I began my dating app experience much later in life than the rest after the foolish decision to buy a Windows phone set me back 2 years. Watching all the connections and hearing stories, good with the bad, I was anxious to get started the moment I upgraded devices. First and most obvious download was the infamous Tinder, renown as a hook up app but also responsible for significant relationships for several of my friends. Though I have played around with dating sites in the past like Match.com I felt like a stranger entering new waters with this one. Here’s take #1 –
Crickets… I began like a kid waiting on Santa, checking my phone repeatedly the first hour, but days and weeks went by with only tiny bites. When I started I would search through countless profiles looking for attributes I thought matched my interests but after only a short time I found myself swiping right, often without even looking, on every profile until no one was left in my area. My original search criteria was girls between 27-31 years of age within a range of 3 miles but over time those standards relaxed to 21-35 years of age within 10 miles.
I was becoming down and frustrated with my initial failure until I brought it up to a female friend who offered to look at my profile and provide some tips. She quickly started searching through my FB pictures updating my images and addressing my description. She opened with height (6’-1”) claiming ‘no one likes to date a short guy’, then mentioned good career because ‘no one likes a cheap skate’. She changed interested in triathlon to “elite athlete” and concluded with adventurous and outgoing. I felt like some of the info could be construed as misleading but in my better interests allowed it. When I viewed her image choices I noticed all the ‘nice guy Dave’ pics were replaced with athletic shots, the majority not even showing my face, but again I decided as a girl she would know best and permitted it.
Side note – as a female my friend is an attractive girl and when yielding my phone couldn’t grasp the difference between the sexes when it comes to swiping left/right. She seemed confused after being selective with her first few choices and getting no matches. I had to explain to her that it takes work. This could be me but I’m guessing it’s a greater trend between males and females on all sites (apparently there are 99 men for every single available female).
So the next morning I woke up to see something shocking, I had 5 matches on my phone!! My productivity had grown by 10,000%! In addition there was something I had never seen before, a message in my inbox, the first time a female had broken the ice.
There are tiered levels of success and I won’t just throw myself under the bus at every opportunity, but present day matching isn’t as big of a deal as I make it out to be. It’s not so hard to get a connection, but from those matches to get a response, continue with a conversation, get a number and then make it out on a date.. the chances of success go down compoundingly.
So for the rest of this recap, to protect the name of this particular female (although she doesn’t deserve it) I will refer to her as Hollywood. Hollywood’s message read out like this –
The conversation continued with some small talk over the next day or so when she through me a curve ball. She asked for my Instigram, which I agreeably sent her, and through connecting I got to see hers. It was full of images in underwear and bathing suits in racy and suggestive poses.
I asked her what that was about to which she responded she was an actress and model including some underwear adds, but nothing objectionable. My immediate thought was uhh ohh, RED FLAG, RED FLAG, but I decided, against my better judgment, that it would be wrong to dismiss her just because of her looks. After all, she was the one who contacted me first and had been doing most of the initiating. The following is what continued up to the promise of a first date –
What was very obvious to me at the time yet I hesitated to bring up is that working in El Segundo and living in Santa Monica meant making it to Beverly Hills on a weekday would be absolute torture. I didn’t want to miss out on a person to person opportunity, but for anyone who’s lived here or seen The Californians on SNL knows that traffic is no joke and that the route I would have to take is worst case scenario. Never the less, against my better judgment I decided it would be worth the struggle for a potential connection.
I ran out the door of my office at 4:55pm and headed home to Santa Monica, checking Waze on my route to see if I b-lined it home I would have 7 minutes to eat before heading to Beverly Hills if I wanted to make it on time. Distance to location – 21.9 miles, Drive time – up to 2 hours 10 minutes.
To pass the time I called a friend from back east who I had lived with and gone on numerous “dating opportunities” including countless late nights at our home bar Thirsty Buffalo with a 4am last call, the most desperate “dating” hour being between 3 and 4am. We caught up for a while and before I knew it 2 hours in the Jeep had flown by. I finished by telling him that I was seeing a model actress, and joked about never knowing in LA.
I found parking, made the walk and ended at Urth with 10 minutes to spare to the following message –
To which I agreed. It was a 30 minute drive or 20 minute walk so I decided to keep my parking and meet her. I reached the hotel and messaged her back.
30 minutes later…
15 minutes later (about an hour and a half since I arrived in BH, over 3 hours since I left my job)..
When she finally arrived I could see right away she looked good, not amazing but like her photos. I complimented her hair and went in for a friendly hug. Leaning in with her shoulder she responded with a light, impersonal and slightly awkward embrace. She looked at me and said “you look nothing like your pictures!”, to which I responded “you mean in a good way I hope”. She just looked down. I asked if she wanted to go back to Urth. She said “you’re welcome to walk back and I’ll meet you there” which I now realize was her first try at an exit strategy. I suggested we just stay in the lobby and that I’d buy her a drink. I began small talk asking why she’s new to Tinder. She said –
Well I just broke up with my boyfriend, actually we broke up last month, but just stopped sleeping together this week, like yesterday.
Ok… (I tried to respond and work through the awkwardness) What’s it like being a model in LA?
I need to stop things here and let you know I have no interest in you. I’m looking for someone a bit more…
Rich, good looking, successful perhaps???
She just smirked and looked down.
Well I guess I’ll just walk back to Urth.
Why don’t you do that.
On the way out she decided to twist the knife one more time.
What’s it like dating on Tinder? You think I’ll find anybody nice?
