One of the most convenient – yet infuriating – realities of the modern dating scene is app-based dating. On the surface, it’s absolutely brilliant. Like Aziz Ansari says, it’s like going to the bar and basically eliminating all the dudes and women in relationships and you’re left with nothing but thousands of single women, all just a swipe away.
But that’s the infuriating part: all just a swipe away. Because based on a handful of pictures and a delicately crafted bio, you’ve got to somehow grab a girl’s attention and somehow convince her to take a chance by swiping you right.
I’m not bad looking – I’m no Henrik Lundqvist – but I’ve felt a boob or two, my mom always tells me I’m handsome, and that doctor from Seinfeld has not said that I’m breathtaking, so I’d consider myself cute enough. And while I’m much funnier in person, my Bumble bios are dece. Yet, matches were scarce. It made sense, on the surface. I look short in every photo I’ve ever taken. I don’t have any pictures with cute puppies. There is no picture of a bank statement boasting a quarter million dollar checking account.
I assumed girls had way more reservations about swiping on Bumble than on other apps, where I’d stacked matches previously (hundreds of Tinder matches, met exactly zero in person). But the quality of female on Bumble far outweighed the creatures of the abyss lurking on the other apps, so I was fine with kind of plotting along on Bumble , maybe matching every 10-14 days of swiping. And then the strangest thing happened: I came back from vacation and all of a sudden was getting several matches per day. What the helllll happened?
Now, theory number one was that when I went to Israel, my bad hombre upstairs Gee Dash Dee decided to bless your boy with more matches. I was a good Jew who visited the Holy Land, so maybe I got thrown a few bones (figuratively; still waiting on the actual boning).
I’m always an advocate of constantly changing up my Bumble profile. Cycling in different photos, rolling with different bios. If you’re not trying to get better every day, you’re just cheating yourself. But I hadn’t changed anything and the matches were coming in hotter than a Producer Micah take on American Cinema.
Have I become the only single dude left in Boston? Did the Bumble algorithm break and start giving me exponentially more facetime with desirable babes? Maybe the local talent is ramping up their efforts for a spring fling?
And then I figured it out.
I turned 26.
I turned 26 when I was on vacation, came back to the US, and became Boston’s most desirable loud mouth, apparently. Was that really all that needed to change before the flood gates opened and women started swiping on me? 25 to 26, apparently, is a major distinction in the eyes of many women. It really shouldn’t be – I literally got one day older – but there has to be a mindset change when viewing the profile of someone who’s 25 versus 26. But what exactly is the difference?
I’ve boiled it down to two leading theories, but please, tell me if I’m wildly off base. I think it comes down to perceived maturity and perceived net worth.
At 26, you’re deeper into your mid-twenties. It’s basically the beginning of your late twenties (gulp). Whereas at 25 it’s still (relatively) socially acceptable to perhaps simply have your mattress right on the floor, or blackout on a Sunday, or put ketchup on your eggs, that’s all severely frowned upon by society if done at 26. At 26, you’ve basically been out of college as long as you were in college (*immediately looks for a bottle of bleach to drink*). People think you know shit. While the 25-year-old might treat you like a dick, the 26-year-old will…probably still be a dick, but he’ll be mature about it.
And then there’s the money perception. I get it; money talks. I guess the assumption for someone who’s 26 is that maybe they make more money and they’ve figured out how to save a little bit of it. And not just the fun fund of coins kept in a jar above the fridge. But like, mutual funds, and bonds, and shit like that. Do I actually have a firm grasp of these things? No. But the perception, I guess, is that now I do. I don’t live paycheck to paycheck at 26. I’ve got a beefy 401k. I’ve got a fat daddy mutual fund portfolio. At least that’s what 26 is saying, right? But not at 25. At 25 you’re living off of Ramen and can’t afford both double meat and guacamole at Chipotle.
Literally nothing changed. I got one day older. I’m still living at home before I move. My bank account is still…the same. My maturity is probably what you were getting when I was 25. But that’s not what 26 says. 26 says something completely different to women in the online dating scene.
Will they have the 26-year-old image of me after we go out for sushi? (*shoulder shrug*) That’s a problem for future Max. But at 26, it’s looking easier to get my foot in the door. .