A Tinderella Story
Updated: Mar 3, 2018
I have never been what you call “social media savvy.” I was born a Millennial but in the early 80’s so, when I was in university in the early 2000s, social media was kind of just being born. I lived in a time of IM and ICQs which I rarely used, preferring the intimacy of face-to-face contact. So, social media grew up and grew faster than I cared to keep up with and moved on without me. I am more of an old fashion offline face-to-face, phone calling, long texting kind of girl with a 250-word count minimum (that’s approximately one-page double spaced…I was a history and communication’s major…I am long winded…sue me.)
So when I told a friend a few months ago that I was considering dating she referred me to a dating app called Bumble. I was very skeptical. Up to this point my experience with online dating was some miss-spent hours in online chat rooms in my 20’s that resulted in a few regrettable hook-ups. I found the whole experience distasteful similar to how I feel about ordering a pizza online—I can see the convenience but I would rather have someone take my order over the phone so I have someone to blame when my pizza arrives cold, is missing a topping and the delivery guy forgot my dipping sauce. With online dating it was like getting a cold, topping-less, sauce-less pizza with a weird penis that I ordered for free online but can’t return because there is no customer service complaint line you call when you are unsatisfied with your man order.
The whole idea behind The Bumble is women have all the control (my Grandma Judie prefaces all social media with “the” like The Facebook, The Twitter, The Snap Chat etc.…we talk almost every night so I have taken on some of her 70-year-old lady on social media habits…did I mention she has a more active The Facebook account than me?)
On Bumble you view the profiles and then swipe right if you are interested and left if it’s a no-go. What I was completely unaware of because I know nothing about mobile dating app (trust me I have learned my lesson and have done some research since), apparently the creator of Bumble was the co-founder of Tinder, a notorious dating “hook-up” app that came onto the market in 2012 and climbed to the top of the mobile dating app charts with an estimated 50 million people using the app monthly and more than 1 billion swipes daily (told you I did my research). Bumble is the same concept.
I want to preface my next statements with this: I have never seriously considered online dating. I always assumed I would meet a guy the old-fashion way: at the airport, in traffic, in the produce isle, at a laundry mat, in a department store line-up buying a tie for my Dad and him the same one for his or at a bar— Ah the good old days...now this process is called meeting “Organically”—so more produce less real life men in the isle because they are all at home ordering pizza and Tindering. Also I figured if I did go the online route I would go eHarmony or go home!
So, one evening over a very tall glass of white wine I created a profile for the dating app. It was actually pretty easy because it gives you the option to upload needed information from your FB account. Only problem: other than my employment and education I haven’t updated my FB profile since I opened the account in 2007. I really haven’t changed that much: I still think Charade is one of Audrey Hepburn’s best movies and that Jeopardy is the greatest game show ever invented. All I really had to do was choose a few photos that I didn’t have crazy eyes in (which is pretty much all of them) and it was time to start swiping!
This is what my swipe experience looked like:
Sip-he looks like a serial killer-Swipe Left
Sip-he looks like he doesn’t love and respect his mother-Swipe Left
Sip-he looks like he still lives with his mother-Swipe Left
Sip-every picture is in a bar (alcoholic party boy)-Sip-no judgements dude I am two sips from being there myself-Swipe Left
Sip-Why is he always in Vegas? Gambling problem-Swipe Left
Sip-It looks like it takes him 3 hours to get ready (high maintenance)-Swipe Left
Sip-he has the eyes, smile, general vibe of a douche bag-Swipe Left
Sip- That haircut looks like nobody loves him-Swipe Left
Swipe Left, Swipe Left, Swipe Left
Sip, Sip, Sip,
If stupid had a face it would be wearing that shirt and have a cross tattoo on a bulgy, oily chest like that (as I got tipsy I got mean)- Swipe Left
Sip-Holy Shit, I know you…I made out with you at a make-out party when I was 14 and you were a douche then and I suspect by that slimy smile you are still a total troll- Swipe Left…
And on and on it went until there were no more men to suggest and I broke Bumble for 24 hours (the amount of time the app needed to regroup with a new crop of men and a lot of duplicates by the way.)
