I went on my first Tinder date very spontaneously. Also I broke my own rule.
He didn’t have anything written in his profile. But I thought he was really cute, proving that we’re all shallow assholes when it comes down to it, and I swiped on him mostly to prove my own theory that someone that hot wouldn’t also swipe right on me, proving we’re all insecure wimps who love rejection. Turns out I was wrong. Then I laughed like Ursula in Little Mermaid.
HAHAHAHAHAH! You’re mine now, you fool!
And then I opened by saying something earnest, like, Hi [redacted]! You have beautiful pictures. Are you a photographer?
And then he said he was in the area and oh hey, if you’re free, we could get a drink tonight / right now? And here’s my last name so you can google me if that helps. So thoughtful! If google returns a bunch of articles about serial killers, I definitely will hide under my bed and research how to best smash the GPS on my phone so he can’t track me that way instead of going.
I asked my sister if she thought he was a serial killer and texted 3 people his picture and then I went. Because I’m practicing saying why not? And sure, I say it in the same tone of voice that 5-year-olds say, “Broccoli?” but still. Practice!
And no, he wasn’t a photographer, but a cinematographer. I probably haven’t told you guys about my biggest crush of all time, this cinematographer who was a graduate student the year that I did film studies in college, who taught me how to frame a shot (instantly forgotten). We had long conversations about what it means to be an artist (lost with my college email account), and how to tell stories visually and verbally (still practicing), and he told me I could be an artist if I wanted and I believed him in that way that you do when someone who makes beautiful things looks you in the eye and says you can too. And he smoked cigarettes constantly, which was the only time I avoided him, and he stayed away from me like he knew exactly how head-over-heels I was and liked me enough not to make a mistake.
So, yeah: I heard this guy was a cinematographer and, like all people you meet online, he was 20% less hot in person than he was in his pictures, which in his case meant he looked like a very good-looking person and not a YA book cover.
While we had a drink, we talked about our jobs, and being in creative fields. When he heard it was my first Tinder date, he insisted that a true first Tinder date had to involve more than a drink at the bar, and at least must also have a walk around the city. So we went walking. On busy, well-lit streets in a neighborhood I know well (see: serial killer. I didn’t get to page 2 of the google results, and you never know). He asked how I felt about cigarettes—I may have made my broccoli face—but he said he was trying to quit. (You guys at home are like, liar!) We talked about a film festival he’d been in (I’d probably be yelling liar! with you, but remember, I’d googled him), and he made me name journals I’d had poems in and then pretended he’d heard of them. We stopped at another bar and played Pinball and Ms. Pac-Man until we ran out of quarters and then meandered up the street. While he talked about his favorite Robert Frost poem.
If this was meant as a move, it wasn’t particularly effective. Don’t get me wrong, I love Frost, but I’m not particularly attached to talking about him at 11:00 at night with some guy I just met whose opinion on Frost I really couldn’t care less about. And it’s not like Frost is a particularly impressive poet to name. I was more interested in the fact that he asked me if I hated Frost, and so I asked him if he hated Spielberg, and the answer on both sides was no I love him and then we both got to act like excited idiots about idols that are so popular we’re supposed to disdain them as “sell-outs” and instead my heart is singing When I grow up, I want to be famous! I want to be a star! I want to have boobies!
He swung me around on a quiet street and kissed me under a streetlight.
Then I split off at a random corner because I wasn’t about to let him know where I lived because I want to live to go on another Tinder date, hello. He immediately sent me his phone number over Tinder—so good! I can decide whether to give him mine or just reply without awkwardly refusing as I might have if he’d asked for mine. We exchanged perfect emojis the next day while I was doing laundry and we made a joke together about speed walking.
Frost may not be the road less traveled into my heart, but jokes about speed walking definitely are a footpath.
Beautiful! Cute! Texting perfection! Who cares that he actually lives 40 minutes away and must have fooled Tinder by being in my area temporarily when I swiped on him! Who cares that he smokes and I think smoking is disgusting; he’s trying to quit! That’s always successful, right? Who cares that I just got on Tinder and maybe am interested in going on more than one date before I hang up my Tindering hat; I can keep dating other people for at least a few months while also kissing this one because kissing is fun and that emoji was really well chosen!
When I texted him the next week about getting together again, he gave me a vague “maybe” and I haven’t heard from him since.
Grade: F minus minus. He’s dead to me.