// A sort of experiment
Hypothesis : That I will not meet ‘the one’ but I will have some good conversations, ‘real life’ meetings and make some new friends.
Actually, let’s think about this – this is Tinder we are talking about. So, scratch that.
Hypothesis II : I will experience utter disappointment after secretly hoping to meet ‘the one’ (even though this is Tinder we are talking about) and my faith in humanity will most definitely not be restored.
A (good, pretty, talented and always logical) friend recommended Tinder as a way of meeting new people. Apparently, gone was the stereotype of the App being used primarily for talking dirty, setting up one-night-stands and seeking out new ‘hotline bling’ contacts.
So, I downloaded the Tinder App from the Apple App Store. Onto my iPhone 5S. I have WIFI at home and an unreliable 4G connection when out and about.
Cautious still, telling myself the cause of such a stray from everything good and pure was for a social experiment, but furtively proud that I was about to embark on ‘putting myself out there’ (Is this the kind of thing that ALAN would do?!) I logged in with my Facebook profile – stating I was ‘here’ for interesting conversation, mini adventures, and ‘seeing what happens’…
In a couple of days (when my TinderAddiction knew no boundaries – swipe, swipe) I’d had a few matches, and I found my TinderCrush.
Maybe it was because he was the first man with any hint of possible accessibility that I’d been physically attracted to in a loooooong time, and although he looked like someone I would never approach in ‘real’ life (I had the instant impression he was way out of my league), something compelled me to start conversation.
I was on this side of the screen, safe in the comfort of my own home – he was a mystery, stranger, but shared his Instagram feed (a feature that you can do within the Tinder App – I didn’t however, as most of my Insta photos are of a baby and cats – typically not the way you would attract a potential date) and I could already tell he was a nice person.
As we started conversing (he replied to me, OMG!), talking about music and what we did for a living – I determined that his only flaws were some minor spelling issues, sporadic use of the ‘word’ ‘lol’, and also that he left long, agonising gaps of time (like, 3 hours) between replies, and even then his messages were short and hardly referenced any of the relative essay-length messages I had started to send to him. Nonetheless, I casually looked past these ‘points against’ why he might not be my perfect man, cos he had cool tattoos and cute hair, a nose piercing and was a professional photographer, and actually a really good one. His Instagram feed displayed photos of him laughing with a cute kid, photos of his dog – whom he obviously loved, photos of him smiling with people that were of a different skin colour to him… He described himself in his profile as a big softie, a geek, honest and had love for everyone. He played guitar and piano, and he preferred to read books (yes, real fucking books) over watching TV. Oh, and he also liked Disney (AUTOMATIC BONUS PERFECT MAN POINTS).
I told him he was sweet, I told him I thought he was hot. I tried my best at flirting (what an abominable concept) and it seemed to be working -he said I was a breath of fresh air, he seemed genuinely concerned when I messaged him to tell him that I’d burnt myself whilst cooking (I know, I know, who the hell tells anyone that for no reason) – He asked if he could see my work, hear some of my music and what did I really look like anyway? (My TinderPic was a photo several years old of my face in profile, mostly obscured by hair that I no longer have). After I turned into a proverbial teenager and asked him ‘who would be your celebrity crush?’ he stated that he didn’t have a ‘type’. What a perfect answer. I thought there was hope, then.
Everything was going well, he seemed genuinely interested in the going on’s of my real, natural life…
And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like
I’m not a psycho
But I stalked you on Instagram
Like seriously Leonie, W T actual F?
And, without realising it I had become one of them. A creepy online weirdo. I kept checking his Instagram, checking to see if he was alive, if he was alive why was he taking so long to get back to me? What could I say to keep him interested, how could I come across as affable, cool, nice, how could I make myself better than I actually am?!
I contacted him in bursts of 2, 3 messages – with no reply in-between. I referenced quotes from his favourite movie, I googled song lyrics from his favourite band and copied and pasted them into our ‘conversation’.
I became the monster I was always wary of, and I couldn’t help it, I didn’t notice it, I couldn’t stop it.
