July 24, 2016
Pioneer Day weekend (yes it is a holiday observed in Utah. yes, we got two 3 day weekends in July. Yes, more proof There is a God.) was spent introducing Mama Kasen and Sister Amber to Bumble. Here’s what transpired:
Jimmy, 27, appeared on the screen.
“Who makes a face like that for their First pic?” Mama Kasen
“I bet he plays Pokemon Go.” Amber
Me, Sarcastically, “Let’s swipe right And ask him.”
**BOOM! It’s a MATCH!**
“Now I have to sound like I know what I’m talking about.” Me
“Well, there are different levels and you have to be on the fifth level to be part of a team...” Mama Kasen
(Me and Amber lock our bewildered eyes then fix our gaze on Mama for answers)
“What?! My visiting teaching companion told me.” Mama Kasen
“Okay, how about this...” Me
12 months of plenty down. Here's to the next 18.
February 4, 2016
As I read the letter from a New York City pen pal my stomach dropped. “I’ll have to say that the link that you provided to “ghosting” blew my mind...my grandma would have been so surprised to hear of anybody not having the chutzpah and decency to say what needed to be said face-to-face.” I couldn’t let her grandma down, I had to find chutzpah…quickly.
I was loving the new found dating escapades of the west, including finding what appeared to be a less aggressive and sexually-driven population of men on Tinder. I don’t recall a time where I saw either the eggplant or peach emoji used in anyone’s profile. #tinyvictories
Right before I deleted the app I exchanged digits with Mr. Hockey. A fellow curly haired artist, Mr. Hockey grew up in Ohio, spent some time in Chicago, and recently moved to Salt Lake for a graphic design job. His sense of adventure, love of art, and realness (read: didn’t play the dating game) pulled me in.
Our dates and texts were infrequent, averaging one conversation a week and a date every three weeks. For being strangers whose paths crossed thanks to the swipe of a finger, and as someone who scored a perfect 12 for Quality Time on her love language quiz, this pace felt right. At the end of our fourth date my gut told me not to get serious with Mr. Hockey. “You’d be better off as friends,” it said. Unfortunately, my internal dialogue was not met with similar vibes from Mr. Hockey.
I’d say his persistence was the clearest indicator that he wanted to become more than friends. Look at the stats: 85% of our conversations he initiated. 100% of the dates he devised. 75% of the time I said, “Sorry I can’t,” he’d come right back with another idea, date, or time.
Mr. Hockey asked if I wanted to grab dinner the weekend after Thanksgiving. The friend side of my brain yelled, “Of course!” and the relationship side of my brain yelled, “No! But it’s not you, it’s me.” Instead of saying no, I asked if I could take a rain check using my family as the excuse of why I couldn’t meet (really truly they were in town).
My lack of chutzpah began consuming my thoughts. “GAH! Why did I do that?! How can I get out of this? Can I make this better? If I care for him as a friend, and I don’t see this going anywhere why did I lead him on?” This incessant internal dialogue became too much to keep bottled in my noggin so I turned to the one trusty source for answers to all of my, “If you were the male on the receiving end of this, how would you feel?” questions: my brother.
First, my brother chastised me for asking Mr. Hockey if I could take a rain check. Supposedly rain checking suggests interest…OKAY. I knew that. I was trying to let Mr. Hockey down easy.
Second, he called me out on my lack of chutzpah. “You need to be honest with him. You’ve got to tell him you just see him as a friend before you dig a deeper hole for yourself.” My brother was right.
I determined a face-to-face conversation with Mr. Hockey would be too awkward. We had only been on four dates, but four dates does pass the threshold of “Deserves a Phone Call” in my book. I made a resolution to call him once my family left town. It was during this waiting period I received the letter from my New York City pen pal. I felt as though people (literally) could feel my lack of chutzpah from sea to shining sea, which acted as a great catalyst come what we’ll call Go Time.
