Why Tinder Is Better When You’re Traveling Abroad

Why Tinder Is Better When You’re Traveling Abroad ©iStock/Geber86

I’ve been on Tinder for two weeks. Despite friends suggesting I join months and months ago, I didn’t listen. You see, I like to be late to a party — or more accurately, I’ve never done the online thing and wanted to keep it that way. But here I am on Tinder while abroad in Barcelona, Spain. I can’t speak Spanish, but I’d say it’s going well so far. In fact, based on my friends and their Tinder stories back home in the States, I’d say that using this dating app in a foreign country is supremely better.

  1. Foreigners tend to be more attractive. Listen, I don’t want to shit on American men, especially since New York does have the cream of the crop in that regard, but foreign guys are usually more attractive — probably because they ARE foreign and there’s something about that. For example, these Spanish guys are a level of hot that is hard to formulate into words. Right swipe after right swipe of gorgeous men! Some are so gorgeous, they almost bring a tear to my eye.
  2. I’m a novelty in another country. Back home, I’m nothing special. I’m a sex writer who lives in New York City — yadda, yadda, yadda — and one time I was in the New York Post. Who cares, right? But here in Spain, being a sex writer from New York (as it clearly states in profile) is actually interesting. Well, at least interesting enough for them to reach out, then disappear when they realize I’m not handing out sex on a silver platter to every guy I come across.
  3. It’s culturally interesting. I’m drawn to foreign men. Even before I married my soon-to-be ex, who was French, I’d dated foreign guys I met in New York. I’m not a whore for accents or anything like that, but I just like guys who offer a different perspective than the one I’ve always known. Being on Tinder while abroad is culturally eye-opening. People want to talk about the States in addition to offering things about their own country. Also, everyone is REALLY interested in whether or not Donald Trump is for real.
  4. The language barrier makes things exciting. Outside of cerveza and a few other key words, my knowledge of Spanish and Catalan is fairly non-existent. Because of this, there’s this wonderful challenge in trying to understand each other. Depending on their grasp of the English language and the accuracy on my translation app, it can be a struggle, but a fun struggle.
  5. I get to pretend to be whoever I want. Although my profile has my first name and my profession, since I’m in a foreign country with zero ties to anyone I know, I can make it up as I go. Sure, I’m a sex writer today, but maybe next week I’ll work for the CIA, my father will be Robert De Niro and I’m actually a baroness. See? I can talk out of my ass until the sun comes up — and it’s fun as hell.
  6. Being aggressively hit on doesn’t feel so threatening. I’ve heard horror stories about dick pics and guys coming on way too strong in just the first line or two back home in New York, but it’s not so intimidating in a different language. Although I haven’t encountered any penis pictures (and I’d better not), sex-related flirting doesn’t seem so offensive. Case in point: “I like laugh you like laugh I like wine you like wine I like sex you like sex.” That’s a real message I got — and it’s adorable.
  7. No one gives a damn about what you do. In the States, our jobs seem to define us. When you first meet someone, the question that we always ask is, “What do you do?” What I’ve learned from dating foreign guys is that that question is very much American. In other countries, people don’t let their jobs define, overwhelm or consume them… although that might be easier when you have six to eight weeks of paid vacation every year. Go socialism!
  8. Foreigners are more cultured. I realize such a statement will get American xenophobes pissed, but it’s true. While Americans (not all of them, but a decent chunk of them) are so obsessed with America and being American, people from other countries are more open-minded. They travel more (if you don’t believe me, look it up for yourself) and experience life in a way that Americans just don’t. Swiping through Tinder, I see guy after guy in places like Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, and the beaches of Thailand. Having played with my friends’ Tinder back in the States, I can tell you that’s a major contrast right there. So you stood in front of the White House for a photo? Great. You went to Miami for the 15th time in your life? Here, let me give you a medal. A lot of foreigners have a lust for life that many Americans just don’t — spend an afternoon in any Western European city and you’ll see that’s an absolute fact.
  9. Dates don’t involve a lot of talk. I wouldn’t say I’m on Tinder while abroad to strictly get laid, but I’m definitely not on it to find a relationship. More than anything, I want someone to hang out with and with whom I can make out — and maybe sleep with. Because of the language barrier, on dates, there’s more looking up words than actual talking which, to be honest, is refreshing. What I’ve always hated about dating in New York is all the talking and silly questions. Like, let’s just shut up and make out. In a foreign country, that shift happens pretty quickly because it’s just easier than talking.
  10. I don’t have to make up excuses about why I’m not interested. As I said, I’m not looking for anything serious. Every guy who messages me or I meet knows I’m only here temporarily and that I’ll be bouncing back to France eventually — which is great! So when one particular guy got a little needy, I could just dismiss him with, “Hey, I think you’re lovely, but I’m heading back to France now.” I get to avoid the whole, “It’s not you, it’s me” spiel, although it’s clearly him because even my best friends don’t text me that much in a 24-hour period.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.