Christmas time in 2015 I had a good rotation of men. One day after another.
One of the great things about Tinder dating is that you get to hear the interesting life stories of men you probably would not encounter. Tinder was the first time I went on dates with African-American men or men in the Diaspora.(Well, there was one time I met a biracial lawyer guy in Ohio on eHarmony like 5 years before. He told a lot of corny jokes that only he laughed at) This was a new experience for me. Prince was the first black man I dated. I still catch flack from some men for having not dated many black men. How much is enough?
2015 racial tensions were high. The Black Lives Matter movement was emerging as a force that could not be dismissed by the mainstream media. There are not many black people in San Diego. It is a border town that despite it’s proximity to Mexico and having a significant Mexican-descendant population, has the reputation of being pretty white. Given this setting, it was interesting to have a date with a Black officer between my dates with Prince to see what life was like for him at the time.
December 15, 2015- San Diego
The Humans of Tinder: last night I went to a comedy show where you can bring your own booze with the romantic date dude. I’ll call him Hakeem, the Prince of Zamunda because he is certainly looking for a queen. He said he was looking for a wife. The show was much more funny with the wine he brought. After the show, we had Thai food. He looked at me and said “I like you, I want to make this work”. OK, wow. No one has ever said that to me. Meanwhile, I have other dates promised to others. But the Prince is ahead of the others.
Today I had a lunch date with a guy who is a counselor at a prison.
He chose his favorite Vietnamese place for us to eat pho. He’s originally from Brooklyn and his uncle choreographed the Lindy-hop scene in the Spike Lee film. He’s a fan of black cinema. He told me he was shocked to see how some of his colleagues react to the Black Lives Matter movement. Even said to see them make hurtful comments on social media. He said that when he moved into his apartment people looked at him with a side-eye and he would catch them staring at him with looks of suspicion. He is this big tall black guy who did not look in place in his neighborhood. However, all that changed the day he accidentally forgot to take off his lanyard from work before coming home. “Your lanyard?”, I asked. Yes, it looks like a police officer badge and it says I work at a corrections facility, he replied. “Ever since then, people have been smiling and waving at me when they see me”, he added.
We talked about everything from the Apollo theater to how he doesn’t go to church anymore. He said he felt like people were not genuine to what was being preached. No one at his elderly mom’s church offers to give her a ride to service. He gave her his nice Letterman jacket for donations to the poor, but the deacon took it for himself. I would be very disappointed and hurt about that if I were him too. We also talked a lot about food because he’s a Lil chunky, but sweet and attractive. I think I have met men I could fix up with my girlfriends! Anyway, I wanted to share because there are many “good” men out there who are highly educated, attractive and solid people. I’m keeping Hakeem the Prince of Zamunda tho 😉
The officer texted me a few times after that saying that he was expecting me to hit him up. I don’t do that because I personally believe in a guy pursuing a girl. I like to give time to men who show they are interested in me. Prince did that. He was constantly communicating with me. I have noticed even on a first tinder date guys say they go on what they think are good dates, but they never heard from the girl afterward. It’s like both parties are waiting for the other to make a move. Men would probably get better results if they were the ones to take the initiative. Anyway, I told the officer that he had not heard from me because I started dating someone.
It happened almost 3 years ago, but I still compare my first date with Prince with all subsequent first dates. He was the master of first impressions. I can still visualize the way he was sitting at the table of the romantically-lit restaurant while he was waiting for me. He couldn’t see me when I was walking up, but he was leaning forward, the sleeves of his sweaters rolled up- like he was anxious and ready to dive into something. It was something good while it lasted. It was crazy how a cast of characters started to emerge while I was dating him. There was a Soul Glo and my mom, like Lisa’s dad, tried to interfere and fix me up with another man.
Prince first appeared on my Humans of Tinder posts on Facebook almost by accident. You see, on our first date, I mentioned that I liked to go salsa dancing. He said he did not know how to salsa dance, but that he knew of a place that night we could go to if I was willing to teach him. I thought that was brave because many men I have dated hated the idea of going out of their comfort zone and potentially being embarrassed. I really do not like the idea of getting into a stranger’s car, but he said I could take a picture and send it to my mom saying I am going with this man. He said it jokingly, but I did take a picture. My mom lives in a different time zone (plus, I have better luck getting in touch with her via Facebook than text, so I posted his picture on Facebook with a message to my mom that I was going out with him and have his pic up in case something happens to me. I am blurring out his face because I never asked him permission to post publically.
