Photo: Those People Blog

Here's Why I'm for Arranged Marriage (With a Little Help From My Exes)

by Tylea Richard Aug 28, 2015

It was Wednesday and I had swiped my way to the edge of the Tinderverse, rejecting all the eligible men between the ages of 30 and dead in a 50-mile radius of Boston, MA. Just like Columbus centuries before, my world was flat and I was peering into the abyss. But my deft thumb muscles and absurd amounts of free time were not harbingers of my impending spinsterhood. They were proof that I’m too damn good.

I’ve only met three guys from Tinder face-to-face and all of them were hits. I happily dated one for a few months before I moved (we’re still friends). The second I dated seriously for close to a year (we’re still friends, although I kind of hope he falls and breaks his dick). And the third one might be my future husband (he’s Canadian, hullo free health care). In case you’re not good at math, that is a 100% Tinder success rate. And in case you’re not good at science, that means I am the winner of the entire fucking internet.

Tinder turns me into a lithe, if picky, jaguar: my prey doesn’t stand a chance.

To be fair, my superpower/curse in life is to raise boyfriends from the ashes of a would-be fling like a blue-balled phoenix. And I’m not exactly on the express train to Marriagetown, either. But even so, I consistently meet the kind of “good men” that my friends bemoan over mimosas and boxed wine. And contrary to popular belief, I’ve found that Tinder is good for serious dating while casual affairs are better for unplanned encounters IRL, where pheromones and spontaneity rule.

So sometimes I wonder if my twitchy Tinder thumbs have rejected perfectly good matches along the way. Maybe one of those shirtless guys in a fedora with his dog or flanked by meaty frat bros was actually the criminally-minded poet-activist I’ve been looking for. Maybe?

No algorithm can predict which scrawny and unremarkable white guy will shock the hell out of me with his electrifying presence. He would never have passed my strict Tinder test, but somehow I have to resist the urge to show up at his doorstep with all of my belongings. Conversely, there is nothing worse than a beautifully mysterious and interesting man from whom you can’t wait to run away.

The solution to modern dating is not more technology, it’s a return to an older way of doing things. We need the farm-to-table, mason jar, heritage collection, Americana kitsch version of dating. We need arranged marriage 2.0.

It should be standard practice for marriage-ready singles to assemble a committee composed of the people who know them best. I would appoint a couple of my closest friends and my brother, Cameron. My parents would be allowed to review some files, but they wouldn’t have actual voting rights (they got married in overalls and were divorced shortly after, they don’t know shit). The majority of my marriage committee would be full of the only people who really know what I’m like in a relationship, the ones who have been to the promised land and politely excused themselves, who spent years at Camp Tylea and decided they preferred boarding school. My exes, of course.

Each committee member would receive a tablet loaded with a Tinder-like application designed specifically for the purpose. They would select their top candidates, the results would be pooled with others in the group, and the top 10 would be summoned for interviews (via hologram, obviously). From those meetings, the panel would select 3–5 finalists for an in-person review. I’m pretty sure I’d find at least one person worth keeping around.

It would be Tinder meets the Bachelorette meets Pinterest meets a small farm town in 1890s Iowa. You get a pool of candidates that is as vast as the internet, as curated as Artifact Uprising, and peer-reviewed by those few people who really know you and love you anyway. This is not to minimize the ways that arranged marriages can or have at times been a tool of misogyny, but instead a recognition that doing this dating thing all alone is really hard.

I am no irresponsible quack, proposing solutions that haven’t been vetted. So I reached out to my list of VIP exes for help. These are the ones that I still talk to and hang out with occasionally and generally enjoy as people. They’re mostly good dudes.

In one sentence, please answer:

“If you had to set Tylea up with a guy, what kind of person would he be?”

(Note: I wasn’t really interested in getting into the conversation that would undoubtedly ensue if I asked my ex-boyfriends to weigh in on what kind of new girlfriend I should get. I kept it hetero to spare myself the headache.)




Don’t feel bad for him. It’s a slam dunk answer and he had plenty of time to put a ring on it, so to speak. I do think this would be perfect for my Tinder description though, thanks!


LOL *Fidgets uncomfortably, looks around to see who is watching, adjusts pearls*

Anyway, I was so impressed with these thoughtful answers that I started thinking how valuable it would be to collect responses from the other set of exes. The ones that I don’t talk to, where things ended badly, or I still say “Fuck that guy” every time his name comes up in conversation. Since we’re not friends and they don’t have a reason to protect my feelings, wouldn’t their analysis be even more useful in trying to find a mate?

I decided to reach out to a couple people that I hadn’t talked to in years and probably wouldn’t stop to acknowledge on the street. I don’t hate them because that’s exhausting, but they’ve made it clear that they might kinda hate me a little bit. Surprisingly, they responded pretty quickly:


If you don’t speak Spanish, here is the translation: It has to be someone open-minded, because only a person with a very high tolerance level and saint-like patience could ever deal with your crazy ass. Please don’t contact me again.


This is the spaghetti with butter answer. It’s the equivalent of eggshell white paint and “Have a great summer. KIT!” in the back of your yearbook. Perfectly nice but bland and uninspiring (kind of like our relationship, now that I think about it). And I’m pretty sure he went to sleep that night smugly assured that I still missed him.

But jokes on you, buddy! I spent all night on Tinder looking for a smart, well-traveled, open-minded Latino from the hood who dances well and is skilled in the oral arts. And I think I have a couple promising leads.  

This article originally appeared on the blog Those People and is republished here with permission.

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