This Is How Philly Dates Now

Dating in Philadelphia has new rules, new ways to meet, and new lingo. / Illustrations by Beth Walrond

The pandemic flipped the whole world upside down, including how and where romance-inclined Philadelphians meet each other. Some three years later, everyone’s trying to figure out how to navigate the apps, the bars and the kickball leagues to find love — or maybe just a fling. Tales from the messy, steamy trenches of courtship circa right now.

Dating Terms Defined


If catfishing is the practice of wholly lying about who you are on a dating app, kitten-fishing is telling a smaller fib to make yourself seem more attractive online—maybe that you’re five-foot-nine when you’re really five-five, for example, or that you love to hike when you’d rather stay home and watch Succession. 

A 2023 User’s Manual to Dating Apps

First things first, let’s break down how to fall in love online (or just have sex tonight) — and IRL. Keep reading …

Beige flag:

The vanilla version of a red flag, which is to say something you see in a dating profile that makes a person come across as dull—“The Office is my personality,” for example, or if all of the photos are mirror selfies at the gym.

The Horny World of Adult Recreational Sports Leagues

 “Playing the field” takes on a whole new meaning as young Philadelphians find love in recreational sports leagues.  Keep reading …


The act of sending flirty signals online — enough to keep people interested, but infrequently enough to leave them wanting more — without committing to making plans to connect in real life. In essence, leading someone on.

This Facebook Group Lets Women Share Dating Woes — and Find Out if They’re Dating the Same Guy

How a new crop of social media sleuthing groups aims to combat the liars, cheaters and abusers of the dating world. Keep reading …


An abbreviation for “ethical non-monogamy” — the practice of being romantically or sexually involved with multiple people, all of whom consent to the relationship structure.

Moms, Quit Worrying About Your Grown-Ass Son Finding Love

Mothers are fretting that their adult sons aren’t married yet. But the kids are alright.  Keep reading …


Showing someone high levels of attention and affection early in a relationship, often in an effort to manipulate a partner.

Make Me a Match

Does matchmaking still have a role in how we find less-fleeting love? We ask a Jewish matchmaker. Keep reading …


A person who enters your life intensely at different periods of time but is never quite within reach to date long-term.


Published as “Looking for Love, Philly-Style” in the June 2023 issue of Philadelphia magazine.