Noah switched songs and sat back again. He picked up his phone and looked at the screen.
She had nice photos, but it just didn't click for him. It wasn't that he didn't think she was interesting, but he just felt that nobody was interesting enough. That was in no way based on their personalities -- what little he could gleam from these shallow apps' profile texts -- but purely on the amount of hassle he felt would accompany any attempt to connect. There was just something hollow about it.
Most of the people he spoke to who used these apps all said the same thing. It wasn't for anything serious, expectations should be low, how even those they had a really good chat with eventually fizzled out -- either after an actual meet-up or still within the chat phase. He didn't mind the idea of it, just that it didn't really connect to how he was feeling right now.
He'd spent a large part of his adult life in relationships, short and long, and he felt like he needed a break. Additionally, he felt like he'd much rather develop a relationship with someone he just sort of came across. Someone he'd get to know and then find out there was something there. Rather than from the get-go assume that goal. He'd never been like that.
Re-read profile after viewing photos. Hmm, interesting.
And, for some reason, there would always be 'those' people, who felt like it was really important to let him know how bad they felt for him, and that they could, like, totally help him meet someone.
Swipe left. Sigh to self.
But he knew what the problem was. Whether it was someone his friends wanted to set him up with or an internet date or someone he met at the bar, he'd hit that hassle-hurdle and he'd flake out. And he'd either burn a bridge he might've been interested in in different times, or he'd hurt someone. Following through just wasn't in the cards for him and he didn't actually mind it all that much. But he did realize that not all sides of every story would agree to that. It had happened before, and it hadn't felt great.
He looked out through his window. It was really nice outside, and it was almost noon. It was time to get ready for going outside for a bit.
He swiped left one more time and put his phone on the table. He sighed to himself, almost disappointed that he was even playing this gamified version of meeting people.
While he showered, he thought about the situation he found himself in. He'd swiped right a few times, and most of them had resulted in matches. Which he'd immediately unmatched when they started a conversation.
Scared? Probably. Uncomfortable? Definitely.
He rinsed out his hair and wondered whether there was something wrong with him. Enough people he knew were having a great time because of these new-fangled dating aides, but he just found it annoying. He'd referred to it as a meat market many times.
He got out of the shower and dried off. Looked in the mirror and felt, well, okay with what he saw. Neither under- nor overwhelmed. Just, y'know, whelmed.
He got dressed and walked back to the living room. He sat down on the couch to let his hair dry and he picked up his phone again.
He knew guys who would just swipe right on everyone. They would leave the actual pickiness to when they had matches. He got that, in a way, since matching with someone was an actual point of contact. That's when the conversation starts. If you're going to say no to 99% of what you come across, you're not going to find many people to start a conversation with.
But there's something about being so callous that kind of rubbed him the wrong way. If you're not going to be critical about who you say yes to, why would you ever complain when things don't work out the way you want them to? Because if you're saying yes to everything, you might just end up with the exact same thing. Those who say yes to everything.
He then got a message from a friend who wanted to grab a cup of coffee together. He said sure, where? That one place, with the nice patio. He thought of the place and remembered something. Something that made him smile. Something that made him extremely likely to say yes.
Sure, he responded, just let me get my stuff together.
He'd met her a few weeks ago. They'd had a nice conversation over coffee, about coffee, while having coffee. She was pretty, but most of all, she was able to challenge him, make him think, make him stumble over his words. And if he read the situation right, he'd been able to do the same.
He got up and grabbed his bag. He searched for his headphones and found them.
He opened, closed and locked his front door.
"Maybe she'll be there today," he thought to himself, as he walked down the stairs.
Author's note: Every year there's a story that's too close to my heart to post. And then I post it anyway. Something about writing what you know and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, I guess. This might not be 100% accurate, but it at least shows that Tinder makes me go 'WTF AM THESE'. And that's alright by me.