What 30 days on Tinder taught me about self love and humanity

When I joined Tinder a month ago, I thought to myself, “here goes another low point in my life.” I sighed and scrolled through my image library looking for some good pics. I wanted something that shows my face clearly, that looks like me in real life so that people won’t react like, “Goddamn, woman, you survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Chernobyl or something? Impressive.”

Funny enough looking back at old photos also means looking back at my time with him. Five years of a relationship is not something unfollowing your ex on social media can fix.  Five years of relationship means there are lots of good and bad memories, lots of travel, hugs and kisses, hand-holdings, family gatherings on national holidays, laughter and tears, said and unsaid. And it’s not going away any time soon. I truly feel like it was like ending a marriage, just without discussing custody surrounding the kids (Thank God).

For those of you who have never been in a long-term relationship, I know you want one because that’s all you ever talk about. You want one right now because you feel like it’s time and you’re ready for it. I’m not.

It’s been over two months and I’m still grieving, trying to find myself again, trying to reinvent my individuality, trying to adult on my own. I don’t think sky-diving into another relationship at this stage is ideal, for neither party.

Back to my newly created profile on Tinder. I’ve used all the photos that he took of me throughout our relationship. He really captured the essence of my authenticity, humor, and positive energy. And as much as I hate what he’s done to me towards the end of our relationship, I could still appreciate his photography skill and the fact that it’s getting me mind-blowing dates. The only thing he couldn’t help me with is writing the goddamn Tinder bio.

But come on, it was SO not the first time I had to write a bio.

My CV and LinkedIn bio sell me like a product on the shelf, “Chau is passionate about creating impactful content. Content that adds value to people’s lives. Her blog helps hundreds of Vietnamese prepare for higher education in the Czech Republic. Her videos on Facebook shares useful travel tips with thousands of people. Her infographics simplify career development for over 100,000 employees at SAP. Since May 2021, she’s been enjoying her job revamping employer branding and internal communications at NNIT Czech Republic.” 

My Instagram bio is almost just SEO keywords, “VN 🇻🇳 based in Prague, CZ 🇨🇿 Photography 📸 Blogging 🖥️ Art 🎨 www.chaupraha.com” 

But my Tinder profile gotta be different, right?

So after lots of thinking, here’s what I came up with, “Testing dating apps to learn more about machine learning, big data, and human psychology. In need of validation from men. Bedtime 10 PM.

And with that, I went live and started swiping. 

Within 30 days, I have got over 60 matches, gone on 5 dates with 5 handsome interesting intelligent men, and landed a passionate kiss after four hours of just talks. I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, you really like to brag about your dating life.” Yes, yes I do. And I want you to be as confident about your dating life as I am. Because women, we need to step up. Our standards for men are sinking to the bottom of the ocean, finding Nemo and the Titanic and Jack (RIP). We need to raise the bar. And one of the best ways to raise your standards for romantic partners is to go out with better people. And if it means using Tinder. Then I will show you how to use it well (likely to be applicable to all dating platforms).

1. Write your fucking bio

I don’t care if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, if you feel ashamed to be on Tinder in the first place, if you don’t want to seem “basic” or “boring” or “desperate”. Write the goddamn bio. Make it YOU. Sure, you might say, “easy for you to say, Chou, you’re a writer.” Haha fuck you. You don’t have to be a “writer” to write a 200-character bio on a dating site. You just need to stop being lazy.

Also, those 200-characters help you communicate your standards and intention. Use it to your advantage. You need to be in charge of the quality of the matches. What I found is people who don’t put effort into their profiles are more likely to land sucky dates. 

Fun fact for you: After 30 days of Tinder, I was actually curious about what kinds of female profiles men are seeing on the other side. So I created a fake account and went browsing.

Yas, ladies, you’re rocking it. Your hair, your style, your pose, your nose, your clothes, you got it. When it comes to the visual, you already know what’s best. Men have no idea how you even achieve that look. Hell, I don’t even know how I’m not a lesbian. I’d join a cult just to worship you goddesses.

The point is, your photos are absolutely gorgeous and fascinating and perfect. But you have zero content in text. Woman, if you just show men your ass and titties, which is fine and your goodies look dope, you’re communicating that you want something casual. There’s nothing wrong with that. If that’s what you’re looking for. 

But I know way too many women going on Tinder not knowing what they are looking for, which is also fine, but then they would be like me browsing through other female profiles, trying to find “inspiration”, ending up losing your uniqueness and individuality in a patriarchy-inspired internalized sexism competition among women, and re-creating the same profile to fit in the crowd. Hoping that those photos will please the male’s gaze, assuming that that’s all men want: Ass and titties. 

Yes, men like ass and titties. But men also like successful intelligent women with whom they can have fun and interesting conversations. If you don’t believe me because you haven’t gone on any good dates, then you haven’t used Tinder right. Keep reading.