After a good laugh, a few texts to my girls to tell them I broke the Internet and the remainder of my wine (yes there was still some left it was a really big glass) I came to a realization: Whether it is an dating/hook-up app or a find-your-perfect-match subscribed dating site I am not meant to find love on the Internet.
I am not a Tinderella. I am a Cinderella.
I suspect a lot of women with these apps and on these sites feel the same way after some of bad date experiences I have heard and read about.
When I was a little girl I did not dream of a magic app that would help me find Prince Charming. I never imagined that with a swipe to the right, Bipity-Bopity-Boo my Tinder King would show up on my door step for dinner, maybe a movie, maybe some light conversation before we lived hook-up-ever-after.
That is Not the Dream.
When I was six years old and Cinderella sang a Dream is a Wish while scrubbing the floors of her wicked step mothers front foyer and willing her Prince to her in that awful brown burlap dress, which somehow she wore with effortless grace much like the crystal ball gown introduced later in the story. Well when they did meet there was magic and a glass slipper and the night sparkled with possibility; he spots her across a crowded ball room and is drawn to her; they dance and laugh (okay there is no evidence in the movie or book that they had that much fun but my version of Price Charming is funny).
They fell in love and when Cinderella had to leave before her carriage turned back into a pumpkin (because in my day young ladies had curfews) forgetting her calling card glass slipper what did Prince Charming do?
Did he say “she was nice, let me put this shoe in the palace’s lost and found, I hope she has a great life and meets someone real special someday”
No! He searched all the lands for the foot that fit that slipper until he found her then he married her and they lived happily ever after and ruled over the kingdom and Cinderella had an amazing walk-in closet filled with ball gowns and fabulous shoes.
Now That is a Story…albeit one created in the minds of Rogers, Hammerstein and myself. When those visuals are seared in your mind and heart using all the online/mobile dating apps currently available just doesn’t feel right. I feel like a classic Cinderella playing at being a modern day Tinderella.
My vision of “Some Day My Prince Will Come” has evolved from knights on white horses to a tamer boy-meets-girl-organically, boy-and-girl-have-a-bunch-of-adult-things-in-common, boy-and-girl-go-out-a-lot, boy-and-girl-go-on-mini-vacations-to-get-to-know-each other, boy-and-girl-see-where-life-takes-them wrapped in touches of sparkle and romance of course and no emoji’s necessary.
More power to the millions of women who navigate the online/mobile dating apps daily and even higher praise to the women who find love, long-term relationships and marriage.
Although my experience in the dating app world was brief (it took an hour and a half to break Bumble) I just know myself and myself is telling myself that online is not where I am going to find him. I feel the same way about online shopping. I get the appeal. Online shopping makes everything look shinny and new and amazing. It lulls you into a false sense of security of impending satisfaction.
Then the product arrives (you paid extra for the 3-5 days’ rush delivery), you open the package and the 1950’s vintage red evening dress you ordered on Amazon is actually a polyester blend and not silk organza as advertised. Again, you saw the item, you made the purchase, it’s too much of a hassle to return to online land so you are stuck with it. Because you didn’t see it up close, touch it, try it on, examine for flaws before purchase you have no one to blame but yourself right?
For me that’s what trying to find love online is like. When I was a little girl and I went into a store with my mom she was constantly telling me to stop touching things that I don’t plan on buying. Even as an adult that’s how I shop: “Does this feel good…does this feel right?” I am tactile and sensual person. If it is not physically in front of me I can’t make a decision about how I feel about a person, place or thing.
So for now I choose to believe in the organic magic of the Cinderella glass slipper principle over Tinderella’s swipe left/right philosophy of finding the one. Whether he sweeps me off my feel or I sweep him off his, falling in love is something I plan to do without using an app.