In my last post, I mentioned this guy from college who verified my finding that short men don’t post their height on Tinder and carefully frame their photographs so that you can’t easily compare them to objects with known heights (Shaquille O’Neal, for example, or Yao Ming, or the Space Needle, or a great dane). Since he is also short, and I named the original subject of my height research Michael Dukakis, let’s call this one Dennis Kucinich.
Kucinich is the only person I know who I’ve come across on Tinder that I have swiped right to say hi to. I also immediately texted a screenshot to my old college roommate, who almost birthed her second baby right then from laughing so hard.
Have I mentioned that being on Tinder in the city where you grew up, when that city is Seattle, where a lot of people stay forever, is both awesome and terrible? My friends are horrified by it. “I would never Tinder in the city where I grew up! What if you see someone you know? What if you see someone who you have tons of Facebook friends in common with?”
Um. I’m here to tell you that I not only see people I know regularly, I sometimes have entire nights where I have mutual Facebook friends with literally every profile that comes up. I wouldn’t call it ideal but I definitely am still alive.
The mutual Facebook friends thing is tricky. If I don’t like the mutual friend, I might be tempted to swipe left. On the other hand, clearly being Facebook friends with someone isn’t indicative of whether or not *I* actually like that person, and the same might be true for the Tinder profile I’m looking at.
I think there should be an option for this on Tinder. “Yes, I know this person but I dislike them / feel neutrally about them / barely know them / generally don’t want to be judged on association. Swipe right if same.” If someone also clicks that button, then you match. You already have so much in common!
I swiped right, Kucinich swiped right, we matched, and I’m like, “I’M JUST SAYING HI” in a direct way that you might call it unnecessary but I would characterize as very necessary.
And I continued to text with my friend about boys we knew in college and what she’s going to name her baby, who at that time was about to pop out any day (now safely popped).
It was basically the most 2015 late-twenties-something moment possible. My life right now: other people’s babies, boys, Tinder.
So let’s talk about fame, the other Millennial obsession. Kucinich asks if I’m writing, and I send him a link to this blog.
Kucinich: …my ticket to fame!
(Welcome, Kucinich. After 40 years in politics, you’ve finally made it.)
I’ve told several dates about this blog. If they’re savvy enough to say, “Do you write about Tinder?”—not a huge leap—I don’t lie. Then I end up giving them the blog name, because I think maybe it’s less scary once you see that I’m mostly writing about behavioral patterns and Tinder profiles rather than writing date reviews.
Ok. I didn’t write date reviews for a few months. I was trying to figure out if it was something I could do without victimizing my poor, hapless dates. JK, I was more worried about having to reveal personal details of my own life that I don’t want my dentist reading.
But also the thing about respecting other people and their privacy. But what’s the point of writing about something—Tinder—if you’re not going to reveal anything that’s actually happening—my sordid love life? But then…how do I write about dates in an interesting, entertaining way without saying too much about them or myself?
Because: Feelings. Sex. The Internet. Some small measure of privacy. Also my mom reads this blog.
How do I explain that I never want to see someone again without sounding mean? How do I express liking someone who has maybe since proved themselves unworthy of that liking? That is okay in theory but scary in reality (just like dating itself). How do I write about feelings that I haven’t yet or will never choose to express to a person—a person who might read this blog and therefore gain access to feelings I don’t want them to know about?
How do I write honestly about you when you’re reading?
Yes, it’s my life, it’s my truth. But I’ve written this blog for 6 years without losing any friends, and I’d sort of like that to continue. And kind people deserve kindness. I’ve been on dates with kind people.
(Yes: If someone shows up and acts like an asshole…then anything goes.)
I’ve always been interested in art with boundaries. I like writing poems in form. It’s an interesting set of parameters that challenges me and gives me an intellectual problem to solve—which has always been a good way from distracting myself from the emotional vulnerability in which I’m about to engage. This isn’t an original idea. Many writers who work with form use it as a way to create a safety net for risky content or scary territory.
(Look! Keep your focus over here—good. Now solve this math problem while you slowly undress.)
We’re all voyeurs. I know why *I* read the Internet. I’m hoping for Seventeen-style most embarrassing sex stories. Yes, even when I’m reading Wired, secretly I’m hoping someone will confess to sleeping with her boyfriend’s twin in a hot tub while his parents were inside ten feet away and pretending she didn’t know the difference, even though she totally did. You are too. Why do you think The New York Times’s Modern Love column is so popular?
I’m still disappointed that my friends aren’t having Seventeen-esque escapades as adults for me to hear about. Step up your game, guys. We all know I won’t do it. Too many germs.
The point is—there is a point—we are deeply into celebrity culture. Our privacy standards have been radically changed by the Internet, and our comfort levels with media have been altered in less than a generation. No one has panicked when I’ve told them that I have a blog, nor when I say that yes, I do write about Tinder. In fact, the typical response is similar to Kucinich’s: “I’m going to be famous!”
And then: “Wait, are you really going to be write about me?”
I can’t tell if this last is said with eagerness, fear, or a thrilling mix of both. Tone is hard to read over text. That’s why we have emojis, but no one’s sent me one so far in this context, fully illuminating the emotional condition of their reaction—because we all know emojis are the eyes of text, and eyes are the window to the soul, and windows can be used when the door is locked and you can’t get in and that’s when God was carrying you down the beach during your journey to womanhood, because a woman is like a [cup of tea emoji].
Grade Kucinich: Fail. He “broke up” with me in college after we’d made out twice—on 4/20—while he was high out of his mind. (I was just going to ghost. No, ghosting wasn’t a term back then, but it’s always been a thing.) I spent the whole time he was talking trying to figure out how to communicate my apathy towards the situation in general and disinterest in the conversation in particular.
Then he asked if he could still come to a house party my roommates were throwing that night.