By Michele Maria Serrapica
Art by James Rieck
Tinder is not for everybody. It doesn't mean it's just for cool or sexy people. You can be ugly, like most of my Tinder addicted friends are, or weird like only Odin knows how weird that Portuguese girl I was hanging out with was. You'll get your match, if you're suited for Tinder. And the only way to find it out is through experience.
So, after more than one year, I can firmly say Tinder is not for me.
Let's be clear: I'm a good-looking (my mom always says so), funny and interesting (quote from my MotivateBot) guy, but I didn't even match at all for the first two months of “tinderation”. It may have been my fault at the beginning, I was using the wrong pictures to “advertise” myself. Because, at the end of the day, what is Tinder if not a butcher's shop window where meats model for your own pleasure, waiting to be pointed at to point back at you in reward?
Anyway, the time came when I changed my photos and a new era began for my virtual persona. I was having my first matches and, alongside this, I was finding out how different users act.
You have the “Keats followers”: people who believes in “match for matching’s sake”, they will never text you or answer to one of your stupid ‘pick-up lines’. You have the “whoops, my bad” ones, who are going to unmatch you a few minutes after having matched you, probably because they swiped right by mistake and, now that they're looking accurately at you, they realise you are disgusting. You have the “I forgot the gas stove's on”, with whom you chat, you get to know each other (a little), you have fun, you decide to meet and, then, around and hour before the not-so-called-date, they text you “sorry I just found my best friend lying in a blood pit so I must run to catch and kill his murderer right now” or “sorry but aliens are abducting me so I have to fight them back in order to save myself and humankind from an extra-terrestrial grand-scale-invasion” and they vanish or block you on their social media.
Let me point out something before going on. This is not only a personal point of view, but the point of view of a straight male user looking for straight female users. They are shared experiences nonetheless.
However, despite my bad photos and my awful pick-up lines, I've been able to gain a few Tinder dates too. Yes, mates, I can.
Of course, even if little in quantity, my dates were all, how to put it, “original”. The very first one was with R. the blonde. We met in a park, we drank, we made out, then everybody back to their own house. We kept in touch since we liked each other, but, when I asked for a second date, she told me she had to record the sound of life and death in a park and then edit it for her portfolio. I said ok. The next day, she flew to Thailand so I checked my bank account, just in case. Everything was where it was supposed to be. Maybe it was just the consequence of a Tinder date with me.
Once, I was very lucky. This girl, N., she was cute, we were both screenwriters (well, she's a professional, I'm a bloody wannabe), we had lots of interests in common, and we texted for a while before meeting because we were both busy at the time. Then, we met, she ordered a non-alcoholic cocktail and I suddenly turned asexual. Later, we went to watch a Marvel movie and I paid 27 quid for it, since apparently everyone thinks paying for their dates is what Italian dudes do. The end of the movie was the end of our date too. Next time she texted me, I said I was busy even if I wasn't and that was all. Sorry.
But the day came when I had my life-changing experience, my tindery masterpiece, my magnum opus date. Yeah, I'm pretty proud of it. I opened the app after work to find out I matched with J., a curvy, curly, apparently sexy thirty-year-old woman stating something like “Im off today and I wanna get a beer with a nice guy, if we match don't fuck ur chance up” in her profile. I texted her while I was going to a bike shop to change my flat inner tube. She gave me her number, we set an appointment, then I started cycling back home. At the time, there were works on Tower Bridge, so I had to get off the bike and walk. I was almost running, but I still managed to check my phone. J. had unmatched me and blocked me on whatsapp. I sent her an sms asking why, she said it was because I didn't reply to her last text. I told her I was cycling and tried being nice even if she was not (she even said I was acting like that because I knew I could never again match with someone as beautiful as she was), but we fixed it and so I cycled home as fast as possible.
Honestly, I had so many warnings, I should have seen it coming, but I was too excited, I was going to finally make it!
Anyway, I shaved my (little) hair, trimmed my beard, had a shower. In the meantime, J. was being nice again and even changed the meet-up place to a pub closer to me, so I didn't have to travel too long. I was about to have my first date in a long time while one of my flatmates was cooking her first hot meal in a long time too. Coincidences. I left home and got to the place and I started getting worried. There was me, in my super-hipster outfit, this long and large grey coat, my earrings and my beard, staring at this builders' after-work pub. I'm not making any discrimination of any sort, I love these places, but it was obvious I was in the wrong place in the wrong moment. As soon as I went in, everybody started staring me, of course. I mean, I would've stared at myself too in such a circumstance. Everybody's still in their work suit drinking cheap beer on dirty tables, I was ridiculously sticking out like a sore thumb. But, “well, probably it's close to her place meaning we are just meeting for a quick chat and an even quicker beer before leaving” I told myself.
J. was late, people kept staring at me, I felt uncomfortable, so I went out and there she was. She didn't look exactly like her photos. I realised only in that moment how geordie she was, at a “cash me ousside howbow dah” level. And she looked older than my fifty-year-old mom, in a way that it seemed as though life had consumed her. Things didn't get better when we went indoors, and J. said hello to everybody. She knew all the regulars. I was feeling sick. J. invited me to take a seat while she headed to the toilet and that's when it happened. I turned back, I went outside and I started running. I ran and I laughed, and I ran and I laughed. I could feel J. behind me, I knew she wasn't there, but I was so scared I felt her chasing me and trying to hit me with her purse while shouting blasphemies like the hellspawn she was. I was inside the first train heading home in a matter of seconds. I blocked J.'s number everywhere except sms, where she texted me very bad things, calling me short, fat, bald and saying she had a new date already. I blocked her sms’s and texted my flatmate instead, asking her to cook something for me as well. Her carbonara was lousy.
Tinder is not for everybody. Or it might not be for cowards and liars. Maybe Tinder is only for bold people who love adventures and fight danger. Or it's for lucky people only. Who knows. I don't have the knowledge to assure it, but I can be at least positive on one thing: Tinder is definitely not for me.