I wrote in the last post that I don’t believe in the metaphysical, although a lot of what I’ve experienced since the summer may feel like there’s some hand guiding things. In reality, if you spend enough time on dating apps, send enough “Hey, how are you?” messages, hit on enough of your friends and otherwise swing at whatever is over the plate, something will work out. The timing will make it look like a coincidence, but if you have enough pokers in the fire, then everything looks like a coincidence.
Plenty of Fish illustrates this perfectly. By the time I got that blowjob, I’d sent out dozens of messages to eligible bachelorettes. I’m admittedly shallow when it comes to my process for selecting who to message. First, I look to see if the woman is pretty or not. Second, I read their profile to see if there’s anything which disqualifies me from their perspective. For example, if a woman writes that she doesn’t want children, or wants a man with a car, then I don’t message her. There’s no point in wasting either of our time. For me, almost nothing is disqualifying, because I believe that with a very few exceptions, everything is negotiable. Shoot the shot, and we’ll worry about the rest later. Needless to say, my lax policy leads me to swipe right a lot. I rarely get responses, but that’s the name of the game.
It’s important to cast other nets too, and that’s where hitting on friends comes in. I’m not one of those reductionists who believes that men and women can’t be strictly platonic friends, but when you need a little bit of action, who better to turn to than a person you already know and trust in other contexts? I had a friend that I’d fooled around with in the past, and I convinced her to let me go down on her over the weekend. I honestly should have known better, because the last time we fooled around, it hadn’t ended well.
But! Before we get to that, back to PoF. One of the dozens of women I’d messaged actually messaged me back. I’d reached out to her three weeks ago, so I was surprised when she responded. She was very pretty, with short hair, high cheekbones and a smile that made her look even more girlish than her 25 years. She messaged me that Friday, a simple response to my simple question. I messaged her back, but kept my plans to go down on my friend on Sunday.
We’d planned to meet up around 9:00 PM. Before long, it was 11:00. She called me to tell me that, even though it was late, she was still willing to stop by. I was in my feelings at that point, and blew up on her because I thought she was calling to cancel. As you might expect, she didn’t appreciate being yelled at, and the evening collapsed from there. While we’ve patched things up several times over since that night, I’ve replayed it in my head now and again. Yes, I enjoy eating pussy, but not so much that I should have been angry about a pussy-eating appointment being canceled. I was lonely and sad that night, despite the excitement of the last week. I wanted to go down on my friend, sure, but more importantly, I didn’t want to be alone. The only way I knew how to communicate that was through a transactional sex act: if you come keep me company, then I’ll make sure you have an orgasm. When I thought she was canceling, my hurt turned to anger, and in my anger, I got the one outcome I’d been trying to avoid.
There I was, sad and bored, so I did what anyone with a smart phone would do: I opened up Tinder. I swiped through a bunch of profiles in a depressed haze, and tried to distract myself with other social media. Not only had my plans with my friend blown up, but the pretty girl I’d messaged on Friday hadn’t responded. Staying awake was just making me sadder, and I closed my eyes to force myself to sleep.
My phone buzzed. A match on Tinder! I snapped awake, feeling the negative emotions dissipate as pleasure chemicals coursed through my brain. I opened the app and checked the match. Her name was Adaku*, a Nigerian name I was sure. She was gorgeous. She had a high forehead, full lips and cat-like eyes behind her thin-framed glasses. Now came the important question of how long to wait before I sent her a message, and what to say.
I know it sounds silly, but one of the things I worry about is showing interest, but not being too interested. Does it come across as desperate (or “thirsty,” as the cool kids say) if I immediately respond to a message? Considering that my phone is always either in my hand, in my pocket or within earshot, I realistically almost never miss a message the instant it comes through. It’s a matter of finding the spot between, “Yes I want to talk to you!” and “HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!” I don’t care about embarrassing myself with my level of interest, but I know that women have to deal with a lot of bullshit online, as they do everywhere else as well.
I waited about ten minutes before I hit her with the classic: “Hey, how are you? How was your weekend?” By this time it was a little after midnight. Was that too late? Did it make me seem like a weird creeper to send a first message during traditional booty call hours? But a few minutes later, she responded: “Hey, I’m well, and my weekend was good. How about you?” We exchanged niceties and a little bit of banter before my eyes grew heavy from the emotional exhaustion of the day. I said goodnight, excited to see where my first Tinder match would go.
I was greeted with another message the next morning, but not from Adaku. It was from the young woman on PoF, who had written me back and told me her first name, Rose*. She apologized for the delay in responding to me, and said that she often worked double shifts which kept her occupied from 7:00 AM-11:00 PM, so she was responding when she could find the time. She only had a few minutes again before she had to go to work, but she would have a break around 7:00 PM for fifteen minutes when we could talk. We exchanged phone numbers, and I felt excited again. I’d gotten a phone number from a dating site for the first time! Before I floated away too far from the earth, I remembered that I owed Adaku a good morning message as well. A quick reversal had turned a bad night had turned into a good morning. Funny how that works, right? Things would only get better from there.
*Names have been changed