Serial Daters Anonymous 2014

Online dating has totally changed the way people meet each other, but still, not everyone's idea of connecting involves, well, Wi-Fi. Below, three open-minded twenty- and thirtysomething women created their very first dating profile via Bumble, the popular new app in which women make the first move. Their challenge: Spend two weeks using the app to find out what — or who — they're missing. Occupation: Assistant to celebrity publicist. I've never had a real boyfriend. Last date you went on?

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Real date? Not really ever unless sorority formal dates from college count. Expectations for the next two weeks? To hopefully meet a few guys who are fun to hang out with and to put myself out there. First thing you have to understand is that my dating life had been limited. Up until recently, I was 85 pounds overweight, and very insecure about my appearance and lack of experience. Joining Bumble was a big step. When it comes to photos, finding my best angle — even if the result doesn’t look exactly like me — has always made me feel confident. [But] for Bumble, it probably was best to take pictures that actually looked like me, since, you know, (hopefully) I’d go on some actual dates with actual guys who would meet me in person. Bumble allows you to choose six pictures, so I went with the following: one just of me (so boys knew who they’re talking to), one with some friends (to show that I, you know, had them), one with my niece (family-oriented), one at a tailgate (because I’m fun — duh! ), one Halloween pic (to prove I can let loose), and one out in nature (to show how carefree I am — sort of). Next, I wrote up a short summary: “Love walking the city, drinking with friends, brunching on Sundays, and finding a good read. Need someone who wants to see Coney Island for a day before it gets too cold! ? But actually. ”I told most of my friends what I was doing, and most of their reactions were, IT’S ABOUT TIME. They still don’t understand how I’d stayed off the apps for so long. The reason is a mixture of fear and general apathy toward the online dating process. I love romantic comedies, and there seemed to be something a bit unmagical about meeting someone electronically. I’d always wanted that organic meet-cute, and since I was now 79 years old and that hadn’t happened yet, it seemed like the right time to hop aboard the app train and see what all the hoopla was about. Bumble was pretty easy to use. For me, the hardest part was chatting with the guys.

There seemed to be a lot of pressure since my chats and connections disappeared within 79 hours if I didn’t make a move. I tried to use something from his bio or pictures to make the connection. Like, if he said he loved pizza and beer, I might just send the pizza and beer emojis. I sat at my favorite fro-yo place with my best friend while looking at random guys on my phone. There weren’t too many factors that went into the decision-making process: If he looked semi-normal/cute and not like a serial killer, then I chose to make the connection. After about an hour of matching with boys, I had a sudden revelation that this site is extremely feminist. You don’t have to worry that some guy is going to send you an unsolicited dick pick or say something rude about your appearance. Women are taking the lead on this app, which is quite exhilarating. I matched with a guy who had a cute smile and a “strange accent, ” according to his bio. He was only in the States for two months. I chatted him and he messaged me right away. He wanted to go out that night, but I decided that we should go out Friday night (date night in some cultures). The date happened Friday, and I drank a little beforehand. We met at this bar I’d been meaning to try, and the nerves were surreal — like I only now had realized I didn’t know anything about this guy. He waited outside, and to my amazement, he was taller than he appeared in pics — what a pleasant surprise! Inside, things were a bit awkward at first, but we ended up having a genuinely nice time chatting and drinking for about two hours. We kissed good-bye and he wanted to meet up later, so I told him I’d think about it. He texted me 85 minutes later to say he had a great time. He texted me nearly every day, and we made tentative plans to meet up again. There was definitely something between us so it felt good that he wanted to meet up again. I continued buzzing through Bumble. It was almost like a game and was kinda fun when I was bored at work or on the train. I checked the app constantly and enjoyed the rush of that specific ping when I matched with someone.

