People often ask me what it's like to date in another country, and I feel lucky for not knowing. Sure, I've missed out on what's probably a Big Learning Experience, but I can't imagine what it'd be like to worry about dating on top of, you know, adapting to a new culture, being homesick, and dealing with thousands of logistics.
Luckily I have friends who can tell me what it's like. My pal from Brooklyn-based 100 First Dates recently visited London before we jaunted off to France, and she told me all about it.
Here are her tips on dating abroad using the new dating app all the kids are using, Tinder:
I have an unhealthy addiction to foreign men. Tinder is my enabler.
Dark eyes, dark skin, names that end in vowels with rolling R's: Paolo, Gustavo, Fabio, Francisco, Francesco, Alejandro, Roberto. Taglines from light skinned men with accents: "Englishman in NY", "Irishman in NY", "Aussie new to NY". Swipe right.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Tinder, congrats. You probably have fulfilling love lives. If not, Tinder is a new dating app where you judge local singles based solely on their looks (tagline optional). Is he cute? Yes? Swipe right. No? Go left. Repeat. So easy a baby could do it.
In Paris (where I was the foreigner) I got swept away by two Laurents, a Gaspard, a Gilles, a Pierre and a Clement. Cancelling my return ticket crossed my mind. Between the men and the croissants I had no reason to go home.
My brain and my thumb are trained to recognize these "most interesting" men and to swipe right. I cannot stop. I need help.
Since joining Tinder I have met:
- A spontaneous, friendly Chilean
- Two handsome, thick-accented Brazilians
- A smart, sexy, funny Iranian-American
- A witty, smart, kind Jewish-American who lives in Barcelona
Out of 92 dates in the past three and a half years, these have been my best dates. Some of these men I date for months, some for weeks, and all of them I kissed. My addiction to foreign men is only paralleled by my love of making out. I cannot stop.
Only when there is a mutual "like" are you able to begin your in-app texting romance. This feature minimizes unsolicited creepy messages in your inbox. I don't meet all the men I match with in person. At times I enjoy a fleeting one-day witty exchange with a stranger with the knowledge that we'll never meet.
Some people say Tinder is for hooking up. Some people say it's too shallow. Some people feel like its a game. It can be all of these things. It can be anything you want.
For me, it's an escape, an outlet, a doorway to connect me to new and interesting men. The platform equalizes us in ways that others (Match, OkCupid) cannot. Fewer photos, and far fewer words leave me with less information to judge. I trust my eyes and I swipe quickly. Once we meet in person, I trust my heart.
People are my real crack. And Tinder my dealer.