Tinder at 31…what am I thinking? Let me break it down to you in four words: 31, single, two children. Did I mention I am letting my children pick my Tinder dates? Don’t worry I checked; it’s legal as long as I physically swipe left or right.
“But that’s the best part,” pipes in my 9-year-old as he sits reading over my shoulder while I type this. (Truth time: I will totally let them swipe).
Why have I enlisted my two boys to help me with my dating life? Well, truth be told, I fail at picking the right guys. I have been engaged three times, never married, have had two children with two different men, have broken many hearts, have had my heart broken, have purchased a house with a man and never made it to move-in day and... here I am. Still single.
My kids are at the age where they are starting to get concerned that Mom may never land herself a husband, and that they will be the ones taking care of me when I am old. On a side note, they have both said they will just place me in a home when I can’t live alone. Thanks kids -- it’s not like I have spent my life raising you or anything.
So why don’t I online date you may ask? It seems classier than Tinder and "experts" apparently match you based on a really long questionnaire that you answer. Truth: I can’t be bothered. Someday I do want to find someone, fall in love and get married. But, honestly, I can’t be bothered to determine which dating site works, which one is a crock, and which one has the quickest survey (I hate surveys). So Tinder it is. I have enlisted my children for 10 minutes a day to swipe yay or nay.
I set some ground rules for when I actually go out with these men. I decided that unless they ask me out within the first 15 messages, I un-match them. It may sound harsh, but I would rather be texting my friends than making small talk on Tinder about: why they liked my profile pictures, how cool it is that we are only 14 km away, and, yes, I am 5-foot-4 if you need to know.
It was astonishing to me how many cute guys my kids turned down.
"OH MY GOD!" I screamed in my head as my 6-year-old swiped to the left when the hottest guy with a beard and a man-bun came up. But in order to stick with this part-dating-and-part-romance experiment I couldn’t say a word. Truth be told, I hadn’t told my children anything about what I like in a guy; I didn’t want to alter the experiment in any way.
Finally we made some progress and as the minutes ticked away I worried I wouldn’t get any matches. It also seemed suspiciously like my children were only picking men with dogs (they really want me to get them a dog). I cut them off after 10 minutes and immediately turned off my phone for the next few hours. I was nervous no one was going to match with me and then, OMG, what a loser I would be.
I turned my phone back on after my children went to bed and I had 22 matches. "Holy crap," I muttered under my breath. Twenty-two guys had actually liked my super-ass-hot profile picture (I purposely left my children out of that photo). Along with the matches were a slew of messages like:
“Hey girl, what do you think about taking off those bikini bottoms for me?” Automatic un-match…I am too old for this shit.
“Hey there. I hope you are a having a great day.” Hello nice guy, I will write you back.
“Hello." Ummm hello, is that all you got?
Out of 22 matches I had 15 messages. Out of those 15 messages I responded to 12 of them. I gave a lot of leeway on this first run. Out of 12 of them only two of them asked me out in the first 15 messages. Two guys who I had absolutely zero physical attraction to. Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea after all.
I decided that if I was going balls deep into this experiment I might as well involve my kids to the bitter end. Therefore I enlisted them to help me choose my outfits for my dates. Again, perhaps this wasn’t the best choice.
I had asked both my dates to meet me at a nice pub. I like to drink beer and am sort of a beer snob. I figured if these guys had a fighting chance in grabbing my attention they better know their beer.
My 6 year old thought I should wear a dress and high heels. My 9 year old, on the other hand, told me I could probably get away with track pants. It was then I thought to myself “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?" We negotiated back and forth and they decided I could wear jeans and a nice sweater; but I had to wear the same outfit for both dates.
Disaster date number one was with, well, let’s call him Fred. Fred had a dog (see above on my dog theory), owned his own business and drove a very large SUV. Seems like a pretty solid guy, I thought to myself.
Fred was also extremely boring. He was monotone, wanted to talk about the weather, never cracked a smile, and his side-parted hair was also kind of boring. Thirty minutes in and I was wondering why I hadn't set up some emergency phone call scheme in case I needed to get out of it. Hey, at least I was drinking my free beer. That’s another thing -- this guy hated beer. Kids, you failed me.
Disaster date number two was two days later and to humor myself I took this guy -- let’s call him Carl -- to the same pub wearing the same outfit. I hoped to get the same server (sadly I didn’t). Carl was overly interested in my children; so much so that I lied and told him I didn’t have any pictures of them on my phone. He talked with his hands, used a lot of “I LOVE this,” and I am pretty sure he wanted to marry me after 10 minutes.
On the plus side Carl knew his beer, didn’t own a dog, and never once inquired about what I did for a living. In fact, I am sure I got no more than five words in as this guy was more interested in talking about himself. He tried to get my number (I gave him a fake), he tried to kiss me (I turned it into an awkward hug) and tried to walk me home (I panicked and said I was meeting a friend across the street). Kids, once again a big fail.
I trudged home after both my dates defeated. In some crazy, irrational part of my brain I thought it could be this simple. I thought that I could get my children to swipe my romantic life right into happiness. But I wasn’t defeated yet, not after two awful dates. Plus I hadn’t even experienced any of the horrifying Tinder stories people warned me about.
I plan to go on one Tinder date a week. Between my ex-boyfriend/best friend being extremely jealous and wanting to censor my Tinder conversations, to trying to arrange babysitting for two kids, this adventure has just started. I plan to keep this up for at least a few months, until I have run out of my free Tinder time and they want to charge me. It's part social experiment, part romance and doing my best to find love in this crazy world we live in.