Dating in a Socially Conscious Outdoor World, Your Profile Defines You

Secrets to Enjoying the Outdoors in ‘The New Normal’

Nature restores you. No matter how you adventure, playing outside fuels your soul, recharges your batteries, and inspires you to greatness. Greatness, though, loves friends: it’s a lot more fun to rock climb with a partner than alone, and there’s nothing like a summit sandwich with your BFF. One could even argue that new friends (romantic or otherwise) make our adventures way more worth it.

COVID-19 and social unrest have changed how we look at playing outdoors, where we make new friends, and how we interact on public lands. These big developments don’t mean that you have to put your love life on hold, though. Winter is prime time for adventuring (responsibly). And true love? I’d argue that true love can be borne from the fire of strife if you know how to navigate it. Here, I’ve shared a few tips to build a Bumble profile sure to earn that right swipe. 

The Try-Hard / The Adventurer

There’s something primal about pushing through a crux, squashing your deepest fears, and digging deep to find the send.

Does it make you a badass that you finally pink-pointed that 5.12, stomped your first backie, or landed your first big double? Absolutely! You trained hard to get to that place, and we all know it — your climbing shoes/ski boots/mountain bike shoes now smell like old hot dogs!

Does that mean you’re the only person to have sent that line, ever? Of course not! 

Hot Bumble Tips for Try-Hard Climbers and Adventurers:

  • If you’re going to talk about how much you love climbing/skiing/MTB on Bumble, ask yourself: are you looking for a partner to accompany you on these adventures as an equal? Think about how your profile reflects your personality as an adventurer. Be transparent: your matches will appreciate it.
  • Adventure partners love having others see their strengths — talk about what you want in a person on your profile! Better yet, when you’re on a date or hanging out with a new friend, recognize and elevate their accomplishments.
  • Don’t spray on your dating app, Mountain Project, or in-person about the last time you sent your project. This is douchey behavior.
  • Learn about some of the things you shouldn’t say (or do) to women and people of color who are fellow climbers, skiers, bikers, or adventurers.

“I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.” 

Peggy McIntosh, “The Invisible Knapsack”

Peggy McIntosh reminds us that everyone wants to be seen equally: as strong, competent, and stoked individuals. Just because someone doesn’t look like you doesn’t mean they aren’t equally capable.

Monserrat A. Matehuala (she/her) executes a pick-off (rope rescue) after another climber encounters issues while climbing a route on ancestral lands of the Arapaho nation.

Photo by Janelle Paciencia (she/her).

The Dirtbag

Public lands and the adventures you have on them define who you are, whether you’re an old-school dirtbag or one of the new-school professional breeds. Your independence, freedom of movement, and ability to drift in and out of social circles give you whimsy few others can enjoy.

Life was meant to be lived, though, and you know this all too well: that’s why you live in a van (or truck, sedan, wagon, or RV). Nevertheless, dirtbagging (as majestic as it can be) still gets lonely! A few things to keep in mind when opening open those proverbial cargo doors to welcome in a new Bumble mate:

  • Remember that you (probably) get to choose public accommodations without fearing that people will discriminate against you or mistreat you. If you’re dating someone outside of your race, when settling into camp, ask them: “Do you feel comfortable here?”
  • You’re a little bit of a soul searcher (it must be all those starry nights), and maybe you even like to read. Do you consider yourself “woke,” or working on healthy masculinity? The Sacred Sons podcast is a great place to start if you want to learn more about yourself; here’s one of my favorite episodes.
  • Highlight those rugged good looks with beautiful words of praise. You want an adventure partner? Treat them well, and they’ll definitely stay around.
  • Learn about the “Seven Circles of Whiteness” and where you fall. Talk about this: unless they live under a rock, your Bumble friend will very much appreciate your candor.
The author still recalls the first time she and a partner unwittingly camped in an area where Confederate flags freely flew — and how the dirty looks she got in the market the days before suddenly made more sense. @notlostjustdiscovering

The Conservationist

Your character defines you — you stand up for what is right, even when others on the trail, back at camp, or posting on social media don’t have the guts to speak out. You know that protecting vast and remote backcountry spaces is just as important as managing beautiful and pristine front country zones. Whether this is your day-to-day work (maybe you’re a land manager, guide, or another employee of the outdoor economy?) or you’re a passionate supporter of the conservation movement, you know that now, more than ever, the world needs your contributions.

But how to share your insight and education with others without coming off as preachy or holier-than-thou? When dating, especially, this can be tricky: everyone approaches the outdoors differently.

  • Start with learning about the history of the conservation movement
  • Learn how wilderness in the USA ties into Native Americans’ forced removal from their lands
  • Work on how you talk about stewardship and what it means to be a ‘public landowner.’ As taxpayers, we are all public landowners, and your experience in the field of conservation carries a lot of weight for newer recreationists. (But don’t let that get to your head!)
  • Pay it forward: think about how you fit into the landscape of stewardship and conservation: in your Bumble profile, add a snippet of what you’re doing for your local community AND wilderness. Learn about what it means to #RecreateResponsibly, and incorporate those tenets into your profile.
  • Consider how your outdoorsy lingo can affect different people: two of our nation’s hallowed spaces of preservation—the National Park Service and the Sierra Club—both have pasts heavily influenced by segregation, racism, and exclusionary treatment of all people who weren’t white and upper- or middle class.

Today’s conservationist works and volunteers to protect outdoor spaces at the same time as learning about their past. When we learn about the legacy of these spaces—from how dams affect riparian habitats to how removal affects Native Americans—we can make better decisions on how to steward them in the future. 

Romantic bliss in the outdoors. Photo courtesy Unsplash.

Bumble reminds us to keep it real, keep it simple, and always be your truest self. Even before our world began to define ‘the new normal’, building new friendships and finding romance has always involved keeping an open mind to learning and growth. Whether you’re looking for a short-term or lifetime partner, remember that honesty is the key to all successful relationships.

Stay honest about who you are, where you are in your learning journey, and keep that mind open to adventure — of the mind, body, and soul variety— and you’ll find that special someone, guaranteed.

Do you have a special trick we missed for building the ultimate Bumble (or Tinder) profile? Let us know in the comments below!

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