When I was little, I made “potions” in the bathroom sink. I’d mix Mr. Bubbles with toothpaste, conditioner, and food coloring to create a pink foamy paste that’d stain the porcelain. It’s an experiment, I explained to my mom. You should be a scientist then, she’d say, scrubbing away at the pink. Well, too bad for her, she is not the mother of a STEM major but a communications grad who cries too much and writes bad prose.
I did recently conduct an experiment, though. Spanning nearly eight months, heavily detailed, and with massively conclusive findings, I’d say I proved my hypothesis: dating is a shitshow.
TITLE: The Effects of Hinge on The Mental Capacity of A Girl Already At Her Wit’s End

INTRODUCTION: This experiment began with the goal of pursuing casual dating, and incurring the lowest percentage of mental damage possible. Self-imposed, but encouraged by friends and family because it’s been half a year, you need to get out there and meet some new people. Also to address the issue of emotional avoidance, no matter how hot and mysterious it may seem. All dates were sourced from Hinge because while dating apps are the gutter regardless of the UI/UX, black and white just seems classier.
METHOD: I’d gauge from our first few conversations whether or not to advance to a first date, and then, well…any methodology kind of went out of the window. Much like this report, because, you know, comms major. Each date will be rated on the COME scale.
I’d just moved into my new apartment, and only half unpacked my clothing. I made a new friend, Danika, and she sat on FaceTime with me while I got ready for my first date. What’s he like anyway? she asked while helping me pick out something that would make my…assets pop.
THE AQUARIUS: 5’7″, self-assured, and native to California. A real smooth-talker, a bartender at a bowling alley. I hate bowling. The spitting image of Nick Miller from New Girl. He asked me out on a Thursday and, in hindsight, an invite to his place of work isn’t exactly what I’d call effort. But it’s karaoke night, he reasoned.
When I got there, I could already hear his off-key rendition of Yes, Man’s “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind. We got drinks and before the first one kicked in, I thought about how he reminded me of the penguin from Surf’s Up. And he talked like the chicken. CODYYyyyYYyyYY!!!
Then one drink turned into many drinks and I was in his apartment. He went to the restroom and I eyeballed his many medications. I stole some Tums and we went to sleep. Later, we’d start hooking up regularly and by then, the red flags started popping up faster than Chaturbate redirects. He’d always comment on how short and small I was, and one of the last times we saw each other, he snuggled up to me, put his hand on my ass, and reiterated in the worst way, you’re just so compact! You cannot and I have not recovered from this.
Compatibility: 3/10
O-Meter: 10/10
Mental Damage: 4/10
Effort: 0/10

Overall Experience: 6/10
MGK: Blond, 6′, and an owner of multiple businesses. MGK also liked Jeff Buckley and Sigur Ros. He liked cigarillos, silver chains, and NFTs. Initially, he seemed to carry himself well enough, but reader, no man is sophisticated at the ripe age of 27. Retrospectively, that should be obvious.

The first time our plans got canceled was because he opted to unwind in the sauna of his DTLA apartment, which was funded by his alleged seven businesses. He must be struggling, ’cause how do you have seven businesses and not one of them has taken off? my friend asked, more focused on playing Minecraft. A fair question, I say, business-less. Well, he came over once, and “unmemorable” doesn’t do the guy justice.
Compatibility: 0/10
O-Meter: 0/10
Mental Damage: 0/10
Effort: 0/10

