How to survive Tinder: Five tips for reasonable people

My apologies to those of you who listened patiently four days ago when I said that I was reactivating my Tinder profile and promised to “really try” this time. As a surprise to no one, I already failed.

Here’s what happened: I had a date scheduled for Sunday afternoon. A few hours beforehand, the guy asked if we could push our meeting back an hour. I said no – because anyone who reschedules a first date is generally not someone I’d want to meet for a second. When he asked if we could go out later in the week instead, I declined that too. After all, I already wasted one perfectly good afternoon on him, I didn’t see a reason to blow an evening too.

“Are you sure you don’t want to meet him?” a friend asked me over coffee later that day. “You never know…”

“Yes I’m sure!” I spat. “He picked the day, the time and the location and still couldn’t hold his own plan together. I don’t have time for that shit.”

And I really don’t. Besides, being a First Date Flake wasn’t the only red flag this guy raised. When I thought about it more carefully, I realized that he was actually a perfect combination of every type of Tinder-er that I try to avoid. In fact, if I had been playing a better game myself, I would have cut him off well in advance of Sunday.

So. Who’s on my Tinder no-fly list? Let’s count them down:


1. The height enthusiasts. Yes, I know that there’s a reason why men include their height on their Tinder profiles. It’s because women always ask how tall they are. That may be true enough, but if I were a guy, I’d skip that detail and swear off anyone who has the bad manners to bring it up. Who wants to date someone so superficial? (Sidebar: Honestly ladies – what gives? Would you consider dating someone who demands to know how much you weigh? Of course not. Courtesy goes both ways. Knock it off.)

In any case, the first thing noted on this guy’s profile was that he was a proud 6’1” – as though that was the most charming thing he could think of saying about himself. Of course, after dealing with him this past weekend, I suppose that maybe it really is his best quality. But for anyone who has hobbies and interests and decent personalities – highlight those instead. They’re way better.

2. The night owls. I was finishing a drink with a girlfriend on Friday night when Mr. Sunday Matinee texted and asked what I was doing. I told him that I was about to head home. Shortly before midnight, he sent me another:

I’m at Banc Café. Want to meet for a drink?

Of course I didn’t.

First of all, that place is terrible. It celebrates something called “Thirsty Thursdays” and provides “complimentary snacks” for parties of 15 or more. The last time I was there (which, in the interest of full disclosure, was several years ago) a stranger attempted to salsa dance with me to hip hop music and when I refused, he stood on a chair and chanted, “SHE’S NO FUN!”

In other words, it’s no place to be at midnight on a Friday.

But even if he had picked a less obnoxious bar, I wouldn’t have gone. After all, anyone who tries to arrange a meet-up at the end of the night probably doesn’t have the best of intentions. I don’t pass judgment on anyone who’s looking for that – just don’t complain to me when he climbs on the furniture if you don’t do what he says.


3. The lazy bones. I live in Harlem, so going out usually involves a trip downtown and a cab ride home. But I knew that when I moved to the neighborhood and I’m fine with it.

What I’m less fine with is when someone doesn’t even bother to ask if the place he selects is reasonably convenient and moderately appealing. That goes double for anyone who’s already suggested meeting at Banc.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to go to your favorite neighborhood bar – but save it for the second date. Plan the first somewhere in between.

4. The shameless evaders. One thing I always find out before agreeing to a date is what the person does for a living. I’ll be really honest about my reasons: I don’t want to date anyone who doesn’t have his shit together. I’m not interested in anyone who’s “launching a non-profit” or “trying to break into film” or “heading back to school.” Photographer, I’ve found, means different things to different people.

When I asked this guy what he did for a living, he said that he worked at Macy’s. He was joking, obviously, because his profile boasted – as so many of them do – the path of finance: LA>Hong Kong>Singapore>New York.

If there’s one thing I dislike more than someone dodging questions because they’re floundering in a dead-end career, it’s when someone plays it cool about being a banker.

You’re successful, I get it. So am I. So is most of New York. Get over yourself.


5. The busy bees. When I ask someone on Tinder what he has planned for the weekend, I expect the highlights – not an hour-by-hour agenda.

Here’s part of what this guy told me: “Work event, drinks with friends, brunch with mom, shooting hoops, dinner…” on and on it went.

And the reason for all that information, I assume, is because he thinks that a jam-packed schedule illustrates just how in-demand he is. It doesn’t. It just makes him look over-scheduled.

You know what else all that information will do? Make me realize that you probably pushed back our date because “shooting hoops” was running a little long.

In which case, I think I’ll pass.

  1. love it but disagree with #1. If I’m too fat for them, I rather be weeded out b4 I waste time and sit around wondering what happened. Same for their height. As taller woman who wears heels (and you know I do), the one feature I’m selective about is a man’s height. So better tell me upfront and don’t fudge by a couple of inches.. I can smell your height! :)

    • Fair enough. There’s nothing wrong with liking tall men, of course – and I prefer them too. Who doesn’t? Maybe it’s a PR/communication thing… we’ve been taught to put the most important information first. So when I see someone’s height in the first line, I think – is that the best you got? How sad. Or maybe it’s just that as a tall person myself I’ve all but given up on finding someone taller – so I don’t even factor that in anymore.

      Also: is it me, or do they tend to lie about their height too? Everyone on Tinder says they’re over 6 feet tall and yet when they show up, I have a good inch on them and I’m only 5’10”. Short I can handle, but liars not so much.

  2. Ha! Exactly my point. Be honest because if height is so important to me that I screened for it, your charming personality will not make me forget that I feel like a tree standing next to you. This is no different from me posting pictures of what I used to look like 10 years ago!

    Le sigh.. what is a tallish girl to do!?

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