I daydreamed about what I would say to him if we met, how I would explain away the reason my hair was unkempt (ahgh weather blah blah blah) – what shoes would I wear? I needed to buy new shoes. How would I counteract the obvious disappointment he would have upon seeing my actual real life face, with unmade eyebrows and dry lips – maybe I could say something witty, I could just pretend I was totally confident and wear lipgloss and not care if my wispy hair stuck to it or not. I would be just right. We’d laugh, it would be easy to talk.
I wished I was a model with lilac hair, someone that looked interesting, that could pull off dark lipstick and smokey eyes. Why didn’t I look good in selfies? Why were my eyes always tired and my Instagram feed so full of nothing, nothing at all. I wanted to show him how great I was, I’m funny – right? I’m a bit weird, but that’s cool, yeh? I can play instruments too, and I take photos of things – we both like music, art, dogs and books, oh yeah I’m studying an MA in Fine Art something, if anyone let me I would be the worlds bestest best friend, I would sacrifice myself for you, I would always support you in whatever you wanted to do – I am the kind of person that would believe in you darling, that’s what really matters – isn’t it? I’d shave my legs and learn how to kiss again, I’d be enigmatic and exciting and you should be my friend, at the very least, cos I’m more than just another girl on Tinder.
Rule no. 1 of being a Psycho –
Tell someone you’re not a Psycho
Rule no. 2 of being a Psycho –
Tell someone you are actually stalking them on social media.
I did both. And for that I am truly ashamed.
Why didn’t I really just wait to ‘see what happens’ ?
Intoxicated by real life red wine, deep into online creep mode, impatient at the time it had taken for him to send me a message that day (even after he had said he was working to a deadline, but hey it only takes 1 minute to message me right?) I told him the contents of my bag (see – I wasn’t lying about creep mode), vain in the hope that it might show that I just was the sort of girl that he was looking for. I told him that he was obviously not interested. I told him ‘you know where I am’ just incase he ever wanted to contact me again. Where the fuck was I? Hoping that he would reply in his usual way, maybe he’d say something like ‘ha ha ha sorry, I’m here lol’, I said goodbye.
Everything I say
Everything I don’t say
How hot I am online
Current Natural State
We didn’t talk about God, or life, or our family, our past relationships, I didn’t mention my son, we never spoke of anything with any importance. So why was I left with the searing pain of rejection and humiliation, and very real pangs of TinderAngst in the pit of my diaphragm when I found myself ‘unmatched’ (that is – in TinderTerms, consigned to the ether, deleted from the screen of one person’s phone for all of eternity) without so much as a ‘it was nice to meet you but…’? I had become affected by something that had occurred only online. A connection made possible via a series of zeros and ones, code and function, touch-screens and mobile devices.
The fantasy had taken my breath away. The reality brought back memories of how I used to be when I was younger. I was angry at myself for not being better.
Things I should have said to my TinderCrush :
- Yes, you can hear some of my music, why not come to my gig next week?
- Let’s go and see Don McCullin’s new show, no strings attached.
- ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
I wonder now, if in the olden days people had such problems. When instant-messaging didn’t exist, when you had a chance to write and read and rewrite letters, to chase after the postman after a regretful postbox decision, to intercept mail by using any necessary means – when it was possible to reach into a letterbox and retrieve untimely words with maybe a coat-hanger that had been specially bent to serve an ulterior motive, or to visit someone’s house under the pretext of something else when all you were there to do was to hide the envelope that was about to be delivered… when there was an opportunity to undo.
I determine, that were I to ever again embark on the seeking of another soul online I would need a filter, a ‘cold light of day’ device on my phone that will stop my stupid words in their tracks. I need to be able to have the patience and virtue to not type out a message all fingers and thumbs, then click ‘send’ in haste.
I need to remember this : Don’t say anything.
So to the boy I met but didn’t actually meet on Tinder. I’m sorry.
To ALAN – Don’t try online dating. It’s not for you.
How does this relate to ALAN and my MA ?
Pertinent questions :
How does what we experience only online affect us in our natural / real state?
Are there differences between what we experience with other types of media (films books music etc.), and has the digital / internet age birthed a new way of feeling?
A selection of ALAN’s on Tinder