Two years ago I never would have dreamed I'd be vouching for cheesy dating sites like Tinder or Ok-Cupid. But when I found myself alone the day before my 21st Birthday, I found myself in an unusual situation. I desperately wanted to spend my final moments being 20 with someone who would be up for a grand adventure. Eventually finding myself in an ambient bar with a handsome companion, sipping on my first legal drink as soon as the clock struck midnight, before stealing into the night to celebrate being the big 2-1.
To my immense disappointment, my friends and family were busy or out of town. Leaving me alone and bored to tears on the one night I wanted to fill with unforgettable shenanigans. In a last-ditch effort, I finally downloaded Tinder after being prodded by co-workers for weeks.
Little did I know this would be one of the best decisions I'd ever made.
It led me to John, my boyfriend of nearly 3 years, who would show me the best time on a last-minute date.
Upon downloading the app, I realized it was indeed full of slime-balls who want nothing more than to take advantage of your time and aren't looking for much other than a few hours to pass the time with a pretty face. Unfortunately, there's no real way to tell who's going to be worth your effort and who's going to be a waste of your time.
All you can do is toss the dice, use context clues, and try to feel out if the person is worth your time via messaging. It's quite misleading when you have no idea if you're actually talking to someone who is being genuine or not. Surprisingly enough, there is a large number of active people who are looking for a deeper connection.
Of course, for every decent person out there expect to find at least two bogus people. Try to be patient as you sort through the weeds in search of the budding flowers that are worth picking.
I'd had enough with trying to meet people out and about. I'd always choke up during awkward interactions and stumble all over my words trying to break it to someone that I just wasn't that into them. I figured, what the hell, I've got nothing to lose and I'm not spending this evening alone watching re-runs of The X-Files. I'm taking matters into my own hands and making a fun night, regardless of how much I would've enjoyed a cuddle-sesh with my dog over a nightmare date.
In my experience, I somehow managed to go on just one date to find my diamond in the rough. Someone who would become my best friend, my partner in crime, the most romantic person I'd ever met, all while being ambitious and intriguing as an individual.
We would spend hours just talking after that first date which consisted of tromping around Mellow Mushroom, exploring a new area I'd never been to, and playing card games into the wee hours.
But John had been on many a botched date in his time using Tinder. He expressed how shocked he was that I was actually a legitimate person that portrayed myself honestly on my profile.
In the coming years, he's shared his interestingly humorous incidents that have included coming face-to-face with a real catfish and a high-speed chase that involved evading an obsessed date. Well, not that high-speed but still the sort of stories that I half-way expected to occur.
What I'm trying to say here is you never know what might come of trying a dating site. It can be just as unpredictable as a live date or trying to meet people on the fly. You at least have the opportunity to get to know the person via messaging or phone calls before you have the actual date.
And every once in a while, like me, you might even find someone that makes all those bad experiences completely worth it.