The thing about Tinder is, it works. According to Business Insider, Tinder—which is available in more than 196 countries and 40 different languages—generates nearly a billion swipes and 10 million matches per day. So what’s all the drama about? While I’m certain you might say that Tinder doesn’t work for you and run down a grocery list of all your really awful dating stories, there’s a solid chance that maybe, just maybe, you’re not getting the conversation started.
With cuffing season upon us—and let’s be honest, every season is cuffing season for lesbians—it’s time to expand your dating rhetoric past the usual ‘same old, same old’ and start speaking the language of love. Sure, there’s certainly nothing in the world like chemistry—in fact, a lot of people in love can tell you it wasn’t what the other person said but how it made them feel that made the difference. We tend to connect through emotion (double time, if you’re a Cancer dyke) unless you’re in search of a one night stand, in which case, your criteria for love may be very different. Knowing the right questions to ask not only saves you precious time in your swiping journey but also has the potential to unlock the best person Tinder has to offer you.
The Anti-Hey Pledge
Before we go any further, let’s get this out of the way. If you’re even semi-serious about meeting someone on Tinder, take the pledge with me now: Never, ever, start a conversation with “hey.”
We’ve all been there before. A super cute girl matches with you. Maybe you’re even thinking: She’s too cute for me. (She’s not). Suddenly, there’s a message in your inbox already! You open it, only to read that lonely and creepy three-letter word, “hey.” If you’re on a subsequent date, bring on the hey, if that’s your vibe. But for first exchanges, hey is nothing short of lazy. It’s a no.
Read Their Profile
I met my partner on a dating app. My secret? I read her profile. In a very clear way, she stated that she was a dollar pizza enthusiast. So I did what any decent New Yorker would do and called her out on this insanity by listing all the actual, genuine pizza places in the city. It worked. But the key is that we both really like pizza and have a lot to say about it. If their profile says they like hiking or traveling, you may want to ask what their favorite mountain is or their top five dream vacations. If she’s wearing a t-shirt that says Must Love Dogs, ask her if she has a favorite breed. Think of Tinder as a test. Do your homework!
Horoscopes For The Win
If her profile is nothing but a bunch of random emojis, and there’s not much you can pull from it to see where you two overlap, go for the lesbian secret sauce and ask, “What’s your sign?” You might get a negative response like, “Do you really believe in that stuff?” If so, then this person is obviously not for you. In general, horoscopes tend to be a fun and neutral territory to start sharing information about one another and leaning into a hopefully shared adoration of the metaphysical world.
Maybe it’s just me, but Sundays are my favorite day of the week. I cherish them hard. It’s the day that I can read the paper, walk the dog around the neighborhood, drink all the coffee and catch up with my loved ones. It’s the day I set aside for self-care and reconnecting with my partner. Try asking, “How do you spend an ideal Sunday?” You’re likely to get a better sense of what’s important to them, whether it’s going to the gym, the park, the library, or the bar. How they answer this question will help you determine if they’re the type of person you want to just sleep with on Saturday night or make it a doubleheader to Sunday. After all, it is true what they say: How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.
Everyone Likes Food
Generally speaking, everyone likes food. One of my favorite questions to ask women is, “What is your death row meal?” Food is one of my true loves in life, and it’s not just about the flavor. It’s about the nostalgia, tradition, and ceremony. I am especially interested in the greater narrative that this question can reveal. Will her last meal on earth be her grandma’s paella and pie for dessert? Or will it be decadent and indulgent, like a dirty martini and a porterhouse steak? Maybe she’ll go the comfort route and choose macaroni and cheese and a giant bowl of soup. As someone who comes from a big family where food is the centerpiece of our gatherings, I am genuinely fascinated by the meals that become our most coveted sources of comfort. My last meal on earth would be the ultimate, day after Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. Would you really want to date a girl who wants her last meal to be avocado toast?
Would You Rather
What’s better than making her smile? Being a jokester can sometimes have a polarizing effect, especially online, where context and timing are not in your favor. However, taking a risk is part of personal growth, and sometimes what we want is just on the other side of our fear. Truthfully, I was named Class Clown in high school, and comedy has always been second nature. But there have been plenty of times where my jokes have fallen flat. Play it lightly, and go for the “Would You Rather” scenario. Here are a few gems: Would you rather be stranded on a desert island with Ellen or Lea Delaria? Would you rather have baby hands or lobster claws for the rest of your life? Would you rather be able to control fire or water?
In conclusion, don’t dread Tinder. Embrace it. Use these conversation starters and brainstorm a few more with your friends. Dating can be fun and filled with good memories. Just don’t shy away from asking the first question. Be brave, she’s waiting.