Tinder is known as a hookup app, but can you take the people you meet on it seriously?
After yet another failed date, I laid out on my couch, iPhone in hand, tapping away through Snapchat. I closed the app and scrolled through my phone. I tapped on my social media folder and stared at the red flame on a white background, aka Tinder. I’d originally downloaded the dating app a year prior for an experiment between my friends. I had completely forgotten about the many swipes that I made, left and right.
There were well over 20 matches and only four of those men wrote me messages. Three of those messages were a variation of, “Hello” or “Tell me about yourself” or worse, “You’re an angel in a world of mere human beings. I want to make you the queen of my world.” Sure, it sounds sweet, but that dude has copy pasted his version of poetry to countless women, waiting on the numbers to be on his side.
But the one man who took it upon himself to notice minor details of my profile so he could perfectly cater his response to what he learned about me–that’s the message that deserved a response. “Danielle, I know there’s more behind that gorgeous smile. I really want the chance to see what you’re made of. I’m a grown ass man, but I can admit, I like picnics too. I’m Ted.”
It was funny without being obnoxious. He was smart enough to see that my name was fully displayed and he could address me with it instead of asking my name. He also flattered me by mentioning more than my obvious thickness. Ted stranger stood out. Then I clicked on his profile. His looks were average at best. He wasn’t overly handsome, nor was he unattractive. “Eh,” I said out loud, not really feeling one way or the other about his physical appearance. One photo was of him smiling in a suit, the other was a more serious face, in a grey hoodie. “He’s versatile,” I laughed to myself.
I wrote back to Ted, “What I’m made of, cute. Sugar, spice and a dash of shade. LOL! What’s your favorite place to picnic in New York Ted?”
He immediately wrote back, “Tasty mix. I’ll be the judge of that. And I’d rather show you that picnic Ms. Danielle.”
And there our witty conversation kicked off. With each reply, the hearts in my eyes grew bigger. And then he says, “I want to hear your voice.”
I made a joke about having a manly voice before I sent him my phone number. He called me five minutes later. I imagined him at home, laying on his back, holding his phone over his face, smiling at my profile pictures and reading over our Tinder chat, smiling even harder…because that’s what I was doing.
My phone rang. “Hello?” The corny smile was still pasted on my lips.
“Danielle,” Ted said, taking a breath as if he was relieved that I was only joking about the manly voice.
The conversation flowed as seamlessly as it did when we texted through the app. And then I asked, “How tall are you?”
As a woman who stands tall at 6’0,” a man’s height is very important to me. I like to feel like a lady, you know, dainty and needing to get on my tippy toes and still struggle to reach my man’s lips.
“Seriously?” Ted responded. I knew his question meant that he was short. “I’m 5’2″.”
“Yeah right,” I said.
“How do you know that?” Ted’s voice was still lighthearted, so I knew he was joking. I needed him to be joking. This perfect man with qualities that complimented mine needed to be above 6′ to continue to ride this ride.
“Your head is way to big for 5’2″,” we both laughed.
“You’re right. I’m taller,” he hesitated. “I’m 5’7″,” I could hear the disappointment in his own voice about his height deficiency.
“That’s fine,” I said lifting my voice at least three octaves.
“There’s always something, isn’t it?” Ted paused. “Something always keeps you from ‘The One,'” His disappointment revealed his desire to actually make a strong and lasting connection with someone. After dealing with way more than enough men who want to “hang out” without anything that even resembles commitment, I figured Ted would be a pleasurable departure from f-ck boys. So he and I continued to get to know one another over the phone.
Each conversation brought us closer. We discussed intimate details from our past, present and shared what we desire in our future. Our thoughts aligned. Our ideals were made for one another. Ted even started calling me his. “You’re not mine?” He laughed during one of our pillow talk sessions.
“No!” I smiled and my goosebumps played hopscotch up and down my body. “I could be…one day. Whenever the one day comes that we see each other in person?” I was telling more than I was asking. Ted and I kept our phone flirtations going for two months. We spoke daily as if it was our religion. I believed in him.
“You’re right. It’s time,” Ted agreed, but I felt the hesitation. “My parents are leaving the country for a while, so I’m headed down to D.C. this weekend to be with them before they go. Let’s make our face to face happen when I am back in town, cool?”
It had to be cool because I wasn’t going to beg this man who has only given me a handful of photos and his voice to see me, even though I wanted nothing more than to meet him in person and hug him and feel our chemistry live and in the flesh.
Ted went off to D.C. that weekend and I reached out to him Friday morning, like I’d grown accustomed to and there was no response. I waited for him to call me later that evening as he normally did, but my phone didn’t light up with his name. I let it go because he was spending the weekend with his parents. I decided that I wouldn’t reach out until Monday.
Monday morning I sent Ted my usual morning message and wished him a powerful day. No response. All day long…no response. Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday, Friday…another weekend, no word from Ted. Now, I was teetering between irritated and concerned. I left him a message claiming to only be the latter, hoping he would respond, if only to let me know he was still alive. No response.
Another week passed by without a single word from Ted. I decided I would send him one last message to let him know how rude it was to get me used to a certain level of communication and then snatch that from my grasp. I sprinkled my frustration in humor, hoping he would think I was joking, but still wanting to hear from him. When another week went by, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Ted and I had conversations about our individual issues we’ve experienced in relationships. He knew that I’ve dealt with way more than enough men disappearing and that I was sensitive to that. So I decided to bring it up in my final message to him:
“I definitely thought this would happen….you disappearing on me. You know I’ve dealt with men going away and never coming back. You actually promised me that you wouldn’t do what those ‘idiots’ did. You said that even if something happened and you couldn’t get back to me, you would let me know that things were crazy, hectic or unexpectedly difficult. Remember?”
And like that text was laced in magic, Ted replied:
“I don’t know why you thought ‘this’ would happen, but between my business and tending to my parents, who just left the country yesterday for six months, I have been extremely stressed and busy. I didn’t mean to purposely do anything towards you and I apologize if you feel that I have. That being said, I think it’s obvious that I don’t have the time to put in at this point for what you are looking for and I don’t want to disappoint you again.”
It was the perfect goodbye text. He made himself look like a saint, who didn’t mean to ignore me for three weeks. He made me look like the desperate woman who wants love so bad, she forces it with every man she meets, even if she hasn’t met them in person. I felt like an idiot. I was putting all my eggs in Ted’s basket because we flirted (even though it was everyday).
I felt like I was only following his lead and with this message, I immediately felt like our feelings weren’t mutual. I replayed our conversations from day one over and over in my mind and couldn’t place where I went wrong. I let Ted’s consistent conversation make me feel like our chemistry translated into a budding relationship and that was something I’ve done time and time again–romanticizing the scraps men give me for the sake of my own romantic sanity. It’s not ok.
When you want something real with someone, you can’t live in a fantasy world. I have to learn to be honest with myself and what’s actually going down between me and a man before I’m getting my feelings involved.
The other day, I opened up my Tinder app and went into my messages. I scrolled past all those matches who didn’t even take the time to say hello and scrolled down to Ted’s messages. I clicked his profile. The man who told me he was too busy to give me what I wanted had just signed into Tinder five minutes prior. I guess he’s got time to swipe?