Friends started commenting like mad about his good looks, his romantic date planning, and that he was a good catch! I posted about him during and after the date and about our subsequent dates. My friends really liked him and asked about him often- even when I was dating other men at the same time lol!
Prince was from an African country. No, not Nigeria! He was from a country in Southern Africa. African men have a bad reputation in the United States when it comes to dating American women. With shows like 90- Day Fiance (my guilty pleasure), there is even more suspicion around them just wanting a green card. From “friends” to the lady at the nail shop- people warned me that he probably had a whole other family or wife somewhere else.
It was sometime after we started dating that he told me a close relative was the prime minister back in his home country. It did not surprise me, there were several cues that I picked up on that told me he had a relatively privileged life. I was more amused at how accurate my nickname for him was. Like Lisa, I did not find out just how privileged he was well into dating him.
Here is how the first date went according to my Facebook post:
December 2, 2015
This is why I get along so well with foreign men: American men 0, Foreign men a million points! We met on tinder and he asked for my number. I said I only give out my number after meeting in person. He immediately chose a restaurant and made reservations for the next day. As you can see, this is not Sonics or a coffee shop. He ordered a nice bottle of wine to start. I ordered the best food I’ve had in awhile. I told him I liked to Salsa dance and he said he did not know how , but asked if I would teach him. So after dinner we went to a Wednesday night salsa club. Not many men would ever go for fear of looking stupid. Anyway, I wanted to share positivity after my other frustrating “dates” because if you think you’re single because you are a “nice guy” , it’s probably because you’re too lazy to plan a date and take a risk. If you want a lady, you have to show her she is one and make an effort
Looking back at the short post of our first date, I am cracking up at how similar I sound to the Americans who find lovers abroad on 90-day Fiance! I had just gotten out of a slew of bad dates with men who happened to be American. One, took me to the Sonics drive through in his luxury car and told me “you can have ANYTHING on the menu”. To be honest, I think I do have a bias because I first started dating while I was living in Mexico. I have noticed that non-American men are more romantic and desire to have a relationship leading to marriage than American men. However, in the three years since the date, I am no longer sure I can generalize groups of men into categories. I have dated men around the world of different races and ethnicities and I do not have a preference. I am an equal opportunity lover. It is interesting to look back on my posts and see some things that I would not say today. Shows how much I have grown.
It’s still #thirstythursday here in California and it’s that time of year where Tinder is on and poppin’! I change my photos regularly, but haven’t changed my Tinder bio in 3 years! Matches have broken the ice by telling me that my bio makes me unlike the other girls they swipe through. In one day, I had 3 men give me the feedback I have gotten over the years. Have you thought about how people who swipe view your pictures and your”about me” blurb?
This Tinder match got my vibe and that I liked to travel.
Don’t be afraid to show your sense of humor. Some men do this poorly with obscure movie quotes that make them seem like an ax murderer. I made a joke about my competition’s profiles and my dating rules so I don’t come off as stuffy.
Men WILL read what you put on there. It was evident that this man was impressed by me putting down my standards
Do NOT believe the myth that no one reads profiles on Tinder! What these screenshots tell you is that men absolutely do read your bio and it is a tool to intrigue them. It gets them interested in contacting you to potentially set up a date beyond the initial physical attraction they see in your photos. As a woman, I tend to swipe left if a guy is too secretive or has no bio. Even if he’s hot! It gives me the impression that he’s a catfish or is either ashamed of what he does or has something to hide. Men tell me my profile is hilarious, it’s unique, and that I seem interesting. Does your Tinder Profile set you apart from the crowd? I would like to help you think about what vibe you are giving off.
Making a bio is not that difficult if you know who you are and why you are on Tinder. How do friends describe you? Why are you logging in and spending time swiping? My bio is short, sweet and to the point. I believe the character limit is 500 and I have 98 characters remaining.
1. I mention my personality type and:
2. What I will and will not stand for
3. A joke to brighten up my rules- one of which is that I DO NOT give my phone number until after I meet in person. I don’t like randoms to have my number out there. Yes, I could get a Google voice number, but that’s not the point. I am not here for time wasters. Some men argue with me on the phone number deal, but I said it upfront so they have the option to swipe left. If you can’t handle that simple rule, you don’t respect boundaries. That’s a big red flag.
