On August 8th, Tinder Tales Live at Gladstone Hotel will feature a special Q&A with Kat Lyadova, co-author of Dating Vandalized; the book that documents Kat’s journey through Tinder in Toronto. If you are actively using and downloading dating apps, you know how time consuming it can be; creating a profile, browsing through potential matches, conversing with said matches and (dare I say) actually going on dates. Only to find that 9 times out of 10 (not an actual statistic), your time is wasted.
Kat, being the business minded gal that she is, decided to outsource her online dating to a dating manager and a bot. After all, it’s a numbers game, right? She got someone else to manage her Tinder profile, do the swiping and the chatting, and schedule her dates. All she had to do, was show up.
Dating Vandalized is a true Tinder tale. Swiping through the suits, the designers, the lawyers, the musicians, the artists, Kat and co-author Melissa Hughes, accurately depict the Toronto dating pool.
One of my favourite parts of Dating Vandalized is how genuinely Toronto it is. The book takes us through familiar city streets and dive bars we frequent with vivid descriptions of dimly lit rooms and quirky interiors, making the reader can feel like they are on the date themselves (whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is for you to decide).
Throughout the book, Kat struggles with her Tinder ghost “Jamie.” You know, the man of our dreams we meet on Tinder, spend months talking to and hanging out with, thinking “he’s the one” until suddenly, he vanishes. But as Kat says, “This isn’t about him though (that fucker).”
There is a line in Dating Vandalized that I found held very true and is often something we fail to grasp. We are not meant to be someone’s other half. You have to find yourself as a whole. This was something Kat says she only discovered a few years ago.
“You have to be in the right mindset and have your own life. If you’re single and you think that a relationship is what you need to be happy, you’re very very wrong. People should avoid getting into a relationship because of social pressures or because they feel they need to be in one. [I think] The notion stems from old school romanticism. The idea that we have to find our one soulmate to live happily ever after. That’s just not how it works. It’s important for each person to have developed their own lives, their own hobbies, their own social circle.”
I had the chance to sit down with Kat a few weeks ago and ask her a few of my own questions:
“Apps are a bit like getting up high so you can see everything. You lose detail and immediacy but you can see the whole sweep of the landscape – what’s out there for the taking. And maybe it heightens your ego, too.”
Can you explain this metaphor a bit more?
Apps give you access to more people who aren’t in your social circle. You get to see all of the options that are otherwise unavailable to you. You get to see people at your fingertips who could be anywhere. You swipe, and who knows what could happen. Apps create the illusion that there are plenty of fish in the sea. If it doesn’t work out, there’s always something else. It’s addicting and gives you validation. An ego boost. Most people don’t want to go deep. It’s based on accomplishments and appearance.
You started off with some very basic initial requests. You told your dating manager to look for men who “sound decent” and who “have a sense of humour.” How did this experiment help you learn more about yourself and what you’re looking for?
I realized I had developed a “type”. I just never had to communicate it before. Most “normal” people don’t create a spreadsheet for online dating criteria (Kat laughs). It’s a great excerise and can help you discover what you like, why you like it, and will help you ask the right questions when dating. It’s not set in stone, you can change it as you learn more about yourself and others. For me, I found that I can determine a lot about something by their travelling style. For example, all-inclusive vs. adventure travel can say a lot about a person.
So, did your Tinder ghost ever get back to you?
He texted me after he read the book to apologize (on my birthday!) saying “We need to talk”. He was two years late to the party. Anyways, I gave him my availability and after some back and forth he decided he was too busy. He wanted to make himself feel better and I think he achieved that.
You can still get your tickets to Tinder Tales Live with Dating Vandalized TOMORROW August 8th at Gladstone Hotel. We have a line up of storytellers sharing their own dating tales and a special half-time Q & A where you the audience can ask Kat all about her experiment and purchase your own copy of her book. You can also get $5 off your paper copy when you order it online at http://www.datingvandalized.com with the promo code “tindertales”.