Photo: Josh Rose
I’ve done Tinder, and match. Okcupid and eHarmony. Bumble, the grade and hinge. I’ve been to a matchmaker, did 3 on 3 dates with grouper, and joined a singles dinner club. I have been to every singles event under the sun. I have an entire folder of dating apps on my phone and I’ve had one six month relationship in ten years. Being single in NYC sucks, but dating is even worse. I would spend hours a day swiping left and right, and went on miserable date after miserable date. I finally reached the point where I’d rather go to yoga than go on second dates, so I threw in the towel. Another dating hiatus. Probably the 15th break of my dating career, I’ve retired more times than Michael Jordan.
With all of my new found free time I started playing tennis, getting drinks with girlfriends, traveling, actually using my classpass and developing an Instagram addiction. I was doing it everywhere. On the bus, waiting for the elevator, on the subway platform, in between clients, maybe even in the bathroom. I was hooked, and everything I did was for the ‘gram. I couldn’t control myself. There have even been nights I fell asleep doing it in my bed.
Instagram was like any other trendy app to me at first. It was for the kids. I had Facebook, why did I need yet another app to do exactly what Facebook did minus 100 features. Then it happened, little by little I fell in love. It was a quick easy way to share photos of my fabulous life with my friends and family. And other people in the vicinity. And other people not in the vicinity who just happened to have shared interests. We were connected by those obnoxious things we call hashtags, otherwise known as my new BFF or wing woman.
They always say you’ll find love in the place you least expect it, when you stop looking for it. And there she was. Little by little she gave me everything I had ever wanted in a man. 10 years of longing fulfilled in just a few short months, with a little swiping and double tapping.
I might be considered your standard Manhattan chick. I live on the Upper East Side, have an Ivy League degree, and a six figure job. The list of what I was seeking in a life partner was not short. The basics, tall, dark and handsome, but with blue eyes. Employed, over 30, under 40. No roommates, preferably owns his home and maybe has a summer rental. Monogamy. Basically a unicorn. Yes, go ahead and laugh at me. I was playing a losing game, and we all knew it. There are at least five other women for every unicorn in NYC. So even if I found a guy I liked, he was probably dating my best friend, a coworker, and three other girls with six degrees of separation or less.
My end goal was marriage and babies. I desperately thought married life and children were an essential part of life (luckily I have come to my senses). I still want the babies, but I can probably do without the marriage part of it all. I was relentlessly searching for the man who I thought could give me these things so I could live my own happily ever after. I was daydreaming of antiquated courtship. I longed for a man to wine and dine me, take me on fabulous trips to exotic locations, tell me how beautiful I am, and let me cook for him. It shouldn’t be that hard, but now that Tinder basically makes it easier to order sex than a pizza, you can barely get a man to buy you a drink.
My friends were starting to worry about me. They proposed a complete break from dating. They thought I had become too bitter. I think we were one step away from shopping for sharks (I’m allergic to cats, so instead of being a traditional cat lady I was planning on a badass fish tank to grow old with). I had started to look into sperm banks and egg freezing, but everything changed so suddenly.
Instagram and I had been friends for awhile. We were introduced in July of 2014, and we slowly got to know each other over the next year. We were definitely summer friends, you know the kind. We would go to the beach together, but during winter months, we hardly ever interacted. I slowly started to notice other people were in love with Instagram, so I opened myself up a bit to see what it was really all about.
I learned so much about Instagram during my exploration period. He helped me plan my travel bucket list, helped me find the best outfits for fall, and even gave me socks for Christmas! This was a man after my heart. Socks as a Christmas gift? I don’t think I have ever received a Christmas gift from a man I was dating, ever. Now things were serious. It was around New Year’s when I would have changed my relationship status to official if I hadn’t deleted that embarrassing feature on Facebook.
From here, things progressed quickly. In January, Instagram bought me my first drink. In February, Instagram took me to dinner TWICE. I’ve even been asked to make meals to showcase on my feed (what says relationship more than THAT!?!) Then he was pampering me with dresses and shoes! The presents just kept coming. I can hardly wait to see what is next, but I have a feeling it is something very, very big. Maybe a tropical villa overlooking the Caribbean sea, or maybe a castle in Europe. A girl can dream, right? After all, it was only a few short months ago that I still believed in unicorns!
When I was online dating, I had the gamut of rude and disrespectful messages on a daily basis. Far more of those than positive engagements. I’ve only had to delete a handful of unkind comments from my Instagram account, and they were nothing compared to the things men said to my face during my ten year dating career. Instagram said it liked me 177,000 times in 2016. That’s an average of nearly 500 times per day. And that’s just love. The comments are never ending. I love your hair, what a pretty dress, you’re so beautiful. It’s not even a close call. Instagram is more loving and generous than any man I have ever dated.
I don’t know what I have been doing with my life since Instagram’s launch in October of 2010. I guess it could be best described as self-torture. What I can tell you, is now that we are acquainted, I have never been happier. I still make time for traditional dating, but it no longer consumes my life. I have a positive outlook on life again, I’m not so worried about visiting tropical locations with that tall, dark, and handsome blue eyed man. While many people view Instagram as a narcissistic tool, it has given my life a new purpose. It forces me to leave my apartment, engage with the world, and seek adventure. I’m living life in the moment, and documenting it for my 30,000 BFFs to share with me. And I even got a date through Instagram, but that’s a tale for another day.