yet to have some success in going on an actual date with a match on the app, the promise seems exciting but also scary at the same time. The date can either go two ways: it can be a train wreck, one awkward meet-up you wish never happened; or it could go pretty well and end up with a new friend or maybe even a new beau. But let’s save this part for a follow-up story, yes?