Go Time arrived. I said a prayer; “God, grant me chutzpah. Amen.” I called. The call was sent to his voicemail after three rings. I didn’t leave a voicemail. Why? Cause besides myself, who really checks their voicemail? No one. That’s who. Then wanting to nip this in the bud, I sent the following text: “Just called to chat abt dinner this week & to say I just view you as a friend. I also totally understand if you don’t want to grab dinner knowing this. The end.”
I did it! I sent the text. Now the reply. What would he reply? Would he call back? No way. Why would he call back? I then did the most Kasen thing I could think of to distract myself: I began cleaning. Trust me, it works.
Two hours later Mr. Hockey replied! His message: “Okey dokey.”
That was it? Cool. Message received. He couldn’t have been more explicit in conveying he wanted to be more than friends. And just like that the remnants of my Tinder escapades were blown away by a wind lacking chutzpah from both parties.
With a new Tinderless dawn on the horizon I once again realigned my priorities. “God, grant me the stamina to find the most delicious of all burgers in the Salt Lake Valley. Amen.”
6 months of plenty down. Here’s to the next 24.
January 4, 2016
It’s a common tale: becoming addicted to something, deciding your addiction is taking over your life, somehow finding the willpower to quit cold turkey, having an experience that makes you relapse...hard.
This is where I found myself 13 days after deleting Tinder.
Looking back on the events that led up to deleting the app are quite revealing. When asked by friends if I was planning to “Tinder it up” while on vacation in NorCal I responded (half jokingly), “Nope. It’s like I’m going to rehab.”
I knew the amount of time I devoted to said app was exponential, so I did the only logical thing and didn’t track it. If you ignore the problem it doesn’t exist. Brilliant! It took a firm talking to from my NorCal bestie to pull the shades open and let light shine upon the glorious mess.
After shifting my priorities from, “Date the crap out of Salt Lake,” to, “Start the business you moved to Salt Lake for,” I deleted Tinder and was liberated from its tantalizing grasp. My brain stopped racing. I felt human. A new day dawned and the world was in the palm of my hands!
13 days after reprioritizing my life, I had a phone date with a dear NYC friend. This girl is one of my all time favorite people I crossed paths with in that city. Needless to say she instantly gained my respect and admiration and is someone whose challenges are worth taking.
While catching up on each other’s lives she revealed her and her Boston friend were embarking on a “30 Date Challenge.” They made a goal to go on 30 dates, without a timeframe (cause let’s be real, they live in the East - it’s an accomplishment to go on one date every other year). when they reached this goal they'd go on a girlcation to celebrate this Oscar worthy achievement. She invited me to join and joked that I'd have to reset the dating counter.
In my head I tried to rationalize feeding my swipe addiction again. “Look, 30 dates isn’t a lot. I’d get that before the start of 2016. Plus, this is going to give me lots of great material for more Tinder articles.” The eloquence of this self-rationalization was so on-point I found myself blurting, “I’m in! And I won’t use Tinder.”
After hanging up the phone the wheels started chuggin’. “Would it be possible to achieve this goal without using apps? Maybe, but to smash this goal out of the park by 2016 apps are looking necessary. What other dating apps are people using?” I started crowdsourcing friends and downloaded 8 of the most promising apps.
Bumble: Like Tinder, but the girls have to initiate the conversation. They also only have 24-hours to start chatting it up, or the match is lost…FOREVER! For reasons only the gods know, the guys on this app are smokin’ hott (yes, a two t worthy hot). There were minimal bathroom selfies, interesting bios, and the fact you can upload pictures straight off your phone instead of The Book...incredible. Unfortunately, I reached the end of the Bumble list many, many times.
How About We: A new take on matching people based on their similar interests. While setting up your profile you can include a date idea; i.e. “How about we go to this one place and do that one thing I’ve been dying to do. I think it’d be the perfect date but haven’t found anyone to go with yet. That someone can be you!” If you’re vibing a date idea you message the guy, and supposedly sparks fly. An incredible concept whose kryptonite is the ever-so-prevalent-date-idea-of-Netflix-and-Chill.
