In the modern day, no discussion of romance would be complete without acknowledging the many wacky, weird, and sometimes wonderful experiences that come with online dating. Whether you’re a first-time user looking for love, or an experienced veteran interested in something more casual, dating apps are an essential element of the college dating scene.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, please enjoy this compilation of five of our best dating app stories, which range from laughably mystifying, to unexpectedly eye-opening, to delightfully sweet.
On what would’ve been a normal night last quarter, as I muddled and struggled my way through homework, I looked down at my phone to see that I had one new Tinder match and one new message: “Hey man, wanna shuck a coconut?”
Obviously, the answer was yes, and 20 minutes later I found myself hammering my way through a coconut with a stranger at 8 p.m. on a Wednesday night. Considering that our one connection was the coconut, it should have been no surprise to me that with the coconut went our great love connection.
Without the coconut to distract me, I stopped to take a better look at him — more specifically his tar black feet on my freshly cleaned floor. It turns out, coconut boy didn’t believe in shoes, amongst other principles of basic hygiene. As he inched closer to me and put his arm around me, I found out that he also didn’t believe in deodorant, because it hides our “natural pheromones.”
Soon after, I also discovered that he didn’t believe in toothpaste, but firmly believed in onion bagels. Not wanting to seem rude, I breathed through my mouth and started asking him about himself. I learned that he’s “figuring all this shit out as it flies his way.”
Sensing that he hadn’t won me over just yet, he decided the best course of action would be to invite another gay bachelor into this situation. Figuring that it couldn’t get any worse, I agreed with the signature catchphrase I use before making any bad decision: “Okay!”
So when this new guy came over, I was just relieved to meet a man who didn’t smell like onions and “pheromones.” This, combined with the fact that we had genuine chemistry, made me forget all about coconut boy, much to his dismay. Eventually, after realizing that he’d lost me for good, coconut boy grabbed my hand, put it in his friend’s hand, grabbed his keys, and left.
Now, I can’t begin to describe how romantic it is to be left holding hands alone with a stranger in a state of utter confusion — it’s the stuff of true romance. Thus ends the story of my date with the deodorant-denying, shoe-scoffing, hygiene-hating, masterful matchmaker coconut boy.
— One Adventurous Gaucho
After my most recent breakup at the beginning of summer, I decided to swear off serious dating for a while. As I was venting to my friend one evening, she began telling me how she had recently taken to the dating app world to forget her own heartbreak, and that I should do the same.
I initially laughed off the suggestion, but a part of me was still intrigued, so when Mari made it her personal mission to drag me down the online dating rabbit hole, I indulged her.
The following weekend, my friend, my roommate, and I all squeezed on my couch as we assembled my perfect Tinder profile. After adding a few cute lines about how I liked to read, paint, and internet-stalk dogs, along with an obligatory Harry Potter reference and a closing pun courtesy of my roommate, my profile was ready to go.
As someone new to the casual dating world, I felt a spike of fear and excitement shoot through me when, after only five minutes of my profile being live, I saw a message pop up in my notifications. I opened my phone to a message asking to see a photo of my most recent painting, and bonus points if it included a dog.
As if the universe was preparing me for that moment, I just so happened to have finished a rainbow corgi painting the week prior. I replied that I didn’t know how to send photos through the app, to which he responded saying that he knew it was probably too early to ask, but could he have my phone number?
After we exchanged numbers, the two of us made plans for a beach walk later that week and I closed my phone feeling surprised at how quickly I had managed to set up a date.
The day of the big date arrived, with effortless conversation, jokes about space pirates ready to reveal themselves through the mysterious fog that had just rolled through Isla Vista, and lots of shy smiles on my part anytime he referred to bunnies on the beach trail as “lil buns” or “cute cotton tailed bois.”
We ended up spending the entire afternoon and evening talking together, finally ending with chicken bowls at Hana’s and him walking back me to my apartment. We spent every day of the next week together, and eventually a few days of every week, leading to this present moment as we’re planning our Valentine’s Day evening plans downtown together.
— Wholesome Lady Gaucho
When I first heard of Bumble (a dating app that empowers women), I was intrigued. After trying out Tinder my freshman year, and confirming its reputation “geared toward hookup culture,” I doubted that any dating app would yield matches interested in actual dating.
Optimistic but still wary, I downloaded Bumble.
It turned out to be a lot of work. Since women initiate the conversation to confirm a match, the task of coming up with concise and clever openers now rested on my shoulders. It gave me a whole new appreciation for all the guys who manage to come up with anything more than the perfunctory “hi” with an emoji.
Believing that you only get as good as you give, I didn’t mind. After fielding five different conversations, it seemed my efforts were paying off after one match looked promising. Since I don’t remember his name, we’ll just call him Tom.
