Didn’t you see the question mark at the end of my text?
It’s not a decoration you know?!
It’s supposed to start a conversation.
Stupid smartphone cold and silent on my desk. Useless toy to cover the hundreds of kilometres between me and my latest helpless sweet crush. Maddening wait on some news. They always seem so sweet and caring at first, then after a few words they drop the ball. And since I can’t take their shoulders in my hands and shake them or slap them, I fix the black screen bored, lonely and mad. Munching all the syllables of the word “dickhead” over and over until it’s mush.
Then I remember a shiny app, hundreds of faces waiting to be judged. Almost unlimited pool to choose from. “Ini mini miney mo”, I like you, but you can go! If I can filter you by age and location, I can also have a peak at your interests. Pages you liked by mistake or to make a friend happy. Places you don’t hang out since that one horrible time, and festivals you forgot you ever liked. Why I should know which friends we have in common is still a mystery to me. Isn’t it just more embarrassing imagining you having the “I had a tinder date with your friend” conversation? Of course you haven’t bothered to fill in the description case. Who cares? Most of the time I sweep left at the first sight of your photo anyway. Because let’s be honest, that’s the one that seals the deal, there’s not much else to go about.
So here starts the funky part where you select your charming date ticking boxes on a wish list. Like looking at rows and rows of new shiny dresses, trying to choose, tempted and indecisive, fingers suspended over a few, wondering if you should try them on. The soft curvy ones, young and easy which I usually prefer, or maybe these dark ones, serious and mysterious, tougher looking?
I know all I’d like him to be, though I actually know nothing about the guy. But hey, who tries nothing gets nothing so I swipe right once in a while. Never know I’ll find my prince charming after all. Chatting seems to be out of fashion, so it’s either dead silence on both sides or a quick decision on a first date, before any little interest wares off with small talk.
There you are then, face to face with your unknown pick, awkwardly looking left and right for the nearest escape, just in case. What if you find out you don’t have anything to talk about? Do you come up with a lame excuse to run? Do you down your beer as fast as possible to hopefully get inspired by the alcohol rushing to your brain? Sometimes after ten minutes of conversation you are tempted to bring him back to the shop and ask for a refund. Hey, I’m not trying to say I’m perfect, I bet the guy on the other end of the table has thought the same just as often. After all it’s easy to disappoint when you can pick your crush like ordering a new dress.
There’s all these things a person you don’t know should be, do, like, to be even eligible as a partner. By the time you actually meet, no matter how soon that is, your wish list has reached bible length. He doesn’t only have to be as handsome as his professional looking photos would like you to think, but he has to be funny and mysterious but not arrogant, clever but not patronising. In my case he also has to like beer, without being an alcoholic, he definitely shouldn’t snore, he should speak near to perfect French and/or English and preferably come from an interesting country. He likes travelling and sports, but is not a sport addict… and I could keep going! There’s your impossible expectations, sentencing you to failure.
Not only because you have created a monster of perfection no living creature can match, but because the essence of Tinder is to find just as quickly as you swipe left and right if that person is your perfect match, and vice-versa of course. If a quick decision can be made about a dress that caught your eye by trying it on once – and that’s not always true either – the same can’t be said for falling in love.
It’s not like adding a doctor’s appointment to your agenda: yes, from now on I’m in love with you, we are a couple. It’s a growing mystery, teasing curiosity, drama full of doubts. How can you trash all that based on a required answer: “yes or no”? I don’t know! Not yet, not tomorrow. Give me time to know you better with no pressure to fall into your arms, or kiss your lips I don’t dislike but I haven’t dreamed of yet! And if I find out I will never have a crush on you though I appreciate your company is it so bad to tell you so, straight and true: I’m sorry, it didn’t work.
Where’s the moment you realise a person you have seen time and time again starts to become intriguing? Stomach curling up at the thought of seeing him. The pleasant discomfort of being in his presence. Trying weird and embarrassing experiments to see if he feels the same. Flirting to test the waters, hiding a hundred questions in your eyes, deciphering a hundred answers in his, probably getting half of them wrong. All spoiled by the fact that you have already openly declared your interest and successfully matched. How come you have no list then? No type, no rational requests and affinities, it just happens.
I know, I’m a romantic. So why am I still here, swiping? Because I’m bored, waiting for someone to pet my ego saying he likes me and since I can’t have it from the people I want, then I’ll accept it from a bunch of strangers that look remotely interesting. Because, I admit it, when you match with someone you feel gratified for a few precious seconds. Someone liked you! Someone who doesn’t know you is interested! Hurray! Quick egoistic boost of confidence that may or may not become genuine curiosity.