He liked cats. He was a philosophy major in college. He came from the Midwest. He was short, so let’s call him Michael Dukakis.

We set up a date. Then Dukakis posted a picture of himself on Tinder—let’s pause here while I explain Precious Moments.

Tinder doesn’t allow you to send pictures one-to-one. This is basically how they a) got around being sued for ripping off Grindr and b) pretend that they’re friendly to women: no dick pics, ladies!

(We can get into Tinder’s terrible corporate culture and history later, or not at all, because you can read about it elsewhere and I can feel guilty about using the app anyway on my own time.)

So you can post a picture to Tinder, and it’s called a Moment. It’s their version of Snapchat. It lasts for 24 hours and it goes out to all your matches. Only people you’ve matched with. But all the people you’ve matched with. I haven’t heard of anyone posting a dick pic as a Moment, but I’m sure it does happen. Your matches can then swipe left (dislike) or right (like) on your moments. In keeping with Tinder’s zero-rejection ethos, you don’t get notified for dislikes, and you do get notified for likes.

The men I’ve matched with who use Moments? They post sunsets and pictures of food. There’s one guy who pretty regularly posts pictures of views from his Belltown apartment saying things like, “Home sweet home.” He also posts pictures of his sports injuries: an Ace bandage around a knee. An electrode wire linking up to his thigh. A brace with the caption “Surgery it is.”

Another guy regularly posts pictures of his roommate on his phone with things like, “Just two dudes tindering away.” Once it was a picture of their two dinner plates: “Two lonely dudes with too much broccoli! Come eat with us!” A picture of their trivia scorecard: “Come help us win trivia! We don’t know anything about pop culture!” Their trivia team name: Future DILFs of America.

I call them Precious Moments. I judge people for using them at all. And clearly, while they disappear after 24 hours, they never leave my memory.

I once saw a guy Tindering at Pettirosso during brunch. He was wearing a plaid shirt and a beanie. He had dark hair and a beard. In other words, he looked like 90% of the men in Seattle right now. He didn’t look like someone who I would categorically refuse to date. And he was flipping through his Precious Moments, which were all selfies taken by girls with hair down to their waists, full make-up, duck lips, and giant boobs pushed into the camera.

This is my competition on Tinder, you guys. I don’t stand a chance. Or—alternatively—it’s no wonder none of my dates have completely missed the mark. By the time I go out with someone, we’ve weeded through fields of tall grasses to find each other. We may be in the wrong acre, but we’re not on the wrong farm.

Farms don’t have tall grasses, you’re yelling at me. Hey, man. This is America, the land of the free and mixed metaphors.

Back to Dukakis, who I’ve already made a date with. Dukakis posts a Precious Moment of himself the day before our date holding a baby with the caption: Friend’s new baby. Hold onto your ovaries ladies

Me: Did you really just try to use your friend’s new baby as a move on Tinder?!

Dukakis: Haha, just came from the hospital. Thought it was cute, hold onto your ovaries is funny though, right?

Me: So if I was holding a [football emoji] and I captioned it hold onto your sperm would that be a) cute b) funny c) super weird

Dukakis: Point taken

Dukakis: It was an impulsive decision…So we still on for tomorrow? : )

Me: Damn right we are

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m interested in how men take push-back. You take it well? Game on.

In person, he turned out to be nice, earnest, and generally fine all around. Let’s just say he’s an emoticon sender, not an emoji user.

WHY DO YOU FAIL ME, TINDER… is how some people react to dates they aren’t immediately, crazily attracted to but who otherwise behave in socially acceptable ways. This is not my reaction. My reaction is either a) another pleasant hour spent with a person I would never have otherwise met! or b) I should have ordered french fries.

This date was when I realized that if someone’s height isn’t posted on Tinder, it’s probably because he’s short, and this can be verified if he has avoided standing next to objects in pictures (telephone poles, cars, basketball stars) that might give you an indication of how tall he is.

I’m not super tall, so I don’t care if a guy is short. But if you’re really asking, ok, fine, the shortest guy I’ve ever dated was still 5’10”, a full four inches taller than me, so I’m not exactly pushing social convention here. But it’s still a good finding, later verified by coming across a guy from college who I know for a fact is short. He also did not list his height and he employed similar spatial strategies in his pictures.

Grade Dukakis: I wasn’t as attracted to him as date #1 and I didn’t want to be his friend as much as date #2. : (

Date #1
Date #2
Dates #3, 4, 5
Date #6
Date #7 (not a date)
Date #8
Date #9
Date #10
Date #11
Date #12
Date #13
Date #14
Date #15
Date #16
Date #17
Date #18
Date #19, Part I
Date #19, Part II