This week didn’t get off to the best start. I began writing this on Sunday night in the Tampa Airport Marriot, after a four-hour flight delay and subsequent cancellation. Five hours of sleep, four strongly worded letters, three days, two flights, two bookings, and one lost – and thankfully, found – bag later, I’m at a rooftop bar somewhere in the Meatpacking, finishing this post during a dear friend’s 40th…and I may be the only single person here (which is why no one notices). Trust me when I say I’ve been in no mood these past few days. None at all.

Admittedly, I wasn’t quite adventurous enough to brave Tindering in Tampa last week (because #1, the pickings were looking WAY too slim, and #2, the Marriott was WAY too convenient for your average predator, and #3, because…NO), so I’ve been kind of in limbo; neither swiping, nor arranging dates with the guys I’ve already matched with…so basically, knee-deep in small talk.

I hate small talk. And, I’m pretty sure that’s not how this works. In fact, that’s not how any of this works, is it?

Truth is, I’m so green in this game, I have no idea what I’m doing…and am finding myself looking at a few of my current matches like, “Really? Was I feeling especially charitable that day?” No, I’m not proud. Or excited. Is there such a thing as being too open-minded?

Or am I simply in no mood?

And what criteria compel me to right-swipe, anyway? Admittedly, my net may not be cast terribly wide, but it is diverse; how have I amassed this motley crew of (supposed) bachelors? Let’s explore my (unproven) seven-point program, shall we?

  1. Attraction. I can say, without hesitation, that I rarely gravitate towards the most objectively attractive guy in the room. I’m generally drawn to the most interesting. If he’s both, well…who are we kidding? Unless it’s a really tough room, he’s never both. And if we’re really being honest, the hottest guy gets less hot by the second once you realize that’s the most interesting thing about him. Thankfully, the inverse is also true.

So, I scan a man’s photos – he must have at least three – for more than just the symmetry of a face, but the composition of a shot. What (and who) he includes can tell you a lot about his decision-making, taste level, unmentioned hobbies, height, and even hints of sociopathy/narcissism. Some dudes unwittingly tell you their entire life story in six pics…and it reads more like “Bleak House” than “Great Expectations.”

Shout-out to every art director I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with – and my mom – for cultivating my discerning eye. We’ll see if it serves me well.

  1. Profiles. Seriously? Tinder is the laziest of places. Like, bare-minimum lazy. I get how it earned its rep as a hook-up site, because at least 60% of the men can’t even be bothered to compose 500 characters or less to describe themselves, because presumably…they don’t have to? Gross. And depressing. Needless to say, as a writer, if you’re too lazy to string together a few feeble adjectives, my finger suddenly becomes too lazy to swipe right, no matter how damned fine you are – especially since it might not even be you in that pic, anyway.
  2. Wit. So, about those adjectives, Gents; proclaiming that you’re a “sapiosexual” – which apparently, approximately 15-20% of you are (if you can even be bothered to write anything at all) – doesn’t make you sound smarter, it just makes it sound like you wanted to find a way to inject sex into a conversation we’re not even having yet (or is it presumed that we are, because we’re on Tinder?). And by the way…I’m a sapiosexual, too, but you’re not going to find that out until you use a few more vocabulary words and critical thinking skills. Again: lazy.

Keep it light, keep it clean, and most of all, keep it funny, and I’ll definitely want to know more. *right swipe*

  1. Connections. This one is tricky, but vital (plus the chances are, if your name is unique enough, I’m going to run it through FB anyway, because…safety); if I adore the people we have in common, it may bode well…but if I’m “meh” about our mutual friends, well…meh. A few dudes have been connected to an ex so…all the mehs.

Meanwhile, if we have too many connections (say…6 or more), or (God forbid) we already know each other, I’m kind of prone to left-swipe on general principle, since the whole point of this little experiment is to get outside my social circle…and if you really wanted to holler, you could’ve done it on Facebook. Plus, potentially hooking up with someone when your entire circle might know about it in detail is not an enticing proposal. Been there, regret that. Note: you will see people you know on Tinder. You may be tempted to find out if they’ve swiped right on you. Whether you do or not, it will be awkward. You have been warned.

  1. Initiative. So…let’s say we actually “match” (I’m currently batting about 80%-85%). Dude, SAY SOMETHING. I mean, clearly I’m receptive, but I’m still the girl in this equation, and being pursued – at least a bit – is the one bit of tradition I’d like to hold onto in this post-modern dating wasteland. Oh, you want me to make the first move? I thought I already did. Will I have to open the door for you on our date, too?

Seriously, this system couldn’t possibly be any easier or skewed towards you (I mean, Tinder is basically the “Home Shopping Network” for singles), and I guarantee that this is a far bigger risk for me than for you.

You know where I’m going with this…don’t be LAZY.

Note: I’m convinced that some of these dudes are just here for the ego boost, because they are definitely not about making it happen.

  1. Banter. Look, to be clear, we both know you swiped right because you find me attractive enough to hopefully get a chance to see me naked, but you don’t have to lead with it…and it doesn’t make you special.

No, I’m not under any illusions about where I am, but perhaps the worst thing about where we are at this point in our romantic evolution is that we have entirely abandoned the art of the woo. I’m not trying to marry you, but this isn’t the samples table at Trader Joe’s, either. Be clever! Charm me! Make me laugh! Make me wonder – strictly through the force of your wit and wisdom – what YOU look like naked. Anything less is just … (sigh) … laaaaaazy.

  1. Urgency. I don’t know about you, but I’m not getting any younger over here…and if you’re interested in some eternal text engagement, I’d rather not waste what’s left of my youth and vitality waiting to see if there’s more than virtual chemistry. I’ve made this error before, and unfortunately, spent two years in a relationship with someone I was never physically attracted to (which was far more a disservice to him than me).

Never again. Let’s meet- preferably within the week – and pray to God that neither of us finds the other completely repugnant. No deep emotional investment, no harm, and no foul. Anything else, and I’ll assume you are either deeply insecure, or…the l-word.

So there you have it: my seven rules for attempting to locate the tender in Tinder. Believe it or not, I think I’ve just set my first date for tomorrow night. Let’s see if I have even the slightest clue what the hell I’m talking about. Stay tuned…

About the author

Who me? I'm just your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow a cup of sugar? But seriously: I'm a musician, model, writer, all-around creative and devoted auntie. Like you, I'm just out here in the universe, trying to make it happen...whatever that is.