What follows is an account of some of very real experiences I had on the popular dating app, Tinder.
Don’t get me wrong, Tinder sucks. But with a little patience and an open mind, sometimes you can dig through the mundane conversations and dick pics and actually meet an awesome person.
Let’s be honest though, there’s a lot of bullshit to sift through. To drive this point home, here are just a few examples of shitty experiences I’ve had on Tinder during the 1.5 years of which I was an on-and-off user of the app.
One time, my date showed up dressed in an Elmo costume. I kid you not. A mother-fucking Elmo costume, complete with a giant, fuzzy head. Because I’m one who likes to see a situation through that could turn into a good story, the Elmo costume wasn’t even what made me leave the date. What made me leave the date was after he removed his Elmo head, he proceeded to wipe his eye crusties, examine them on his outstretched index finger, and then LICK THEM OFF.
I was dating a guy I met on Tinder for a few months. We never discussed exclusivity, which was fine by me. I was over at his house one night after a couple weeks of not seeing him. After a romantic evening of making dinner together, drinking wine, and listening to records, I excused myself to use the washroom. Beside his toilet was a lidless garbage container, and sitting on top of the overflowing pile of trash were several very used condoms. EW. Guys, if you’re going to sleep with multiple people, could you at least have some respect and hide the fucking evidence before your next date comes over?
Another time, I was involved in an attempted kidnapping. (In my defense, this was actually my friend’s Tinder match, and not my own.) My friend set up a double date on Tinder while we were on vacation. Our dates-turned-kidnappers came to pick us up at our hotel, and instead of driving us to the agreed upon bar, they continued to drive us 30 minutes down the highway despite our objections and panic-filled shouting. Finally, our would-be-kidnappers were kind enough to dump us on the side of the highway when we threatened to call the police. After managing to hitchhike home, my friend and I agreed that this experience was, simply put, the worst Tinder date ever.
After these experiences, I was ready to put Tinder behind me forever… But after a few final swipes. I matched with a guy named Sergey. He seemed nice, funny, and refreshingly normal. We exchanged some entertaining pleasantries for a few days, and then I gave him my phone number with the intention that we would set a time to meet for drinks.
I had just moved into a new apartment downtown. Built in the early 1940’s, it was an adorable, three-story, brick building with only 11 units. I was so excited to live on my own, roommate free. For the first time, I could buy my own furniture and decorate my home exactly as I wanted. As I was decorating one night, my phone buzzed. It was a text message from Sergey asking what I was up to. I enthusiastically told him I had just finished decorating the living room of my new apartment. I followed the text with a photo of my mantel adorned with fairy lights, candles, and plants.
“… Do you live in the Empress*?” Sergey asked.
Holy shit. I do live in the Empress. Is this guy watching me? Kidnapping flashbacks raced through my mind.
Afraid that I was corresponding with a murderer, I cautiously replied, “I might… Why do you ask?”
“Haha! I recognized the fireplace because I have the same one. I live in the Empress, too! So, you’re the person who just moved into unit 7…”
Staring in disbelief at my phone, I burst out laughing. What were the chances that I was in the midst of planning a Tinder date with one of the ten other occupants of my new apartment building? I was relieved that I was not corresponding with a murderer, but rather a kindly neighbor. Now, a new fear washed over me. What if I decided I hated this guy (much like I had with all of my other Tinder suitors thus far), and I was stuck living beside him until one of us moved or died?
The next day, I entered and exited my apartment, looking over my shoulder, afraid I would have an unexpected run-in with my neighborly Tinder match without being properly prepared. Luckily, this didn’t happen. Throughout the day we exchanged friendly, “Howdy, neighbor” text messages, making jokes about the bizarre coincidence we had uncovered. That night, I was making dinner, listening to Childish Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!” at full blast. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. I did what any reasonable person with a face covered in zit cream would do, and cowered behind my couch until I was sure the unexpected visitor had left.
My phone buzzed. It was Sergey. “Hey, I just tried knocking on your door! Your music was really loud, you must have not heard.”
Phew… I dodged a major, Clearasil encrusted bullet.
“Haha, oh sorry. I didn’t hear you!” I lied. “But maybe we can hang out tomorrow?”
Sergey agreed, and arrived at my door the next night with a bottle of an Argentinean malbec in hand. Hmm, maybe this Tinder match won’t be so bad after all, I thought.
Our real-life first encounter went well, and by some Tinder miracle, Sergey was just as charming in real life as he conveyed himself to be over text messages. In addition to our shared taste in wine and apartment buildings, we’ve discovered we have a mutual appreciation for biking, music, shopping, and Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Needless to say, we continued seeing each other.
For the many months I’ve lived in the Empress so far, I was bound to have met Sergey without the help of Tinder. We’ve bumped into each other in the hallway several times since I’ve moved in. However, had it not been for Tinder being the catalyst for our initial meeting, I do not believe our relationship would have blossomed into a romantic one. We probably would have exchanged pleasant hellos when we ran into each other, much like my interactions with the other tenants in the building. While finding a genuine connection with someone on Tinder without getting abducted can be cumbersome, my experience has shown it is possible.
Ten months later, I’m happy to report that neither of us have had to move or die yet.
*Not actually the name of my building.