Tom was relatively good looking, with wavy brown hair that reminded me of Orlando Bloom, my first childhood celebrity crush. He was a polite, engaging conversationalist, and as a plus, we shared a mutual acquaintance.
“All good signs,” I thought. Then Tom asked me for my Snapchat.
I wasn’t keen on sharing it with someone I barely knew and hadn’t met in person yet; but then again, who was I to judge? “He’s probably just very comfortable with his social media,” I thought.
I added him and he immediately sent a photo snap. At this point, the grain of salt I’d been carrying through this endeavor grew as more salt crystallized. I opened it.
It honestly wasn’t as bad as I imagined: just a selfie of a sculpted torso with a dimly lit room as background, with the beginning of a suggestive hip shadow. Considering the alternative, it was actually quite aesthetic. I chatted him back: “What are you doing?”
“I’m just out here for nudes,” came the nonchalant reply. I considered simply removing and un-matching him, but decided to take the opportunity to give my phone to my housemate Rosie, an experienced comeback artist.
After consulting Google, Rosie snapped him a barrage of nude lipsticks in various shades. Unsurprisingly, Tom promptly removed me first.
While this story ended in a whopping disappointment, it is not to say dating apps cannot help in making real connections. But rather, like any good thing, it takes a few stumbling blocks to get there.
— One Jaded Gauchette
I downloaded Tinder on my eighteenth birthday because as I was thinking about what new opportunities my newfound adult-ness afforded me, I realized that the only exciting ones were tattoos and dating apps.
With my high school graduating class consisting of under 100 people, I was amazed by all of the options I saw after I set up my profile, ranging from buff surfer dudes that went to UCSD to girls who played guitar in indie bands.
In the face of all of these options, I decided to go on a bunch of dates. I went to a Louis Kahn exhibit at Balboa Park with a guy I ended up dating for nine months. I went on my first date with a girl. I had a ton of strange conversations and a lot of opportunities to practice bantering. I also learned that people wanted to go on dates with me — something I definitely did not know in high school.
I endured some odd dates, but I learned a lot about who I liked and had a consistent flow of new experiences. As someone who now identifies as gay, Tinder also gave me an opportunity to meet other gay people without being plagued by the question of whether or not the gay vibes I detected were “I wish she was gay” vibes. It gave me an opportunity to explore.
I’m currently dating someone I met on Tinder. Initially, I thought she was way too good to be real, which we both laugh about now. We’ve been together for eight months now. I’ve road-tripped to Indianapolis and back to meet her family. We can still talk for hours at the expense of sleep, and sometimes we fantasize about the highly impractical idea of getting a dog together. Although the odds are stacked, it’s possible to find something real after a lot of swiping right.
— Seasoned Gauchette
As someone who identifies as a homebody, I decided to try out a dating app called Coffee Meets Bagel in an attempt to be “adventurous” during my last year of college. My very first “bagel” was a good-looking physical therapist who was pretty much my polar opposite — fit, spontaneous, and the life of the party.
At first, I paid little attention to him, assuming that I was not his type. I described myself as a “creative weirdo, Studio Ghibli fangirl, and café enthusiast” in my dating profile — three descriptions that don’t exactly scream “attractive” to a rave-going, gym enthusiast like himself.
My highly cautious mind decided he was not for me — until I received this message in my inbox: “Hey! What type of café do you like?”
With that begins the story of an exhilarating, unlikely first date between a sheltered homebody and adventurous socialite.
We met at a cute café and, luckily, I was not catfished. Personality-wise, he was very cute, despite his intimidating 6’4″ height and muscular build. We had a fun conversation for about 30 minutes before I noticed he had two motorcycle helmets with him. I spent the next 10 minutes trying to come up with excuses to NOT ride on a motorcycle in my head. But wait — wasn’t this the type of adventure I had been looking for?
The next thing I knew, I was riding on the back of a motorcycle speeding towards L.A., with my arms wrapped around his waist, clinging on for dear life. As I slowly opened my eyes, I thought to myself, “I must be in a Korean drama right now.” The scenery was phenomenal. The twinkling lights of L.A.’s nightlife scene paired with the feeling of cold wind rushing through my hair was amazing.
I didn’t care that it was two hours past my 10 p.m. curfew, because this was the most fun I’d had in my 21 years of life. Indeed, this was the adventure I had been waiting for. He was a complete gentleman throughout the rest of the date and I insisted on paying for dessert.
When we parted ways at the end of the night, I knew I had a lot to thank him for. He opened a world of spontaneity for me, and made my first dating app experience a memorable one.
— Exhilarated Gauchette