Ok Cupid: Closest thing to an actual dating site I’ve ever used. Word of caution, adjust your discovery preferences ASAP as possible. If you keep these preferences as “I’m looking for love and I don’t care where they live” you’ll be inundated with endless messages from horny men since you’re the freshest meat on the market. #yikes
Hinge: Matches are made only if you have mutual Facebook friends. I love this concept! It’s a great pre-screen. Only downside? It hasn’t been released in Salt Lake. Bummertown.
Bristlr: Like guys with facial hair? There’s an app for that! Guys with stubble. Guys with mustaches. Guys with full-on Santa beards (that aren’t white). There were only 18 men with facial hair gracing my screen with their presence. They represented mountain men, college students, young professionals, and a creeper (disclaimer: I'm profiling this dude, he could be really nice).
Tastebuds: Music lovers rejoice! It’s the Myspace of 2015, with a dating twist. Your profile consists of your top 5 favorite bands and you can chose which song will play when people visit your page. Like what you see and hear? Double-tap that. My confusion as to whether it’s really a dating app or more of a gathering place for music nerds grew as guys’ profile pictures featured them, their wife, and their young children. Hmmmm.
Coffee Meets Bagel: Still at a loss at how this app works. There’s something about only being able to send one “Hey, I think you’re cute” notification a day, and earning points to unlock the capability to send another notification…#aintnobodygottimeforthat
happn: Download the app. Place phone in pocket. Go to all your favorite spots. Anyone you cross paths with, who also has the app, appears on your screen with a chat option! Hypothetically speaking, this app makes any “How did you two meet?” story rom-comesque.
Two days after downloading the apps above, I called my sister. Chatting with said sister is almost a daily occurrence, so much so if my family had an “Intervention” moment with me regarding my Tinder usage she would have been the instigator.
The call came from a place of, “I haven’t talked to you in 48 hours, how you doin?” It turned into me telling her about the 30 Date Challenge, the abundance of apps on my phone, and her ripping me a new one. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING BRINGING ALL THAT RIFF RAFF INTO YOUR LIFE AGAIN? CUT IT OUT. I don't care about your reasoning for downloading the apps. Did you move to Salt Lake to write Tinder articles or to start an events space? You know all the boys on there are trouble, even if they are Mormon." Shots kept being fired, and the though-love I was seeking was served in a baptism-by-fire sort of way.
Before our phones disconnected each app was deleted and I withdrew from the top-notch challenge. Sister, you are correct - there's no denying life is better without riff raff.
While dating isn’t out of the picture, my strategy has drastically shifted: meet guys in places I enjoy spending time at (concerts, museums, volunteering, doing the work I moved to Salt Lake for (aka The Fallout)), start as friends (as opposed to, "You're hot. Let's meet."), and see where it goes.
5 months of plenty down. Here’s to the next 25.
November 29, 2015
Flashback to 11 year old Chelsea during a time where after-school TV mainly consisted of medical reality shows. It was as if you were standing next to doctors and nurses in operating rooms working to save a person’s life. Watching hours of televised surgeries lead to an obsession with the idea of becoming a neurosurgeon.
My little kid mind couldn’t figure out how getting married, having kids, and being a stay-at-home mom (what I was learning at church) and my medical career aspiration could both come to fruition. Then and there I decided I didn’t want other people raising my kids and I didn’t want to marry a guy who’s goal was to be a stay at home dad. The only logical explanation was for me to become the next Dr. Nun living a life of celibacy and loving every minute.
I marched downstairs to tell my Dad about this new resolution. I remember him sitting in his La-Z-Boy recliner, me sitting on his lap, me spilling the beans, him listening, and when I finished him saying, “Chelsea, you can do anything you set your mind to. Go do it.”
