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Swiped right into my life

By McKenzie Ward

Back in the beginning of January, I tested positive for COVID-19.

To keep my family safe, I decided to stay in a hotel for about 10 days so they wouldn’t get sick. And at first it was great – movies 24/7 and a ton of junk food, despite not being able to actually taste it.

But by the sixth day of quarantine, I was dying of boredom – I was surprised to learn you can only rewatch so much “Law and Order: SVU” before it gets old.

With only four days left, I decided to redownload Tinder, an online dating app that allows users to swipe right on those they are interested in and left on those they are not.

I had previously used it but never felt a true connection with anyone I met.

I figured I had nothing better to do than aimlessly swipe left and right and talk to new people.

Just a day after downloading it, I swiped right on a guy who had a picture of a really cool Harley Davidson motorcycle in his profile and in his bio, described himself as a “part-time adrenaline junkie.”

Sounds like my kind of


When I swiped right, I would never have imagined I’d end up meeting the love of my life and best friend.

When it came time for Charlie, my now boyfriend, and I to decide what we would tell people who asked the question, “So, how did you guys meet?” – we both agreed it’d be better to tell those in our lives that we met through mutual friends.

I decided this would be better because before I had met Charlie, I was often faced with criticism for using online dating apps – especially by older generations.

Even former First Lady Michelle Obama said in her podcast, “You can’t Tinder your way into a long-term relationship.”

“Don’t you want to have a romantic ‘how you met’ story?” I was often asked.

Well in my eyes, I do.

I met someone with whom I have such a strong connection.

Our first date lasted over eight hours because we both didn’t want to part ways. The first time we Facetimed, a week before our first date, we were on the call for over five hours. Neither of us realized how long we were on until I began to yawn and caught a glimpse of the time – 5:30 a.m.

Although I met him through an online dating app, which is often blamed for hookup culture, I consider our “how we met” story to be romantic because it’s ours.

How we meet people has been changing for years and COVID-19 has accelerated this trend.

When COVID-19 cases began to rise in the spring of 2020, bars closing down and colleges going online made it extremely difficult for those like myself to join the dating field. But through apps like Tinder, I was able to meet and talk to new people through my phone and from the comfort of my house.

In a survey conducted in October 2020, Pew Research reported approximately 30% of U.S. adults have used dating sites or apps.

So, when are people going to stop acting as if using Tinder to meet people is a huge taboo when in reality, millions around the world use the app?

COVID-19 robbed us from having active social lives for the last year and a half, and dating apps like Tinder and Bumble have allowed those like myself to meet new people – just in a different way.

And for the lucky ones, find someone to fall in love with.


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