A Crummy Way To Date

The challenge of seeking companionship via a mobile app
Illustration by Lindsey Masterson

Ilove cookies. Chocolate chip or sugar, sprinkles or frosted — they’re all delicious.

Making them at home is therapeutic for me, and as a single woman with no children, I don’t have to share them with anyone, which I also love.

You know what I don’t love? Dating.

In a time when everyone is glued to their phone, it’s hard to nab the attention of a potential suitor.

Then again, I have a hard time getting even my dog to pay attention to me.

Enter dating apps. They’re fast and curious versions of the online dating profile.

Swipe left or swipe right for a chance at love or a one-night stand, if that’s your drift.

Like selecting a favorite from the holiday cookie tray, you have tons of apps from which to choose.

You have Bumble, Tinder and Hinge — Bumble where women make the first move; Tinder where you’re likely to match with the human equivalent of a raccoon; and Hinge, where the app constantly reminds you that you never responded to the creep

who sent you a rather explicit photo.

I’ve been using dating apps off and on for the last few years. On them, I’ve met a couple of my past partners, a handful of nice people and a whole bunch of weirdos.

I bet you’re wondering what happens when you match — that is, when you and another person both have swiped right.

The honest answer is that you must venture into an awkward stage: You chat long enough to decide whether it’s worth giving out your phone number and meeting the person in real life.

Romantic, right?

Now you’re going to meet this stranger. Time to endure the obligatory “coffee date” where potentials meet at a public place to get an understanding — and a first true look — at each other.

Sometimes your date looks completely different than their profile, like a chocolate chip cookie that turns out to be an oatmeal raisin.

So, for that first date, you want to meet somewhere neutral enough that it’s not awkward if you don’t like them but casual enough that you could get lunch or dinner if all goes well.

And after that? Hopefully, it forms into something. Often, it doesn’t.

I’ve been on 20 or so of these coffee dates since my last relationship ended, and I’ll be honest: They’re always kind of boring, and I don’t even drink coffee. I go for the cookies.

Coffee shop cookies are delicious and huge. They’re full of chocolate chips and chunks, and some places even have cranberry with white chocolate or cinnamon oatmeal.

They’re awesome and comforting, as opposed to some of these Tinder dates, which I find tiresome and demoralizing.

Too often, you both just sit there nervously talking about nothing, and you both leaving feeling uncomfortable.

You’re thinking: Why in the world would anyone put themselves through that?

In a lot of ways, dating is like baking cookies. You can put in all the ingredients — photos, likes, dislikes, then mix in a witty caption and set aside — and they still don’t come out right. Sometimes, all they do is crumble.

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that there’s no secret ingredient in finding the right person, and it’s certainly not baked into a smartphone or swipe.

It’s the spices that matter. It’s the spontaneity and the eye contact and the anticipation.

Which is why I deleted all of my dating apps.

No more coffee dates and awkward encounters for me.

One of these days, the right person will come along.

In the meantime, it’ll be just me and my oven mitts.

Categories: Relationships