The median age for first marriages in the 1980’s (when my parents tied the knot) was 25 for males and 22 for females. My parents married at 31 (Dad) and 30 (Mom). They raised the four of us kids to be fiercely independent, hard working, creative members of society. I lost count of the number of conversations where they both encouraged us to find, create, and take opportunities to travel, study, learn, explore, and become the best versions of ourselves. They followed up these conversations with, “Stay single long enough to know being single sucks. Date long enough to see the other person in all four seasons. Being a parent is the hardest most rewarding thing you can do in this life.” With this ideology flying around the Kasen household, I vowed to myself that no matter what I ended up doing with my life I would not be a teenage bride. I would focus on making my dreams become a reality.
Obviously, dating = marriage, so throughout my teenage and college years dating was completely out of the picture. I focused on school, was a top student in my graduating classes, and made kick-ass friends who were just as driven and motivated (if not more) as me.
My perspective on dating changed weeks before my 21st birthday when I met a guy my friends and I nicknamed Stevie Wonder. Not only was he good looking and ambitious, to this day he is one of the most thoughtful, service oriented guys I’ve crossed paths with. We met when I was finishing up undergrad in LA and moving to Utah for grad school and he was going into his second year of dental school. We went on a few dates (side note: I cringe whenever I think of 21-year-old twitterpated Chelsea. Think Josie Grossie from Never Been Kissed. Mr. Stevie Wonder, sorry you had to experience this. A million thank yous for being beyond gracious to me.), but the timing was blatantly wrong.
Meeting Stevie Wonder did spark a desire to find and spend time with guys who had his same characteristics...an answer to years of prayers from my parents, and a sweet reward to roommates who spent countless hours trying to shift my dating mentality. No joke. You can ask any of them.
In grad school the business building and textbooks became my all-consuming boyfriend, and when I moved to NYC then SLC, well, you’ve already read all about that.
Fast forward to 2 months into the what we’ll call my “weeks of plenty” phase of dating. The amount of time I devoted to Tinder slowly diminished as I began seeing Mr. Accountant (from the Labor Day dating blitz) more frequently. Date number 8 rolled around three days before I left on an annual trip to visit my best friend and her family in NorCal. When I told Mr. Accountant I was leaving SLC for 10-days he seemed sad, which I took as a positive sign.
On vacation day #2 my bestie and I stayed up talking late into the night during which (surprise, surprise) she asked about my dating life. I told her every painstaking good, bad, and ugly detail about Tinder and Mr. Accountant. In lieu of boring you with said Mr. Accountant details here are the highlights; he has a great job, is well educated, is working toward worthwhile goals, is good looking, tall, Mormon, cooks, and has an insane calming presence. I couldn’t find any obvious red flags so I kept saying yes when he asked me out and asked him out too.
I wasn’t head over heels by any stretch of the imagination and I most certainly wasn’t repulsed. I was completely indifferent about what the outcome with Mr. Accountant would be. I chalked up my indifference to wanting to take things S-L-O-W.
After recounting the Tinder/Mr. Accountant Saga, my bestie looked me square in the eyes and in a concerned big sister voice said, “Chelsea. I’ve never been on 8 dates with a guy and felt indifferent about him.”
Man. She was right. My indifference didn’t stem from wanting to take things slow it was disinterest. Mr. Accountant is Netflix and Chill and I'm Amazon Prime and Commitment. Nothing’s wrong with either, our personalities just aren’t compatible.
I began brainstorming on the perfect, “It’s not you, it’s me” speech I’d give upon my return to Salt Lake, which I didn’t have to use since I never heard from Mr. Accountant again. I’m interpreting our ghosting of each other as, “The feeling’s mutual.” Hallelujah!
