Single in the South: To swipe or not to swipe ... by Chasity Boling

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As I’ve said before, online dating has become all the rage these days. Everything else can be done online so why not meet your future spouse on the World Wide Web? I’ve heard several success stories and we’ve all seen the Match.com and eHarmony commercials that advertise the statistics. On the other hand, I also watch Dateline and I have seen far too many episodes where the nice, young gentleman from the Internet is actually a creepy, old guy that wants to kidnap you. Dateline’s tagline is “Don’t Watch Alone” for a reason. There are some crazy people out there and you definitely need to be careful.

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Most of the dating websites now have downloadable apps that make it super easy to find your match, just by picking up your mobile device. Some of the more popular apps are Tinder and Bumble. The way it works is quite simple. First, you upload a couple of photos and write a short bio about yourself. Next, you enter the specifics of what kind of match you are looking for, like age-range, gender, location, height, etc.  Once you have all the basics nailed down, the swiping begins. Swiping can be really fun. My finger gets a little trigger happy sometimes. It’s quite addicting. The rules are to swipe left for “Dislike” and swipe right for “Like.” If you swipe right for the same person that swiped right for you, then it’s a match! And a huge confidence booster, I might add. I feel like the audio clip of Sally Field’s Oscar acceptance speech should sound each time you get a match, “You like me. You really, really like me!!”

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Once you are matched, you are then given the option to chat with them. As I said, the process is quite simple but there are certain things to be on the lookout for. Below are a few tips that I’ve learned over the last year. Keep in mind, these are just my personal opinions/experiences.

Photos

• You need at least 2 good photos; more is better but I’d say a minimum of two good ones.

• Use a recent photo (within last year or so). Using photos from 5 years ago is misleading. It’s so annoying to meet for the first time and discover that your date looks nothing like their photo.

• It’s okay to post group photos but make sure you are clearly visible and that it’s easy to spot which one is actually you.

• Don’t go overboard on the selfies or gym photos. We get it, you work out. You don’t need 5 photos of mirror selfies at the gym to prove it.

• If you post a photo of children, explain who they are. If someone posts more than one photo of a child, it usually means the children belong to them, which is totally fine if you are looking for that. Other times, it can just be a niece or nephew. It’s easier just to explain it up front.

• Dog photos are 100 percent adorable and always acceptable

Bio

• It helps to keep it short and sweet. No one wants to spend extra time reading a novel about you when their finger is in heavy swiping mode.

• Again, if you have children in the photos, this is where you explain who they are.

• Jokes are okay but can also be lame/corny. You have to know where to draw that line.

• Be truthful. Don’t exaggerate things to make yourself sound better. Honesty is always the best policy.

• List your name, age, location, and perhaps your hometown, school, and career.

• Include some of your likes, hobbies, and interests. This helps to connect on a deeper level than just a photo. If I like football or live music and the guy I’m swiping likes these things too, then there’s already common ground and conversation starters.

After you have matched and made the decision to connect, the conversation starts. Some people are super creepy or really lame. My friends and I have seen tons of cheesy pickup lines, including this gem: “Your last name wouldn’t happen to be Google, would it? You just seem to have everything I’m searching for, so I felt compelled to ask.” Of course, this one is incredibly lame but it’s also pretty innocent. There are some that are not so innocent, and more perverse. I will spare you those examples. Just know that there are some weirdos to watch out for.

Every once in a while there’s a normal exchange of messages and you decide to meet up for a date. This is where the ‘being careful’ part comes to play.

Here are a few tips:

• Tell a friend where you are going and to be on the lookout for a ‘getaway’ text, if needed.

• Meet at the restaurant so they don’t know where you live.

• Always meet in a public place with plenty of people around.

• Don’t leave your drink unattended.

• Make sure you are not being followed when you leave.

I know these tips are mostly common sense but you would be surprised at how many of the tinder horror stories start with simple no-no’s like these.

Swiping and online dating can be harmless fun and occasionally successful. Comment below if you have some lame pickup lines or funny date stories to share. Also, feel free to comment with more tips. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I am not a pro at this stuff. I need all the tips I can get.