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Dating Apps: A Necessary Evil

So here’s the situation. I am a mid-twenty-something female. I love hanging out with my friends, hiking, and Instagramming my food. I also like dudes. Just, as a concept.

Now in the old days, people met in bars. Gals and dudes (and gals & gals or dudes & dudes) engaged in banter, perhaps exchanged phone numbers, and entered a period of courtship. Calling, meeting up for dates, following a series of commonly accepted rules, engaging socially. You get it.

It is the Year of our Lord 2017. People no longer meet in this fashion. Instead, they use dating apps, the wretched hives of scum and villainy that people endure with the hopes of meeting their very own Han Solo. Or Chewbacca, if you’re into that sort of thing.

(Note: I know there are other ways to meet people. Joining sports leagues, meeting at work, etc. all are valid means of socializing. Those have not been successful for me in particular.)

I have a love-hate relationship with dating apps.

Here’s what I love: You literally judge people based on nothing (what I do already in my head at all times). You can enjoy another fun pastime of mine, trolling people. There’s nothing quite like using bad puns, responding using prequel memes, or telling people you don’t know how to screw in a lightbulb, just to get a few giggles.

It also shortcuts the otherwise exhausting dating dance. With dating apps, you can chat for a few days without putting on a nice outfit. If there’s a glint of chemistry, you can agree to meet up and see where it goes from there. It’s impersonal, quick, and (hopefully) painless.

Here’s what I hate: Just… just the asinine level of communication. The derogatory comments. The dick pics. The body assessments. Hey, I know sometimes people like to cut to the chase. (I’ll be using vague euphemisms since both my parents and extended family read this site, and I was raised Irish/Polish/Italian Catholic (i.e., “repressed!”)) But I enjoy conversation and connection before moving on to the other stuff.

And it’s not just the graphic messages. It’s also the insinuation that, despite having a photo of me in a Bills jersey on my profile and a lifetime of broken dreams, I’m somehow “not a real fan.” I resent the accusation, which has been leveled at me multiple times. And if this is the banter a guy uses while trying to impress a woman, God (or I guess, in this case, Satan) help me if we ever do get a drink. Dating apps also amplify the presence of Patriots fans everywhere. That’s a separate tangent; it just had to be noted.

Another thing that gets me is the laziness, which I have previously celebrated… but please, start out a conversation with something other than “Hi” or “Hey” or “Your hot ;).” (Grammar could also be improved across the board. Just saying.)

Now, I am not immune. I am a dick to people on Tinder, and sometimes, on the dates themselves. And maybe this is why I haven’t found my one true love out there in the digital universe.

These are My 7 Deadly Tinder Sins.


I often find myself just staring at my date’s lips. From minute one, I wonder if he’s a good kisser. I also sometimes find myself bringing up hot actors, like Adam Driver or Tom Cruise. I don’t mean to make my date feel bad; it’s just that I think about those two men like, 70 percent of the time.


This is actually the fun part of dating: I get to research and scope out new places to eat and drink. I will 100 percent check out a place based on how good the burgers look, or how deep the beer list is. I also rotate my suggestions, so hopefully I don’t see any former dates at my usual spots!

* Sidenote: I recently went on a date with a guy who hadn’t eaten gluten in 7 years. I ordered the margherita pizza anyway and didn’t feel bad, because his gluten stance was not the worst thing about him.

** Additional Sidenote: He didn’t have a medical reason for not eating gluten. He chose this.


I always offer to split the bill with a dude at first. But, truth be told, I never, EVER want him to let me do that. I’ve gone dutch on dates before, and I know, I’m supposed to be pro-equality, but I would like to feel treated on the first date, maybe as a down payment on the $0.22 you owe us on every dollar. C’mon. Let us have this one outdated custom, then everything else can go. Wait, keep the door holding thing, too. OK, everything besides that.


I almost always go on dates within a mile of my apartment. Firstly, I don’t want to get murdered—if it gets dicey, I want to be somewhere that I know all the back routes to safety. I’m pretty sure I can run a sub-9 mile regardless of my footwear, but anything longer than that? That’s debatable.

Secondly, I’m not trying to sit in traffic. Thirdly, dating is already emotionally and physically risky, so we don’t need to add financial risk to the equation. For a first date, it’s really best to walk or get a cheap Lyft. Or, if my intuition says the dude will not potentially murder me and Dexter me and dump me in the ocean, I might even accept a ride home.


Am I actually on a date unless I’ve brought up how much I hate Tom Brady? Or how many times I’ve envisioned his death? Or how much I hate the Patriots as an organization? I really need to stop exposing my wrath so soon after meeting someone. But at the same time, that would be disingenuous, as Brady hate runs deep in my core.


If a guy brings up a cool place he’s visited, or a cool vacation he’s been on, I will definitely talk about some weird murder/cult/ghost situation in that area. It’s because I’m insanely jealous of him. And also, I just want to talk about ghosts.


I think I am so cool and witty and dope, and I am somehow comfortable enough with myself to talk about my deep knowledge of Scientology. I’m shooting for that “I’m quirky but funny and knowledgeable, and definitely not a know-it-all or too weird!” vibe. I know it’s tough to thread that needle, but just need to check with everybody—that’s a cool vibe to give off, right?

There you have it. Dating apps are no picnic, but having just insinuated that dating me is like traveling through the circles of Hell, I’m clearly not doing myself any favors. I really hope we get to the next evolution of dating soon, or I get a boyfriend, ‘cause I’m getting a little bored.

If you have any tips or date recommendations in the greater Los Angeles area, let me know. I’ll be the one standing outside of the Scientology center, eating pizza in my Bills jersey, cursing about Tom Brady to no one in particular.

Erin Vail

Erin is the 2003 West Reading Elementary Geography Bee champion, a TV obsessive, and never not thinking about Buffalo sports.

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