Have you ever interviewed your dating app match? Like sat down, had a face-to-face conversation, and asked them what they’re looking for in a partner and are they having trouble finding one?
I decided to have a chat with mine, Jeffrey, a pretty chill guy who didn’t look creepy in his Bumble profile picture. Thanks to a string of dating app disappointments, my swipe right standards are so low, if a guy’s not half naked pushing a CrossFit tire, I’ll likely give him a chance. Fortunately for me, Jeffrey and I share a love for hip-hop and funny podcasts like The Read. After fangirling about A Tribe Called Quest’s latest album, we talked about his dating app experiences.
“I was in a lot of long-distance [relationships]. It was the toughest,” Jeffrey recounted.
This is quite different for me. I often set distance settings to pretty much the whole world. I’ve been in too many situations where the city I lived in (read: when I stayed at my mom’s house) was not the city I wanted to stay. So I prodded Jeffrey further.
“It’s just that schedules never linked up … and you try to divy out your time with your family on the weekends,” Jeffrey said. “The only time you have is Friday through Saturday.”
Then Jeffrey threw a curveball: “I guess I’m needy and need attention,” he said, with a shy smirk on his face. “The woman is always allowed to be needy, but for me, it’s not like I need you all the time, but it’s like, show me you’re thinking about me. Like oh, she texted me out the blue, I didn’t text her first? She’s thinking about me!”
Quality time and thoughtful gifts are important, but how often does that happen through dating apps? Bumble is primarily photo and occupation based. I enjoy swiping when I’m bored, but the app made it hard for me to dig deeper. There’s an information section, but many leave it blank. This means when I do swipe right, I’m at a loss for words, and can’t say much beyond “How’s your weekend going?” When I send that message, it’s like trying to talk to a guy with 50 flat screens in front of him.
In short, with a plethora of distracting dating options, it’s hard to go from a superficial conversation to a meaningful relationship.
I recently deleted my Bumble account, mostly due to unanswered messages and seeing the same predictable guys over and over again.
“That’s why I like Bumble, because the woman has to initiate,” Jeffrey said. “You guys may match on Tinder and she may never write back because she has 17,000 other guys who messaged her. So it’s like, when she reaches out on [Bumble], it’s a little more to it.”
I asked Jeffrey what his ideal datin-app date would be. “When I go on a date, I go open-minded,” Jeffrey said. “I try to impress her, but I don’t want to be fake.”
As a woman, I would just like to be alive after my date and feel I’m being heard in a meaningful conversation.
Jeffrey’s favorite dating-app date was when he took a woman out on a go-kart outing because she said she always wanted to try go-karts. Though he doesn’t talk politics on the first date, he has a preference for a woman who is aware of social issues.
After discussing dates, we talked about sex. “Dating overall … it seems like the man has to show out [show off], get all the roses, and all she has to do is give you whatever you want in the bed later. Like, come on.”
When Jeffrey cited how society makes women feel that their romantic worth is only in their bodies, I agreed but also playfully noted women are responding to the pressures of primarily men.
“[Men] do what?” Jeffrey looked in feigned puzzlement. “Alright, alright! You’re right. At the same time though, it’s all systematic learning.”
By the end of our conversation, I learned a lot about men and the need to grow in my own open-mindedness. Texting back and forth, which is my main form of communication with Jeffrey, didn’t scratch the surface of our face to face discussion. It’s easy to be guarded and think every guy is looking for a transactional relationship, but there are some men who want to be romanced as well. They may just be hiding behind a macho picture or a blank info section. “When you’re vulnerable, [women] don’t see you as the alpha male. I don’t want to be an alpha male to you because I want to feel comfortable and safe around you, like you’re supposed to feel safe around me.”