Imagine a 20-year-old girl finally following her dream of moving to Amsterdam. Imagine her having planned this new chapter of her life for an entire year. Imagine a photo folder consisting of over 100 screenshots including cafés, restaurants, and other Instagrammable hotspots to check out once finally in the city. Now as much as I like to consider myself an independent woman whose happiness doesn’t depend on anyone else, I had to face the obvious: discovering a new city with others is much more fun than on your own.
So how could I quickly meet new people? (and maybe even someone who would take me on a romantic dinner by the canals)… Well, the first people I came across in Amsterdam all seemed to agree on the fact that downloading dating apps would be the easiest way to meet someone and, apparently, “everyone does it here”. A few days of me thinking “am I really this desperate?” had passed until I decided that maybe I wasn’t desperate but somehow intrigued and curious enough to give it a shot. So, I dived into the world of online dating. And when I say dive in, I mean fully dive in: all of sudden, I found myself not only on Tinder, but on Bumble and Hinge, a supposedly more “sophisticated” platform.
First Challenge: Create an Interesting Profile
Once downloaded, I realized that I would now have to make the groundbreaking decision of how I wanted to present myself. What online version of me would be the most datable? In terms of personal information, I decided to go with the bare minimum: my age and a short introduction of me saying that I’m new in the city and looking to meet people (in other words: I am not lonely, just new here).
Now onto the photos. Surely, as a girl, one wants to come off friendly and nice, so photos with a smile wouldn’t hurt. At the risk of being too boring, an adventurous photo would obviously be ideal. Unfortunately, not everyone, including me, has photos of them skydiving seeing that many of us probably tend to opt for less life-risking hobbies. Next, a photo with food — after all, who would want to end up with someone who doesn’t enjoy a good meal? Finally, I also added a picture of me and my friend. To anyone who has ever downloaded a dating app: don’t pretend you didn’t choose the photo in which you looked fabulous while your friend next to you in the photo was experiencing a bad hair day or is sneezing.
Second Challenge: Swiping
You may wonder how I could possibly consider swiping a challenge. For starters, me swiping left too quickly and wanting to swipe back, thus unintentionally matching with the wrong person was quite a common occurrence. Secondly, why do I decide to swipe right? Do I need to look at every photo? Surely not, this would take up way too much time and can still be done in case of an actual match. However, guys who only upload one photo? Somehow suspicious if you ask me. My verdict: swipe right when the guy looks nice, relatively harmless and doesn’t seem too obsessed with his looks (i.e. poses shirtless in every photo) and doesn’t include weird jokes in his bio.
Ironically, as a so-called writer, the best conversation opener I came up with was: “Hey, how are you? ☺”.
The next morning, I woke up to my first Tinder matches — a phrase I never thought I’d ever say or write. I quickly ignored the first one (must have been one of the above mentioned accidental swipes) and moved on to the second: he looks friendly but hasn’t texted yet. After already putting myself out there on a dating app, I sure as hell wasn’t going to make the first move. Next, I opened Bumble and received the notification: “it’s up to you to start the conversation”. Wait. What? Nobody warned me about the fact that on Bumble, girls have to text first. I had already come so far as downloading the app, so I took a deep breath and started the chat. Ironically, as a so-called writer, the best conversation opener I came up with was: “Hey, how are you? ☺”. It would just have to be good enough.
Lucky for me, my first Bumble match answered. I was just about to leave the house to go on my daily coffee walk when he texted me his location and asked whether I wanted to join him and his friends. Now, admittedly, this wasn’t the romantic dinner I had in mind but at least this way I could easily leave if he was weird. Very unlike me (the girl who likes to over-plan everything), I spontaneously agreed and soon found myself in the middle of Amsterdam right by the canals surrounded by over 50 people, half of which were guys who could have all been my Bumble match. Thanks to my date sending me a photo of a garbage container near him, I finally managed to pinpoint his exact location.
Now about the guy: he did look like his photos and was very friendly, which was a relief. About the date: it was more so a casual afternoon between friends. His friends were welcoming as well, although as the day progressed on and alcohol levels began to increase, one of them became weirdly obsessed with my choice of sneakers which he considered a fashion sin. All in all, calling it a success would definitely be an overstatement.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks to the current day, I have a confession to make: I am still swiping. I guess you can say I have very mixed feelings about the entire online dating world but I’m not ready to give up my hope just yet. And who knows, maybe one day, I will swipe right on the love of my life…
Edited by: Debby Mogot