The realizations kept coming. As I awoke the next morning the first thought I had was, “Why did I move to Utah?” The answer sure wasn’t to find a boyfriend. Quite the opposite. It was to start an events space that would bring people together to create memories for a lifetime. I was using Tinder as a distraction from the insane amount of work I was embarking on and was filling any free time (that should have been used to make my dream become a reality) with hot guys and make out sessions. Not a bad alternative, but considering I’ve been searching for the perfect career path for almost a decade, and finally feeling like I found it, I wasn’t treating this opportunity with the proper respect it deserved.
So long, dear Tinder.
Goodbye to countless selfies of guys laying in their beds shirtless. Goodbye to guys doing power stances and staring into the distance. Goodbye to guys caressing adorable animals while rock climbing off the coast of Spain.
Thanks for the memories.
4 months of plenty down. Here's to the next 26.
November 2, 2015
Since escapading the Wild Tinder Frontier I’ve inadvertently made it my mission in life to convert all of my single friends to the swipe-dating-lyfe (yes, life spelled with a y...see Urban Dictionary for a proper explanation). When I have a reunion lunch with a friend, whom I haven’t seen in over a year, I convert her/him to Tinder. When I’m at a wedding reception sitting at the “singles” table I convert 3 fellow singles before the cake is cut. Long story short, I’ve tasted of the fruit and desire all to partake of its awesomeness.
You may find yourself asking, “Why is Chelsea such an advocate for this dang app?” Sit down and make yourself comfortable. Here is my reasoning:
Aversion therapy. Do you get sick to your stomach when you have a date later that night? Do you feel like you leave your brain at home when you’re on a date? Do you wonder why you never go on second dates? Look no further! Troll Tinder so hard that you suddenly find your calendar filled with a date, or two, every day. All your idiosyncrasies start disappearing before your eyes. You find answers to all of your dating questions now that your dating pool consists of more than pity dates and speed dates. And most notably, you finally are able to act like yourself around strangers.
Tinder is the dating equalizer. You see, mama always told me, "There's a Jack for every Jill." Spending 10 minutes on this app proves her theory correct. SeE for yourself:
When you find a normal guy (on or off Tinder, and especially on Tinder) it makes you appreciate them so much more. “Wait. You don’t take bathroom selfies? You don’t live in your parents’ basement? You have better social skills in person? There is a God!”
Seeing my married friends’ reactions to online dating. All of my close married friends met their significant other at college, through a mutual friend, at church, or are high school sweethearts. Nothing cracks me up more than handing my phone to said friends while simultaneously saying, “My love life is in your hands!” and hearing their commentary on the Tinder dating pool. Their reaction is universal; they are glad they aren’t single.
If Tinder was a pyramid scheme I’d be fifthly rich. Truthfully my roomie would be the richest of the rich, but considering the amount of people I’ve gotten to download the app and use it on a regular basis, or that I have reinvigorated their Tinder life, I wouldn’t be too bad off myself.
And that, my friends, is why I write these articles, haven’t deleted it* and bring it up every time we hang. Let’s not forget you do a great job of working Tinder into our conversations too.
3 months of plenty Down. Here's to the next 27.
*BREAKING NEWS: Since writing this article I’ve deleted Tinder. Gasp! Do I still recommend it? You betcha. Why did I delete it? You’ll find out next month. Spoiler: I’m still single.
October 6, 2015
Mama Kasen: “What are you doing for Labor Day weekend?”
Me: “Thursday kicks off a Tinder dating marathon - 6 dates in 7 days.”
Mama Kasen: (Speechless)
Mama Kasen’s speechlessness could have stemmed from a variety of emotions, but I like to think it was because she was so impressed.
After my swipe-right blitz, 6 lucky guys got to go on a date with yours truly, and unbenounced to them (until now, if they’re reading this article...hi guys!) the dates were back-to-back. Three guys asked me out, and I asked out the other three. All aligned with Aziz’s rule of thumb of exchanging 6 messages then meeting up.
Now seems like an appropriate time to say I WAS EXCITED FOR EACH AND EVERY DATE, EACH GUY WAS COOL (with a different percentage of toolness), and I DON’T REGRET ANYTHING. Got it? Right on.
