Why Not, You Never Know
Erica Berger

Appstinence & MIRL: why I deleted my swipe dating apps & won’t be going back.

Yep, even that smiling face didn’t prompt many right swipes.

Two years ago my wife and I separated and eventually divorced. After seven years (six married) of not even thinking about this aspect of life, I was thrust suddenly and unexpectedly into the very modern world of swipe/online dating (or as I call it, SOD).

When I met my ex-wife it was at a baseball game and my cousin, her best friend at the time, facilitated the connection. I’d dabbled with online dating to that point, but it was 2008 — when I re-entered the dating scene in 2017 a veritable revolution had taken place: SOD had become the go-to method for meeting one’s next romantic interest.

The thing to do, everyone told me, was download Tinder and Bumble (which then expanded to CoffeeMeetsBagel, The League, Hinge, OKCupid, etc.), create a profile, and start swiping.

So… that’s what I did.

To be honest: the results were never good. I was significantly overweight following my relationship, so of course I didn’t have good photos — and that’s really all that matters, don’t let anybody tell you otherwise (turns out we’re all shallow AF — not claiming innocence on that front either).

This prompted me to get on the ketogenic diet (thank you Tim Ferriss and Dom D’Agostino — I’m now in the best shape of my adult life), which I suppose is really the only good thing to come out of my time on SOD.

Pre keto on the left; post keto on the right.

Anyway, after awhile I lost weight, got better pics, and honed my bio, I started to get some matches, go on dates, etc. — but what I found is that I only rarely matched with women I was truly attracted to; it pains me to think of all the time I wasted swiping, texting with matches, and setting up dates only to be disappointed.

One dynamic of swipe dating is that there’s a tendency for women to match with men significantly better looking than what they’re bringing to the table — because men are just plain thirstier than women, i.e. we swipe right more. That’s not to say some men aren’t too picky, but we’re less picky than women for reasons I’ve explained elsewhere, and it’s a statistical fact that when using these apps, women are pickier than men.

BTW, this is why fuckboi’s exist: because women only routinely swipe on the top 5% most attractive profiles.

My experience echoed the statistics.

After a periods of time getting few or no matches, I would find myself lowering my standards, then matching with women I simply wasn’t all that excited about meeting. To be fair I gave them a chance: I’d set up the date anyway, do my best to have fun, be excited, etc., but at the end of the day, does anyone really want to be with a partner when the best thing you can say about them is: “yeah, I guess he/she’ll do?”

I finally hit the breaking point in April 2018 and deleted the apps for the first time (I’ve relapsed a few times since — clean and sober now) with the idea I’d focus on meeting women in real life (what I call MIRL — matching/meeting in real life). It was a bit of a rocky start at first, but like anything, after awhile you get better at it; I don’t know if anything similar exists for women (me and one of my female friends are trying to help), but for men there are all kinds of resources online posted by people ranging from relationship gurus to pick-up artists to dating coaches.

What I now do has been traditionally described as cold approach, but I find that when I describe it that way or dive into the technical aspects it seems more gimmicky than what it looks like in person, and that is a confident man talking to a woman he finds attractive and showing interest in a non-creepy, honest way.

The results have been nothing short of phenomenal.

No, I’m not married and I don’t have a girlfriend (yet), but I now possess a skill set that I know, if applied for a long enough period of time, will result in one or the other. For the time being I’m happy dating the different women I meet in various places, from coffee shops to bars to parks to clubs… it’s fantastic. I’ve met so many unique, beautiful women since shifting to this method — women I would never meet on SOD, either because they wouldn’t have swiped right (partially because people are less picky IRL than they are online, but more because I’m showing tremendous confidence in every interaction, something that elicits a strong positive response from most women), or because like me, they’re not on the apps at all.


Get off the swipe apps. Almost everything about life is better IRL, and that most certainly includes dating, love, and relationships.

Jeff Allen is an independent author and blogger living in Portland, OR. His website is ChuckingRocks.com, where he writes about Health and Wellness, Dating, and whatever the hell else comes to mind.

His first novel, Cherry City Pulp, is darkly comic take on modern American society and what happens when coincidence and human frailty break the wrong way. He’s currently working on his new manuscript, Say Yes — please visit the site for more information.