I’ll admit it: sometimes I just think it’ll make a good story. Maybe it’s a tendency with most writers, to seize opportunities for the sake of their ouevre. When you lack inspiration, all you gotta do is delve into an experience & chew it up until something comes out. I often catch myself combating the nagging voice in the back of my head that says yo Alejandra this is a bad idea what the hell are you doing with the much more convincing voice that says girl, you gotta do it for the story. Guess who usually wins.
This was very much my thought process behind downloading Tinder a month after my recent breakup. I never considered myself the type of person who casually hooks up with guys through iPhone apps, but then again, breakups can do tricky things to your psyche. Mine injected a stifling loneliness that creeped up at night highly uninvited. I yearned for some kind of affection, even if it was just a cheap compliment like “wow you’re so [insert derogatory term here].” We are, after all, in the Tinder Era of dating . Hundreds of women are taking the plunge and writing about it. It’s amazing the revolutionary potential that this app has had on dating and relationships; amazing or alarming, depends on your handle. This is just my take on it.
So, I downloaded the app, carefully selected five photos that weren’t too revealing, but revealing enough, and wrote some shitty little bio that showed that I didn’t take this too seriously, but serious enough to be taken seriously.
The next week consisted of mindlessly swiping right and left — albeit mostly left — in the middle of the night or in between classes or on the 51b. I never realized how many guys (ages 21-27) were out there in the Bay Area just waiting, or looking, or whatever intentions one has when delving into the Tinder realm. What ensued was horrifyingly entertaining. I couldn’t stop looking, couldn’t stop playing, couldn’t stop objectifying and being objectified in a wondrously tantalizing digital platform. And that was just it, it felt like a game. Like it wasn’t real.[wp_ad_camp_2]
Some guys were mostly full of compliments, that was their game, messaging me with cheap one liners or with “your hot” (not you’re) or “hi cutie.” Others just yearned for conversation or awkward small-talk, which is fine by me. Some were downright hostile, immediately saying, “Alright bitch, I won’t let you sit on my face” due to lack of response on my end or calling me a cunt with a whole other list of offensive slurs. What a joy.
Then there were the guys who seemed to just be cool dudes. Like Josh. Let’s call him Josh for discretion. He’s a medical school dropout from somewhere back East who’s working for a startup. We talked for a few days and he invited me over to watch a movie.
In a Lena Dunham-esque fashion, I decided to just go for it. Fuck it, what could go wrong the voice in the back of my head urged me to follow the story. Plus, he seemed like a nice enough guy. The following Thursday I went over to his apartment somewhere near Lake Merritt. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have done that, that’s sketchy as hell, but I want to reemphasize that I was in a different state-of-mind that I am now. An adventurous state that shivered throughout my spine. I can still feel its lingering effects.
Anyway, I went over. His apartment was bohemian-ly adorned. It looked lived in; I appreciated that. Most of the apartments I go to, college student apartments, are empty and messy, with a transient presence that can never go unnoticed. There were tribal decorations and traffic signs. A few paintings here and there. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too awkward. We smoked a splif. Actually, it was pretty casual. I felt like I was in high school. We reveled on the idea of Tinder, online dating, and graduating college. He’s a few years older than me, so he understands my incredible anxiety on moving into another phase of my life.
A few hours later, as we were watching cartoons, I could feel him inching towards me on the couch. I told myself that I was just high and paranoid, until moments later he said, “Can I kiss you Alejandra?”
They say chivalry is dead. My heart broke a little.
In that moment, I realized that I really didn’t want to be there, in that situation, and that I was just leading this poor guy on. It was like this sudden awakening, a revelation of baked proportions. What the fuck are you doing? Why are you here? A different voice was echoing in my head. The high voice of reason. So, I politely declined. He offered me goat cheese. I could still hear the question echoing in my head and just generally felt really bad. An hour later I grabbed a Lyft home. He even offered to pay for it. Goddammit.
When I got home, I deleted Tinder. I realized that although I have no idea what I’m looking for, I’m not going to find it on an app. Some girlfriends tell me that I need to get laid, that I need to get laid to move on after a breakup, but I think everybody has their own way to cope after a failed relationship. And me? Maybe I’m just in it for the story. Maybe not. I’ll figure it out, eventually.
Featured Photo Flickr user Denis Bocquet via Creative Commons