I woke up the other morning, in company of a stray popcorn kernel (I get rowdy on Friday nights) and it dawned on me, suddenly. I can’t remember the last time I cried, minus that Saturday night I didn’t get a bacon wrapped hotdog and I was starving. I do feel disappointed that I let myself suffer in a relationship that was no longer serving me, but I’m not heart broken any longer. I mostly feel relieved that I don’t have to have sexual intercourse like a married forty year old couple anymore, nor feel judged about the way I cut my avocado and my preference for conversations that revolve around genitals. Life is too unpredictable to suppress your desire to discuss vaginas at the dinner table, no matter how much you love someone. I’m not sad, I’m not angry, I am pretty content being alone – except there is a certain exhaustion that weighs on one after too many third wheel dates with your best friends and their boyfriends and their brunch.
I have been sort-of dating. I have been calling ex-boyfriends, pushing away men who like me, asking for them back, leading others on, kissing friends, receiving apology letters via Facebook from men in my one night stand category of incidences of the night, and accidentally kissing coworkers. After that variety pack mess of motives, I decided I could officially date again with actual intention and the knowledge of what I want in a partner.
As a twenty-something in San Francisco, a city swimming in dating apps and urban lumber jacks, there is a decision to be made in how one approaches their romantic life. Do I join an adult kickball league to find the man of my dreams who is fabulous at flip cup and looks good with a head band on? Do I trust in the chance of meeting a man organically, like while on public transportation or in a bookstore? Do I state everything I want and then more on a website that matches me with others based on asinine questions? Or, regarding a lack of time and tenderness, do I embrace the instant gratification guru of dating apps and brush off the old Tinder profile? I decided a well rounded approach would serve to be the most successful in this case.
I reactived my OkCupid profile, although I realized my answers to the site’s crucial matching questions, such as, “If your partner screeched like a dolphin during intercourse, what would you think of it?” may have changed since its debut two years and very single ago. I also struggled with how much information to disclose in my profile. Was stating that I wanted four babies raised on a farm too much information? I received a message from a woman whose profile consisted of only her legs and noted that the most private thing she was willing to admit was that she had murdered someone. Did I forget to alter my preference back to males after my last lesbian curiosity stint? A man messaged me to tell me that I looked exotic and asked if he could buy me a hot dog. I wonder if OkCupid ever inspires suicides?
I’m simultaneously repulsed and admirable of people who have met their significant other on Tinder. Amazed that two people could be connected through an app based on physical appearance and little else, and admirable of that same fact. I decide to recreate a Tinder profile and noticed my pattern of swiping every man with a beard right and every one else left. I was slightly disgusted at myself for being so shallow in regard to facial fluff, although that does seems to be the nature of the Tinder territory.
I meet a man in an elevator. In a few minutes of conversation we discover commonalities including our neighborhood and work place and love of writing. It’s intriguing how we have stumbled upon one another, although the realistic part of my mind suggests that our perceptions of this serendipitous moment of meeting is caused by the need for a story that most writers posses. We have sexual chemistry with each other, but besides that it becomes clear that we are not the right partners for one another.
Do these different forms of dating offer more opportunity to meet people or are we faulting fate by going out of our way to meet those that we would otherwise never have contact with? I ask nearly every couple I encounter how they met. When our parents were growing up their only option was to meet each other without the invasion of the internet or mobile app atrocity. We may be less open to these chance meetings because we are so busy Tindering while we are riding the bus. Every choice produces an orginial experience and string of events and consciousness that is what it is and because of that I don’t think there are right or wrong choices. There is nothing that is supposed to happen, but I do think we end up in the same place as another as a direct result of our past experiences, thoughts and motivation. If we go out of our way to meet each other we completely disregard that beauty of that, of being in the same place at the same time as someone else. This evening while scrolling through Tinder on the bus, I matched with a man and realize it is the same man whose stoop I randomly ate sushi on during the infamous Bay to Breakers of San Francisco. Can organic and contrived collide?