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    This Woman's Friend Found 12 Suitors For Her On Hinge And It's Basically "The Bachelorette"

    Welcome to The Bachelorette.

    Look, we're all feeling a little lonely in quarantine.

    Fox

    ...Or is that just me?

    But a surprising number of people have found a way to date, even during a pandemic. Like Catherine Thoma, an Emmy-nominated TV producer living in Nashville, who is currently living out her Bachelorette dreams. BuzzFeed chatted with Cat about her faux reality TV experience!

    It all began back around Christmas, when Cat's personal Chris Harrison (AKA one of her best friends, Katie) surprised Cat with 12 suitors as her Secret Santa gift.

    @cathoma

    My friend set up & surprised me with 12 FaceTime Hinge dates for my #SecretSanta gift 🤯😱 #fyp #MakeItMagical #surprise #foryou #single #dating

    ♬ original sound - CAT

    Cat told BuzzFeed her group of friends do Secret Santa every year, drawing names in early November. They are mostly scattered around the country, but Cat recently moved to Nashville, where Katie (who drew Cat's name) also lives.

    In a TikTok that's been viewed over 3.4 million times, Katie presents Cat with a homemade advent calendar, telling Cat she's scoured Hinge and set up 12 dates for Cat over the next two nights, literally sending Cat to the ground in shock.

    Katie says she's scoured Hinge and set up 12 dates, and Cat falls to the floor, saying "No you did not!"
    Cathoma / TikTok / Via tiktok.com

    Cat told BuzzFeed that she had no idea who her Secret Santa was, let alone what her gift would be, and that as soon as she saw the poster her mind went blank: "I didn’t understand what I was looking at. I blacked out from confusion and all I heard was the muffled Charlie Brown teacher voice, 'Womp womp womp…Hinge…Womp womp womp 12 dates' and my disbelief brought me to the floor."

    As it turned out, Katie had been planning this since November, converting her own Hinge profile into one for Cat and chatting with the guys for weeks to narrow them down to 12 she felt were suited to Catherine.

    cathoma / TikTok

    Cat says she was super shocked that Katie had done all this, calling it the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for her. However, she was definitely nervous: "Dating just hasn’t been a part of my life for a very very VERY long time (12 years to be exact). I never made it a priority because it scared/scares me."

    Cat was shocked to find that Katie had set up 10-minute FaceTime dates with each guy spread over two nights, beginning THAT NIGHT.

    Katie and Cat holding the poster
    cathoma / TikTok

    "I don’t think I’ve been on 12 dates in my 34 years of life, let alone in two nights! " Cat told BuzzFeed. "I felt the full spectrum of emotions from 'THIS IS SO FUN' to 'AB-SO-FRICKEN-LUTLY NOT!'"

    "I just told myself to have fun with it and be my goofy, bubbly, outgoing self," Cat said. "Once the first call started, it was fine! I was making jokes and having a good time. Just needed to rip off the band-aid."

    one of the suitors asks if Cat is taking notes, to which Cat laughs and says "...No?"
    cathoma / TikTok

    The guys were ready and waiting for her to call, all down to play the game and respect the rules, giving their permission to continue updating the process through TikTok. Cat did mention, however, that it was a bit hard to keep the guys straight: "I dunno how the Bachelorette/Bachelor does it!" Luckily, she had five minutes between every date to write down notes.

    After the first round, Katie "Chris Harrison'd" Cat and asked her to narrow the 12 men down to 6. The next step was 30-minute FaceTime dates.

    ABC

    After the initial dates, Katie was getting lots of messages asking if there was going to be a "rose ceremony" or if they were allowed to reach out. She gave the 6 chosen guys the go-ahead to contact Cat for a follow-up date, but Cat herself had to let down the other 6 guys. "They were all great sports and really nice guys! I’m very flattered that they all wanted to meet me and play along in this weirdly-amazing dating game that Katie created!" Cat said.

    Cat has now FaceTimed with the final 4 and is going to be posting updates soon on her TikTok. She's not sure if this will lead to a relationship, but no matter what, she has appreciated the process.

    ABC

    "I’m enjoying the ride and seeing what happens...I’ve met some really nice guys and it’s been the most epic introduction to the Nashville dating scene," Cat said. She also said this experience has allowed her to meet guys she normally wouldn't have, and has given her confidence in her dating abilities: "I always worry about those awkward lulls and weird moments you dread on dates but that’s inevitable and that’s okay," Cat said. "A friend of mine has been encouraging me for YEAAARS to go on dates and, 'DO IT FOR THE STORY!' and boy, do I have a stories to tell!"

    She recommends the process to anyone who wants to try it, mentioning that it's been really cool to see others on TikTok recreating the experience.

    "12 days of Catmas" logo Cat made for the experience
    Catherine Thoma / TikTok

    She called the timer method genius, saying that 10 minutes is a perfect amount of time to get a vibe from someone. She also says this process has given her new respect for TikTok creators after editing all her own videos, and that it's been a fun project for her as a producer who loves storytelling and creating content.

    Best of luck on your ~journey to find love~, Cat! To everyone who's been a part of this one...I'm Chris Harrison*, goodnight.

    ABC

    *I'm not Chris Harrison.

    BuzzFeed Daily

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