The real problem with online dating.

    Online dating can open you up to many people and possibly gives more dating options. However, it can also open you up to being called a slut after not agreeing to send pictures of your feet to a stranger you met off of an app.

    Growing up I never really dated, unless you count when I would ‘marry’ my elementary crushes on the playground or when I went to homecoming with a boy who said he liked me as dating. When I got into college, I was immediately thrust into my first real-life relationship, which taught me a lot about relationships in general and about myself as an adult. However, when that ultimately imploded, I decided to try what many single college students do – mindlessly swipe through Tinder while eating potato chips curled up in a ball on my bed.

    At first, I had normal interactions and kind of got into a routine of matching with a guy then talking for a few days and eventually both of us letting the conversation fizzling out. It was never any big deal to me, or them (I assume).

    It wasn’t until recently when I started to get some less than neutral responses. Maybe it was due to my premature notion of, “Oh, if I meet strange men from the internet – murder will happen.” Or maybe I just am not interested in actually going out on dates and just occasionally like attention from random people online. But, that’s a conversation for me and a therapist to have eventually.

    This work for me for a while until I was actually asked out on a proper date – or just a proper millennial date. With the proposition “Let’s go get some tacos and watch some Netflix,” my anxiety was sent into a flurry and I swiftly unmatched and that was that. Or so I thought.

     This began a trend, and I’m not sure if all of these dudes even knew if they were in a trend, but suddenly angry men flooded my messages. The conversation would always be exceptionally normal with some nice banter. Then when they would ask me to come over to “watch some Netflix” and get back my trademark response – “Well, you could be a murderer.” all hell would break loose.

    Suddenly, I was a paranoid bitch who was taking jokes too much to heart. Is the appropriate response to my question, “Well you will just have to find out ;)”? This is when I mention that that response is one a murderer would give, suddenly, I’M the crazy one.

    So, where does this fear come from? Have I just always been conditioned to have a distrust in men who are online? Or is it actually a real problem that some guys refuse to notice?

    Even with no central hub of information stored, just googling “Tinder murders” reveals some cause for concern, such as the Rolling Stone article which discusses the woman who was killed by a couple posing as another woman, with whom she told her friends about – giving them all of the details known of the “woman” for the victims own safety which ultimately turned futile. Rolling Stone magazine also covered the violent, unstable man who targeted women on Tinder, eventually killing a nurse after talking to her for a month or so. Or the Fox News story about the Massachusetts YouTube Bodybuilder who stabbed his Tinder Date.

    Now, think about this – those three murders aren’t even half of the stories you can get from a quick Google search. And that is just Tinder. By factoring in all of the other dating apps that we can quickly download to our phones - the numbers rise, and the murders become more violent.

    When taking these stories into account it can be very clear as to why many women, myself included, are hesitant to meet with strangers before properly vetting them for any malicious intent. So much so that, sometimes, even suggested first date spots may have some meaning.

    When you are asked to come to the strangers’ home, that means he is either just looking to hook up – or harvest your organs. Full stop. When you are asked to coffee that means you have the potential for an actual genuine conversation – or they could harvest your organs. If they suggest a real dinner, then they may actually see you as a viable partner and they want to get to know you better – or they could harvest your organs. Drinks? Getting you drunk to harvest your organs.

    If you couldn’t tell I keep circling back to one idea. You may be wondering how to keep your organs inside your body and have a healthy dating life. Easy: share your locations with your friends, always tell them who you are with and where you are going and have one of them call you an hour into the date so you can fake an emergency need be. Still afraid? That’s reasonable, cancel the date and watch some TV.

    When men over tinder get pissed off at me for not blindly trusting them, I just wish I could show them my side of things. I wish that there was some way for me to show them why to me that meeting someone for their first time alone at their house is so scary. Even just with my guy friends they don’t see how dangerous being a woman alone can be. There is a reason you don’t see women alone at night very often, and there is a reason I refuse to go to Walmart alone after dark.

    And honestly this fear may be rooted in the idea of stranger danger, along with an unhealthy dosage of too much True Crime TV shows, but the idea still tracks. A woman not wanting to meet a stranger at their home is not crazy. A woman feeling afraid of a man who may have bad intentions is not crazy. As a society, we aren’t always prepared for men being the “nice guys” (which is a term that now bad guys have coined – it is all very nuanced), and sometimes it is safer for women to be defensive. 

    I would much rather be known as being “offensive” to the “nice guys” than be murdered for my politeness.