As a 20-something living in the heart of Seattle, surrounded by would-be Filson models who sport North Face vests and sexy-looking beards, you’d think I'd be able to meet one of those hiking, mountain bike-loving dudes in casual conversation somewhere.
Yet, more and more, my friends' and my own dating stories start with, “So I met this guy online...”
I think there's something positive to be said about online dating, especially for young, busy professionals who barely have the time to make it to the grocery store once a week.
Dating apps conveniently show us the names, faces and interests of the guys nearby, who are probably just as busy climbing the corporate ladder as we are.
People don't realistically have free time to spend their afternoons idly sitting at coffee shops, waiting for the people of their dreams to stroll through the door and strike up conversations with them. (Does that happen?)
Yet, it seems like the days of meetings happening in real life are long gone.
I’ll likely never have a Kate Hudson moment in a slinky dress, where I watch a gorgeous Matthew McConaughey stroll up to me in a crowded bar and ask me to dinner.
However, the few times I have met a guy in person, I was considerably more open to the possibility of a relationship with him.
In person, I was able to witness his mannerisms and the way his face would break into an easy smile when I made him laugh.
I could smell his freshly-laundered flannel up close. Flirting is so much more fun in person than it is through emoji-based texts.
Ladies, it's time to boycott Tinder. I want to make a stand for the four reasons why meeting in person first is still the best way to get to know someone.
1. Pictures lie, but real life does not.
Obviously, we're all guilty of only posting the most flattering photos of ourselves on social media and dating apps.
I personally refuse to take selfies with anyone else because it’s like, excuse me? You don’t know my angles.
Let’s be honest, guys: There is no Instagram filter for real life. I can’t tell you how many online dating profiles I’ve scrolled through and thought, “Wow, he’s pretty cute.”
Then, as soon as we meet in person, I see he was pretty cute five years ago when that one picture was taken, but the intervening years haven’t been so kind.
(There should be a name for the guys who post pictures of themselves as tan, buff jersey-wearing athletes on Tinder, but show up with their post-college dad bods and beer-induced double chins.)
2. Their annoying mannerisms are immediately revealed.
If there’s one thing that bothers me when I’m talking to someone in person, it’s his inability to make eye contact.
If whomever I’m chatting with one-on-one keeps looking at his phone, watching other people or staring at a spot closer to my neckline than my face, I’m going to lose interest fast.
Find someone who can and will enthusiastically keep his attention focused on you while you're talking.
If he can't, walk yourself out of there. He might not even see you go.
There are plenty of other things that are pet peeves for people.
Awkward hand gestures, the annoying habit of cutting you off mid-sentence, bad breath or being too touchy-feely on the first date can all be avoided if you meet a guy in person first.
3. Conversation has to keep going in person.
Having a conversation through text messages on your phone is easy. There can be long gaps in the conversation, and emojis can communicate so much.
The difference between this and meeting someone in person initially is now, you are both required to keep the conversation flowing. As soon as it stalls, so does your potential interest in each other.
Meeting someone in person for the first time can give you a sense of who he is in real life. If he’s a dud right off the bat, you know you’ll get bored after a few dates with him.
But if he’s engaging, funny and interesting while you guys are talking, you’ll be interested, and the sparks will fly.
4. You get an immediate sense of whether or not you have a spark.
We’ve all had countless conversations with strangers on Tinder.
At first, they seem like quality dudes you can see yourself actually wanting to meet and talk to in real life. But when you do meet and there isn't a spark of attraction or connection between the two of you, they can fall flat.
Or maybe, there’s a spark for you, and he’s just not feeling it. That happens, and it's totally okay.
Unlike online dating, meeting a guy in real life and getting a sense of who he is and how the two of you interact can immediately make it apparent whether or not you have a spark.
But who knows? I could eat my words and end up meeting my Prince Charming on Tinder.