Preparing for this dating marathon was more nerve wrecking than training to run an ultramarathon. At my core I knew this week was going to be the ultimate test for the super memory I inherited from my parents. I didn’t want to look like a dufus. I had to find a way to keep every name straight and remember what we talked about before we met face-to-face.
I found Comfort in lurking through each Tinder profile (again), re-reading all of our messages, and reciting the following over and over; the guys’ names, what we were doing, fun facts about each, and three topics of conversation (in case there was an awkward silence).
Before I knew it, it was go time.
Thursday Night: Mr. Graphic Designer. Went to an independent movie theater to watch “The End of the Tour” and after sitting in the wrong theater (still baffled at how that happened) we watched “Best of Enemies.” After the flick, we took a night bike ride through Memory Grove Park. Did we swap spit? Yep. Did I tell him I thought he was going to ghost me? Yep. What’s ghosting? Read all about it here. Did he ghost me? I thought he did, until exactly one month after the date he texted me. What did I do? I straight up ignored it. Looks like I’m the ghoster now.
Friday Night: Mr. Musician. Went over to his home to watch the documentary “Under African Skies” about the making of Paul Simon’s album Graceland. He lived in the coolest house; think quintessential 70’s, original drapes included, with a basement pool table and built in bar (I really truly hope he capitalized on the opportunity of converting the space into a speakeasy). His record collection was off-the-charts impressive, and he introduced me to some sweet new tunage. I wanted to be Mr. Musician’s best friend so bad, but I never heard from him again.
Saturday Morning: Mr. Accountant. Brunch at the Original Pancake House. If I were to rank my level of excitement for each date this one would be at the bottom. I was half expecting to sit down for a quick 45 minute brunch then skedaddling on outta there. Instead we spent 2 hours in a crowded restaurant shooting the breeze about everything under the sun while feasting on A+ breakfast food. We made plans for our second date (geeking out at the planetarium) as the first date was ending. Spoiler alert: favorite date of the marathon, hands down.
Saturday Evening: mr. I-Don’t-Remember-What-His-Profession-Is (IDRWHPI). Dinner at Zest and a guided tour of Salt Lake City’s cemetery. I was pumped for this date, and I’d like to think Mr. IDRWHPI was too. Nothing says excited like offering to pick me up! I kid, I kid...I don’t kid by saying when I opened the door and he saw how tall I am his excited energy drastically changed to “I was not expecting you to be this tall. This ruins everything!” energy. In typical Chelsea fashion my brain started racing to figure out how this could have happened. Duh. On my Tinder profile there’s a picture of me standing next to my younger brother (6’1”) and younger sister (5’11”). There I am looking like a midget at 5’6”. How tall was Mr. IDRWHPI? 5’5’. During the date he kept bringing up his height, making it an issue. For heaven’s sake, out of all the things we chose to do that night we chose to spend time together and nothing, and I mean nothing, was going to keep me from having a good time trolling the SLC cemetery. Mr. IDRWHPI must have received that message telepathically. He stopped bringing his height up, and a good time was had. He must have also received the, “Thanks but no thanks,” message telepathically.
Tuesday Night: Mr. Pilot. Indoor rock climbing. We met at the rock climbing gym and surprise, surprise, Mr. Pilot was shorter than me. My harsh assumption that Mr. Pilot would act like Mr. IDRWHPI was dispelled almost immediately. When he saw how tall I was he acted totally normal. He was kind and endearing as he took the time to teach me the proper, strategic way to climb. My respect for Mr. Pilot only increased when a few weeks after meeting he told me he didn’t think it would work between us since he’s not Mormon. God speed, brother, in your hunt for a woman.
