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How to Lose A Hinge Date in 10 Days

by Karina Marinovich

I used to play dating apps like a riveting game of smash or pass. I have countless memories of my friends and I sitting around a phone laughing at the cringey messages we received from desperately horny men. Tinder was a sleepover activity for the girls. 


Secretly though, I’d always wanted to actually try a dating app. The Duke straight male population is divided into two unsavory extremes: those with massive egos and those with nice guy complexes who cannot speak to girls. I’d always wondered if the non-Duke Durham residents would fare any better, but I feared the social taboo of meeting someone on an app. A friend of mine met her boyfriend on Tinder and she winces every time she has to answer the dreaded “How did you guys meet?” 


When The Coop asked if anyone would go on a Hinge date to write a piece about the experience, I finally had a socially acceptable excuse to be seen on a dating app by people I know. But I was terrified of exposing myself to the judgment of men—especially my Duke peers. I hid my genuine curiosity under the guise of purely journalistic, even scientific, intentions. I felt like Andie Anderson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. 


I hate nothing more than opening myself up to rejection, especially by a man. I would stick my arm down a garbage disposal before I message a man first on a dating app. I never want a man to know that I like him before he has established that he likes me. But this article provided me with a nothing-to-lose mindset. Even if the experience was a failure, it would make for a great story. I concluded that as long as my intentions remained unromantic, I did not have to worry about being vulnerable or hurt.

The Profile 


I let go of my inhibitions and had fun creating my profile. I set my age maximum to 23 because I am terrified of grown men, and added an inch to my height to even the playing field. The key, although I doubt anyone wants tips from me, is to answer all the prompts as jokes. There’s nothing more off putting than someone answering “I’ll fall for you if” with a serious point about how they want to raise their kids. And I am so tired of the unfunny cliches. If you have jokes about pineapple on pizza on your profile, please stay away from me. 


For my pictures, I tried to show that I have different facets: she’s outdoorsy, but she has friends, she’s fun, and she’s pretty. Of course I had to include one bikini picture, which provided a useful vetting tool if they chose that picture to like. The John Mayer reference was also a great trap because I was able to quickly eliminate any man who swiped up to defend him. 


The Men 


I was horrified by my findings. Upon final review of this experiment, I am sorry to say that it is inconclusive whether Duke men or Durham Hinge users are the lesser evil. I’ll break it down for readers so you don’t have to try it yourself. 


These men love hunting, the gym, and watching football. They want a blonde girl who goes to the gym, loves watching sports, and has good music taste (whatever they think that means). I am a blonde who likes the gym, and I still think this is a red flag. Having a thing for blondes screams misogynist. I don’t have evidence to back up this claim, but it’s just true (unfortunately for me).

The Messages 


For all the negative things I have to say about Hinge and the male population as a whole, I cherished the conversations I had. The messages I received provided me with daily entertainment and an endless flow of male validation. I was like an undercover researcher entertaining their flirtations while maintaining a sense of detachment from these corny twenty somethings. 

The One 


The bar was getting lower by the day. I almost went to Top Golf with a 27 year old highway trooper who had two pictures with his ex on his profile. Then, by some grace of God, I saw a gorgeous man in my “standouts” tab. I hate sending the first like, but I swallowed my pride. Things were getting desperate. 


He was twenty three, a recent graduate from Minnesota, 6 feet tall, with blue eyes, tan skin, and fluffy brown hair. Every girl I showed his profile to gasped– his attractiveness was at a level that was unfathomable to me and the greater Duke community. I so badly want to include a picture of him but that would be a major violation. Also if he ever read this I would have to change identities and enter the witness protection program. 


He was The One. He chose to like my outdoorsy picture, which also happens to be my least revealing—green flag. He didn’t text me any cringey compliments and immediately asked me to get drinks the upcoming Friday. 


That Friday, I was sweating. How was I, a sophomore in college, supposed to make conversation for hours with a man with a grown up job– even worse, an insanely attractive man. Boys lurking around a sweaty frat basement who are hardly taller than me are all I had ever known. Not to mention, I had never been on a real date, unless you count my ex-boyfriend picking me up for the occasional Chick-Fil-A in high school. 


I almost wished I had settled for one of my 5’7’’ countrymen so I could revert to my original state of carelessness and total confidence. But I channeled my inner Andie Anderson, spent twenty minutes on my mascara routine, and deleted all the creepy screenshots of his profile off my phone. I made a friend drop me off and bothered her the entire drive. 


Are you sure I look like my pictures? 


What if he thinks I’m ugly in person? 

What if he ghosts me?

What if I have to pay for myself? (Nightmare scenario)

What if I’m awkward? 

My exasperated friend finally made me get out of the car. She nearly had to resort to brute force. A classy ten minutes late, I walked up to him waiting for me outside the bar. He greeted me with an incredibly awkward side hug and I hid my nervousness as best as I could. He paid for my drink, and once we sat down, I relaxed and the conversation flowed. I wish I could say more bad things about him because it would make for a better story, but he was honestly really nice and asked me a lot of questions about myself. 


Although I thought the date went well overall, he never texted me again. In his defense, I cannot officially declare this a ghost because I never texted him either. Despite him being the most attractive man that has ever been remotely interested in me, I cannot bring myself to text him first due to the—very plausible—fear that he will not respond and I will have to admit I was ghosted. 


I spent the next couple of days wondering what I did wrong. Maybe I did not look at my pictures or maybe I talked about myself too much. All of my insecurities were seeping through this new crack in my ego. But then I questioned how well the date really went. I thought the conversation was good, but I could carry a conversation with a brick wall. 


I was so worried about whether I would be good enough for him that I never stopped to ask if I liked him. Now that I think about it, besides his gorgeous exterior, there was not anything outstanding about him. In fact, we aren’t particularly compatible. What am I going to do, take a twenty three year old man with a corporate job to my sorority formal? Bring him to a Wednesday Shooters? Please. 


I learned a lot about myself during my short fling with Hinge. I did something terrifying and now I know that I am capable of going on a date with a stranger. I will change my focus from Am I good enough? to What’s so special about this guy? Time after time, I have acted as a doormat for emotionally unavailable short kings. I need to find some self-esteem and stop being such a wimp about opening myself up to rejection. Rejection is really not that personal, and it is actually super normal. I reject boys all the time at bars without thinking about it twice just because I am not in the mood—most of the time, there is nothing wrong with them, they’re just not my type. If I can dish it, I should also be able to take it. 


Anyways. I now live in constant fear of seeing my Hinge matches around campus. Wilson Gym has become a very threatening place for me. But at least I know they matched with me too. 

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