Overall Experience: 0/10 🍅🍅🍅
EVIL EYE: Pisces. Hazel eyes. Clip-on earring. Singular. From Etsy. I know, and I AM SORRY. I didn’t know. We met at a coffee shop in Koreatown, and he was 15 minutes late because he couldn’t find a Lime scooter. The coffee was good, and he showed me photos of his apartment which was full of old furniture from a foreclosed office and a stack of CRTs he’d loop old cartoons on. Hailing from Sacramento, he described home as monotonous, and the way he spoke was so wacky it made me feel like the boring one.
We went out a few more times, and on our last outing, I met him at his apartment, since he was eager to take me on the metro to go bar hopping in Hollywood. First and foremost, never again. I don’t know why I did that. Hollywood, no. Purple line, no. Second, and most important: They. Pour. Heavy. In. Hollywood. Your drink max is 3? Now it’s 1. I think I had two vodka crans when I realized how strong the drinks were, and by then, I already knew the night was going to be awfully long.
I ended up at his place to sleep it off a little, and the most embarrassing thing happened. No, I didn’t puke. I did not shit myself. I did not piss my pants in an Uber. I went to take off my (new) Doc Martens that had skinned my heels, wobbled too far left, and tripped over his coffee table. The Ikea particleboard exploded and I gave myself a concussion. My new eyeliner fell out of my bag (and I was NOT going back after that) so I was out $20 and to make matters worse, this is also when I learned that the evil-eye earring was a clip-on. A string of unforgiveables.
Compatibility: 2/10
O-Meter: N/A
Mental Damage: 10/10 (concussion)
Effort: 5/10

Overall Experience: 0/10 🍅🍅🍅
LIBRARIAN: He wore a brown fitted suit in one of his photos. He invited me out to dinner. We shared a Margherita pizza and told me how he taught kids in Pasadena and liked history. We got pie after and laughed so much, it was a great time. We walked to a little bookstore nearby and he picked out a massive 6-inch biography of something I can’t remember. I went home the next weekend and showed my mom his profile.

He’s really nice, I think I’m gonna see him again but there’s something a litttleee weird that I can’t put my finger on, I said. She looked at his photo long and hard. Turned to me, and put her hand over her mouth. Dragged my brother into the room and showed him his photo. Oh, he looks like dad when he was younger, he said. Goddamnit.
Compatibility: 6/10
O-Meter: N/A
Mental Damage: 3/10
Effort: 9/10

Overall Experience: 2/10 🍅🍅
THE MATH STUDENT: Maybe the hottest guy. A PhD student, at Caltech. The guy was incredibly smart and charming–he dressed and looked like Milo from Atlantis. RUFF. He was a half hour late. *We went to a sports bar. Or, rather, a speakeasy in a sports bar. The table tops were made of pennies, the mood lighting was so dark only half the patrons’ faces were visible, and the lampshades had weird monkey figures attached.
*That’s the thing about dating, too. Unless you ask for it, you’re not being taken to a restaurant. Then, if you ask for it, there’s no promise you’ll get it. Or you do, and he looks like your dad. Guys opt for happy hours and think if they can get two shots of vodka in you, you’ll be more eager to unhinge your jaw. Sometimes it happens, other times, you see girls giving the guys half-hugs before the awkward goodbye. There’s a 45% chance she’ll see him again for free Palomas. It’s always been my thought process that if they’re gonna spend $70 on drinks, they might as well spend it on dinner instead.
In a tUrN oF eVeNtS, Milo had picked the night this speakeasy was having a whiskey tasting. A free whiskey tasting. I rolled my eyes when the presenter announced the event and Milo’s fake surprise. They gave us tiny plastic cups with dribbles of smokey, cough-medicine-like whiskey. Milo kept grabbing the tiny cups from me, downing them immediately. ‘Cause you don’t like dark liquor, you don’t mind, he stated rather than asking.
I stomached one or two of the things to tolerate the loud, Alabama accent of the presenter, and the lousiness of my date. Incredulously (again, he was hot), I went out with him again to a bar (big shocker) that spun vinyl and offered steeply-priced cocktails at $18 a pop. He was already drunk enough that he insisted I put all my drinks on his tab, and after doing so, and rejoining him on the black-leather sectional with a martini, he looked at me seriously, shaking his head, and went: you’re only dating me for my money.
Then, he put his arm around me, kissed the side of my head, and started talking about the submersible’s implosion before showing me his favorite painting of a bull on display in a museum in Warsaw. He got another drink at a different bar before asking me to drive him back to my place. I am stunned by how someone seemingly so educated, proper-sounding, and well-rounded could be so stupid. And emotionally immature. I thought he was Will from Good Will Hunting. He was a total Billy.
Compatibility: 3/10
O-Meter: 2/10
Mental Damage: 4/10
Effort: 0/10

