A few months back, while I was on a layover in Washington, DC., I decided to log into everyone’s favorite dating app these days: Tinder. Within the hour, I had been connected to a few girls and one in particular that I liked. We had a few friends in common and one of them was a girl that I had grown up with from 2nd grade through high school graduation. My Tinder match, Anne, had worked with my childhood friend for 2 years in DC and was going to her wedding in October.
Sure, I had known our friend in common from age 7 to 18 but I had absolutely no clue she was getting married. After a few more rounds of flirtatious messaging, the question came, “So, wouldn’t it be kind of crazy if you came as my date?” At first, of course even though I said yes, it was more of a joke. More of an in the moment hilarity. However, in the one hour of my layover in Washington, DC, I had a met a girl on a dating app, was friends with her on Facebook, followed her on Instagram, had exchanged numbers and…was going to an old friend’s wedding with her in North Carolina. Usually I just go to the bar on layovers.
Now as nuts as this all may seem to someone much older, this kind of stuff happens all the time these days. As witnessed on the MTV phenomenon, “Catfish,” people carry on entire relationships online and months, even years pass, before these people even wish to meet up. The reason Tinder has been so successful with pretty much everyone in the 18 to 30 year old bracket, is because it “sort-of, kinda” takes away the creepiness of an online flirtation. The fact that we had 3 friends in common and one of them being an old, dear friend, made the idea of a wedding date not all that crazy, even if it was.
As this was early summer and the wedding was in late October, we had a few months to spare. I told most of my friends and most of them laughed it off, assuming that I would lose interest or when October came, I would get cold feet. It was truly quite the opposite. Anne and I texted weekly, liked all of eachothers’ posts, had begun SnapChatting with eachother back and forth and had even found out that we would both be attending FreeFest, a music festival right outside of Washington, DC. This was in early September and this would be the first meetup before we truly committed to a wedding.
However, the week of the concert came and I noticed Anne becoming more distant through texts. Until, sure enough, the day before the concert, I received a text from her that her best friend was engaged and was going to be in town. She couldn’t meet at all this weekend and was selling her ticket to the concert that very day. I was dumbfounded. This sounded like complete and utter bullshit. We had a few texts back and forth, when I finally said, “Well, I wanted this to be our first meet up before the wedding, but I guess we can figure it out.” To which, she replied with, “HA, oh, about that, I actually have to work an event that weekend, so that’s off too.”
And that’s how it goes these days. I met a girl on an app, while waiting on a layover. Within an hour, we had grand plans and were connected on every single social network. A few months later, also within an hour, the grand plans were gone, and within a few months, so were the social network connections, too. I went to DC anyway and had the time of my life. I sent her a few “fuck you” snapchats from the amazing concert, naturally. But soon enough, I stopped receiving snapchats all together, the status likes on Facebook started to slip, no more picture likes on Instagram and, of course, the texts were done, as well.
Nowadays, we’re all just a swipe on someone’s smartphone or a recommendation on a dating site. We carry on entire relationships without ever even seeing someone. It doesn’t really affect us when we fuck someone over, because we never really knew the person begin with. I’ve got dozens of friends who blow off Tinder dates all the time, sometimes just not even showing up for the date. These are things that most of us would never dream of doing if we had actually met the person first. But, that’s not how it works these days. Yes, you can still meet a girl at a bar and grab her number and only have sex on the 3rd date and yada yada yada. But I’ll never forget the first time a girl approached me at a bar and said, “Aren’t you Stu from Tinder?” I quickly ordered another drink.
The other day, my friend told me about a site that allows you to see which people you follow on Instagram that don’t follow you back. Sure enough, Anne was there in the midst of it. Who knows how long it had been since she had decided that the kid on the screen wasn’t worth it, since she had secretly, in her own mind, decided that we were never actually going to meet. Because as soon as one person is swiped to the left, there’s a thousand more possibilites, a thousand more people in a hundred cities that you can meet up with at anytime. There is no “Mr. Right” these days, there’s a million of us out there, just waiting to be picked. But if one line goes wrong, one picture turns you off, one tweet annoys you, well…then they’re out forever.
Yeah, I unfollowed her, too.