Scientifically Not Scientific

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I got a pretty interesting email (not saying that every email I get isn’t interesting!!) from Nicole, 28 with CF, the other day. It was somewhat of a response to my last Ask Gunnar blog (http://gunnaresiason.com/ask-gunnar-5), and specifically the question I received about dating. The gist of her email was that after a bad break up she entered the world of online dating. On her profile, she decided to “lay it all out there” as she says. She let all potential suitors know about her CF and everything that she deals with on a daily basis. She noted that over time her ex-boyfriend had a really tough time dealing with her daily medical needs and treatments, so this approach was a way of sorting through that. Nicole said that she received all kinds of matches and messages that were both positive and negative until one day she found someone who she thought was perfect. They now live together and will be getting married next year. Nicole, I wish you all the luck in the world with your next step in life!

Before we go on, I really want to point out that I’m not over here frantically looking for a girlfriend or a future Mrs. Esiason. My time will come – I realize that. I’m just chilling.

So, this got me to thinking – what if Nicole’s method really is the best way to go about finding “the one.” I cranked up the old Tinder app since I love doing funny and outside-of-the-box things at the expense of myself for blog content. After a year of running this thing, you would not believe the ideas that cross my mind for UNIQUE content.

For the past week or so, I decided to test this “method” with Tinder and Bumble. I wanted to see how many girls would actually “match” and then have a conversation with me, given the public knowledge that I have CF. I assume that 99% of you know what Tinder is, but for the 1% of you that have been living under a rock and have no clue what this thing is, I am going to give you a quick rundown, because I’m super reader friendly.

Bumble and Tinder are very similar and are designed for singles (or I guess people who aren’t single and are the kind of assholes who are into that type of thing) to meet other people and make the fireworks happen. You are given space to upload five or six pictures and then enter a little bio about yourself if you so choose. Each app uses your phone’s location and then connects you with nearby people who have also downloaded either app. You then “swipe” right on someone’s profile if you think the other person’s pictures are attractive or I guess if the bio, composed of less than 300 characters, is witty. If you don’t think either of the above is true, you swipe left, for a “no,” and move on to the next person. There’s no limit on the number of people you can view or swipe in either direction.

Basically this is the most superficial thing in the world.

The catch is that neither you nor the other person knows if anyone has swiped right or left unless there is a match, meaning both people have “liked” each other. Tinder has been around since I was in college, while Bumble is relatively new (there are a bunch of other apps that all do essentially the same thing as well). The difference between the two is that if you are using Bumble the girl must initiate a conversation when there’s a match, whereas anyone can talk first with Tinder. I can honestly say that I would have never thought I’d find myself writing out how to use these things, but, hey, here I am.

Let me first answer a few questions that I know every single one of you undoubtedly has:

1. No, I do not think I will ever find true love on Tinder, I think it’s dumb.

2. Yes, I think these things are very creepy since you are given no information about the other person except for age, college, place of work, general location, a few pictures and a brief bio.

3. Yes, I judge myself for having used these things.

4. Yes, I have been on a Tinder date, but not in a few years. Everyone used it in college get over it.

5. Yes, people shockingly use these things in real life because they have forgotten how to talk to someone at a bar, concert, etc…

6. Yes, it’s a fantastic way to kill time.

To put things a little more into perspective – in an attempt to find out how stupid people really are, I once bet a friend of mine (we’ll call him swipe-right-Craig) five whole dollars, yes American dollars, that I could get a girl’s number off Tinder using only Blink-182 song lyrics. It was very reassuring to learn that not everyone in the New York metro area is actually that dumb. With that being said, you would be surprised by how many people were unknowingly invested in a conversation with me while I was spitting out lyrics from All The Small Things. It’s amazing how bored you can get at a hockey rink in between practices to think of doing something that dumb. Also, to answer your question that you undoubtedly have here: No, I had zero intention of carrying on any sort of conversation after scoring a number using lyrics… come on. Either way, the people who actually responded to me during that little ploy are a pretty good representation of the kind of people using Tinder. “That’s all I have to say about that.”

As for my little CF experiment… I had never before in my bio included that I have CF. This probably goes back to the point that I firmly believe people see me in a way beyond that of someone with CF, but as Nicole pointed out in her email, and as I have experienced, some people just can’t handle it, which in fairness is understandable – some people just suck.

When it comes to the dating apps, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I match every single girl out there because I have looks comparable to that of Brad Pitt, because it’s simply not sure. I may look like Brad Pitt (from a really particular angle), but I don’t match every soul out there. I have gotten my fair share of matches in the past, because, well obviously I had to try out my Blink-182 thing.

Last week, I first tried matching people without adding the fact that I had CF in my bio. That didn’t seem to be a problem. Either I was on a hot streak or people really loved my American flag hoodie in one of the pictures. A bunch of girls even messaged me (OMG I KNOW RIGHT?!) on Bumble, but since I wasn’t really into it for the true reason the app was developed, I just let the conversation die down, and that was it. No, I did not keep actual statistics on the number of people that I matched with during this part of the test. Like I’ve said a million times before, I am no scientist.

After a few days, I changed my bio to include the fact that I have “a genetic lung disease.” I wasn’t confident that the average person would know what CF is, so I wrote the next best thing with the intention of explain what CF is (like I would normally do) if the question came up in conversation after a match. I also added my least favorite fact in the whole world, the life expectancy from when I was born in 1991.

In 7 days, I have gotten 0 matches on Bumble and 2 on Tinder, but no conversation has come from either of the matches. I was even “unmatched” by one person (ouch).

Basically, there was enough of a difference to notice.

I AM NOT ASKING FOR A PITY PARTY. I was fairly confident that this would be the result before beginning since the apps are totally superficial. Also, with all due respect to the email I received, this really isn’t my thing, but it was still fun to do, and like I said anything could be blog content, if you put your mind to it.

You can draw whatever conclusion your heart desires, but first I have to concede that this was in no way, whatsoever, scientific or controlled. It was a random sample pool and well, maybe I was on a cold streak. There is nothing more random than the next profile that comes across Tinder.

It does go without saying that it could perhaps be worth considering the little addition to my bio was a turn-off for some people. There’s no way of knowing how many people actually read my bio, nor does it confirm that my bio was the reason people were left-swiping me.

It is an interesting thought. Are people afraid of something they perceive as an imperfection?

Forever swiping right…. As for me, I’ll meet Mrs. Esiason the old fashioned way, like by messaging her on Twitter or Instagram or something.

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My reading list lately:

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald

All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque