I downloaded Tinder — a dating app, referred to by my mother as “the sex app” — last Wednesday. Last Tuesday afternoon I heard that I may get to interview Aziz Ansari for his upcoming book tour. The tour stops in Charleston tomorrow. I have not heard from Aziz. I still think of him fondly.
Aziz wrote this piece for Time magazine. I read these words: “In this sense, Tinder actually isn’t so different from what our grandparents did. Nor is it all that different from what one friend of mine did, using online dating to find someone Jewish who lived nearby. In a world of infinite possibilities, we’ve cut down our options to people we’re attracted to in our neighborhood.” And I downloaded Tinder.
I can’t say this is my first time downloading the little square with the swirly cut-out of a flame (how suggestive). I had Tinder one Tuesday many months ago. I was at my old job, bored, and lonely. I remember that it was a Tuesday because I have a draft in my blogs titled “Tinder Tuesdays.” I got a few messages, I didn’t quite understand how to swipe yes and no. I deleted it and breathed a sigh of relief.
And then Aziz re-inspired me. Is that a thing? Well, it happened. I have had Tinder for nine days. Before I continue, I’ll share the stats.
Messages to which I did not respond: 34.
Messages to which I responded (noting that I already knew one of the matches, we’re friends): 15.
Messages I initiated: 1.
Favorite message: “Do you want to bring me some bojangles? I’m too hungover to get out of bed. Nothing sexual (I’m not a whore) just two people eating breakfast in bed.” July 5, 12:10 p.m.
Dates I’ve been on: 2.
Guys who I gave my phone number to: 3.
Number of guys I think I will date because of the dating app Tinder: 0.
I haven’t deleted it yet. I’m security-blanketing the shit out of it. Ego booster and all that. But, really, it is such a silly thing. My two dates are example enough. They were perfectly nice guys! We may even hang out again. But I still, I don’t know … I just want to meet someone in person. In real life, if you will.
Last night I was sitting at a bar waiting for date number two. The bartender and I talked for a solid ten minutes and I think I fell in love with him. That — that’s so much better than Tinder. I looked at him wistfully for the rest of the evening. He’s a decent bit older than I am and I’m fairly certain he has a girlfriend. But those ten minutes … man, that’s better than staring at my phone.
Which is what I’ve been doing. For hours. My battery keeps dying. I say things out loud like “you look like a terrible person.” (Pro tip: including these lines in your bio, “you need to keep me interested” and “you better keep up” is patronizing and chauvinistic and I have serious doubts about the number of fucking “adventures” you’ve been on). I have never in my life seen so many guys who just want to go on an adventure.
At first I had a lot of matches. I was new, I saw a lot of new faces. And then I ran out. I ran out of people in my area! Is that even possible? Is that sad? How much fucking time was I spending swiping?
I started to feel a pang of sadness when I swiped yes to a boy and in the split second afterward the screen that says “you matched and your existence has been validated” didn’t pop up. “Oh,” I sighed, “he doesn’t like me.”
He also doesn’t know me, but that gets lost in the shuffle.
I believe, wholeheartedly, in doing whatever you please to please yourself. If online dating is your thing and from it you’ve found fun, or a partner, or a bunch of free meals, then hoorah! Keep at it. But it feels unnatural to me. I am so phone-obsessed and also, often, human-obsessed (please see: falling immediately in love with strangers). Why combine the two?
If the rest of my life is composed of ten minute spurts of pony-tailed bartenders leaning in close, I honestly don’t know if I could complain. There’s something romantic there. Fleeting, yes, but more powerful than any “Hey,” “Let’s hook up,” “What’s your dog’s name,” or “Are you a twin?” could ever be.
Over-pour me a beer sample, bartending lovers of the world. We’ll get along just fine.