High Fidelity: The dating game

By : Miguel Fuller
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Here we are. Back to square one. Back to Tinder. Back to Grindr. Back to Scruff. Back to Jack’d (yes, that’s actually a dating app).

Most of my time spent on the radio in Tampa Bay, I have been Miguel, the guy who is in a relationship. A week or so before Valentine’s Day that all changed. So here I am – single, kind of ready to mingle and jumping back into the dating world – but how do you do it?

Clearly the physical aspect is easy, but what about the wooing, the flirting, the dates, the texting back and forth? How does it all work? If you find yourself newly single, like me, I have put together a few notes of things I have discovered since I’ve been single and back on the dating scene.

Here is the breakdown of the apps. If you are on Grindr, everyone assumes you are looking for some late night lovin’. Most of the people I’ve encountered on there were not looking to discuss my thoughts on the series finale of Downton Abbey or asking about my weird obsession with all things buffalo chicken. The guys are usually straight to the people and ready to spend some time wrestling around in the bedroom. Since I’m more of a chatty guy who likes to deeply probe your emotional background and find out why you tick, I had to turn my sights on a different app.

In walks dating app Tinder. At first glance, Tinder is everything that’s wrong with dating in 2017. A picture of a guy pops up, you make a split second decision on if they are hot or not. You like them, you swipe their face to the right; if you don’t want to chat with them, you swipe their face to the left. Then you wait to see if they swiped right on you. If they do, BAM!, you’ve made a connection. Now, that seems fun, but I’ve gone a couple of days of swiping and not matching with anyone. There goes my already fragile self-confidence.

Is everyone in Tampa Bay really swiping left on my face?!?! Then you finally get that satisfying notification that you have a new match! This clearly must be your soul mate, right? You delve further into their profile to find out their favorite food is Mexican. You spend a few minutes creating a witty opening message. This clearly will get them to message you back. Two days and you hear nothing from them.

I still don’t understand why people match but then don’t message you back. Maybe that’s my experience. I just railed on Tinder but there is some positive to the dating app. I have had some of the most promising, engaging conversations on Tinder. Once you get past the fact that it’s merely based on looks, I have had some meaningful conversations on there. So let’s say you make it past Grindr and Tinder and you actually meet someone of note and interest to you. Now it’s time for a date.

My M.O. for a long time was to plan a fancy-fun-first-date. Let’s do an expensive dinner somewhere and put on some fancy clothes. Maybe a wine tasting? Or maybe I’ll drop some green backs on a concert and we can have a magical evening getting to know each other as we share the musical stylings of an artist we both love. DON’T DO IT.

I’ve learned that elaborate first dates create a lot of pressure for both people. If you are the one planning the event, you are stressed the entire time wondering if the other person is having a great time. What if they aren’t having a good time and you just spent all this time and energy putting on a romcom worthy first date?

Here’s my advice: Do a meet and greet. Meet someone for coffee or drinks during a happy hour. Have something planned for afterward so you can make it short and sweet. There’s no pressure and you don’t feel like you are breaking the bank. In my experience, those have been a win-win. You can plan the hot air balloon for the second date.

How do you navigate the world of texting? Your gut is telling you to text the new person you are interested in non-stop. You just want to hear from the person you are interested in all the time. Your friends are telling you “play the game.” They say to wait a couple of hours between each text message to leave them wanting more. Even though I’m a believer in that rule, when it comes to texting, I think you should find a happy medium. I have found that you have to feel the other person out. If they are taking forever to respond to texts they are either playing you or not that interested. It’s a very delicate balance. What does all this mean for my dating life so far? Take it easy. There’s no rush. There’s no need to try and find a soul mate at this moment. Slow down and become friends. Delve into the relationship. This of course is easier said than done.

Miguel Fuller, Morning Host – Miguel & Holly on HOT 101.5 Mornings @MiguelFuller.

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