Digital dating in NYC: The good, the bad, and the oh-so-interesting

About two years ago, my friend started dating a guy who she met through Tinder. She was all a-glow about this fella, going so far as to pronounce how much even I would like him. I tend to have very stringent expectations when it comes to my friends' boyfriends, and... well, rightfully so, especially in New York. I mean, it's (probably) a fact that for every well-rounded, winsome gentleman, there's somewhere around 100+ sociopaths to match in this city. As it turned out, this particular beau happened to have a suspicious 7+ Facebook accounts and maybe another girlfriend as well. 'Twas a fail.

That said, though, I also happen to know more than one couple who met through Tinder and are now engaged or happily married.

Quite honestly, this *new* world of digital dating seems to be spectacularly similar to the old world of simply meeting in a bar. After all, as many point out, both methodologies are (at least initially) based primarily on aesthetics and instinct, with a small sprinkling of personality and shared interests. Furthermore, with many dating apps or internet sites, you unquestionably gain more insight into an individual's background than you would have had you stumbled into them at 1am at a pub. Does it replace the value of being set up by friends or meeting organically? Probably not. But let's not discount it all together.

Today on Tangent Pursuit, I bring you (anonymously) the queen of digital dating. Her insight into which apps are worth it versus not, recommendations on how to get started and, mostly, her wild and unique stories should be entertaining enough to get your day started off well.

How did you get into "digital" dating?

I initially started using apps in early 2013 right when Tinder was starting to become popular. I was getting tired of the dating scene in NY and had heard a lot about Tinder so figured I would give it a try. I met up with a handful of guys until I met one who I really got along with and we started dating. I restarted Tinder (and added the other new apps) once this relationship ended. I figured if it worked for me once, why not try again?

Which apps/sites have you used?

Primarily have been app-focused, mainly because I don't want to write a lot/answer a lot of questions and the conversations flow easier in a text-based format than sending long messages back and forth. The apps I use are tinder, hinge, happn, and recently added the league.

Which is the worst/why?

They really all have their pros and cons. Tinder back in the day was great, but now is too diluted with too much variety. Everyone is on tinder... so it's harder to find quality. I like the idea of Happn (like you have to "cross paths" with someone), but it's a little overwhelming the way the display options and they don't notify you when you have a new message.

Which is the best/why?

I would say the best one is Hinge, especially if you are just breaking into the app dating scene. It is not overwhelming (you only get a certain number of matches a day) and you have to have some connection via Facebook (i.e. a friend of a friend of a friend). Therefore, the selection ends up being much better. Plus, it requires you to input your height, which I appreciate because I am a tall girl. A lot of my friends exclusively use Hinge and have had some good experiences.

Can you tell me about the most memorable date?

This is a hard one, as I have had many memorable, or should I say interesting, dates... Basically I should write one of those sex diaries they post on NYMag haha.

I met up with this guy once who sent me very strange, inappropriate page-long texts. He would tell me what he wants to do to me and all these very crazy things. He would even give me options for our date and then would make rules about what I was/wasn't allowed to do. I can't really explain this that well without showing you some of these absurd texts. But they were novels. I initially blew him off a few times - not even that bad, I told him I had plans, but could maybe meet up later and then when it got to be 1am I didn't feel like it. He got pissed at me and I felt bad so I finally agreed to meet him, even with the crazy texts, although I kept telling him how I wasn't going to sleep with him etc due to the nature of these texts. Anyway, we meet for drinks.... scratch that, I drink and he has iced tea because he is 13 years sober. So inevitably I get drunk to make up for it and we go to dinner... after dinner he starts making out of with me on the street, which I sometimes find awkward. He is a real estate broker or something so he offers to show me an empty apartment nearby.... I agree because I don't want to just be standing on the street in the rain anymore. We go to this empty apartment and start making out. I realize I could be here a while and I'm kind of drunk from earlier so long story short we end up having sex. Anyway, we met up again another night after this. I text him later joking about whether we're going to get together again and he sent me an insane text message about how I'm self centered because I didn't ask him about how his day was going or some ridiculous thing. I am doing a bad job at explaining this, but it's hard to explain fully via email. I don't speak to him or hear from him after this.

Another time I had a coffee date with this guy... we were supposed to get dinner that night, but he had to cancel to head out of town so we got coffee instead. Well, I got coffee, he got hot chocolate. I thought we hit it off pretty well, even from our texts after etc. But then he kept being evasive and was dodging hanging out with me, and there were other red signs, particularly that he was a legit Mormon. He never came out and said it, but he would only get hot chocolate, he had like a bunch of siblings and his mom was one of 10, and he went to BYU, a fact he covered up by saying he went to Notre Dame, but when I found him on LinkedIn it said BYU. He blew me off a few times, but would still like text me constantly. Eventually, I found out he has a wife and a kid, which is why he was being sketchy....

I met up with this guy one night for drinks. He was super sweet and we had a good time bar hopping. I found out he didn't even live in NY (was just here for work) and has a 10 year old daughter who he has primary custody of. He was nice though and we were having fun so I drunkenly decided to go back to his hotel room with him.... I texted him a month or so later asking how he was doing and he told me that on his way to the airport, he fell on ice and broke his whole leg and hasn't been able to walk since...

Additionally, when I was in Italy before starting work here, I went on two tinder dates! One was pretty normal... we met up for drinks, he walked me home, made out in front of the duomo. He tried to come home with me, but I didn't think that was a good idea since I was staying in an airbnb by myself in a foreign country. The second one was a little more unconventional. I had matched with this guy in Milan when I first got there, but since had been traveling to other cities. However, we continued to talk while I was in Italy. I had to go back through Milan to go home and was supposed to take the train to the airport, which is far away. He offered to pick me up and drive me to the airport. So I get in this car of basically a total stranger who barely spoke English. He drives me to the airport.... I thought he was just going to drop me off, but he parks and walks me in. He waits for me to check my bag and then we have lunch together at this airport restaurant where we have to spend most of the meal translating what the other is saying. He pays for everything and then walks me to the security line and gives me a hug goodbye.

Overall feelings on the experience so far?

I think it's a great vehicle to put yourself out there and meet people. I consider every date a different experience/story so even if they go bad, at least I've tried. These apps allow you to come across people you might not otherwise and it takes all the BS out of the run around at a bar or wherever people meet. It definitely is a good way to get laid, but there are also a variety of guys looking for a variety of things. My last boyfriend I actually met through Tinder in 2013 so it can happen! My friend met her current boyfriend on Hinge. If you're not good at putting yourself out there at a bar or are more interested in hanging with friends when you go out than trolling for men, these are definitely good options.

What kind of tips would you recommend to people just starting to online date?

I'd recommend that they rip the band aid off and just start meeting people. The only way you'll know if you actually mesh with someone is if you meet them in person. And meeting up with strangers gets easier! The more you do it, the more comfortable you are each time. Don't be discouraged by a bad date (or dates in my case) - they happen to everyone, even my skinny hot friends! Also, keep your options open and don't get invested in only one guy until it's legit. Myself and many friends have been ghosted too many times to count. But if you have other things/guys going on, it doesn't hurt as bad and you won't be as bothered by it.