TINDER: A GUIDE FOR DUMMIES

What does a single modern girl who is not afraid to meet new people and who is familiar with technologies do in 2016? She opens Tinder. A thousand years later than the rest of the world.

It’s funny that I am writing this article because I’ve almost always been in relationships, so I had little to no time to enter into the magical world of dating. However, after a break up, I thought it was time to see what’s out there, see if in my new condition of single it was possible to know interesting people via the Internet and in general to have a nice laugh with somebody. Can I be good at dating?

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Premise: I am a relationship type. I love being in a couple, I like to share things with another person, I love being in love. I don’t really like short flirts because deep inside I am a romantic, but I am also good at being cold and detached if I decide to go out with somebody just for fun. In that case, I try to be discreet, to not get attached and to not reveal too much about me.

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My very first date on Tinder caught me unprepared because it was a great success: an interesting guy, well-educated and very bright, but totally self-involved, who used a lot of tricks to show me he wanted to see me but he wasn’t so interested in me. Obviously I fell in to his trap, made of stupid phrases like ” I think perhaps maybe I could like you”, late replies to every single message I sent (the classic Whatsap game I’ve-seen-the-message- but-I-am-not-answering-right-now), great taste in books and cinema (that won me) and unclear situations. I am a simple girl, if you tell me “we go out tomorrow” I write it down on my agenda and I keep myself available.

Tinder helped me understanding that there are many different people out there, different from my previous boyfriends, different from what I expected. Most importantly, I understood that I don’t want to be involved with assholes, not ever for fun.  If I see that the person I am seeing is a player, that’s a big no to me. It’s ok to have fun and we can go out with no strings attached, but I hate tricks and lies.

So here I am with my comments after a careful analysis of the app and several dates.

THE PICTURE

I’ll start with self-analysis: my profile pic on Tinder has me in it dressed as a banana, with a super serious look on my face (to avoid from the beginning men without a sense of humor) and is followed by other 4 where you see my face more closely, my body, how I dress, a smile teeth-covered and a smile teeth-out (that’s so bad when you can’t see a smile from the picture and then you meet the guy and he has bad teeth). Filters are a no, of course.
Pictures should be from the current year (there’s people who look different in each picture: beard, hair, clothes … how the hell are you looking now?), clear, without disturbing elements such as friends / relatives / animals / shadows / artistic effects.
It’s a dating app, why should I see you far away in the desert? If you want me to see that you are a sporty type you can upload a picture where you’re skiing/surfing but I don’t see the point in posting eight different photos where I can see just your bike / your skate / you running up a mountain but not your stupid face.

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Here I am, I m my pajamas, dressed as a banana.

The pictures I just can’t stand:
– The “Milanese” guy with cocktail in hand / at the disco / on a boat with a cocky attitude/ with girls
– Pictures with animals. Ok you are sweet, let’s move on.
– The muscle – selfies. If you want to show me randomly your abs go ahead, but it has to seem casual (everybody knows it’s not casual but ok). Same for the shirtless pictures at the gym or worse, at home. They frighten me, plus fitted guys will for sure have too many expectations.
– The photo with strange effects / digital manipulation / black and white with just one details in color (the horror).
– The picture with black children ???
– The picture with friends. Which one is you? I don’t understand, and often the friends are better looking than the protagonist.

The alarm bells, aka the fake pics:
Apparently, man love to get photographed by profile and they are right, they look better. Pay attention also to guys with only one kind of photo:
– Profile pictures (nice profile, ugly face)
– Photos with sunglasses on
– Photos with hats (bold people)
– Very far away pictures (ugly guys)
– Photo very different between each other (the worst one is always the most truthful)
– Blurry photos (usually for a reason)

It will happen to you that the person that shows up is different from his pictures on the app (this guy I dated was SO different from his pictures that for a short moment I thought about running away). Always try to check his Facebook first, and of course Google him.

