When Tinder is the only option
When I decided I was ready to date again the only place I knew where to start was Tinder. I was familiar with a few other dating sites but that all seemed too serious. I was basically just hopping on Tinder partially for a sorely needed ego boost and because I literally wasn’t comfortable seeking romantic company in public.
At the time (at 26) I hadn’t dated since I was a teenager. Back then, all the boys I met were either through work or mutual school friends. One boyfriend I met at the local shopping centre when his mate chatted up my mate. Another boyfriend I met through the shopping centre boyfriend because they went to the same school.
Anyway, my point is that all that was really quite easy then (for me). We were all hormone driven little shits, who weren’t afraid of getting hurt, all lumped together in big groups and left largely unsupervised.
I didn’t have to try. That’s not cocky or anything, that’s just teenage boys and a dubious understanding of consent, tbh.
Since then I’ve cultivated a nice “don’t you fucking dare talk to me” air about me. I aggressively mistrust any man who approaches me in public, regardless of whether or not I find them attractive. I wouldn’t have a clue how to approach someone in public, even just the thought of it is anxiety inducing.
Even when I’ve thought “hey that guy is cute” I’ve done literally nothing about it. One time when I was drunk enough, I just stared at a guy for 20 minutes until he left without noticing me. That’s straight up predator behaviour though, imagine if he had noticed??
These days, I don’t have anywhere near as wide of a social circle as I did when I was 18. At the time I was ready to start dating again, I worked with people who were largely female and/or unacceptably older and/or politically conservative (actually that’s all still true). Sooooo, that rules out bars, friends of friends, and work. What’s left? Ah, Tinder!
I feel like online dating gets a bad rep, but online dating is actually super important. Whether it’s for people like me (awkward idiots with trust issues and previous trauma who wouldn’t know how to strike up a random conversation about ducks with a guy, let alone seduce him) or for people who are unable to approach for a number of other reasons: fear over prejudice (race, religion, sexuality), disability, distance, experimentation, kinks, etc.
And this is why I get really put off by people who sledge Tinder and get judgy when I tell them how I met my boyfriend.
For any number of reasons people of any kind could be afraid of approaching people in person, and online dating (more or less) can provide a somewhat safe place to do so. (Though of course I acknowledge that online dating comes with its own set of dangers on top of the above points. You should always consider your own personal safety and personal boundaries before meeting anyone!)
So. If you feel like online dating is beneath you, I might suggest checking your privilege? If you’d rather meet someone at a bar or a shopping centre, that’s fine. That doesn’t make online dating any less of a valid option.
And if you’re scared, you’re shy, you’re traumatised, you’re out of practice, you want to experiment – whatever, but you’re curious – talk to someone, take a breath, think if it’s right for you and maybe… give it a go!
If it doesn’t work out, you can always delete it anyway…
Are you a lover or a hater of online dating? Let me know!