2. Talk to them

I can’t tell you how much I hate — when people tell me they don’t know what to say after matching with someone. Comment on their style, their hair, their smile, their eyes, something they mentioned in the bio, something you have in their bio that matches with theirs. Anything is better than nothing. 

And ladies, it’s better if you start the conversation. Because then, you lead its path. You decide where the conversation goes.

For those tech nerds out there, you’re gonna love this. From a technical standpoint, conversations on Tinder of any type, long or short, when taking place on the platform and not elsewhere, push your “desirability score” up. Because you’re spending time on the app and developers love that. Tinder will reward you for your investment in it. And because your profile will be shown to people with the same “desirability score”.

The more you talk, the more likely you’ll match with better and better people. Listen to yo girl. I’ve researched and experienced it. It’s real. You better believe it’s real. My last date was with a hella cute lawyer at a hella fancy restaurant.

3. Continue to improve your profile

Don’t settle for that one photo your drunk classmate took when you were in high school or before/during you hit that identity crisis during quarantine 2020. If you can’t find good photos, take new ones. Update that Tinder profile. It shows that you care. About yourself, first and foremost. And about others who want to make sure you’re a real deal and not an AI-generated Instagram-filtered Russian chatbot. For those chatbots reading this blog, I have nothing against you guys, please continue to stack views for my site analytics.

The same thing goes to your bio. Update it. Look, I began with “Testing dating apps to learn more about machine learning, big data, and human psychology. In need of validation from men. Bedtime 10 PM.” because it was true at the time. I was in a vulnerable place. I was insecure. And I was honest. (Bedtime 10 PM still applies to be honest). But now, the new intro goes like this, “Testing dating apps to learn more about machine learning, big data, and human psychology. Guess my conversion rate from matches to actual dates and I’ll guess yours.” (with some emojis at the end) because my state of mind as changed. See how it’s more confident, playful, and flirty now? We’re constantly changing as human beings. Sync those changes with your Tinder profile. 

4. Never, ever, lower your standards

I have a list of 21 must-haves for my man. I wrote it a month after the breakup, which might be the perfect timing to write down your standards for men because you’re in fucking pain and you really don’t have the physical or emotional energy for BS. 

One month after your breakup, you’re not entirely over it psychologically (if ever), but you have regained the rational brainpower to pick your emotional self up and carry on. Logically, you know what happens when you lower your standards and give leeway to insecurity, passiveness, and frankly, loser-ness. It’s the perfect time to sit down and make lists.

To be honest, the 21-must-have list is ongoing. I might take out or add some later, as I explore more and more of my options on the market. But I’mma take notes of what I’ve added and what I’ve sacrificed in the process of making that choice. Any movements on that list need to be vetted and thought out clearly. I don’t joke around with my lists. I meant what I wrote and if anything should change, there’d better be a good reason behind it. Or I should know what I’m getting myself into.

And that’s why I write, journal, and blog. You need to document your thought process. Because emotions are unreliable. When you have such a brilliant mind like me, and you do because you’re reading my blog and get what I’m saying (we’re vibing), you need to take advantage of that gorgeous brain. Make use of all that IQ EQ capabilities and record every strain of thoughts. 

Writing / Journaling is the drug that Bradly Cooper took in that “Limitless” movie. It’s that magic pill Scarlett Johansson overdosed on in “Lucy”. You need to take your goddamn medicine because like those hot Hollywood superstars, you need to show the world your full potential. And again, you don’t need to be a writer to write. I’m not a writer. I’m a Communications Consultant who enjoys going out with hot men. But my standard for “hotness” has 21 criteria on it.

5. Know that you’re fucking awesome

This concept was inspired by “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero (2013). I finished this book on Kindle during my 4-day solo trip to Austria last weekend. One of the best decisions of my life.

Because it made me realized that objectively speaking, I am a badass.

The moment I left that house and my ex, I know I’m done dimming my light for others. When I sat in that Uber car, heading to my best friend’s place with two suitcases of clothes and journals, I didn’t understand why I had endured that torture for so long. But now I do. 

I endured the pain because of the Vietnamese culture I grew up in, the way I was raised and brought up to believe that I was not as intelligent as others, that somehow I was “slow” so I had to work harder to “catch up” with the crew, that people (especially men) hate little girls with big ideas.

I endured the pain because he was constantly wallowing in depression and self-pity and I wanted to be sympathetic and understanding, “Oh no baby, my life sucks too. I hate my job, too. Boohoo.”

No. That is NOT true.

I have a killer job with a killer salary, living in a killer apartment in the city center surrounded by entertainment and fun. I’m the best at my job and the whole company knows that. I’m the best daughter ever and my family is very proud of me. I have wonderful friends and every day I hang out with cool people who are highly motivated, driven, and inspirational. I only accept good vibes.

