But just as I'm about to delete the app, I hear from Lori, the 22-year-old aspiring doctor, which keeps me tethered to the app for a bit longer.We've stayed in touch, though I wouldn't describe any of our exchanges as even bordering on flirtatious, which is what makes this particular message so jolting: It's a Friday night, and Lori wants my phone number so she can "drunk text" me throughout the evening.
This is the digital equivalent of hitting on a woman at a bar while the woman you've been hitting on is in the bathroom, a tightrope walk the analog would never attempt. " The question doesn't seem to register with Michelle: "I want a guy that can make me cum...." she replies. political science – an appealing combo, since I've taken up yoga and pretend to be interested in politics; Lori, meanwhile, informs me that she has just graduated from LSU and, having "fallen in love with the Ebola virus," plans to attend medical school in a year.
"Nice forearm stand," I write to Ashley, a woman of striking cheekbones and auburn hair, who in one photo is doing the classic yoga pose, a cup of tea by her side, the newspaper spread before her, as if to convey that this is how she spends most mornings. "Have ." As it sinks in that Michelle is probably an enterprising 15-year-old boy in Bangalore, earning pennies to direct me to a pay site, both Ashley and Lori get back to me. In fact, Ashley and I have been getting along so well in 2-D (or is it 4-D?
"I want to fuck you," she writes, a message I find more jarring than flattering.
Can you truly "want" someone who exists solely on a phone?
Or, if not that, then perhaps sex, an act you have fond but increasingly dim memories of enjoying, will be involved. Michelle has gone ahead and taken the initiative, writing me a message that reads, in its hieroglyphic entirety: "hi)." I delete five drafts before settling on a response ("Hi there. for straight people," a reference to the app that has become a staple for gay men looking for no-strings-attached sex, I find Michelle's overt randiness more suspicious than titillating.
Good morning") and feel, as I hit send, like a ninth grader who's just passed a note to the cheerleader in algebra class. While waiting for Michelle to respond, I instigate conversations with both Ashley and Lori. I try to steer us into more innocent terrain: "What part of the city are you in?
But the truth is, the moment I see Ashley at the bar of a dimly lit restaurant in the French Quarter, I know exactly where this is going. It isn't that she isn't beautiful, but physical attraction is a beguiling force: instantaneous, , one no amount of digital chemistry can will into existence.
Making our maybe-date more awkward is the fact that Ashley and I have already covered, via text, the most time-honored icebreakers. I'm confident this is going to be the night that converts me into a Tinder proselytizer.
So what we mainly talk about is Tinder, rationalizing why we're "on it," trying to convey to the other that we're not really "Tinder types." Over a six-week period, most of my Tinder-to-reality experiences follow this narrative arc: the excitement of digitized potential fading the moment it's actualized. She sidles right up next to me and wraps her arm around my waist (good sign! But the moment Maya takes her shot, a friend materializes out of nowhere, grabbing her arm and yanking her into the crowd.
I hang around, repeatedly texting her through Tinder ("Hey, were you real or an acid flashback?
Feeling a kinship with Anthony Weiner was not something I'd expected from this whole endeavor.