“We don’t say that word around here”, Nate* whispered.
“Tinder is sort-of frowned upon. No one wants to admit that they’re on it. If you’re on Tinder, it means you’re desperate” Nate added.
I laughed and turned to my right to shake the friend’s hand on the stool beside me. “Nate and I are here on a Tinder date” I smiled, unapologetically.
Was I desperate? Was he desperate? What were his intentions? Since when was I the girl to judge a boy based on five pixelated photos, a 300 character biography and an intermittent Instagram account?
Let me explain:
After a two-month binger of traveling and socializing throughout the States and Europe, I anticipated quality alone time here in Bonita Springs, Florida. A warm winter to unwind, pay off debts, get into shape and live amongst the retired. Though at 23, my heart aches for interaction outside of the gated community I am so safely house-sitting for the time being.
So I picked up a few trends I once criticized my closest friends for following.
Day one of my Floridian residency, I joined Crossfit. I won’t be blowing up your Instagram feed with videos of my burpies, but I do have a story in progress about the captivating environment the Crossfit gym creates. And while I engage with the sweaty bodies within the box, the wide demographic makes it difficult to pursue outside social synergy.
After familiarizing myself at the gym, I gained the confidence to approach my peers.
“But how?” hummed the restless extrovert inside my head.
“All your neighbors are postmenopausal! Where will you find millennials to drink beers on the beach with under the moonlight?”
Dear Lord, I have high social expectations.
Fortunately as a millennial, I have every aid to connect with like-minded individuals at my disposal. With Tinder, an online dating app which allows you to connect with people in a selective radius, I took the plunge and decided to find out what the hype was all about. After serious contemplation and girlfriend inquiry, the infamous coral flame dowloaded onto my iPhone.
How should I describe myself? I wondered as I filled out my profile. How can I market myself without looking like every other “basic bitch” in the online dating world?
I have a degree. I am somewhat interesting.
I came terribly close to posting: “Just looking for friends!” in solicitude of meeting anyone worthy of good company.
So I dressed my biography in sarcastic humor pertaining my hobbies, in hope to find people of similar taste.
Once my virtual self was complete, it was time to play:
*Guy taking a shirtless selfie in the mirror*
*Guy holding a baby*
*A flexed bicep, draped in tattoos*
*Five guys intoxicated at a casino, all wearing sunglasses*
Was there any hope?
*Guy atop a mountain, smiling, with a decent profile*
“It’s a Match!”
“You and Mountain Man have liked each other”
I can now decide to:
-Message Mountain Man
-Tell my Friends
Undoubtedly, I tell my friends. Though instead of sharing this match through social media, I leave the app to group message my select confidants of experienced Tinder daters.
That is until Mountain Man blows up my feed:
Hey? Who says hey? Are we 13? Is this AIM? Do I reply with a “NM, U?”
My word, I was in over my head.
Though after a few more matches and innumerable “Hey’s”, I picked a few good prospects. One of which, was Nate. He seemed gentle enough to accept his invite for happy hour, though I rethought my RSVP just hours before the date while shopping in Sephora:
“Do you have mace?” Asked the make-up artist.
“No”, I responded in deep consideration. I reassured her I was meeting him at a popular bar in daylight as she picked out the perfect shade of pink lipstick for my Tinder date.
After some retail therapy I calmed my nerves with a cold glass of Pino Grigio and confronted my close knit group of Snapchat friends to express the anxiety and thought process prior to the date:
“Who am I?”
“I don’t date people I just want to make friends!”
“It’s cool, It’s cool, people go on dates. Normal people go on dates.”
I let all 100 or so Snapchat friends know that I, Jenny Martin, a gratified single girl advocate, was on her way to a date.
In response, texts poured in throughout the night from supportive followers asking about my date I so vocally announced on social media.
And my response:
“It was good. We had fun. I met a few of his buddies but I’m putting him in the friend zone.”
Which was the truth. Although Nate was not as open to admitting he followed through with a Tinder date, I was proud.
I was proud to put myself out there, to take a chance on a complete stranger. Whatever happens with the people I meet on this app, I know I’ll be happier exploring the hidden nightlife within retirement paradise rather sitting on my couch for the weekend.
So whether I continue to date or use Tinder for friendly meet-ups, I know, that in no circumstances, that I am desperate.
*All Names Have Been Changed