Sex Panther: Navigating Midd Tinder

By Sex Panther

We’ve all been there. Literally, all of us have been stuck quarantined in our rooms. It can get pretty boring. And lonely. So it is only natural to download Tinder, right? I mean, it’s a pandemic. If class is online, I guess my romantic life will be, too. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. And maybe you tell yourself you’ll delete it later. You’re just curious to see who’s out there! Ok, great, we’ve justified it — f**k it, download.

Time to set up your profile. Obviously you’re outdoorsy, so you gotta include a picture of yourself at the Snow Bowl, but you’re also chill, so definitely a picture at WOMP too. Cute pic at the Knoll? Done. Of course, gotta include a pic with one of the stress-buster puppies. Everyone loves a puppy pic, that’ll get ‘em to swipe right. 

Now for the real fun: time to swipe. First person you run into is your old FYC. Yikes. They’re kinda cute, but would that be weird? Next person is “Jake, 22” from Dartmouth, followed by “Olivia, 19” from UVM. Unfortunately, those are out of Addison County. Swipe left. Maybe it’s time to shrink the distance. Next one: the guy who rang up your order in town yesterday. Well, it’s a start.

After some swiping, you’ll probably match with someone at Midd. Great! Now, what do you message them? Well, there are always canned yet timely pickup lines: “if covid doesn’t take you out, can I?” “Can’t spell quarantine without ‘u r a qt’” and “Is that hand sanitizer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” are great (bad?) places to start. 

You could instead check out their profile and ask them a question related to their interests, or maybe offer a compliment! Also, there’s always the option to be straight up. This is Middlebury, after all, and chances are you’ve seen them around campus.They’ll likely be a friend of a friend anyway, or maybe they lived three doors down from you on Coffrin 4 orange. “Wait, were you in my first year seminar?” 

When starting something new, especially on a dating app like Tinder, it’s a great idea to talk about expectations. Are you looking for a serious relationship, a friend to eat dinner with at Proc or just a hookup? Whatever it is, it’s important to be honest with yourself and the other person, even if your wants don’t match up. At the very least, they can be someone you whisper “hi” or flash a soft smile to when you see them studying in Davis.

So you’ve been chatting, you’re on the same page and you decide to meet up. But what can you even do in these #unprecedented Covid times? Perhaps you can take a tour of Midd’s beautiful campus as the spring weather rolls in, or walk to Otter Creek for coffee and scones. You can also try FaceTiming your date to test the waters without worrying about Covid exposure. Outdoors or online are both perfect pandemic first-date venues.

If that goes well, and you catch yourself daydreaming about them in your microeconomics class, it might be time for something a bit more… intimate. If you decide to meet up and suspect it may get physical, have a safety plan in mind. Ask yourself, do I have room in my close contacts? Do they? Am I comfortable being close contacts with them? Don’t forget about STI protection! Have some barrier methods on hand, like internal and external condoms (they’re free at Health Services!). Also, consider telling a trusted friend who you’re seeing and where you’re hanging out. Hopefully it won’t be necessary, but some safety insurance never hurts.  

Midd’s Tinder scene is a two way street: maybe you’ll find a few new friends, or maybe you’ll have no luck at all! As hard as it is, remember that your self-worth isn’t defined by the direction of someone else’s swipe. Whatever happens, just have fun and stay safe. Years from now, you’ll be celebrating your 25th anniversary with your Marriage Pact match, and you’ll think back and laugh at your Tinder antics. Did my FYC really think I was cute? What’s the BevCo guy up to now? Did Laurie have a burner account to snoop on the student body?

Soon enough this pandemic will be a distant memory, and included in it, those bored hours swiping. But for now, enjoy it! Swipe away, little kittens, and maybe we’ll match. 😉