Why I Hate Hiking Dates

If you’ve ever opened a dating app, you’re probably all too familiar with certain bios. The ones that appear with slight variations over and over again: “Looking for the Pam to my Jim”, “ENFJ”, “6’3” if it matters”, “Looking for love in the time of corona”, “Ravenclaw”, “Pisces. No fire signs”, and whatever else.

But the worst, most terrible profiles I’ve found? Anything that mentions hiking. And unfortunately for me, they exist everywhere. See: photos on mountains, bios about hiking, messages asking me if I like hiking. The answer: NO.

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Listen, I moved to New York for a reason—and part of that reason is that I am not an outdoorsy person. I grew up in a rural area where people were all about hunting and fishing and camping and all sorts of outside activities.

If I wanted to do those things, I would have stayed there! Or maybe moved to somewhere like Colorado or Montana! Instead, I moved to the biggest city in the country because I wanted to go to museums and concerts and restaurants and movies.

But now that coronavirus has made movie theaters and concerts a far-off dream, lots of people are opting for outdoor dates—and TBH, that’s fine. (As long as they’re wearing masks, ofc. Seriously, it’s important and it works.)

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But this hiking obsession pre-dates the coronavirus pandemic. It’s been a Thing as long I’ve been using dating apps, which is… umm… pretty much my entire adult life. (Excuse me for a minute while I have an existential crisis.)

FWIW, hiking is a perfectly fine hobby, I guess. But that’s when you’re doing it by yourself or with friends. Not when you’re deciding if you’re interested in boning the other person you’re meeting for the first time. I mean, think about it:

  • You’re sweaty, and maybe smelly???
  • You’ll probably get a sunburn.
  • You have to wear practical clothes, which are probably not the clothes you feel cutest in.
  • You can’t look at your date face-to-face. In fact, you’re probably getting well acquainted with the back of their head.
  • You probably feel dirty, sweaty, and hot (in a ugh-where-can-I-find-air-conditioning way, not a sexy way)… which doesn’t make me want to kiss anyone.

    If you say I’m not giving hiking a fair shot, well, I’m speaking from experience: I once went on a hiking date. It’s true. This was several years ago, and I’d had two pretty decent happy hour dates with a man I’d matched with on Tinder. For our third date, he suggested I join him and his friends on a hike. I warned him that I didn’t hike regularly and would just be wearing sneakers, and he said that was fine, that it was basically a leisurely, casual walk uphill.

    Spoiler: It was not leisurely. Somehow, instead of taking the easiest trail, the group ended up on the hardest. Part of the hike was so steep that it was basically rock-climbing. (Okay, maybe not that steep, but our hands had to touch the ground!!!) I finished the hike, but I was slower than the rest of the group, and my date was obviously annoyed about that. Once we drove back to the city, he dropped me off by a subway stop — not even in my neighborhood — and stopped responding to my texts. Yes, I was ghosted because of my lack of hiking enthusiasm.

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    Last week, I hit 100 days of social distancing. Apart from getting groceries, going on solo walks, or participating in a protest or rally, I’ve been keeping to my apartment, seeing no one in person but my roommates. I’ve had a handful of phone or FaceTime dates with people I’ve matched with on Tinder. But I haven’t met up with anyone in person yet.

    Now, with New York starting its slow, phased reopening, I’m beginning to make plans to see friends IRL again (outdoors, from at least six feet apart). If that goes well, I might ask one of my phone dates to meet up, too. For a picnic. Or a walk in the park. I might even suggest going to the beach, which is re-opening for swimming soon.

    Just please, please, don’t ask me to go hiking.

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