7 ways to win Tinder this winter

Winter is coming … to Tinder. If last year was any indication, we’re all in it for the long haul—which means the race is on to find someone passable to hibernate with until the ice thaws. Who has time to go out to bars and shop around for the perfect partner to share our coldest months with? No one. So just admit joining Tinder is as inevitable as another Polar Vortex blanketing Chicago.

But be warned … Tinder is similar to Marshalls. One must to be willing to hunt for one’s food. However if you know how to beat the odds, you can win Tinder this winter. Here are seven key things you need to remember.

1. Choose a realistic photo.

If you went missing, and the F.B.I. only had one photo of you to use in the nationwide media coverage, would we ever find you? Most likely, that photo wouldn’t be a duck-faced selfie of you in your car or taking shots with your college mascot. Don’t become a victim of TLD. “The Let Down” is when you meet someone and they do not look like his or her photo.

Remember, once you start dating, these people are going to find out what you look like, and most likely, it won’t happen on your “skinny” day. It will, however, happen on a day that involves multiple layers and possibly plastic Jewel bags tied over your heels to protect them from the salted sidewalks. Choose wisely.

2. Avoid health nuts and fitness fanatics.

Beware! They’re lurking everywhere. Sure, health is very important (especially once New Year’s Day hits and we all make empty resolutions), but these overachievers are best avoided. Identify them by their typically shirtless pic (if he's a guy) or a heavily-filtered yoga pose shot (if she;s a gal). Swipe left. Someone smell body odor and control issues?

3. Mutual friends are debatable dateables.

Sometimes going out with someone you have zero connection to is exciting and feels like the way dating should be. However, a mutual friend can come in handy. Picture this: It’s 7 p.m. on a Friday. It has already been dark for 2.5 hours. There is 7-10 inches of snow on the ground. The windchill is -20.

Chances are, you’re only going to make it out of the house if your local sushi place no longer delivers or if someone credible has vouched that your date is, indeed, a good time. Not to mention isn’t a serial killer.

4. Always swipe right on men with beards.

A man with a beard can fix your shelf, is generally taller than you are (regardless of whether they listed their height or not) and tend to be very lovable. Who doesn’t want to hibernate with a bear?! A man with a beard may truly be your best (and hairiest) winter option.

5. Artists = dealer’s choice.

If you have an extra ticket to a concert at Lincoln Hall in January and don’t want to waste going out in Polar Vortex 17 on a dud, then swipe right. Artists are always good conversation. Unless the conversation is “So, who’s picking up the bar tab?” Then swipe left, because “artist” is normally code for “broke.”

6. Start messaging…unless you want to cuddle yourself all winter.

Here are a few things to consider when sending someone a message.

Use emojis sparingly: There is never a reason to send nine in a row to explain how work sucks. (gun, gun, sad face, asleep smiley with zzz’s, donkey, donkey, bomb, bomb, bomb)

If you are going to use emojis: Don't use stupid ones. Use the pizza slice. It kills in any season.

Play it cool. Dating in person or online, no one wants it to be too easy.

7. If we were meant to match with everyone, dating would be easier.

And probably significantly more boring. Feel free to unmatch people willy-nilly. It feels good. Like purging your closet of all the stuff from Express, because the world has way better options now.

If someone unmatches you? Their loss. Remember, the goal is to find someone to hibernate with. You want someone you can re-watch seasons 1-5 of The Good Wife with, someone you can stand to watch eat pho at 2 a.m., someone who looks good in your pajamas. You don’t just want a match—you want the right one! (Or at least one you can stand until April.)

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Rachel LaForce is an ensemble member for The Second City Touring Company. Follow her on Twitter @raelaforce or visit her website.

Rachel LaForce