THE BIO

Tinder gives you the possibility to add to your profile a 500 words bio. If you look handsome but you have a bio like the one Peppe has: “Intuition is the perception of the invisible, as the perception is the intuition of the visible”, under a picture where he watches the horizon, sorry Peppe but to me is a no.
Gabriel, 30, tells us: “The journey, the film, the book, the concert, the sport … the art and many other things that I do not know and I would like to know … the dots at the end of the sentences, the honesty and the friendship … but especially the music! “. Gabriel, I don’t understand you.
I think sometimes a funny phrase is enough. (My favorite so far was: “we’ll tell them we met at the zoo”, but then I discovered that many guys use a variation of this, like “we’ll tell them we met at the library”). If you can’t think of anything smart, don’t write anything (if you must know, I wrote “I do not trust those who go to bed early and those who do not read books “- just to be straightforward about my expectations).
Boys love to specify their height (“183 cm”). Even if it’s not really a relevant thing about a person, I appreciate the info (I like super tall guys). Maybe if you are under 185 centimeters you shouldn’t specify it.
Very honest statements like “I’m not looking for something serious” or “looking for love” are scary, we’ll probably understand what we want from each other pretty soon.

THE PICK UP TECHNIQUE

PLEASE, I beg you, do not start the conversation with “Hello”, or worse: “Hello, how are you?”, or the worst: “Nice to meet you”. The pictures are there to help you. There are bios from which you can take inspiration to start talking without looking like cavemen. I chose to put a fun image first because it is easy to say something about it, so if someone approaches me with standard questions I already assume that he probably won’t be super bright. Use irony, guys!
The most effective pick up line I’ve had so far has been “Okay, there’s a story behind this photo or is it a conversation starter?”. This way I could reply something smart too, not just “nice to meet you as well”. I think it’s nice when the conversation starts out of nowhere, with no stiff presentations.

THE CHAT

I think that from the very beginning of the conversation you can understand a person. If the chat is bright and fun, the person will probably be interesting in real life too. If he has nothing to say more than “In which area of Milan do you live?”, he’s a bore.
A friend of mine goes for the extreme, he writes crazy things to girls to see if they are funny. He wrote to a girl that works in the movie industry: “I see you work in the film industry. Why? I find extremely boring movies. Not like books but almost. I use the books of my parents to start barbecues or to level uneven tables. “. If the girl has irony, she’s up to the game. If she doesn’t understand jokes, on to the next one.
If the chat goes well, you can arrange a meeting. I’m not picky on this but it’s nice do to it in a funny way too:” So what time did you say I’ll see you tomorrow? “. The vague question is always good too if you don’t know what the other person wants. Things such as: “What does a Social media manager do on Saturday night?” are casual but effective.

BEFORE GOING OUT

You have to search the Internet for information on the other person, OF COURSE. Tinder tells you if you have friends in common on Facebook, so it is not so difficult to discover more. If you don’t have friends in common, ask for the Facebook profile or at least for the surname of your match, you’ll find at least a Linkedin profile or pictures on Google. If you have friends in common, of course make sure you’re not about to date a serial killer / an engaged person / a pig.

WHAT NOT TO DO / SAY BEFORE THE DATE: A GUIDE FOR BOYS

– Don’t call her  (“Can I call you?” After 5 minutes of chat? NO).
– Don’t send her creepy voice messages where you describe in detail your day (“I’m watering the plants and waiting for the water to boil.” True story). It can be counterproductive, for example I didn’t go out with a boy because he had a terrible accent and voice.
– Don’t write to her in the morning/afternoon and evening (“Have a good day! What are you doing?” “How was your day?” “Hello! Can I come visit you at your place tonight after work?”).
– Don’t use sweet names.
– Don’t ask too many questions. If you ask me everything now, what will we talk about when we meet? A guy asked me a thousand personal questions in chat and when it was time to meet I was very nervous because he told me he was already following me on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, so basically he knew everything.
– Don’ t speak or ask about past relationships (“I broke with my ex six months ago and now she’s getting married”. Another true story happened to me. Not interested, bro). That’s a no even after a few dates.

THE DATE

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THE MEETING

-I like to shake hands when meeting the other person, as we do not know each other yet in real life. They never let me do it, it’s always two kisses (you know, Italians).
-If they guy wants to pick you up by car, do not forget that you’ve never seen him before, so maybe it’s better not to go, at least the first time. Also, he would have the perfect excuse to try to sneak in your home after the date. I like to meet people in a public place and get there on my own, preferably by bike (you never know, you can run away faster).
-Never go out for dinner, if it goes wrong you won’t be able to escape. I always go for a drink before dinner or after it, so I have an excuse to leave (“sorry I have a dinner after this” or “excuse me but tomorrow morning I have to wake up early”).

