It was almost too good to be true.
It had become something of a mechanical game. I'd skim the bio, look through a few pictures, briefly glance over the shared interests and make a quick, five-second choice. Did he look friendly? Did he have good style? Did I find him attractive? Was his bio cute, cliché (womp womp), or funny? Most importantly, could I picture myself actually connecting with this guy?
It's hard to tell so much about a person from an incredibly limited profile. But that's what Tinder's all about: crunched social media and fast decision-making. Tinder users have only so much space to make their profiles really stand out. If I found a guy who managed to accomplish this, I was definitely right-swiping him.
So when I came across one who had a stellar bio ("I was voted most likely to become a famous beard model in eighth grade") cute pictures (a couple with friends and one featuring him dressed up as Iron Man), and seven shared interests, I didn't even need the five-second period to know he was worth giving a chance.
Added bonus: He was totally my type. From as far back as I can recall, I've been swooning over the dark and handsome kind. I'm a sucker for brown eyes, and his were incredible. In them, I could see a sincerely nice person.
I still remember the first message: "How did I get matched with someone as cute as you? Tinder must be broken :)" I had run into more than a few handfuls of jerks on the app, and this notably humble opener was a completely refreshing break from the arrogant d-bags. I was immediately hooked.
It wasn't long before we began messaging for hours at a time. He hailed from my area in metro Detroit — the next city over, actually. He graduated from Michigan State University and now worked for a big company over in San Francisco. He had been visiting Michigan while we were matched and was returning for a more extensive visit in a couple of weeks.
We texted non-stop until our first date. He was smart, and our conversations were full of clever banter and spirited flirting. We were constantly devising competitions. "I'm going to make you melt first," I texted. "You'll be a puddle on the floor." He shot back a fierce, "No way! You'll be a popsicle on the hot sidewalk by the time our first date is through."
That initial meeting couldn't come soon enough. I bought a flowery sundress for the occasion and I spent an unusual amount of time making sure my makeup was immaculate. By the time he came to the door, I was a jumble of nerves and sweating in several places.
He was even more adorable in person than in his pictures. We went out to a Mexican restaurant (our favorite), and then drove to a park and walked around. We stayed until dark, talking on the swings and the merry-go-round.
I can't remember the topics of our discussions, but I do know the conversations came easily and the chemistry was incontestable. Talking for hours on a first date is a beautiful rarity.
The next two weeks were the best of my life. We got together almost every day, watching scary movies on Netflix, going out for meals and enjoying nature. We went to a petting zoo, and played hide-and-seek in a graveyard (which was every bit as thrilling as you'd imagine ... until the cops showed up).
He was unimaginably sweet, determined to make me, the "jaded blogger," believe in romance again. I had recently gotten out of a particularly messy and heartbreaking split. During his stay, he mended the hurt. I felt something deeper taking place.
"You made me melt first," he told me one day. "You win."
On the last day, he told me he loved me. And a few hours after he left for California, I knew I loved him, too.
Although he lives across the country, we became exclusive. Long distance is hard; I won't sugarcoat it. We have Skype dates almost every single night. It may not be quite the same, but I've learned to appreciate the technology that's available. Fifty years ago, long distance relationships were probably almost impossible. Today, they're entirely doable with the correct mindset and the willingness to commit.
Seeing his beautiful face at the end of my day is the very highlight of it. Having a boyfriend who is based thousands of miles away does have a few perks, believe it or not. We're forced to learn more about each other than the average couple because we aren't distracted by things like kissing or going out to the movies. Every night, we're face to face, discovering each other on a deeper level.
Having a long distance partnership makes me appreciate the small stuff. Once in a while, he'll send me surprises by mail. I've gotten a gorgeous vase of flowers, a candle, and even a webcam and microphone to enhance our Skype experiences.
I'm graduating in seven months. I have no doubt in my mind that when the time is right, we'll find a way to be together permanently. Until then, I'm going to love this guy with everything I have from a distance.
Despite Tinder's reputation of being the "hookup app," nearly all of the reactions I've gotten to the "How did you guys meet?" answer have been sincerely supportive. I truly believe Tinder, or any other online dating tool, is able to provide you with what you're searching for.
It takes some digging, but the digital realm can be used for seriously amazing opportunities. Don't ever be afraid to take advantage of it, because internet dating can turn into one of the best decisions of your life.