30 for 30: A Tinder Story (Part 1)

Photo credit: ESPN

If you haven’t watched an episode of 30 for 30 yet, please do. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge sports person, but it covers some very interesting narratives in the sports and I love a good story. According to Wikipedia, “The title, 30 for 30, derived from the series’ genesis as 30 films in celebration of ESPN’s 30th anniversary in 2009, with an exploration of the biggest stories from ESPN’s first 30 years on-air, through a series of 30 one-hour films by 30 filmmakers.”

After a string of eight or so dates in a row in early June of 2018, I realized that I too might be able to make a 30 for 30. Thirty dates in thirty days. This made me feel pretty clever and cheeky (who doesn’t want to compare themselves to professional athletes?), but also added a sense of grandeur to my silly experiment with online dating. The first of this two part post talks about how I got started, and the next will feature some of the results. Enjoy. 

It was the summer of 2018, I was hot off a three week trip to Guatemala, and it was a momentous occasion: I was going to start dating again.

I exhaled deeply, took a hit off my ex-boyfriend’s vaporizer with some month old weed, and proceeded to hit “Download” on Tinder.

Photo credit: New Statesman

Let me back up a little bit. I broke up with my college boyfriend—my first boyfriend ever—a few months prior. The distance for the last few months had made our existing issues worse, and I decided to call it three weeks before he was supposed to join me and 80 classmates on a trip to Japan. That breakup might be detailed in another post, but suffice to say, I couldn’t do it anymore.

It was hard to let go. We were together for almost eight years and were each other’s firsts for everything. On the night we lost our virginities to each other, Dave Matthews’ Band “Crash Into Me” played in the background while we toasted with plastic flutes filled to the brim of the finest $12 champagne we could buy underage.

All of this to say, for eight (again, mostly happy) years, I was unavailable. I missed the boat entirely with online dating. I spent a lot of that spring semester eating ice cream out of the tub and chugging wine, but otherwise holding off on jumping into single life again. I wanted to be deliberate. Intentional. Strategic. So when I came back online last summer, like any good MBA, I developed a Go To Market Strategy.

This is one of the stock image results for “Market”

I started at the low end of the market, by focusing exclusively on Tinder, or as my friends called it, the human cesspool of dating. I thought about the market like an economist: what points create externalities in the system? What activities result in a tragedy of the commons type situation whereby we “pollute” our online ecosystem with muck?

I established a few parameters:

  • Only swipe right on people I’d actually go on a date with. Really.
  • Always reply, no ghosting.
  • Don’t cancel.

I figured these would be enough to ensure I wasn’t introducing more friction into each interaction. It’s slightly more inconvenient, but it’s like recycling, right? We should all try to be a little better.

There are way more straight men than there are women in the Bay and as a result, there were way too many matches to reasonably go through and respond to. So I also included a screener question in my profile. When I lived in Chicago, I also lived in spreadsheets for 60 hours a week, so my bio read:

Pls reply w:

  1. Favorite excel hot key shortcut
  2. Gridlines (Y/N)

Stating if you’re Tab vs. space also acceptable.

I don’t iron.


I felt this adequately captured my personality, values, and would screen for the “right” type of guy, whatever that meant. Truthfully, I really just wanted to practice being single (also, whatever that meant).

Was the experiment successful? Refer to the analysis and results in Part 2.

3 thoughts on “30 for 30: A Tinder Story (Part 1)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.