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After 40 Consecutive Tinder Dates, Jamy Madison Tells How to Meet Great People

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This guest post is by Jamy Madison author of 40 Dates & 40 Nights.


There are two questions people ask me right off the bat when I tell them I just completed 40 Tinder dates in 40 days: 1) “Any winners?” and 2) “Any dick pics?” The answers to these questions are yes and no, respectively.

With the exception of one insanely douchey guy who I did meet (Date 28: I Hope They Serve Chai in Hell) and one insanely douchey guy who I did not meet (Word of Caution), I had almost all positive experiences.* And to a lot of people, this is shocking. They want to know how I did it. How I managed to find so many good guys on a dating app dedicated to hook ups and hotness profiling.

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analysis of a tinder profile

The simple answer is I know what I want. I want a smart, thoughtful, interested guy with a creative spirit and enthusiasm for life. And if he’s good-looking, that doesn’t hurt either. I know this sounds broad and generic, but trust me, you can weed out A LOT of people just by setting some basic parameters. In fact, we already do this naturally, as discussed in this NYTimes article. But since people have been asking, here are my guidelines:

1. No Shirtless Pictures (with the exception of Date 28, who ended up proving my point.)

It’s not that shirtless pics or bikini photos are “bad” by nature, but it’s sending a very specific message: “swipe right on me so you can experience this hot bod.”** Now, I’m a sexually liberated woman who loves to pole dance. If what you’re after is a stranger to share your comforter with on these cold winter days, I say frickin’ get it. But if you’re more interested in finding someone who likes to discuss Kierkegaard and knows the difference between Manet and Monet, maybe swipe left on that oiled up torso. (Also, don’t be a hypocrite: if you’re not down with the six-pack selfies, don’t post any of yourself.)

2. Read the profile

Super obvious, right? But you’d be surprised at how easy it is to get distracted by someone’s ridiculously gorgeous mug. Next thing you know, you’re swiping right on someone whose About Me section reads: 6’2” and no tigers. UGH. If Mr. Cliché can’t even be bothered to take more than two seconds to come up with something more profound or funny or even descriptive than that, chances are he’s not going to be all that thoughtful. Or interested. Or creative. Or enthusiastic. Or any of the things I’m looking for. You can tell a lot by these short blurbs. Treat them as you would a stanza from a T.S. Eliot poem.


3. Judge people based on their messaging skills

Call me a bitch, but I have unmatched a ton of guys because of their horrifying texting etiquette. Yes, this is harsh, and I have plenty of brilliant, hilarious friends in my real life who are terrible texters, but THIS IS ONLINE DATING, PEOPLE. This is your first “meeting,” and if you come to the table with such dull intros as “Hey” or “what’s up?” prepare to be met with nothing. I’d be more apt to respond to “Fuck you” as an opener- at least it shows a modicum of character. And if you know you’re not the best at texting, well, start working on your game. Join Twitter. Begin Facebooking with your hippest friend. Read some essays by David Foster Wallace. Just familiarize yourself with the engaging written word.


4. Lower your expectations

I’m not talking about settling, I just mean be realistic. Are you Brad Pitt? Or Jessica Biel? No? Then you’re probably not going to end up with Angie or Justin. And that might not even be such a bad thing. Remember, if you’re only swiping right on Calvin Klein models, you’re probably passing over a lot of great people who fit your non-physical criteria.  A couple of my favorite dates didn’t fit my usual “type” at all, but had intelligence, humor, creativity and enthusiasm in spades (See Date 4: The Guy with the Perfect Teeth, or Date 23: The Doctor without Borders.)

And this guideline also applies for the date itself, not just swiping protocol. If you go in with a ton of expectations for how this person will be or where this date will lead, you’re bound to be disappointed. Just go in open and neutral and prepared to get to know another human being. That’s what this is all really about anyway, connecting with someone else. And if you happen to have romantic chemistry too, then AMAZING.

And there you have it. My four simple rules for finding really good guys on Tinder and avoiding photos of penises. Will they work for you? I have no idea. I’m not like a professional dating coach or anything. (Yet.) But they worked for me. And I can tell you with confidence that relationship-worthy people exist on Tinder if you’re willing to take it seriously.  I even have a really fun blog to prove it:

Happy swiping!

*36 for 40 – 90% – or an A minus for those of you who still measure the world in grades like I do.

**Or sometimes flabby bod. Those pictures still don’t make a ton of sense to me. Are they ironic? Are they self-deprecating? Are they Lena Dunham inspired? Not really sure.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram

image from Elle

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Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

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