The year I decided to give Tinder a go was a big one for me. Having taken a twelve month Career Break from work, I was four months into running two separate and unrelated businesses and balancing an incredible social life. I was having a fantastic time discovering new things about myself.
For instance, that year I discovered I’m more than mildly afraid of goats. Specifically medium sized, female goats with big horns that like to climb onto outside-tables and attempt to body-slam you as you walk by. I also discovered that I enjoy drinking warm whiskey when it was cold outside; I sleep almost diagonally across the bed, half on my side and half on my stomach with my legs splayed open in a ‘run’ pose; that my goldfish is a cold-blooded murderer; and that I just don’t like spooning. Life was pretty good.
Grimes had been nagging at me for what seemed like forever (it was like three days) about getting onto Tinder. He wasn’t quite sure he liked the new, independent, single and happy me. Of course that’s a joke, he just likes it when I have drama to bitch about. And since I’d sworn off relationships, this was the only way he could secure his daily entertainment. One night, during a visit from Ruth (our beautiful and eternally close friend), he pleaded again for me to give it a go, constantly badgering me with “Come onnn! What’s the worst that can happen?”. Ruth was well and truly ready to be on the Tinder-bandwagon herself; by living through me, of course. Because Tinder was scary and not her thing. Someone needed to blaze the trail (even though Grimes had been an active member of the Tinder population for a few months already). And so I reluctantly (and eloquently, I might add) replied, “Oh for fuck’s sake, alright!”.
We spent the next hour building my profile – picking out appropriate pictures, pulling together words for a blurb about myself (and by the bye, I always find those things so awkward and intrusive – WHO AM I? And how do I tell you who I am in four sentences without sounding like a vain psycho that could end up boiling your rabbbit?). I should also point out that this was my VERY FIRST experience with the online dating world. I didn’t know what I was doing, or how I was supposed to do what I didn’t know I was doing, or what the rules were in this weird dating game. But Grimes, ever the supportive friend, keep reassuring me that “She’ll be right, mate!”. And so, trusting my best friend (who would never dream of pushing me out of my comfort zone and watching me make a dick of myself through the experience just because it entertains him… [obviously I’m joking, he’s a fuck]) and as soon as my profile was ready, I took a quick and nervous breath, and got to swiping.
Almost immediately, I had matches. Here I was swiping left or right on photos of men I would probably never meet because they were either too pretty or too stupid (mostly both) for me to consider even having a conversation with them. The whole time I was swiping, I felt like a shallow, bottom-feeder; how can you tell if someone is a decent person just by looking at a photo of their face (or car, or child, or dog)?? I was really struggling to understand. Now don’t get me wrong, I would read the blurbs, but guys! Your blurbs are so few and far between! It’s like you have no idea what to say about yourself so you post pictures you hope will make you look wild, tough, and interesting, never realising that (and I’m generalising here), you just look like an idiot. For the most part, all I saw were pictures of men with their shirts off, or at the gym with their shirts off, or with a mellowed-out tiger with their shirts off (that one in particular was an instant LEFT from me – don’t vagrantly waive your support of animal cruelty in my face, you cunt). Every now and then, an appropiate pic and blurb would come up and I’d swipe RIGHT. Surprisingly, I would get an (almost) immediate notification that I ‘HAVE A MATCH!’. I laughed with nervous excitement because I had no fucking idea what to do next.
“Umm! Someone sent me a message!” I squealed, nervously at my friends as they sat beside me laughing about how shit I am at life (standard). “The fuck do I do now?”, I said loud enough to stop their banter. Grimes rolled his eyes and said “REPLY!”. I shrugged; seems legit.
And there it began; I was chatting to two different boys via an online dating app, swapping jokes and favourite movie quotes. It was all very innocent and simple at the time.
That is until 3 days later,when Drew, 29 from the Northern Beaches, wanted to meet up with me. That day was a heatwave and I was out washing dogs (I ran a mobile dog grooming service at the time) in a fibreglass trailer that I’m pretty sure was once a kiln. Around 4:00 pm that afternoon, I heard my phone beep with ‘the Tinder tone’ and I smiled to myself as I continued to scrub, brush and pull birs out of the chest-fur of the petulant Caucasian Shepherd that towered over me (please Google what they look like, holy fucking shit). With my humidified, unruly, fly-away hairs sticking to my forehead as sweat rolled out of every pore on my face and down my neck, I stood up and sang to myself, Ooh! Someone wants to talk to me! And I used the clean part of my right forearm to wipe my brow.
Now, for any dog groomers who may be reading this, you know what I mean when I say “I was elbow deep in dog and just couldn’t get to the phone.”. But for those of you who have never been blessed with the amazing experience that is grooming dogs, it basically means “I’m currenty dripping dirty water from every part of my clothing and smell as if a pack of wet dogs used me as a bath towel all at once. My legs are either covered in splattered mud from Staffy paws or Cocker Spaniel shit and I haven’t quite figured out which one. Not to mention, there’s probably about half a litre of St Bernard drool in my hair and down my back from 7:00 am; sorry, can’t get to the phone right now.” By the time I was finished with Shark (Yes, that was the name of this beautiful and stubborn 95kg dog – Shark.), it was after 6:00 pm and I had long forgotten about Tinder and/or Drew, 29 from the Northern Beaches. By the time I got home it was close to 7:30 pm, and by the time I’d caught up with Grimes, cooked dinner, had a glass of wine and sat down to look at my phone, it was well after 9:00 pm. It was then I remembered my mate Drew.
I picked up the phone, opened Tinder and discovered a text from him at 3:56 pm that day:
“Hi Melanie, fancy meeting up tonight? I thought maybe we could have coffee. *smiley face emoji*”
I replied instantly, “Hi Drew! Sorry for my delayed reply, I literally just looked at my phone. Looks like tonight is a write-off, what a shame! Maybe some other time? *angel-face emoji*”
I checked the time again – 9:18 pm. Fuck.
What time did he sent his original text? 3:56 pm. Fuuuck.
I checked the message thread – he can’t see when I opened the text. Fuuuuuuck.
He probably thinks I’ve ignored him on purpose. FUCKING FUCK.
He probably thinks I just used my job as an excuse not to meet up with him because he knew I was nervous about meeting up with him because he also knew I’d never met up with anyone online before and now I’m a coward and he won’t ever want to talk to me again. FUCK FUCKITY FUCK FUCK FUCK.
Yep, total melt-down about how this guy I’ve known for three days via a chat thread might think I’m a liar and a fraud, all because I was actually busy living my life and missed his text asking me on a date that I’m pretty sure I would have said no to anyway.
So I took a deep breath and a big swig of my cheap cabernet and did what any other sane, normal, level-headed and totally adult person would have done.
I deleted the app.
It was 9:21 pm.