Wednesday Night: Dr. Physiologist. The Living Room Hike - not a euphemism - and dinner at Settebello. Our second date did not disappoint. He chose the hike and timed it perfectly for us to watch the sunset over the valley. While the route was straight up a mountain, his French accent made me forget how out of breath I was. At the end of the night it looked like a third date was on the horizon but you can blame my sarcastic American ways for the slow fade here. Things were definitely lost in translation. Double Whammy.
You know the swinging pendulum metaphor? For 30 months in NYC the pendulum was steadily being raised on the lonely side and was released to the side of abundance when I moved to SLC. Thankfully the pendulum has decided to relax and is chilling in the middle. A sideeffect of this middle ground? If a guy expresses interest I no longer think, “I better not blow it cause heaven only knows when the next guy is going to come along.” Now I think, “Enjoy it. If it doesn’t work let’s see if I can reach the allusive end of the Tinder list.”
2 months of plenty down. Here’s to the next 28.
August 31, 2015
I've spent the last 30 months in a dating wasteland. Where is this place? New York City. Specifically Manhattan. During these months I went out on about 70 five minute speed date dates, 5 real first dates (2 of which turned into second dates - cue the standing ovation - thank you, thank you), and found myself in a pseudo relationship that lasted 6 months. What's a pseudo relationship? Think of a stereotypical boyfriend/girlfriend relationship minus all the awesome physical perks. That, my friends, is a pseudo relationship.
Why this lack of dating? Short answer, the guy/girl ratio in NYC is 1 to 3. An even better statistic? The Mormon guy/girl ration in NYC is 1 to 5. Essentially, for females, you have a better chance of getting car doored while riding your bicycle to work than finding a boyfriend in the city.
These statistics beg the real question, why would any guy in his right mind want to settle into a relationship when around every other NYC corner he bumps shoulders with a more attractive, successful, talented, witty woman than the one he was potentially thinking about calling his boo the night before?
Living in an environment with a severe lack of testosterone messes with you. It took about 18 months to realize the way I thought about dating was becoming warped. Life before NYC involved casual conversations with guys, innocent flirting, lots of dating, and a squad of bros. Life in NYC? No bros, only speaking to a guy after being spoken to, being extra cautious flirting with a ringless bachelor out of sheer fear his secret boo is around the corner watching your every move and getting ready to shank you, viewing all women as competition, and becoming extreme in your self deprecation (i.e. "Of course Joey decided to go out with Julie instead of me. Did you see her $50 manicure?!").
I got out of NYC just before sexual frustration and self-deprecation took another victim.
At the beginning of August I hopped on a plane to Salt Lake city with daydreams of dating so much I wouldn't have to set foot into a grocery store. I was preparing for this new, exciting dating life with an iPhone whose storage space was almost filled to capacity with any podcast and audiobook remotely related to dating, relationships, men, and flirting.
I was shooting the breeze with my roommate during my first Friday night in our Salt Lake City apartment. This conversation turned to dating and her saying something like, "In the past 3 years 85% of my dates have come from Tinder." Considering she had literally been on four times the amount of first dates I had been on, 3 of which turned into fourth dates, I downloaded Tinder as fast as that signal from space would allow.
While setting up my profile I was overwhelmed with a profound depth of gratitude to my older sister who had taken several headshots of me looking like a child pageant star. Think adorable, innocent, "Hey! I'm not a slut." vibes." The cherry on top was using a quote from a favorite movie, HOT ROD, "Who do you think would win in a fight between a grilled cheese sandwich and a taco?" for my profile. Obviously, that was the best question to screen out the weirdos. If they knew the answer, they'd be worth chatting with.
And then, it began.
Tinder was like Moses parting the Red Sea. Just when I thought all hope was lost and my only two options to marry and/or have kids (without contracting an STD) were to join a polygamist cult or go to a sperm bank (and create a super baby with a Spaniard), I was shown a new world of what seemed to be an unlimited pool of single men in Salt Lake City. Guy after guy after guy kept appearing on the screen. And I kept swiping right.
Testosterone is pumping throughout your body? Swipe right.
