My friend Jessie is addicted. All she can talk about are the multiple guys who like her (apparently 18 over the last two days) and all the hilarious conversations she is having. Some of them even want to meet her!
When her boyfriend asks if she knows what Tinder is, Jessie tells the truth: yes.
When her boyfriend asks if she has a Tinder, Jessie lies: no.
“Do you?” She replies.
“I wish I did, when I was single,” he says wistfully.
Trying not to act offended, she says: “Get one, it’s just harmless fun!”
“I don’t need that — I have you,” he insists.
Feeling guilty, Jessie deletes her Tinder.
Snowed in with him and drunk two nights later, Jessie admits that she lied; she did have a Tinder, just for a little, but it wasn’t a big deal.
He’s hurt, he’s mad, how can he trust her if she lies about these supposedly little things?
My friend Nicole is intrigued. She freely texts lots of guys she meets through Tinder, even if she has no intention of meeting them. Always a bit judgmental, she enjoys the activity of critiquing guys based on a few profile pictures or music taste. I think it makes her feel a bit powerful.
Nicole is prettier than me. Or she photographs better. Maybe both. The amount of guys who show interest in her on Tinder is pretty high. These guys are attractive. More attractive than the ones who talk to her in real life, but that is probably because she isn’t as friendly towards guys in real life. She is comforted by the virtual wall between her and her suitors.
Finally, Nicole gets a match she is excited about. His name is Sam. He’s a year younger than us, but he is very hot and he goes to Harvard.
He asks her to Snapchat, and she hesitates, but agrees. It isn’t long before she starts receiving photos of his penis at strange times of day (such as 3 p.m.).
He starts asking for naked pictures back, which she refuses, and then he offers his number.
They start texting, and Nicole informs me that she is going to Harvard.
She takes the T, has sex, comes home.
“The conversation was okay, but weird. Sex was good,” she says (only telling me about the quality of sex when asked; she isn’t the type to discuss that).
As far as I know, she has no plans to see Sam again.
I am entertained. I love the “hot or not” concept. I just want people that I think are attractive to feel mutually about me. Not to mention seeing the weirdly desperate high school students or creepy 30-year-olds; it is all an entertainment source or an ego boost.
Kevin was one of my first matches. Though he was listed as two years younger than myself, I assumed he was just a younger college freshman and that I was an older college sophomore. After some brief and uninteresting conversation, he asks for permission to text me. I agree to his request, following Nicole’s lead.
Despite a huge snowstorm, Kevin wants to meet me. I have no interest in leaving the building, nor do I want him finding out where I live. I decline and push it for the next day.
The next day I do the same.
Finally, I cannot escape his pleas and the weather is safer. I agree to meet him at a burger place near my dorm. It’s 5 p.m. on a Sunday.
Kevin looks almost nothing like the photo he sent me; I did not recognize him. He has the mannerisms of Mark Zuckerberg circa the mogul’s portrayal in The Social Network. Worse still, he is actually a high school senior.
He orders himself onion rings and chomps on them while asking me about myself in a way that resembles a Law and Order type of interrogation. He offers me some onion rings once but I decline. I don’t consume anything.
Kevin brags about money, has an obsession with hot tubs, and has lots of social commentary on Boston public high schools. Originally from New York, I have no feelings on the topic.
As an excuse to text, I tell him my roommate is having boyfriend problems and I am helping her.
“Ugh, relationship drama. That’s why I stick to casual sex.”
The 18-year-old high school senior who so obviously has not had enough female interaction is into casual sex.
“I don’t know,” I say, “I feel like in the end most people eventually want a relationship, or even a friend with benefits. Just so you have someone who is always around, you know?”
He shakes his head. “I’m a guy.”
I feel both over and underwhelmed.
An hour has passed when my cry for rescue is heard and fulfilled. I send my roommate to the counter to buy something while I close this “date.”
“I’m going to be honest, I’m looking for a friends with benefits thing right now. Does that work for you?”
Not “Do you want to?” but “Does that work for you?” Obviously, I am captivated enough that I won’t be saying no to a chance to jump Kevin.
“I don’t know, I’m already in a friends with benefits relationship…” This is not a lie.
“So you can have two!”
“I don’t know if I’ll have time for that,” I say, trying to be gentle.
Perhaps age is just a number, but me being a second year college student and him being a high school senior couples with the lack of attraction and fills me with disgust.
“We should do this again sometime soon,” he insists.
I don’t think I am nearly attractive enough to have made this bad hour of awkward conversation worth repeating, even with the imaginary promise of sex.
My roommate returns with a giggle and a shake with two straws. Kevin shakes both of our hands and my roommate bursts into laughter as he walks in the opposite direction.