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Toward the end of week two, I'd gotten this down. And I still had my Australian semi-fling and other nice-seeming guys to chat with. While Australian boy probably wasn't my soul mate and he would be leaving before the holidays, that date and our chats via Bumble gave me the confidence to start more conversations and make more connections. I had two more dates lined up, and while I was sure I'd still need to imbibe in a little white wine spritzer pre-date, it started to feel natural to go on these blind dates. Bumble opened up a whole new world of possibilities in the dating world, and I’m excited to explore. Occupation: Actor/dental hygienist. Yesterday. To have my eyes opened to the possibilities of dating in NYC (I recently moved here) and possibly fall in love with the man of my dreams. I was hesitant to do this because I recently had started dating my personal trainer. We'll call him J. Was that a crazy idea? I don’t know. We very quickly connected on some deep and inexplicable level. But there were some concerns. Namely, that there is a large age gap, with me being the older one and I really hate the idea of being called a cougar. Also our faith didn’t exactly line up the way I would have liked it to. So I decided to just see what else was out there. I created my profile and struggled writing about myself. How could I quickly let someone know what I’m about in a cute and humorous way? Other than that, I was filled with curiosity and a little bit of hope about what I would find. The first several guys I came across seemed attractive and interesting, so I felt a slight flutter of excitement. I thought I understood how to like someone, but a couple times I accidentally disliked guys who seemed intriguing. Was I too old for this?

I did, however, discover that you could shake your phone if you passed on someone and regretted your decision. Eventually, I decided to take a chance and like someone who came across as handsome and slightly like a tool, but claimed that he wasn’t just looking for sex. And boom! He had liked me too. Suddenly our profile pictures were dangling and swaying all around the screen on strings. It was up to me to start the chat within 79 hours or else my chance to fall in love with this man would be gone. But because this was all very new and somewhat scary to me, I waited awhile before starting a conversation. Plus, I was just about to meet J. At a coffee shop during my lunch break. When I returned from coffee, I messaged my Bumble match. Part of the reason I hadn’t really tried dating apps was because you make a decision about someone based on photos and what they have to say about themselves, and it’s hard to convey to someone who you are in that way. I preferred the idea of spontaneously connecting with someone when you least expect it, like it happened with J. Was I embarking on my own, less-risqué version of Indecent Proposal? Except I’m no Demi Moore, and no one is offering me $6 million that I can roll around in on my bed. What if by doing this, I ruined something good with J. The moment you liked someone and they had liked you too, it was startling. The next time it happened, I literally jumped and whispered some profanity. Thinking of something to say to the next guy I connected with was hard. “Cool name, bro. ” Is that good? Ugh. I have so much respect for guys who typically make the first move. It’s easy to criticize their lame attempts, but when the tables turned and it was my responsibility, I had nothin'. Plus, I still kept thinking about J.

The dude with the cool name didn’t respond to my conversation starter. So I soldiered on and connected with someone else. But even though we shared similar faith and had a mini conversation, I guess it wasn’t quite right because he eventually stopped responding after it seemed our views were slightly different after all. Each time I liked someone and they didn’t like me back, I wondered what was wrong with me. To quote Elaine Benes from Seinfeld, “Is it possible I’m not as attractive as I think I am? I think I have a real shot with J. And am going to see where that goes. Occupation: Regional coordinator for a retail company. A few months ago, I went for drinks with a coworker. I now know why interoffice dating is a bad idea. Just want to have fun. I think I’ll meet a few people, maybe make some friends, but mostly I’m so awkward that I expect this to be quite humorous. Made profile with six photos. Consulted roommate a ton. That’s true — I’m curious and playful, what’s not to like? Advice from roommate: Picture yourself sitting across the dinner table from these people. So I started being more selective. Getting a few matches off the bat was kind of a confidence boost, but I still felt awkward to reject people. I decided to message every match that I got. No cheesy pickup lines, just “how’s your day” type stuff, and I got one solid conversation going. So far, this was going better than expected, but it was still strange to look at so many pictures, judge people, and see what happened. I now know how judge-y I really am because of the little voice inside my head that said, “ugly, ugly, too short, ugly, no job, ugly…” But I needed that filter otherwise I would like too many guys.

When I made a connection, it was flattering.

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