Your body looks like that with your shirt off? Swipe right.
You have dad bod? Swipe right.
You're bald? Swipe right.
You climbed a mountain? Swipe right.
You took a selfie in the bathroom? So 2012. Swipe right
This went on for an hour, and surprisingly I never reached the allusive end of the list I've heard Tinder users encounter.
The next morning I woke up to 50 matches and 15 messages.
I pinched myself. I was awake. THIS WAS REAL LIFE.
Feeling like a puppy thrown into the deep end of the pool, this was a sink or swim moment. How was I to deal with going from a wasteland to an oasis? My flirting library contains MODERN ROMANCE by Aziz Ansari, and pegging him as the best person to consult I flipped through the book looking for an answer. His advice? Look at online dating as an online introductory service. Only exchange 6 messages with a guy, if he's not a creep, meetup. I had full confidence in my ability to stick to his sound advice.
Less than 15 hours on TInder I had a date. We'll call him Sam. We chatted back and forth for about 15 minutes in total. He's from Ghana. He's a masters student at the University of Utah. We have a mutual friend. He's Mormon. He likes tennis. I like tennis. He asked when we could play tennis. I said Monday. Everything was going so, so well until he sent this message:
“What do your parents think about you dating a black guy?"
One, if it was an issue I wouldn't have swiped right. Two, last time I checked we live in 2015. Three, we aren't dating, we only made plans for ONE date. Four, my parents' could care less about the color of someone's skin: they're more concerned with how they guy treats me. Five, what horrible experience did Sam have to prompt him to ask this question?
“Whatever, Chelsea. Let it slide. Guys are weird. Maybe he's better in person? Maybe it's a cultural different? He IS an engineer..." My internal dialogue convinced me his question was innocent and not a deal breaker.
Three days after matching on Tinder we met up. We literally hit two tennis balls back and fourth (approximately 2 minutes) then sat on the court and talked.
I’m keenly aware that as a Kasen one of two things will happen on a date: the guy spills their soul out much like he would in a confessional booth, or they guy calls me dude/man/bro/a combination of all three. No matter the guy. After spilling their guts or bro-zoning me, each realizes what they have done and either distort their face in disgust and ignore the situation, or call themselves out and proceeds to apologize profusely for way too long. During this date, Sam did both.
Come to find out, three weeks before our date he was talking to his then boo about getting engaged. The day after having the engagement talk, the girl's parents found out Sam was straight outta Africa and forbade her to ever see him again. She fell off the grid and Sam hadn't heard from or seen her since. Yikes. Perfectly explained the race question.
He also called me MAN in the, "I'm going to slug your bicep or give you a bro hug, can you feel the brotherly love man" type of way. He called himself out on this, apologized profusely, but at this point in the date it was neither here nor there.
After talking for an hour he needed to go get ready to have his birthday dinner with his pals. Yep, his BIRTHDAY dinner. We said goodbye and set up a second date for the following Wednesday.
That night as I was snuggling with my Napoleon Dynamite pillow, Sam texted me. "What do you think about us?" Not wanting to burst his awesome birthday bubble I went to bed.
The next morning my reaction of disbelief was not diminished. Excuse me? Us? As in you and me? In a relationship? I responded, "We've only been on one date, which lasted an hour. And, I'm not a rebound girl. So, no. If anything is going to happen, it's going to take a lot of time." He back peddled as hard as he could after that text using the excuse he totally agrees, he would never use me as a rebound, and he just wanted to know how he should view our relationship. Emoji thumbs up, dude. We didn't meet again.
Lesson learned? Oh yeah. Having the only requirement to go out with a guy as: needs male anatomy is the WORST strategy. Since I've started swiping left more than right the quality of dates have increased 200%, I've yet to see the end of the Tinder list, and I've always had a hot guy to troll the city with. The only downside? I've had to step foot in a grocery store every week. But who knows, that could change. It's only been 3 weeks.
Here's to 30 months of plenty.