Tag Archives: Hinge

Dear Stale Bagels, Where is thy HEAT?

18 Jun

I’m done with online dating.**

After what I’d like to think of as an absurd amount of just okay first dates, almost all of which originating from some kind of online dating app, I might be throwing in the towel. I am in the process of adhering to Stacie’s advice about accepting a second date, because I believe her logic is sound. However, I think as a whole, this online dating thing is just not for me.

Initially the idea of going on lots of dates each week was incredibly appealing.

Coming from someone who has spent 85% of my last 6 years of life in a relationship, I relished the notion of having new conversations with different guys, the anxious butterfly feeling when meeting them for the first time, the opportunity to experience something brand new and not know what to expect! But, and I know this goes without saying, dating in DC is hard.

Most of the months that followed the demise of my 5 year relationship involved a total disregard of typical dating. I just wasn’t interested. I was cool with meeting dudes at bars, semi-poor life decisions, and whatever, but I wasn’t ready to hop on the dating bandwagon quite yet. That’s when my friends discovered Coffee Meets Bagel, Tinder, Hinge, etc. And I figured #WHYNOT.

My past relationships usually spurned from friendship, or at least mutual activities. Unlike Blind Bagel dates, there was no need to discuss topics like where I’m from, what college he went to, or what we do in our spare time. Conversation flowed easily, and pauses never felt awkward. Why? Because I had already invested in this person. The spark was already there. With online dating, all you have is the hope that something in the initial 45 minutes of conversation will capture your attention enough to stick around for another round of drinks. But more times than not, all I really felt like doing after my first beer was crawling into bed with my iPad and cottage cheese to watch more netflix. That would be 800 times more enjoyable than hearing about their desire to live a more active lifestyle

These guys that I go on dates with aren’t bad (well, most of them aren’t). They’re intelligent, well-traveled, have more or less interesting and stable jobs, and I’m sure have excellent futures ahead of them. So why is it that last night I left a quite attractive and well-spoken date after one drink in a bar because I’d rather watch Inside Combat Rescue with my friend and his dog? I DO NOT KNOW. Other than the fact that there was once again, there was zero spark.

As our wise Betty once said to me, “I think online dating has made it so much about trying out the different guys as if they were dresses and trying to fit them into the right boxes that we forget there IS such thing as an immediate spark.” Personally, I would rather find a guy in a bar who I felt immediate chemistry with, rather than pray that it magically appears while I spill Korean BBQ tacos on my skirt with them at dinner. I’d rather go on a date with someone I already know who I have shared interests with and can talk to, than click “Like” on another sexy 6’3 Jewish man on CMB. The idea of meeting a stranger is exciting – but only until you actually meet them. (Side note, I will always support the sheer entertainment of tinder.) But it doesn’t seem like it’s for me. The question is, will I stop?

The answer, dear readers, is likely a resounding no.

I’ll continue to swipe right, click like, make small talk, and venture on to many more Just Fine dates in the following weeks. Why (besides the fact that I’m getting a ridiculous amount of free food)? Because I’m desperate to think that one time, it’s going to be different. Maybe this guy who talked about making Baklava with his mom will be sweet. Maybe this guy who travels to Europe 4 times a year will be interesting. Maybe this guy with the picture of him playing a piano means he appreciates the same things that I do. Maybe, Maybe, Maybe. I’m sure we all know the outcome of this already. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to heed my own advice from my own article.

Thus, I jump back into the never-ending cycle of just fine dates that, if nothing else, result in great brunching topics of conversation. I have yet to find a spark of heat in a single one of them. But who knows… Maybe someday my bagels won’t be stale. Or not.


(**I am not done with online dating.)



Bars are just Tinder without an easy Swipe Left Option

11 Feb

by Stacie Smack

Recently, I’ve noticed a surge in online/media commentary about online dating. This may have to do with the fact that I have a Google alert on the topic and exclusively follow online dating-related Tweeters. But it may also have to do with the fact that online dating is here to stay, and we’re starting to accept it as a “mainstream” way of meeting people.

I was discussing online vs. offline dating with my therapist (a 75 year old man). His first question was “who uses online dating?” Oh boy, was this going to be fun. There are just about a billion answers, but in classic Stacie fashion, I’ll stereotype and simplify and indirectly not answer the question but pretend to answer it.

I think online dating allows us to meet people in a protected environment. I use the word “protected” with some caveats. Obviously connecting with a total stranger whose physical existence you can’t confirm does not imply protection (I’m not going to scare you with stories, but contact me and I will direct you to some fun reads).

What I mean by protected is that online dating allows you, the user, to present your best self or the self you wish you were. More importantly, an online dating site/app gives you time to think. The prime example being at a bar: if someone asks you “so, what do you do?”, you can’t take a minute or two to craft a response. That would be weird. Online however, you can take all the time in the world to properly describe your job without sounding boring, or too passionate, or whatever it is that usually happens, because the appropriate response window is slower than the “conversational” rate.

None of this answers the who question. But at least it contextualizes the conversation. Maybe?

The next question was “why do you need that kind of protection?” To me the answer seemed fairly obvious. It’s because we have no idea who the person in front of us (at a bar) is. We know nothing about this person. We approach a total and complete stranger, and somehow we have to create natural flowing interesting conversation with someone who may or may not have things in common with us or potential for “compatibility”.

