COLUMBUS, Ohio — Navigating the modern dating world is no easy task, and no one knows this better than Tonya Smith, who’s been swiping right on potential true loves and disasters-in-wait on Tinder since 2017.
One of the most daunting hurdles for those on the dating scene? Transitioning from a casual weekend romance to a real deal, long-term relationship.
“Making sense of YouTube’s auto-generated captions is easier than deciphering whether he wants a long-term lover or a forgettable fling,” says Smith, who is hard of hearing and is in a long-term love-hate relationship with auto captions.
So, what are lonely lovers to do when they want to take things to the next level? Smith has the answer.
She cautions that novices might be tempted to go for an “honest conversation about feelings,” but brushes off this idea with a laugh and a slow shake of her head. That strategy is clearly ridiculous.
“What you want to do,” Smith says, “is subtly leave reminders of yourself all over your partner’s place. That way when you’re not there, your stuff cements your place in their mind. Before you know it, they’ll want the real deal you to be over 24/7. And bam! You’ve scored yourself a serious relationship.”
One age-old trick involves leaving behind a toothbrush, but Smith says this method is outdated. It’s 2021, time to go more personal, time to go big or never go back to his home.
“What I like to do is get a value pack of hearing aid batteries from Amazon. I’ll leave one whole pack on the nightstand. I’ll take another pack and go into the living room and just go crazy spinning the plastic wheel that holds the batteries, spewing those little buggers everywhere,” Smith says.
“When he sits on the couch or in his BarcaLounger or steps on his rug, I want him to find the little round batteries and fondly remember the sharp, endearing screech of my hearing aids when he leans in for a smooch. I’ll even take the orange stickers off the batteries and stick ’em everywhere — fridge, mirror, peephole, you name it.”
Smith notes that the strategy actually works double duty. It signals her deeper feelings and propels the relationship into the next stage of moving in together. It also helps remind the partner that she wears hearing aids.
“It’s amazing how many times people forget and try whispering or talking to me from other rooms,” Smith says. “But, hey, that’s all just part of the dating game, am I right?”