Words by Chelsea Oliver
Editor's Note: We are going to be following Chelsea's journey for the next six months as she navigates single life in the current world of Tinder, hook-up culture, and single-shaming.
One hour. Four shots of Fireball. And a new found love of left swiping.
I was immediately hooked on Tinder. It felt so liberating to swipe left, left, left, ohhh right, left, and left some more. There were very few worthy of my right swipes and later down the line, my treasured super likes.
While some profiles were picked over with my girlfriends with a fine-tooth comb, others were obviously too attractive to be real and immediately right swiped for the fun of the game. It was addicting to swipe for a while, find nothing worth investing more than a second glance in, and then see that the ones I did care to right swipe were matches. All of it felt like a game.
So when you message people, it all still felt like a game. It wasn't until the first guy actually wanted to meet for a date that I realized this was the type of situation your parents warned you about when we all first started to use the internet as 13 year old girls. I instantly felt that, even though I had met legitimate people from over the internet before, because this was my first time crushing on an internet person, it must be bad news. This must be a situation like the ones we were always told about as kids where the little girl gets lured away by who she thinks is a friend from online but turns out to be a 50-something creep who likes young girls.
Against my better judgement, I met the internet man.
I made sure to tell at least one friend every last detail of what I knew about this guy. I sent screenshots of our conversations and pictures he sent to me and when I pulled up to the restaurant where we met, I sent her a pin drop of my location and a sneaky picture of his license plate.
He ended up not being a creep.
He was who he said he was, except for the part where he had a recently ex-fiancée and he'd cry through our entire time together because he wasn't yet over her. He was a very large muscular dude, crying his eyes out in an Applebee's over half-priced appetizers and a drink I didn't finish. My friends and I to this day fondly call him Muscle Tears.
After that disaster, I assumed it couldn't get worse. That might have been true, but it didn't get much better either.
Tinder became my cure for boredom. It became my place to fully creep on the boys I was "talking" to in town because I knew none of them were faithfully only talking to me. Tinder is the reason I began to fully understand the exhausting parts of being single. Tinder is better known as the "hook-up" app. When that's not all I wanted, I also dabbled in Bumble, Plenty of Fish, and Coffee Meets Bagel.
Literally none of those are worth your time if you're a single woman.
I met men between the ages of 21 to 45, all of which thought with their pants, not all of which told the truth about what they looked like or were looking for.
I don't think that you can fully understand singlehood without playing with online dating, it takes it all to a new level…maybe a new level of low if you're playing with free apps and not investing a lot of effort besides proximity and looks in your quest to find someone, but a new level nonetheless.
During this first attempt with Tinder, which lasted a couple of months, I matched with one hundred men because that was my game. I met about twelve of them, some of which went further than others. But matching 100 was my cut off point. I kept my Tinder account for the sole reason of creeping on boys my girlfriends and I were interested in, seeing if they were the real deal, but other than that, I had moved on from the game because it was a mind-numbing waste of time.
Because by that time it was fall, my favorite season, and about the time October rolled around, I was falling for the type of guy I had always thought I wanted.
Chelsea Oliver is a lover of life in heels, coffee in hand, who runs the marketing department of a credit union by day and makes sassy stationery for her own business by night. Chelsea is an old soul in a power-lifting millennial body. She craves authenticity while loving every filter on Instagram and tweeting in all caps as necessary.