Each week in “Love Apptually,” Daily Bruin staffers Nico Correia and Natalie Green will take turns attempting to find love in all of the wrong places: dating applications. To help thousands of loveless students, but mostly themselves, Correia and Green will test run and rate five dating apps over the course of one quarter.
The last time I downloaded Tinder, I ended up in an Uber with two matches on the way back to an apartment in Westwood.
If this sounds like an enticing situation for me, it wasn’t.
The day started in my friend Noor’s living room when her downstairs neighbor messaged me. The three of us ended up in West Hollywood together where we happened upon another one of my matches who began hanging out with us. But by the time we all Ubered home, my two prospects seemed to be prospecting each other more than they were me. When I went home that night after being dropped off at Noor’s house, they continued hanging out.
About a week before that incident, I was invited to stay with my friend Daniela’s family in Chile over spring break, when I thought the tone of my dating life would shift from “Melancholia” to something more akin to “The Lizzie McGuire Movie.”
I was ready to embark on a picturesque tour of a new country, have a fling with a Paolo only to realize my Gordo was right in front of me the whole time, and maybe even sing “What Dreams Are Made Of” to an arena of adoring fans. Exactly one of those dreams came true, except instead of singing “What Dreams Are Made Of” to a sold out show I sang “We Are Young” in a sparsely attended, second-rate karaoke bar in Santiago.
But by the end of the first week my sexy South American moment amounted to accidentally kissing an aunt on the mouth during a standard Chilean greeting meant for the cheek. In a different incident at a wedding, Daniela’s equally elderly uncle told me unsolicited not to kiss him, which is the closest I got to flirting.
After these two frankly underwhelming experiences, I decided it was time to download Tinder.
The journey proved easier said than done. My first tip for using dating apps abroad is to have a Wi-Fi contingency plan. If you don’t have service, you might end up outside a McDonald’s in the middle of the night hoping for a free fix. For a while I had to take in the vast natural beauty of the country instead of updating my bio. So annoying.
My chance to reconnect came on a bus ride equipped with sweet bandwidth from Santiago to the beach town Viña del Mar. However, the Wi-Fi served only to crush my dreams of international game when I remembered I couldn’t speak Spanish.
My other major tip for dating apps abroad is to please be less ignorant of the dominant language in your given destination than yours truly. The Spanish-intensive course I took at community college over the summer where I played games for six weeks was not intensive enough and no combination of the three expressions that I know – “sí,” “no” and “dónde está el baño” – lent itself to charming conversation.
You can safely assume that, with my options for conversation essentially limited to asking where the nearest location to relieve myself was, none of my conversations with my new Chilean sweethearts progressed very far.
I left South America sans a foreign ménage à trois but instead with a confusing lip lock with an elderly woman.
What dating app are you on?