Marti Schodt
September 15, 2015 12:41 pm

I have downloaded and (and subsequently deleted) Tinder twice. Once because I was curious and single and looking to mingle, and once because even though I’d reached a place where I was happily unattached, all of my friends were doing it and I had a major case of FOMO. The second time, I was doing it much more casually, going on every few days when I was stuck on the bus or in a particularly long bathroom line, and just seeing what was out there. And of course, this sporadic perusing was all it took for a guy in my very small, very tight knit, journalism class of 15 to find my profile, screenshot it, and post it to our group Facebook page. Not. Cool.

But then I realized, eyes red and nose running and my roommates sitting with me in indignant anger on the couch, that I shouldn’t be embarrassed that my people know I have a Tinder account. Even if they hadn’t seen my profile, they probably already assumed that I had one, because pretty much everyone does or has at some point. I’m not alone in my digital quest for love. I know because I scroll past people I know in real life every day, as evidenced by that dude in my journalism class finding me because he was on Tinder too.

If you’re feeling weird and embarrassed about online dating, you’re also not alone. I’m with you and I get you, but we really shouldn’t be embarrassed because we deserve love and fun and happiness, and if it comes from flipping through bios while waiting for an open stall, then cool, that’s time you would have wasted reading bathroom graffiti anyway. Here’s some things to remember for when you’re feeling like you should just delete it all and invest in some quality ice cream and cats.

This is your life, who cares what the haters think?

As the wise Taylor Swift once say, “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” No matter what you do there’s always going to be people who find fault with it, especially if they’ve been in comfortable relationships for years and don’t understand what the modern dating scene is like. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about taking a chance on the internet and hoping for the best, you’re putting yourself out there and that’s a really cool thing.

Why wouldn’t you want to see what’s out there? The world is a big place.

You don’t shop at only one store or eat at only one restaurant, so why would you only try dating one way? Just because you have a couple of online dating profiles doesn’t mean you’re never going to meet someone at the grocery store or that you’ve given up on serendipity or romance, you’re just casting a wider net and seeing more fish. The internet is great and diverse and you may find someone you never thought you needed in a place you never thought to look.

Your mom doesn’t really know or care what Tinder is, I promise.

Sometimes my friends and I get worried that if we meet someone special online we’ll have to lie to our parents about how we met because they’ll judge us for using “hookup” apps. But honestly, they probably don’t care even the slightest. They just want you to be happy, and as long as your new boo is nice and loves you they’ll be cool about it. Probably. Just don’t explain “Netflix and Chill.”

Even if it doesn’t lead to anything, you’re definitely going to get some good stories out of it.

I know that internet dates can be all kinds of awkward, and after a couple of particularly bad ones it’s very easy to get discouraged and feel silly for having tried at all. But guess what, those dates you don’t want to think about are going to turn into the funny stories you tell at parties in a couple of months. Maybe you’ll even have some creative breakthrough and write a bestselling novel or screenplay about the date you went on that ended with you drinking an entire bottle of wine.

If it does work out then it seriously won’t matter how you got there.

If you meet your true love online then all of the weird dates will be totally worth it and you’ll be thanking match.com in your vows. It does happen. There are success stories. It could totally happen to you, and if it does then you won’t even remember why you felt so embarrassed about it in the first place. Even if you just end up going on one really great date, you’ll always have tinder to thank for the memories.

Hey, if Hilary Duff is doing it then you can totally do it.

Hilary Duff is a straight goddess, so if she’s on Tinder and trying online dating, then you have nothing to feel weird about.

You are dating in your PJs, you are living the dream.

Ladies used to have to don corsets and wigs and get parental permission to court some cute lad and now you can wake up, roll over and flirt with people across all the world without putting on real pants or wiping the sleep crusties from your eyes. This is the life worth living.

People have met people in way weirder places.

My grandparents were very distantly related by marriage and had the same last name when they met because my grandpa got the wrong suitcase at the airport and delivered it to my grandma’s her door. That’s weird. People have met and married in the comment section of instagram. That’s weird. Love is weird and wonderful and can happen anywhere at anytime, even on a dating app. So lean in if you wanna.

You can quit any time you want.

Making an online dating profile isn’t like signing a sea contract with Ursula, you can peace out anytime you want. Maybe in a couple of months you’ll decide you’d rather just wait it out and meet someone organically, and that’s totally fine. Or maybe you’ll get overwhelmed and delete it and reactivate later when you’ve had some alone time and space to figure out what you want. It’s whatever you make of it, there’s no pressure and no rules, so just go at your own pace and have fun with it.

You are being brave, so give yourself a high five.

Dating is terrifying and maddening and you’re being brave and assertive enough to take the smartphone of fate into your own hands and try your luck at love. That is crazy cool. You are crazy cool. You’re meeting people and trying new things and going on dates and you’re going to thank yourself for it later when you’re older and wiser and deeply in love with someone just as awesome as you.

[image courtesy Fox]

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