It’s really awkward when we can’t all be humans safely

This culture of violence against women that the world has been rocking for the last couple of millennia has a lot of downsides.

One of the downsides is the awkwardly imbalanced conversations that happen when online dating.

Me: So what do you do for work?

Him: I’m a Project Manager in the Video Games Division at Amazon. I work on the fourth floor, office C. Here’s my email and mother’s maiden name. What do you do?

Me: I’m a writer.

Him: Cool. So have you lived in Seattle long?

Me: A while. You?

Him: Moved here last December 13. Live in a nice apartment in the Central District on 19th and Union. Third window from the left. Lock doesn’t work very well. Do you like your neighborhood?

Me: Yes. (*frantically googles to make sure every neighborhood in Seattle has pizza*) It has good pizza.

Him: Do you want to go out for pizza sometime?

Me: Sure! Does Capitol Hill work for you? Not saying I live there, just saying it’s a busy public neighborhood that’s conveniently located to most places so I could live basically anywhere, but I can meet you there.

I actually had a guy—on a first date—say, “So you’re a writer—what does that mean? I mean, you don’t have to tell me where or anything.”

I really appreciate that the men I’ve interacted with on Tinder have avoided asking me identifying questions—or at least been chill about my vague answers.

To some extent, I think nice men who date online go out of their way to appear un-creepy. Re-read that sentence with me and really let it sink in.

My friend Nicole says her guy friend who dates online always avoids asking his dates anything personal.

No one’s suggested picking me up at my house or walking me home. One date who I was otherwise having a really sweet, easy time with wouldn’t return the gesture after I’d touched his arm several times. I think one dude avoided looking at me for the hour and a half we spent together. Sometimes I get confused and sort of feel rejected, then I re-orient to what’s going on and I really appreciate it.

This is the new gentlemanly code of conduct. Welcome to the world we’ve created, folks.

When I first joined Tinder, I was explaining how it works to a friend. His first question was, “But wait—what if I match with some girl and she messages me and she says, u r cute—??”

He said and r with so much disgust in his voice that I knew how he was spelling them.

“Let’s just take a second,” I said, “and recognize that your greatest fear about online dating is that someone will compliment you using letters in place of words. My greatest fear about online dating is that I could be raped and murdered.”

We sat there, eating french fries and nodding for a little while. Then I acknowledged that you could always unmatch someone if they messaged u and u didn’t like it—whether cuz of the way she spells qt pie 4 lyfe or a threat against your physical safety and life.

Then we talked about whether or not his girlfriend was likely to understand that he just wanted to go on Tinder for the entertainment of swiping, no really, and wasn’t trying to meet someone. I think Tinder would make for a great couple’s activity.

But you should hear the rage that fills my single girlfriends when they see people on Tinder who aren’t on there to actually meet people. YOU’RE CLOGGING UP THE SYSTEM, they yell. GET THE F*** OUT.

Because they have hope. Because we’re humans, and humans like humans on an individual-level. I hope you’re being safe. I hope you’re being persistent. I hope you get lucky.