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Belle’s Adventures in Online Dating, Part II

Tinder is the dating site America loves to hate.  It’s a hookup app that will bring forth a dating apocalypse.  A smorgasbord of targets for stalkers, rapists, and murderers.  And dating apps are probably killing the long-term relationship.

Tinder’s place in the Millennial pop culture pantheon is assured, but can you actually swipe left and find love?  I did, and I’m not the only one.

My Tinder experience was born out of one part boredom, one part frustration, and one part curiosity.  What were these crazy kids into?  One app download later, and I found myself in a hellmouth from which left-swiping was my only escape.  Here’s a faithful representation of my first days on Twitter:

Seahawks jersey. (left swipe)

No pictures that don’t feature a red Solo cup. (left swipe)

Neck tattoo. (left swipe)

His profile photo is a screen grab of his bank account. That’s one way to do it. (left swipe)

Seahawks jersey. (left swipe)

No description, all photos taken from a distance or in poor lighting. (left swipe)

Shirtless. (left swipe)

Seahawks jersey. (left swipe)

All group photos, safe bet he’s the balding Lilliputian gentleman. (left swipe)

Shirtless with a neck tattoo. (left swipe)

Kansas City Chiefs jersey; How the hell did you get in here? (left swipe)

Despite the seemingly endless supply of men who would make my father and mother drop dead on the spot, I did manage to swipe right a couple of times.  A junior high school teacher who liked the outdoors.  A handsome, but painfully self-involved bro who had the conversational skills of a wet paper towel.  A military office who used too many emojis for my comfort.  And then, there was K.

So how does a girl find a good catch on Tinder?  Here are Belle’s Tinder Tips.

Your Profile should be an honest reflection of who you are.  Keep the description short, including just a few bits of information.  If you need tips on what to include, ask a your close friends what they think is most interesting or unique about you.

Don’t load up on photos, three or four should be enough.  The pictures should be realistic–no glamour shots, lingerie photos, or blurry photos taken from a distance.  Avoid selfies if you can, your pictures should show you living your life.

Know what you’re looking for.  While having a laundry list of requirements is a terrible idea, knowing what you can’t live without, or live with, is critical.  I wanted a tall, college educated man who left the impression that he enjoyed life.  I left open the possibility of an intangible x-factor, but for the most part, I stuck to type.

Be Selective. You should be left-swiping 90% of the time, minimum.  If you wouldn’t talk to the guy if you met him in a bar, don’t chat him up online.  If the profile has red flags like extremely poor grammar, questionable photos, or reads like a phishing e-mail from a Nigerian prince, take a pass.

One of the great things about Tinder is that if you don’t right swipe on someone, he (or she) can’t contact you.  Don’t find out too late that you were overly generous with the right-swipe and wind up in the awkward position of unmatching later.

Keep the Conversation on Tinder.  My friend SA was chatting with a guy on Tinder about puppies and what kind of dog they each wanted to own someday when he asked for her phone number.  He wanted to text instead of Tinder.  Less than five minutes later, she was treated to a mid-day dick pic.  Because who wouldn’t find that charming?

I kept all my conversations on Tinder as long as needed.  Guys with ill intent and those who are just looking for a hookup will get bored quickly and disappear.  Plus, if someone says inappropriate or threatening things to you, you can report them to Tinder or simply block them.

Be Open to Whatever Happens.  I hadn’t dated in ten years, and Tinder felt like a good way to learn to talk to men again.  My goal was to do a bit of practice dating.  Nothing too serious.

K was my first and only Tinder date.  We met for a casual drink, that turned into dinner, and then, lunch the next day, and the next, and the next, and well…you get the picture.  He wasn’t looking for anything serious either, having just gotten out of a long-term relationship, but we both got over what our time on Tinder was supposed to be and embraced it.

Don’t Lie About How You Met.  Just because you met on Tinder doesn’t mean your relationship is somehow deficient.  Why should your happiness take a back seat to anyone else’s?  Do the couples who met standing over a keg of stale beer at a college party have a superior story to tell?  Embrace your story.

Plus, you should see the looks on people’s faces when you tell them you met on Tinder.  Priceless.



  1. J says:

    Love this! Very happy for you Belle!

    I would like to hear if any of year readers have had success on Bumble. (Where the women must make the first initiation after they match). I’ve had a few matches with what appear to be “normal” guys but I don’t know how to proceed or what to even say. I hate small talk in general so I have a hard time forcing myself to make small talk with strange suitors.

    February 19, 2016/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I hate small talk too, but I initiated a few convos on Tinder. After all, this was supposed to be “practice.” I found pulling something from their profile and asking them about it works (Where do you like to go skiing? or What’s your baseball team?). Hi, I’m XX, tell me a little about yourself, always works too. The point is, once you get the first thing out of the way, it’s much easier than I thought it would be. And you figure out pretty quickly who you want to keep talking to. But don’t ghost people. If you’re done talking to someone, just say hey, it was nice to meet you, good luck finding someone! and unmatch.

      February 19, 2016/Reply
    • A says:

      A coworker told me I should try Bumble. But when I looked into it I discovered you have to link your account to your Facebook page. Is that still the case? Because I don’t think I’m up for that.

      February 19, 2016/Reply
      • Kay says:

        I met my boyfriend on Bumble! After having tried OKcupid and match, I really liked Bumble. The men I chatted with were more quality and appreciated the fact that I am very independent. Highly recommend bubble!!!