The last thing you want to do to your awesome self is clipping them angel wings so you can hang out with the chickens. Absolutely not. I forbid you.

What you must do, and it doesn’t matter if you’re on Tinder or not, is be the best version of yourself every day. Wear that hot outfit. Decorate your place with love and care. Eat at that fancy restaurant, by yourself, why not? Invest your heart and soul into your job / career / projects / hobbies. 

Know that you’re awesome.

Know that any man would be fucking grateful, bowing-on-the-floor-begging grateful to have just one date with you. Any man. You choose them. Not the other way around — because of course, they choose you. You’re probably the best thing God has to offer to mankind. I’m not even religious, but I’d fucking subscribe to whatever religion that says I am the best and I am perfect and everybody loves me (only the bests of the best, I don’t need the losers and haters to love me). 

Know that you’re in charge of where the relationship is heading. Always. Not because you’re purely logical Tin Man with no hearts, but because you’re smart and mature enough to process your emotions and then make informed decisions.

6. Enjoy getting to know other awesome humans

The last thing I’ve learned throughout this 30-day Tinder trial period is, humans are fucking fascinating. 

As a journalist, I’m naturally drawn to different people with different experiences, careers, and interests. And, I love men. All my life I’ve been surrounded by women due to the nature of my education and work (languages, journalism, media, communications, marketing). And of course, I love women. I grew up around women. They’ve raised me into the strong capable beautiful woman I am today. But if I’m being fully honest with myself, I could do with more handsome funny successful men in my life.

For a while, I was surrounded by women afraid of confronting men for their unhappiness, afraid of approaching men, afraid of rejection from men, afraid of taking the initiative and show them who’s the boss, afraid of seeming too strong, confident, and independent. And it messed with my head. Can there be such things as “too powerful” women? And is this female superpower turning men off?

At the same time, all I saw around me was incompetent, boring, broke-ass, unmotivated, shits-for-brains men who live off of their wives like fucking parasites. This experience made me doubt myself and the world, wondering if it’s even possible to find somebody worthwhile in this shithole of a society filled with shitty people? Or and am I turning into a radical lesbian feminist, readying to protest on the streets half-naked, yelling, “Free the nipples! Fuck the patriarchy!”

But then I went on Tinder dates. With one. Then two. Then five. Then more. Because I realized, no, the world is NOT full of shitty people with shitty personalities. You choose who you hang out with. You choose your social circle. You choose your friend list. Not Facebook. Not your parents. Not your boss. Not fate. You.

And you could only attract awesome people when you’re awesome. And you are awesome. (Re-read section 5 if you’re doubting my statement). 

You are beautiful, capable, and intelligent. You deserve the best and only the best. And that’s why all of your dates will be wonderful. Even when you have less-than-ideal meals and awkward goodbye handshakes, you know you’ve had hella good times and life is just perfect.

7 thoughts on “What 30 days on Tinder taught me about self love and humanity

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  1. I just ran into your blog in a few minutes and came across this post a little later. But reading it is really worth me a while.
    First things first, tinder is not my cup of tea although I’m a late millennial who is supposed to quite into such a dating app. So I literally have no idea about how these apps work or what is the mechanism of matching people.
    There is a main point, however, in your awesome post that I completely agree.
    1. “Yes, men like ass and titties. But men also like successful intelligent women with whom they can have fun and interesting conversations”
    Men, including me, do like sexy booties and boobs, just like the way you, women, love 6 pack abs and nice male butts. We all do feel interested in physically attractive people of the opposite gender because it has always been a part of our instincts and existing in our DNA for ages of the human evolution. However, I guess, while a physically sexy man probably only make a female gaze at once or twice when you first see them, his smartness and good sense of humor would hit the right button and make you feel so intrigued to have much more good conversations.
    So the same thing happens with men when we really want to have good time talking to intelligent female. And it is not that hard to become intelligent as you suppose. Picking up both online and offline resources that you find useful, would eventually give you a lot of good materials and confidence to have truly interesting conversations in the way you expect.

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    1. Couldn’t agree more. Looks definitely play an important role in dating, especially online dating. It’s undeniable. But what build and maintain a strong relationship has to be the personality, knowledge, humor, kindness, etc. of the people. So you have to offer the full package, if you want another full package in return. 😉

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      1. I do agree that while physical beauty probably makes peoples fall in love at first sight, inner beauty certainly paves the way for a long lasting and healthy relationship between two.
        However, you don’t necessarily have to offer the full package. I understand what you really mean here is that we should always try to get ourselves better every single day. It’s totally right, but we don’t need to make it that serious to have too much pressure on us to be the whole package.
        As explained in the post, you need to “know that you’re fucking awesome”. You are already literally awesome when you know why and how you are awesome and unique. Just be the best of you and take your time because I believe a right person out there is looking for you like the way you are looking for him/her. 😀

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