Back in the spring, I was coming out of a loooong (like yearlong), inexplicable illness (more on that in another blog post), so I decided the best way to celebrate being able to do stuff besides sleep and cry myself to sleep was to set up a Tinder profile. Naturally. I know everyone thinks Tinder is sketchy, but I almost got murdered because of OKCupid (a story to be saved for yet another blog post) so I figured Tinder couldn’t be so bad. And in fact, I found more “normal” people use Tinder…quite frankly, because most of them aren’t desperate and use it as a supplement to their love lives rather than as their love/sex lifeline.
Once I took the two long minutes to set up my profile, I spent lots of time weeding through all of the pictures…swiping left on all my guy friends I awkwardly matched with, and secretly praying I’d be matched with my ex-bf as I was on OKCupid (not affiliated with the potential murder story). I thought about meeting up with a few muscular black guys (wouldn’t our color contrast be uniquely sexy?) but then decided they (those particular guys, not black guys in general) were probably just looking for hookups when they wanted to meet at a cocktail bar at 11 p.m. on a Wednesday night 2 minutes after I swiped right.
Eventually, I matched with a few 25-year-olds I could stalk on Facebook. Because they seemed nerdyish but not antisocial, I felt I could trust them. Of course, my friends gave me lots of crap about not setting my age filter higher. I, being my idealistic self, thought I might miss out on a gem of a man too mature for his age if I set the filter higher. After all, 25 is just a number and old souls come at all ages. Not so in Chicago. Apparently the pollution goes straight to male brains and they try to do shit like text you to tell you they are too busy for you …even though you never reached out to them in the first place.
Really though, it was just hard to relate to people still on the first leg of their careers and feeling that freshman cocktail of excitement and anxiety sprinkled with grand illusions of their futures. Also, many of these guys didn’t have to deal with the Great Recession in the same way my much old, wiser (by three years) generation did. They hadn’t been beat down by joblessness and living with their parents-ish and still had the egoism of an i-banker not yet twisted out of them by an overzealous boss. So we just couldn’t relate.
Anywhozzizzle, I met up with two guys off Tinder. One was great, until he a.) asked me what my favorite sound was and b.) stood up. I’m not exactly tall at 5’4″ (or 5’3″, according to my most recent biometric screening at work), but I’m sadly not attracted to someone shorter than me who is slightly pudgy. Pudgy I can take, if he’s taller than me. Call me superficial if you will, but at least I’m honest. And I just can’t handle someone who interjects a conversation starter they saw on Reddit into the middle of an already fluid conversation. (And this guy, eventually, was the one who kept texting me to tell me he was too busy for me, even though I never once reached out to him as I knew I didn’t want to see him again.)
So since my first Tinder experience didn’t leave me feeling threatened in any way, I decided to try again. I was super duper excited to meet my first-ever ginger date. He was taller than me, not pudgy, into languages, books, music, movies, “intelligent women”, not so much into sports and the usual boring guy stuff. A guy who seemed like he might be able to match my intellectual curiosity: Woohoo! Plus, we were both from Milwaukee, worked in tech and had the same alma mater. We had a TON in common. But, as soon as I met him, I saw the way he walked, and his murse, and it hit me: he was gay. And didn’t know it yet.
Anyway, we met at a Mediterranean restaurant. (He “loooooooved” Mediterranean food. Shoulda been a clue.) At first, the hostess sat us at this four-top in the MIDDLE of the tiny restaurant where everyone would be able to hear our conversation. Then I saw it click on the hostess’ face that we were on an uncomfortable first date, and she moved us to a darkly lit two-top by the window. Thank goodness for her realization. But I wonder if she thought that we were brother/sister initially because of our matching hair…and his flamboyance.
Anyway, during the date, he was really nervous, which made me more nervous. He kept commenting on our mutual gingerness which really freaked me out.
The first rule I made up in my head about dating other gingers is that you don’t talk about your mutual soulnessess.
It’s like when someone dies and it hurts so much you can’t talk about it, even though you are together with loved ones in your suffering. Of course, one of the few things my Tinder profile said about me (brevity is bliss on a hookup-turned-dating app) was that I was a “soulless ginger” so naturally, guys commented on it. (And loved me for my plagiarized-from-South-Park wit.)
Eventually, more clues started coming out of him: he loved to dance, he spoke fluent Chinese & had lived in China (“gorgeous!!!”), liked fashion, he had just come from the gym, etc. etc. He was also indescribably obsessed with Russia, which reminded me of a guy I knew in college who started an exchange program with Russia while simultaneously denying his gayness by dating (ginger) women.
I think he maybe? was trying to kiss me when I parted but he got too nervous. And I just couldn’t let him kiss me. But maybe I should have because he was the fittest-looking dude I’ve ever gone out with. …Probably because he’s the gayest.
He did text me a few days later…to see if I wanted to go swing dancing. (But I already had plans.)
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