I could feel the dreaded question approaching as my mother continued her rapidfire interrogation about my new boyfriend. The moment the words came out of her mouth, I did everything I could not to cringe.
“How did you two meet?”
I weighed my options between lying to my mother and telling her the embarrassing truth: we met on Tinder.
According to a 2019 survey by Pew Research Center, 48% of surveyed adults between the ages of 18 and 29 have used a dating app. Furthermore, the same survey found that 12% of adults have been in a committed relationship with or even married someone they met on a dating app.
With so many in my generation moving towards meeting people online, why is it still so embarrassing to say that I’ve met someone online?
By all statistics, my boyfriend and I should never have connected. Neither of us were Tinder fiends, in fact neither of us had our notifications on so it took about a week for our first four message conversation.
We are not each other’s normal types, so it doesn’t make sense that we swiped right. It makes even less sense that he sent me a quick “hey :)” and it’s even crazier that of all the not-responded to messages in my inbox, I chose his to respond to.
But for whatever reasons, we ended up talking to each other and became good friends.
Friendship grew into more, and I began having a hard time remembering that this important person in my life, someone I talked to all day every day, was also someone I had never met in person. I felt crazy, to say the least. Though my friends knew about my good friend Jake, only a few knew how we actually met, or even that we had only ever Snapchatted and texted.
I knew they would worry about me, that I was talking to a secret serial killer or just a jerk, who was able to mask their true intentions behind a phone screen. Admittedly, I worried about the same things.
One of the scariest parts of meeting someone online is the unknown. A Tinder profile, or any online profile for that matter, is easy to fake. How can one ever be sure that what they’re swiping right on is really what they’re getting?
This goes far beyond the worry that your date isn’t as attractive as their picture, but also that they aren’t as safe as they seem. One can never be too careful with handling first meetings of someone you met online.
So, naturally, I invited him over to my house.
Don’t worry, my roommates were there and I had multiple people that knew my location.
I was anxiously awaiting his arrival, expecting it to be awkward. We had been talking for awhile, so it felt like I had known him for so long. Was I supposed to hug him when he got there? Shake his hand? High five?
When he got to my house, I thought I was going to pass out. He was just as handsome as his pictures, and his smile was even brighter in person.
He immediately went in for a hug, which both shocked and amazed me.
I kept waiting for the awkwardness to set in, but it never did. We talked for hours, conversation flowing just as naturally as it did over Snapchat.
We agreed to go for a coffee date the next morning.
As we stood in line at Spencer’s discussing plans for the next weekend, I glanced over at him and was hit with the fact that I had met him less than 24 hours earlier, yet was already making plans to spend so much of our free time together.
We walked to Melodies and Memories, a record and collectible shop near Spencer’s, and spent nearly an hour looking through records and discussing music.
The whole time, I couldn’t understand how things were going so well and felt so natural. Though I had been talking to him for awhile, it felt like we had been actually hanging out for years.
While I could feel myself falling for him, a little voice in the back of my head kept reminding me that we met on Tinder. I worried that this was something I should be embarrassed about, even something that should make me doubt the legitimacy of the relationship.
Indeed, this is a huge worry about meeting someone online. The idea of meeting someone because they found you attractive enough to swipe right on isn’t nearly as idyllic or romantic as the idea of a chance meeting at a coffee shop or falling in love from afar in a college class. Most romantic comedies don’t reference a healthy, happy relationship that originated on a dating app.
Candidly, it’s not as good of a story to tell your friends. I didn’t slip and fall into his arms on the bus, we didn’t meet on the kissing bridge by Cherry Hall. We met on a dating app that honestly, neither of us had any business being on.
But an exciting meeting doesn’t mean we can’t have an exciting relationship. I still got butterflies when I saw him (and, candidly, I still do). We still went through the “getting to know you” phase and the honeymoon phase. Our relationship is not any less valid because of where we met. Nothing can change that, not even my mother’s quiet disapproval that I was on a dating app in the first place.
Throughout that first date I kept thinking, “is he really just that special and I happened to find this amazing guy on Tinder of all places?” And while I of course do think he’s that special, I am a little biased with that thought. Not to mention completely missing the point.
He is that special, but I’m sure he’s not the only amazing guy on Tinder. There are other amazing guys in the world, on WKU’s campus and yes, on Tinder.
Not every Tinder match will be a match made in heaven, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t swipe right to find out.
Features reporter Julie Sisler can be reached at [email protected] Follow Julie on social media at @julie_sisler.