As a self-assured and outgoing 20-something, I scoffed at the idea of finding a date using mobile apps, because I was confident that I could find a significant other in “the real world.” Alas, the cumulation of a few too many third-wheel weekends, constant urging from my coupled friends, a good amount of research, and 15 months of social distancing changing the modern dating scene, I recently took the plunge into the realm of mobile app-based dating as the world begins to open up. Within the first week, I made two very unexpected discoveries. The first is that app-based dating is extremely entertaining. The second is that I was effectively spreading the vegan message. Based on my new knowledge, here’s a quick guide for app dating that will jumpstart a relationship and help the animals, all from the convenience of your phone (which you will be checking every five minutes).
1. Find the right app
It takes just five minutes to download an app and create a profile, but where to begin? If you’re skeptical about e-dating, the best route to take is the free one. Luckily, there are dozens of non-paid apps from which to choose. After asking friends with experience in this field, as well as researching a plethora of lists highlighitng the top dating apps, I decided on Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel because both pull from your network of friends on Facebook and are fairly simple to navigate. Although there are bound to be outliers on any free dating app, the majority of these users tend to be seeking relationships rather than a quick fling. For those who have patience and are strictly interested in dating another vegan, Grazer is a free, recently-launched dating app only for herbivores bringing you one step closer to your veg soulmate.
2. Make a connection
Once you’ve matched with someone, let the flirtations begin. Focus on common interests, but avoid the standard “What’s your favorite …” questions. These generic inquiries tend to lead to either a dead end or a downward spiral of quizzing each other on your trivial likes and dislikes. Try some witty banter to hook your potential partner into a conversation, and from there, be your best self. It’s fine if the “vegan thing” comes up. I tell the person that I believe in the “you do you” philosophy. This makes me seem like a chill, accepting person. I’ve found that people respect this attitude, and it makes them more responsive to try vegan food.
3. Take control
Congratulations! They asked to hang out! Here’s where the subtle vegan promotion comes in. First dates typically involve food, so make reservations at your favorite vegan establishment to avoid endless modifications that may make your date raise an eyebrow or two. Take your romantic evening up a notch and opt for a homecooked meal. Guide your date through the works while you both make your favorite vegan dish. You will alleviate your date from the pressure to come up with an idea while making a grand romantic gesture. Let’s face it: very few people enjoy planning the first date for fear of being judged by the other. Suggest an easy, casual dish that you have made before. Your go-to pasta dinners, taco Tuesday entrées, and fried favorites are great choices because often they are cheap, quick, vegan, and fun. No matter what you end up eating, discuss more than just your diet. Think of it as guiding a non-vegan as they dip their toe into plant-based waters. If they find the water to be pleasant, they might ease in further. Focus on how good your homemade food is, and offer suggestions on how they can fine tune the dish to their liking. Keep the date to about an hour or two and leave them wanting for more.
4. Move onto the next
It’s terrific if your date goes well because a second date means a new opportunity for another vegan meal or a fun, non-food activity. However, if your date constantly cracks vegan jokes or seems completely opposed to the idea, now is the time to move on. Unfortunately, there are very few love-at-first sight situations in the world of online dating. The truth is that online dating is a numbers game. Use this to your advantage. Enjoy your conversations with different people. Even if the date is awful, at least take comfort in the fact that you made a small yet significant difference in the world by avoiding the consumption of animal products. So have fun, meet new people, share plenty of vegan meals, and—maybe—find “the one” to live plant-based ever after.
Tanya Flink is an Online Features Editor at VegNews.
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