        February 20, 2016/Reply
      • natalie says:

        It doesn’t post on your facebook account, but it will tell you if you have mutual friends. Tinder is the same way. It’s nice because if you do have a mutual friend, you have a reference! 🙂

        February 22, 2016/Reply
    • chicago1234 says:

      I met my boyfriend on Bumble! Just one person’s experience but it worked for me 🙂

      February 19, 2016/Reply
    • natalie says:

      I live in Salt Lake, which has a very small young single professionals scene. I’ve found that Bumble to be more limited in number of users, but the guys are of higher caliber. I usually just say hello and ask how their weekend was or ask about something in their profile or photos and the conversation just goes from there. I’ve found a lot of crossover between Bumble and Tinder, meaning I see people on both. Dating is a numbers game, I think. If you throw enough stuff at the wall, something is bound to stick. It sure is exhausting though!

      February 22, 2016/Reply
  2. Valerie says:

    Last year I went to a good friend’s wedding- he met his now-wife on a dating site. The bride’s dad got up to give a toast, and said: “When [bride] told me about [groom], she said they ‘met at a bar in DC’. Only later did she tell us how they actually met. So I have to ask, my darling daughter: what’s so much worse about meeting online than in a dark bar late at night?” So funny and so true.

    February 19, 2016/Reply
  3. A says:

    “Neck tattoo,” oh my God you had me laughing out loud at my desk! This was a great post and I think you’ve convinced me to stop flushing my money down the drain with eHarmony and give Tinder a shot. Congratulations on finding a great match.

    February 19, 2016/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I think you have to do Facebook on Tinder too. I just blocked off all of my stuff and hid my photos except for the three I want to use.

      February 19, 2016/Reply
  4. Christine says:

    There’s a final element you forgot to mention – LUCK. Because someone can do everything you mention and still not find someone. So never underestimate the importance of sometimes just getting damn lucky. I don’t mean that to sound bitter, because I’m not, but I do think it is part of dating success.

    February 19, 2016/Reply
    • GoGoGo says:

      +1. hang in there girl.

      February 19, 2016/Reply
    • Belle says:

      There’s an element of luck and timing in everything from career to love, but there are certainly things you can do better in the absence of being lucky.

      February 19, 2016/Reply
  5. E says:

    I love this post so much! I also met my boyfriend on Tinder. I started using the app for the similar reasons — getting back out there and practice. You never know what might happen. At the very least I thought I’d get a couple dates under my belt but I happened to find a gem and only had one Tinder date!

    February 19, 2016/Reply
  6. JJ says:

    I met my husband the old fashioned before the days of Tinder (aka E-Harmony) and have been fascinated watching my co-workers on Tinder (mainly female coworkers). I finally had the opportunity to watch a male coworker go through his Tinder picks and noticed there were a couple of things that applied to all the girls he picked: a good picture of just them and you could clearly see the woman’s face (with a smile). I’ve watched other men do their picks and those two things always seem to apply. Oh, and I was shocked how often they swiped left on the girls whose “ladies” were clearly featured.

    Just my observation, but I figured I’d share…

    February 19, 2016/Reply
  7. sherry @ save. spend. splurge. says:

    When did it ever become acceptable to send photos of one’s genitalia as a form of courtship?


    I’m sort of happy I was not part of that dating scene when I found my partner.. we found each other at work, but I did online date once or twice but never, EVER did I ever receive a dick pic.

    Great series. I’m very happy for you and all those who have found love online. We’re in a new age.

    February 19, 2016/Reply
  8. Sam says:

    My husband and I get the same surprised looks when we tell people that we met on OkCupid. We’ve never been shy about it and people are usually intrigued as to how it went down!

    February 19, 2016/Reply
  9. thb says:

    Great Posts in I and II. Will there be a Part III?

    February 19, 2016/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Let’s hope not.

      February 21, 2016/Reply
  10. Jenn S. says:

    My now-husband and I met online (via social media, not even a dating outlet – when neither of us were ‘trying’ to find someone) many moons ago when it was not especially socially accepted to do so, so we kept the details from people who wouldn’t be quite so open-minded. (That, and my age at the time would have set me up for a lot of, “You’re young and stupid,” etc).

    If we met now, we wouldn’t hide it, and recommend others don’t do so.

    February 19, 2016/Reply
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  12. Megan says:

    I loved seeing this. I met my husband on Tinder and I think Belle’s tips for how to use it hit the mark. Thanks for sharing and showing not all Tinder users end up with dating horror stories!

    February 20, 2016/Reply
  13. Amanda says:

    I met my boyfriend of one year on Tinder and couldn’t be happier — and he was also my one and only Tinder date. So glad to hear another great story like ours!

    February 22, 2016/Reply
  14. natalie says:

    My list of automatic left swipes also include visible toilet/urinal in selfie, dead animals from hunting expeditions, firearms, not smiling in at least one photo, or pictures of vehicles (esp jacked-up trucks). It is astounding how many bad profiles there are out there. I’m pretty sure I swipe left 95% of the time. Tinder is nothing if not entertaining, that’s for sure.

    February 22, 2016/Reply
  15. sahra says:

    oh my goodness, I love this! I actually met my BF on OkCupid (we’ve been together for over 3 years now; pre-Tinder times those were). And all of your advice is so on point! I think we’re together because I went on there knowing what I wanted, being brutally honest in my profile, and taking things slow!

    Best of luck out there in the sea of dates <3
    XO Sahra
    Que Sera Sahra

    February 22, 2016/Reply
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