4. Mention my optimistic attitude about my dating experiences.
5. I end with stating the most important quality I am looking for in a man.
Most Importantly are the photos:
I am not going to share my photos because of reverse search LOL! But, I will say that men have told me they like the way I dress in my photos, they can tell I am shy (HOW DO YOU SEE THAT IN A PHOTO I HAVE NO IDEA!) yet despite my shyness, I have a wild streak. I think they can tell that from my mischevious smile. If you look at Princess Diana, she has a similar smile. Did you know that the press gave her the nickname “Shy Di”? Despite her appearing shy, it looked like she was keeping a secret. I went to Kensington Palace this summer and the Diana exhibit stated that she appeared shy in public, but her friends said that privately she was the life of the party.
How to choose a photo for your Tinder Profile:
Think of your pics as the primary way to leavethe first impression. Tinder is a superficial app. You are being judged on your appearance, however, it is true that a picture can say a thousand words. I can’t tell you how many people on and off of Tinder could nail my personality type by just seeing photos of me. Even landlords have asked for online photos of me to see my energy before interviewing me to rent (Yeah, I know. That’s discrimination). I am personally against photos with athletic and workout gear unless you are an athlete and/or working out is an important part of who you are. I swipe left at men who wear Jerseys. It’s too casual and bro-ey for me. No, I do not want to tailgate a Raider’s game with you. Gross. You should have at least one picture where you are dressed up like you are going for a night on the town. Show your prospect that you clean-up nicely. If you are just looking for someone to watch Grey’s Anatomy then fine, post a pic of you in loungewear and yoga pants with a messy bun. Someone may like that. Otherwise:
Use an updated photo or upload photos regularly. It is unfair to use old photos from your younger, thinner days to catfish your date. None of my current photos are more than a year old. Tinder now has a feature that shows all of your matches updated photos across their “timeline”. Those matches who went ghost get those updated photos and re-materialize.
2. Smile. Show your teeth in at least 1 picture. Not every guy wants a shy, mischevious girl like me. Smiling make you seem pleasant to be around, and it makes you seem like an open, honest person with nothing to hide. This goes for men too. Avoid posting serious-looking photos that look like they could be used by the news should you get into trouble.
3. Have at least one full body shot. Both men and women are suspect that you are larger than you may appear if you only upload headshots. Besides, you want a person who loves you for the size you are now, right? Filter out the jerks who don’t want a “large-and-in-charge” mate before you waste your time communicating with them.
4. DO NOT post group photos where your match may think your friend is cuter than you are or may be confused which one in the group you are. I am not sure why people do this. OK, I get it, you may want people to think you are popular with many friends so they want to join the fun. Yet, there are some major jerks who may match with you just to get your friend’s number. You also run the risk that upon meeting, your date realizes you are the other person in the photos. That happened to me one date. I confused a guy for his friend in the photos.
5. Explain whether the child in the photos is your child or not. Don’t leave people guessing whether you have kids. Children may be a dealbreaker for some folks, while others are looking or open to have a blended family. I have been on a few dates with guys who mentioned nothing about having a child in their bio and they certainly did not have a photo. I can understand omitting a photo, but fail to see why a man would keep that hidden in the conversation leading up to the first date.
Last week I had a discussion with my Facebook friends about last minute dates. They really annoy me. A guy messages you wanting to meet up that day or the next day. One one hand, it may seem flattering that he is eager to see you. Yet, there is something to be said about planning a date and the anticipation that comes with it. I don’t know if there is something coded in our genes, but women typically love a man who plans a date- tells you when and where he will romance you. This should not be in the lady’s basket. You may ask her if she has food preferences, but gentlemen, please just PLAN A DATE! You’ll be light years ahead of the basic men out there. Spontaneity is good, but do not let your first impression cast you as someone who is at best, ambivalent about meeting someone or at worst, a fast boy.
I was surprised that men commented on my posts to agree with me- urging me not to go on the date that I was already questioning due to the next-day nature. One male friend said men like that are usually only thinking about sex. Another said, “next thing you know he is going to be texting you at 9pm saying ‘come outside'”. I agreed with their statements, but I am a woman of my word and I already told the man I would be at the coffee shop he chose.
I arrived at the coffee shop early. I sat down and waited a few minutes. I message him through Tinder asking if there was a certain table to meet him at. He messages back. Yeah, I will get their early and tell you where I am. Early? I am early. Then I realize, I am a DAY EARLY for our date. Ugh, I am such a nerd!
So, the next day I met up with the dude at the coffee shop. I was not sure if he was nervous. He seemed to have a little shifty body language. He looked like his picture. He appeared to enjoy an active lifestyle. He had photos of him running a marathon and enjoying hiking. But he completely took me surprise when he spoke! He sounded like a hybrid of Stefon Urkel seducing Laura Winslow and the Catch Me Outside Girl. If you don’t know how that’s possible, neither do I.
