I Went Across the Country Looking for Love, But Came Back Empty-Handed
Mere minutes after landing in San Francisco, California, I thought I’d found the one for me. You see, I was already on the prowl before I even got to my hotel. Face glued to my cell phone while in the cab, rarely peering up to gaze at the my new surroundings, some might say my priorities were askew, but I’d argue otherwise.
Once I checked into my room, I knew that there was a hunger that needed to be satisfied quickly, otherwise the start to the West Coast adventure would feel like a waste. Up and down the elevator I went, barely going two blocks before coming face-to-face… with Tacorea. Man, was I starving. And in record time, I snorted a steak burrito with crispy tater tots inside the goddamn thing. Talk about heaven, right?
But we’re not here to talk about my love for Mexican cuisine. Although I definitely felt something for that post-flight meal, I wouldn’t say it was the real thing. And while I was in the Golden City, courtesy of Tinder, I had a job to do: date.
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Weeks ahead of my trip, I had already started hunting. Tinder’s premium feature, cleverly referred to as “Passport,” allows users to switch their location at the drop of a pin (literally). Once you’ve relocated yourself, you’re allowed to navigate through the dating pool of the place you’ll soon visit, scoping out the scene before you even pack your oversized carry-on.
Within only four days to try and make some quality connections, I was hoping “Passport” would work in my favor. Not only would I be able to sort through all of the different types of gentlemen the city has to offer, but once I landed a few matches, I’d be able to schedule some dates in advance, essentially eliminating any stress that’d come if I was only able to swipe upon the airplane’s wheels touching the runway.
Unfortunately, things didn’t play out exactly as I wanted them to. And while I still believe “Passport” is a fabulous feature to be used to your liking, I just don’t believe luck was on my side in the San Francisco Bay area. Here’s why:
1. I Was on a Serious Time Crunch
As a Brooklyn native, I’ve certainly grown accustomed to the fast-paced, hustle and bustle of New York. That being said, when it comes to plans, I need at least a 2-3 week notice for scheduling purposes. I barely have enough time to breathe, let alone to pencil in drinks, dinner or what have you with a total stranger.
Being in San Francisco for only a few days, I wanted to squeeze in enough time for exploring all while finding time to meet a high quality gent. As “Passport” didn’t help as much as I’d hoped before I actually went on the trip, I was left to aggressively swipe as much as I could during it. As hard as I tried (and trust me, I tried), time wasn’t on my side. For anyone I did have the pleasure of matching with, they were heading out of town, too far outside San Francisco to come around for a date with a strange New Yorker or ultimately let the conversation fade out once they realized I lived across the country. Which leads to my next point…
2. My Home Base Left Me at a Serious Disadvantage
Let’s be real here — I can barely stand dating someone who lives far enough away that I have to transfer subways. When I’m swiping, if I notice the distance is too much to handle, even if you are a goddamn Adonis, it’s a no from me, dawg. That’s why I had a suspicious feeling that guys out in San Francisco, miles upon miles away from where I currently reside, wouldn’t be super thrilled at the idea of going out with someone who wasn’t exactly a close neighbor.
Even while on “Passport,” my distance still showed. Sure, someone might’ve been attracted to one (or all, c’mon) of the photos in my profile, but once you saw a number that went above 3,000 in terms of mileage, I suspect that translated into being an immediate boner shrinker. And while there’s no judgment here, as I already mentioned I’d probably be the same way, it didn’t exactly make it easy for me to find men that, if I did pique their interest, weren’t only looking for a place to stick it in. Which, again, leads me to my last and final point…
3. Being Gay on Tinder Isn’t Exactly the Same as Being Straight on Tinder
Personal experience has shown me that each dating app serves its respective purpose for gay men. Grindr? Obviously trying to bone as soon as possible. Scruff? Also trying to bone, but wouldn’t be mad if you got a drink first. As for apps that target different genders and orientations, like Tinder, that’s where things get a little blurry.
Chatting with straight friends has left me thinking that when they’re perusing around for a match on Tinder, they’re not always trying to find that perfect someone. Instead, they’re actually using the app for less than that, prioritizing action over finding anything serious. Now, as for the gays, it seems that those who do use Tinder are pushing real, validating connections to the top. With their being more obvious apps used mostly for sex, it’s Tinder, or other apps like Bumble, Hinge and so on, that provide opportunities for gay men to meet people who want a little substance.
In relation to my extended weekend getaway, I just think the men I swiped past knew if we’d gone out, it wouldn’t really go anywhere. While that’s a total inference (they could’ve thought I was heinous, who knows), it’s the guess I’m going with, and in their shoes, I would’ve done the same thing.
This doesn’t mean I hated my trip. Becoming familiar with culture outside of the city you call home is crucial, whether related to dating or otherwise, and I learned plenty about San Francisco in a short period of time. Sure, I didn’t exactly leave the mark I was hoping for, but even though the great state of California didn’t deliver on matching me with someone good enough to bring home to Mom, I wouldn’t call the total trip a disappointment.
At least I got that burrito.
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