I think you’ll find out soon enough
As I walked back to my car feeling dejected I wrote up a Facebook post about what had just gone down –
By the next day I had 50 responses. A few light heartedly poked fun, most were apologetic, but what I picked up on were the number of messages claiming similar experiences. Dating can be fun and miserable at the same time and I have been fortunate/unfortunate enough to have known the full spectrum over the last 10 years or so. I don’t look forward to the bad experiences but I hope to learn from them. Meeting Hollywood taught me it’s ok to sometimes judge a book by its cover, out of self-preservation. That might sound wrong but in the context of dating in LA it’s often what works. I recently had a day at the Bungalow where a friend suggested I introduce myself to her friends who were high profile model/actress types. I should have known better but I continue to fall for it every time. It’s not a matter of good or bad just different and I’m learning if you want to find like-minded individuals with similar interests you need to walk in the same circles, and never go searching at places like the Bungalow. However this may be another example of “do what I say, not as I do” as I’m sure to be back in the same places playing the same game, attractive people being the curse and benefit of living in the heart of beauty and superficiality.
What a selfish, rude, dumb chick. Internet dating is the worst – no one feels accountable for their actions, everyone assumes everyone else is some random freak and treats them accordingly. Even there’s no romantic chemistry people should enjoy making a human connection as long as you’re there because maybe their best friend will turn out to be the right one, so short-sighted of her! Although clearly she would not have been interesting conversation so at least she saved you time. You don’t deserve this, you are awesome!!
Saw your article in LA times. Sorry to hear about this. LA is filled with superficial idiots, but not all girls in LA that do modeling/acting are shallow and rude like this. Girls that are not models/actresses can be jerks too.
My friends and I have been fortunate enough to be successful at modeling in LA for Maxim and other publications. But we would never treat someone like this. So I wouldn’t shut off every model from here on out. There are some nice girls out there that do modeling you just have to be patient and open minded to to find the rare gems that are waiting to also find a nice guy
Hey Sarah, thanks so much for your comment!! You are very correct and I apologize if the post comes off as a type cast of models. The edited LA Times version seems to come off more that way in an attempt to grab attention I am sure. I am friends with a few models here that are genuine people. I guess what i was trying to say is that the difficult world of dating in LA forces us to put up some significant emotional barricades and the experience was a warning to the superficial nature of the dating app scene. I appreciate your advice.
I was going back and forth recently trying to set up a Tinder date with a woman who radiated hotness in her photos. We even talked on the phone, but she asked me several times if I looked like my pictures (I’m not bringing as much to the table as you are, David). She finally confessed that she worried she wouldn’t be sexually attracted to me. Did I look like picture number 1? Looking like picture number 2 was not good enough. We’re talking about coffee on a Wed. afternoon here. No longer trusting one another we didn’t get together.
Sorry to hear, it’s unfortunate how much emphasis is placed on what’s on the outside. Hope you have a better experience soon.
Here by way of LA Times.
Ever considered moving to Boulder, CO? You should!
Your profile mirrors the majority of my friends (both male and female) in Boulder.
Thanks for your concern, I have removed the pictures
You let your female friend post a bunch of unrepresentative photos of you on tinder, and misrepresent you by saying you’re an “elite athlete,” and then you’re upset when a woman, immediately upon seeing you in real life, recognizes the deception and ends your date? This makes you sound pretty entitled. You’re trying to date on an app that allows people to choose dates heavily based upon appearance, yet misrepresenting your appearance. I suggest you might have more success on an app like okcupid, or at least try being honest with your photos and self summary. Whatever you decide, good luck to you–navigating dating in LA is difficult.
Saw this piece in the LA Times. Nice to know there are rational people reading your stuff, as opposed to all the people on the incoherent, hate-filled comments section of the Times website.
Sounds like you learned some lessons and got an entertaining story out if it. Good for you.
Thanks Giorgio, writing is a hobby of mine and I had only hoped to provide an entertaining story that some people may relate to. Those comments are brutal but the positive ones, like yours, more than make up for it.
Hi again David, wondering if you’d like to connect sometime. I want to ride in the price column for men who want to write about dating, specifically from a vulnerable place like you Did. I saw you now have two pieces in LA affairs. Congratulations.
Hello Georgia, thanks for the comment! Please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for what you had in mind.
Huh. Quite an amusing story.Thanks for the entertaining story. I am thinking of getting on Tinder myself since it seems like an easy way to get dates. Not interested in simply hooking up with people though. I am, however, a little hesitant to get on though out of fear of running into a lot of people like the girl described in your story (selfish, narcissistic, entitled, just looking for a sugar daddy or a hot guy to have sex with). Have you met anymore women that are more down to earth and real since you have been using Tinder?
Hey Zachary, I have met a few genuine girls on dating sites (not Tinder) despite all the perceived negativity toward the apps. It is actually easier because you get past the whole awkwardness of “do you want to go out”. If you match it’s a green light to see if there’s any energy between the two of you and go from there. For what it’s worth I think it’s worth it and hope you give it a try. Be open but at the same time keep a thick skin.
Hi David. Just wanted to reach out to you after reading your story in the Times.
Dating is tough! Dating online is even tougher. But one thing I’ve learned (Yeah, I’m an old guy) is that no matter what you got, there’s someone out there that is into exactly that. Don’t settle. Someone’s gunna rock your your world real soon. I promise.
Best of luck!
Same exact thing happened to me! It was probably the most mortifying event of my life! And I’m not even ugly. I can’t remember having a lump that big in my throat. Forever scarred but stronger for it. Part of the reason why I’ve reconsidered moving out there; the people are just awful. Keep doing you!
Thanks for the message Janelle! Hope you learned quick not to be brought down or question your worth based on some petty, superficial exchange. Sorry you had to go through that too!