Texts, Calls and Tinder
I’m almost 30. I’m more myself more confident more financially stable more debt paid off than ever. I have a lot to offer someone, let’s do this.
Tinder is the most famous - I figure the most people would use it. There doesn’t seem to be any particular app or website for queers, so it seems like the most pragmatic choice. I try walking up to people in bars and asking for numbers, but I’m all awkward pauses, bad winking and slinking away.
So, Tinder. Someone tells me to try Hinge too and if you don’t know, Hinge gives you three questions along with the profile. I think I’m too honest, because I don’t believe in never lying, and that apparently sets a bad precedent. Hinge doesn’t work out for me.
Tinder is my most successful medium. I meet Jo, a social worker who volunteers at the Rape Crisis Center and very rarely has enough emotional energy for any sort of real conversation. They refuse to come to my house because the concept of meeting my roommates is ‘too much’, and we spend a lot of time pondering fortunes from old fortune cookies they’ve collected and listening to music they like. I wonder if boredom and patience are interchangeable.
Lydia is an acquaintance of an acquaintance. We stumble into a vape and animal planet hang after a night out; we’re both equally unknown to the group on the couch but find ourselves giggling and smiling wide at each other through the smoke. I rub my fingers on leaves of the rubber plant next to me and stick my tongue out at her.
Lydia never texts or calls me back but when I do see her she flatters me, telling me I’m beautiful, that she’d like to paint me, she wants me to be her muse. She’s a bit ya-ya for me, I have a suspicion she’s more dedicated to her kombucha scuby than her day job. She tells me I should come by her studio and let her sculpt the outline of my desires.
I message other people on Tinder. A lot of folks’ profiles say they don’t message first, they’re shy. I say hi, I try to tell a joke. I ask about their day. No one answers. I guess they’re all really shy.
Jo and I go to Pizza Hut. We talk about our pets, their love of Beatles cover bands and how they’ve moved a lot. Even if I offer to take Jo out, they won’t eat anywhere they can’t afford. It’s a lot of Pizza Hut. I can’t tell if they just really like Pizza Hut. I fold the pizza in half and watch the grease drip down my wrist as Jo asks me if I want to come back to theirs tonight.
We go to Jo’s small clapboard house; there’s few street lights here in the exurbs of the city. It’s forty degrees outside and I grip the sheets as Jo fucks me facedown in a room with no heat. They never touch me after, but if I reach to spoon them they always hold my hands tight to their stomach.
Autumn is almost over, these are slick months, they’re the wettest they’ve ever been. Record setting.
I focus on work.
I buy my own rubber plant.
Is this dating?
Lydia doesn’t contact me for a month. I debate with myself. I don’t want to seem desperate, I sent the last text and it’s still sitting there, unanswered. She made me feel so special, so cool. I don’t want to be at her disposal, I’ve learned that lesson before.
I send her a single word text: “Tacos?”
This is exhausting.
Lydia is an hour late, spends another hour getting us lost and then forgets her wallet. We drink three margaritas each and she eats me out for twenty minutes in the bathroom of the restaurant. Tacos.
This isn’t what I wanted. Kiera meets me for a coffee downtown near work. We get along like a house on fire - platonically. I never feel like a new friend is a bad thing, and maybe that’s the problem. I don’t really know how to bring anyone into my life, to be vulnerable, and being friendly or being casual is always a way to keep a barrier.
I haven’t heard from Lydia again. Jo tells me they’re in love with me. They’ve never been in my house or met my cat.
I join Tinder Gold.
Louise Davis is queer writer and poet based in Philadelphia.