Overall Experience: 3/10 🍅🍅
BLONDIE: I was getting burnt out from the audacity of these guys. This one actually had the same first name as MGK. G******. I was going to call them G****** #1 and G****** #2 when referring to them, but then my friend suggested it would sound like I was ranking them in sexual performance. You’re right, I said. So, G****** A and G****** B. Or MGK and BLONDIE. I initially left Blondie on read, but he messaged me again, asking me out for, you guessed it, drinks. We met at a bar with leopard-print wallpaper and he was actually so cute in person.
I had a drink called ‘The Age of Aquarius’ and we talked about how he was a Capricorn. I was in the mood, so we ran off to a party for one of the actors in his short film. We found a spot in a corner and had a White Claw each. Everyone apparently thought we were a couple, and that would make sense. The drunk actor came up to us and talked our ears off about couch surfing, working from the bottom up, and what real humility is. Blondie mentioned The Patriots and the actor’s face lit up, and he did not say I’m a Pat’s fan too! He said, My uncle owns The Pats! Blondie and I shared a look like we were both a camera from The Office.
We went out a few more times, and he invited me to IKEA to buy a plant ’cause I wanted one, and I never tried their Swedish meatballs. THEY. REMIND. ME. OF. PRESCHOOL. FOOD. IN THE BEST WAY. I had a full-on Ratatouille moment–I was Anton Ego dropping my pen and being transported back to childhood. Pissing on sleeping mats. The Swedes know what they’re doing. He told me about his experience with psychedelics (shrooms guy or guitar guy, pick your fighter) and therapy. We got along, but I didn’t really feel a click.
One night he was playing with my necklace and hair and I can’t remember why it popped up but I asked, are you over your ex? He literally removed his hands from my hair, took a full minute to think, and went, my therapist thinks so! before replacing his hands. Well damn. His therapist wasn’t even sure?
Compatibility: 5/10
O-Meter: 4/10
Mental Damage: 2/10
Effort: 8/10

Overall Experience: 6/10
FRANK: The last leg of the tour. The final boss. The guy that makes you choose celibacy. He makes you want better for yourself. Thank you, Frank. Thank you for being the poster boy for the ninth circle of hell.
Frank and I went to the same university, and I felt like we clicked obnoxiously well. Again, the goal was not to elect a boyfriend but to experience the market. He was fun and exciting! He had canned water in his fridge! And skincare, separate shampoo and conditioner, and baby wipes. And a tube of Glossier lip balm on the counter.
I asked if it belonged to a girlfriend because I do have a moral backbone, thank you very much, but he denied it. We hung out a few more times and I didn’t think much of it until he started up with the I miss you’s and the I want to spend more time together’s. My mind went back to the tube of Glossier and like any suspicious woman, I tapped into my inner Nancy Drew, and well…he doesn’t have a girlfriend, exactly. Something similar but not at all the same and much, much more desperate. It’s a lot more complicated than that and includes literal sociopathic and narcissistic levels of deception and ickiness. And here I was, giving him credit because he knew how to wipe his ass properly.
Compatibility: 9/10
O-Meter: 5/10
Mental Damage: 10000/10
Effort: 4/10

Overall Experience: -10000/10 🍅🍅🍅🍅
CONCLUSION: Invest in your toy collection well. And I mean well. I don’t foresee myself redownloading the dating apps anytime soon and my reportings concluded that the LA dating scene is in FULL. BEAR. MARKET. Recession-core. And trying to source a man from Hinge is like trying to live off of those depression-era water pies. Just starve, tbh.
Or, be like me, and focus on your career. Go for mental health walks, abuse the hell out of that AMC membership, and complain way too much to your family back home.
Oh, and do not sleep with/date the following:
–Major Virgo placements (sun, moon, rising, Venus) (will not elaborate)
–Major Gemini placements (sun, moon, rising, Venus) (fun but possibly evil)
–Sag in big 3 (sun, moon, rising) (love yourself)
–Aqua suns (good in bed, bad for ur head)