THE CONVERSATION

-Apparently it’s hard to have a nice chat without dull questions like “which clubs do you go to?”

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-Personal questions are tricky, specially about family, previous relationships, what people want from love and life in general. I think it’s ok to joke about Tinder and on each other’s earlier dates but only if the topic comes out naturally and without inquiring too much about personal things. The guy who wanted to know details about my previous love story, why I am living alone and since when, did not get a second date. Too soon to ask!
-Many people love to talk a lot about work (specially doctors). I find it very boring and it turns the conversation into a sort of interview.

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ETIQUETTE AND DRESS CODE

-Since these are not “real” dates, I always try to pay for myself. If he wants to offer that’s very nice, if he doesn’t I won’t get upset (but I will remember it). If we are having a 2 euros beer on the street, take that damn wallet out, man.
-For the guy to arrive in suit and tie it’s a bit too much, but flip flops and shorts are a no. A pair of jeans, normal shoes and a shirt or a t shirt will do fine. We do not want the moon but I don’t care about seeing your hairy legs. In the evening. In the city. As for the girl, I try to dress in a simple way, no heels, no complicated/fashionable clothes, no sexy stuff.
-It’s always nice to see that a guy knows the etiquette: the man enters always first in a public place, he should keep the door open for the woman when it’s time to leave, and when on the sidewalk he should walk on the outside (Yes I know, I am too demanding).
-Let’s not involve friends / acquaintances / family in a date. If you meet someone on the street and want to stop and say hi, politely introduce your date to the other person, maybe without specifying how you two met. Also, I don’t want to meet your friends after a date (another true story).

IN BED

-Make sure you have condoms, just in case.
-You don’t know if the person next to you feels like sleeping together after sex. Find out if you are welcome to stay or pack your things and go home.

AFTER THE DATE

-A text is appreciated but not essential. Something like ” Really enjoy being with you, goodnight “is perfect.
-Slow down with the nicknames, you do not know each other.
-If you see she/he is not replying to your texts,stop texting her/him so much (hello?? So easy but people seems not to understand this).
-If you liked the date, a second one after a few days can be nice (don’t ask for it the next day or you’ll look desperate). Maybe a casual dinner? Nothing too intimate.
-Whatever you do please keep some ‘self-respect. It’s full of desperate people out there.
-Don’t be a player but don’t be insistent. If you think you found the other half of the apple, maybe don’t tell him/her straight away.

HOW TO DUMP THEM

The scenarios I’ve encountered:
– He’s cute but stupid or ignorant (I can’t stand the ignorants).
– He’s nice but the conversation was nothing special/ you got so bored that you can’t face a second date.
– He’s super fun but so ugly that really you can’t even think about touching him.
– You just want to have sex but have no time to waste on getting to know him better and he doesn’t get it. Or you did have sex and it was terrible.
– He has nothing wrong but you do not like him anyway.

You’re a classy lady, so:
– Disappear. Stop replying to texts or reply with vague phrases or the standard “hahaha” , but nothing more. Even a stupid after a while will get it. Ok, this isn’t so classy but effective.
– Tell him honestly, “look, it didn’t work, thank you and goodbye”.
– Tell him honestly, “look, I just want to have sex without commitment. Do you?”
– Use the old excuse: I’m a mess/ I just got out of a relationship/ I don’t know what to do with myself.

My sociological research in general was interesting, there are many different men out there (well, I met just a dozen):  for the most part, the ones on the app have no time to search for girls, or maybe they don’t know where to go and how to meet new people. I met boring guys, strange guys, but also a funny guy with who I became friend, somebody who had absolutely nothing wrong but who I didn’t like so much, and somebody I like. The general idea that people on dating apps have something wrong is false, there is also cool people out there.

My grandma didn’t approve all this. “You must simply put yourself out there, Giulia! Stop dressing like a nun and go sitting in a bar. Guys will come to talk to you!”
Here’s me following my grandmother’s advice:

grandma-drinking

10/04/2016

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