I thought to myself, Oh my gosh! Am I that jerk that would judge someone because of their accent? Ugh, I must be a terrible person’. We talked about what he did for a living. He talked about being a math wiz and working his way up to a high position as an engineer in the tech industry. “Oh, do you like your job?” I asked. “I have been in jobs so boring that I understand why people do drugs I added”.
He lowered his head, smiled, and shook his head with a laugh. “I know what you mean, I have been on dates so boring-like we have nothing to talk about. To be honest, the first thing I look for is if I am attracted to the woman. And yes, I find you attractive”. ‘Wait, was I talking about dates because I swore we were just talking about jobs?’I thought to myself. “I mean, sometimes you hit it off and other times, you don’t. I know a lot of women are turned off that I talk ghetto”.
Whew, the elephant in the room has been addressed! I felt so much better once he said something about it. Although, I would not use the word “ghetto”. The thing is that I have heard people speak like that, but they know how to code switch. Also, what was surprising is like the Catch Me Outside Girl, as a half Jewish- half Mexican man, one would not stereotypically associate him with that accent. He said he pretty much grew up in Oakland, had only black friends, and married a black woman. He had such an affinity to African-American culture, that he did not feel at ease in white social spaces. I am not native to the Bay, but I have met native black Oaklanders and they do not sound like that at all, but I digress. I asked why he divorced his wife and he told me he married her because he did not think he could do any better with his life, but once he started advancing his career, he realized he could do better. Hmmph, this is why I tell women, you do NOT build a man.
We spoke about his globetrotting as well as my travels. I found out that he had children. I hate when men don’t put that on their profile. He talked about his house on the hill he owned. He finally started asking me questions and asked what I did for a living. I told him, but I had to get going to another engagement. He said, “Ok, I need to go too but you were talking and I didn’t want to interrupt”.
I’ll start my first blog post with a recent Tinder date who totally swept me off my feet. He was smooth, taught me to let go of being so uptight and made me realize I am a total embarrassment to myself.
Human’s of Tindr–Uptown Funk: He said to me “Why are you so God damn beautiful and chill? Please don’t change and don’t let me change you” He is probably the only man I have met that could change me. I haven’t been updating you all with Tinder stories, but I have been posting pics on Instagram. Anyway, I matched with this guy the day after I came back from vacation. He wanted to meet up right away. He wanted to take me out to dinner at Cityscape- a beautiful indoor rooftop bar in downtown SF. I was tired from the trip and training, plus I really don’t believe in going to the man so I told him I would meet him another day. He kept asking as the weekend progressed “As you can see, I am not trying to miss a day” he messaged me so I told him Monday worked. (I would already be in the City. I am not chasing no man). I really did not get as dolled up as I usually do for dates. I still put in effort. I had no expectations for this date. I got their early and he rushed over. When he came he had a big smile. I was surprised. He was way cuter than his pictures. He was different than the corporate techies and CEOs I have been dating. He had pics of him on the beach, traveling, showing off his six-pack. He was a nerd too though. He had a corporate job but had a wild streak. He kinda looks like Bruno Mars, but taller and more handsome. He told me many people tell him that. Has major swag. He kinda reminds me of Rhett Buttler too. Doesn’t dress sharp but is smooth and dangerous. He’s actually from Nepal, but has been living in the U.S. his adult life and has definitely adopted the Bay Area Funk. I was zoning out staring and smiling distracted at his muscles and his chiseled face as he was talking. “What are you laughing at?” He asked. “I am not laughing, you’re handsome” I responded. “Really? he said surprisingly turning his head. After drinks, we went downstairs for dinner and had a Moscow Mule drink. We got along well so he asked if I wanted to go dancing since I told him I liked salsa dancing. We went to a bar but there was no dancing. I think we drank a vodka cranberry. I had so much to drink I had to break the seal. He waited outside for the Lyft to take us to a dance club. Standing outside we hugged and he asked what was my last name. I asked what his was and I could not say it right. He kissed me. I asked him why he did that. He said I was cute. I wasn’t complaining. “What’s that?! He pointed at my back. What? I turned and THERE WAS A FOOT OF TOILET PAPER HANGING OUT THE BACK OF MY PANTS LIKE A TAIL! HOW TF DID TOILET PAPER GET ON MY BUTT WHEN I DIDN’T POOP?! I WANTED TO DIE OF EMBARRASSMENT! This crap only happens to me!