Since its launch in 2012, the dating app Tinder has gifted us an abundance of opportunities for people looking to meet, date and consummate in their local area. I never really appreciated the app until I began to backpack around Europe alone. Tinder allows young backpackers to meet local beauties in cities that they’re only staying in for a short amount of time. Through Tinder dates, I entered upon the best parts of a culture that I would never see otherwise. I have been taken out to expensive restaurants, local bars, outdoor parties and raves as well as to museums and coffee houses, on picnics and sightseeing adventures. Tinder allows its users to be introduced to the secrets of cities kept hidden from tourists. It’s like a free tour guide and you get sex at the end? Em, yes?
But saying all this, for people engaging in Tinder dates abroad, it can come with its own obvious risks and so I’ve written down these tips so you can have a bit of fun while travelling too….
The first thing you need to do is tell people what you’re looking for. Make your profile as accessible and attractive as you can. Be clear if you’re looking for a companion for the day or a lover for the night time. If you’re not direct you’ll be skipping around the subject forever and you’ll never actually go on a date.
If you’re a girl in a foreign city, chances are everybody is going to be swiping right on you. Don’t settle for anybody that’s less than perfect. Don’t fall for his charming accented messages or his beautiful photos, be cautious all the way up to your first drinks with him.
First, look through your Tinder: decide what kind of date you want. A romantic evening over a bottle of wine and a bill you don’t have to pay for? Pick someone studying or working in Economics or Business. A night in the local park looking at the stars above the city lights? Choose an artist or a cute stoner. An adventurous night running around the city? Choose someone who works in a bar or restaurant. A night of drinks and love-making? Don’t choose the guy with the abs, they’re never any good.
Second, pick 7 or 8 suitors to begin with, and then start narrowing them down. Only choose those who:
- have an accredited university, college or workplace below their name
- is not hiding their location or age
- speaks a common language that you are absolutely fluent in
- has a bio that doesn’t sound stupid/racist/not funny/weird
- has more than one photo of their face
Having secured the kind of guy who you think matches your desires, there are still a few things you have to do.
First, figure out if he’s a nice guy. Talk about his interests, job etc.. Find common interests. Make sure he’s not boring you to death or saying weird things. And most importantly: if his English is bad when he’s texting then you can bet your life it’s horrendous in real life so say bye-bye. (After enough Tinder dates and chats you can figure out the types of guys pretty early on: the earnest ones, the bullshit ones and the ones that will talk to you for weeks but never actually meet up).
Second, ensure you want the same things. Right off the bat: if you’re only in the area for two nights and you want this to become something- you have to move a bit faster than usual. Allude to the things you said in your bio, the best way to do this is to push the conversation one of two ways (a: the non-sexual and b: the sexual):
A: ask about cool museums, the best bars and restaurants (wherever you want to go with this guy) and then tell him you can only stay out to a certain time because you have an early bus in the morning (even if you don’t).
B: ask him who he lives with, or tell him you’re in a hotel.
If he doesn’t cop on to A (I want a companion) or B (I want you on top of me) then tell him directly because, boys. You’ll find you’ll become disinterested in a lot of boys at this point so it’s important you’re still swiping whilst continuing to chat with your present matches. If you’re not connecting or on the right page then you’re not going to meet them.
Bye, Tinder! Okay so it’s the best way to meet people but it’s not the best place to chat to people and it’s important to step away from the app in order to identify them as a real person who’s not a threat.
After the app, exchange photos and no, not naked ones. The best thing to get first is Snapchat but he’ll probably offer Whatsapp. With Whatsapp people can exchange photos that are already logged in their phone, insist on Snapchat and make sure you see their face. And, if you’re not meeting them until the second night of your trip and want to guarantee a good ending, go ahead and sext them to make sure it’s not the size of a thimble. Also a good way to verify him at this stage is have a stalk through his Instagram: a good timeline will tell you everything you need to know about him: is he self-involved, quiet, romantic, funny or kind?
Before the date it’s imperative you get Facebook involved. Add him and talk to him on that, too. They have to have a Facebook to have a Tinder account. There you can see they’re a real person with real friends who interact with each other. If he refuses to give you a Facebook name it means a) he’s dodgy as hell and an absolute no or b) he’s in a relationship and do you really want to be involved with that?
So things are going well: you feel connected to the person through social media, you feel like you want the same things and you know you’ll have a bit of a laugh. You’ve exchanged at least 153 messages; he is the person he says he is and has provided information to prove this. There are still things you must do:
- Pick a public location: choose to meet him somewhere central, a touristy place that you know well and have visited alone. Look at Google Maps- the area and pubs/restaurants in and around where you’re going.
- Plan an escape route: rather be safe than sorry. Look at public transport at the time you’ll be there: how will you get home if it doesn’t work out?
- Agree on what happens if you like each other and it works well
- Text a friend (one that has direct contact with your parents): give them all the information you have about him. If you’re going home with him ask for his address and don’t be shy about it. Let him know you’ve told people who he is. He won’t think it’s weird, he’ll think yeah fair enough I could be an axe murderer.
This is the most exciting part, and the most worrisome. Don’t drink before you go, it will cloud your judgement. Make sure you have a direct contact line (i.e. a phone number if you’re not using roaming and data). Somebody’s usually running late. A part of my cautiousness which I pride myself on, is getting there early and doing a little bit of a stakeout. It’s always a bit of fun making them look for you whilst you watch from across the street and at this point you can always judge their body language and appearance and just walk away without any awkwardness. If you see him and he’s taller or shorter, nerdier or stronger than you imagined, or if he’s with other people, then leave. If you’ve spotted him, are sure it’s him and are happy- then walk up to him.
The first conversations will always be awkward and weird: embrace it, “Do you do this often?” Eh, yes? No? It’s a weird way to meet people, at the end of the day.
Everyone’s going to have a bad date at sometime in their life. That’s okay if you’re out for coffee in uni or in a restaurant in your hometown. Being in a foreign city means that bad dates can get very weird very quickly. If he does say something strange however, and it unnerves you or sends a warning signal off in your brain then go.
Leaving: if you want to do it the nice way, get a friend to ring you and say it’s an emergency and you have to go back to the hostel. Apologize profusely. If it’s getting really weird incite the help of service workers around you. Ask someone in the restaurant or bar if you can sneak out through the kitchen, explain the situation. Just get out of there, block him on everything before he even knows you’re gone.
It doesn’t even matter if you’re in the corridor of your hotel room, you can tell him to go. You can leave anytime too: if you’re in his apartment and he has his clothes off (been there), if it’s mid sex (been there, too) if it’s getting weird: get dressed, make an excuse and leave. You owe him nothing and you have to remember that all the time.
If it’s going well, always relax into the date. Be yourself. Learn things about the culture you’re in and the way he lives, compare it with other places you’ve been or lived. Exchange facts, honestly you’d be surprised about how much you can learn from people. You’ll remember the things he tells you long after the date ends and it will let you see the city in a different light than before.
Always keep in contact on Facebook- keep up to date with what they’re doing, or just to say that you have a guy in every port. The best thing about these kind of Tinder dates is that there’s no pressure to have a second date or a third, or go into a relationship. You never know where you might see each other in the future!