He concluded that nowadays, our generation is constantly surrounded by complete strangers. My therapist is a Latin man probably in his late 70’s who’s been married for a while. He spent most of his life in the same town. He knew his neighbors, he knew the people at his synagogue, everyone knew someone in common WE (you and I) don’t necessarily have that.

We kind of form communities at work, or at kickball, or at book club, or at whatever extracurricular activity you partake in. But there’s a limited number of people we meet at these places, and it’s kind of hard to just go up to one of these people and say “introduce me to your friends since it’s probably easier to successfully date someone who knows you”. So instead we go to bars and try to say hi to strangers.

In his time apparently, you knew who were the good and bad apples, generally speaking. Today at a bar, we don’t know if the guy we’re going to say hi is a pump-and-dump sort of guy or a long-term sort of guy, or if he’s going to make you pay for expensive dinners and never call you again. But we’re not deterred by this uncertainty. It’s part of the gamble of dating and meeting people, and it’s a risk we’re willing to take if it means not becoming a cat lady. Wouldn’t it be nice if every guy just wore a shirt with basic facts about him printed? Single, Non-smoker, bacon-lover, owns a dog, favorite movie is 300. At a glance, we would make some judgements and assumptions and the stranger would become just a little less… strange?

Enter, online dating. Even the newer, less labor intensive sites like Coffee Meets Bagel, Hinge, and Tinder require some basic information about the user. They also link to the user’s facebook and take advantage of what it means to have “friends in common” nowadays. The mere fact of having a facebook is today seen as proof of existence – we are more likely to trust an online profile that’s associated with a facebook profile. How many fake facebook profiles do we come across normally? No that many I would think. Beyond that, we get a handful of facts that are likely to spark interest (or flag for removal…) Yeah, people like to focus on the shallowness of some of these apps, as our decision making process is primarily based on photos. But how different is that from how you decide to approach someone at a bar? Neither is a perfect system, but both are available choices.

On Singledom and Being Single

24 Sep

by Stacie Smack

So many of my friends “just want to be single”. They fall into relationships too easily – they are the “commitment” types. They just find these great interesting guys willing to pay attention to them and they just happen to start dating and within a month, they just happen to be spending every night together, and this happens totally unintentionally. Or so they say….

But here’s how it really goes:

“I just want to be single for a while – meet some randos. I’m done with relationships” is what one of them will say after a breakup. So we get dolled up, we pre-game, and we head to Brass Monkey. And then we troll for men. I’m not going to lie, I have an eye for the single dudes at bars (which in DC happens to be 4 out 5 guys who go to Brass Monkey because, well, it’s Brass Monkey). Hi! Meet Jacob, or Lance, or Dave, or that guy, or the tall dude, or the one in the blue shirt… by 2am and 6 tequila shots later, I just point and say “drunkkkkkk, sex? friend”. But then it gets too real for her, and they just want jumbo-slice. So we go home and my newly single friend who didn’t make out with anyone is upset. “But that’s fine,” I say, “That’s what being single is.” Singledom. One person. Alone.

But not for you.

Let’s talk about what you think being single entails. You walk out in your sexy outfit (bandage skirt and generic forever 21 top and flats, because hello, DC). And then a spotlight lights up the path you walk on because you are on a runway and every guy at the bar, who is obviously educated, cute, and not a dick is staring at you – wanting you. Because all they have to do is look at you to know that you are amazing, and that you are the one who is going to turn them from Perpetual Bachelor to Relationship Man. And guys are just going to walk up to you with free drinks and witty rapport, with no intention of taking off your pants. And you get to make out with all of them! YAY!

Oh, wait a second…

The truth is you aren’t going on regular dates. You set up a OkCupid profile and get Hinge, but quickly realize that there are zero prospects out there. You probably will have to replace the batteries of your vibrator more frequently than you are willing to admit. Or maybe you have to go and buy one (I’ve got tips for you). But you eventually exit Singledom, and that’s where your path and mine divert.

Here’s what will happen to you.

Three weeks will pass, and you hate the single life. Congratulations! You’ve gotten a tiny taste of my life. But then. Then, it all changes because you are you (and I seem to be the opposite of you). You meet a guy and go on perfect dates, twice on the same week, because he is completely infatuated with you. And you refuse to accept that you are in an exclusive committed relationship: “we are still dating other people”. Oh yeah? Who else are you dating? No one, because you don’t want to since deep somewhere in your chest (your heart probably, because you have one) you know you found the “real thing”. And you’ll be “single” long enough to be able to say “yeah, I was single for a month”.  I promise you, you’ll be living together within two months.

It must be nice, right?

Well this is why Singledom and being single are different. You were single until you had enough; you are a commitment type. I am a member of Team Singledom. Here’s how it goes for me, how it really is:

I manage to convince myself every few weeks that I’ve become desensitized to being a  third wheel, but let’s be honest here, there is a small fire building inside that’s about to explode with resentment from spending time with all the stupid happy couples. I listen to you tell me that it’s because I am too interesting, too confident, too busy. Are YOU trying to date me? No, so please shut up. I try to feel independent and assertive and unattached. I spend hours convincing myself that I am happy without a man, but we all know the truth. I am not happy.