I went on my first ever Tinder date a few weeks ago.
I decided to install the app again (there have been numerous attempts). This time I just wanted to meet some new people. I am open to a romantic relationship forming but it’s not the kind of thing I feel like I want to manufacture, so that’s why I highlighted that I am looking for ‘friends.’ I’ve just left most of my friends in London to move to Brisbane where I have one friend – which I was worried would put quite a lot of pressure on that relatively new friendship.
So, how can I easily meet people I think?
“Ahh yeah, Tinder,” my inside voice cries.
So I was going to meet someone, a man. From his account, he seemed to be some mad free-loving traveller. As you may have gathered – this is the first time I’ve actually followed through with Tinder. It felt like less was at stake because I made it very clear I was just looking to meet some people, so I guess that’s why I didn’t chicken out.
I was nervous, but I didn’t anticipate how stressful those last 5 minutes would be before we met. Thoughts raced in my mind; Does he look like his pictures? What if he doesn’t show up? What if he does show up but see’s me and leaves without a word? What if this is actually like the TV show “Catfish” and I’m about to meet a 37-year-old woman who’s going to lure me to my death? (No particular reason a 37-year-old woman would lure me to my death, or that on “Catfish” anyone dies. But this is the level my mind jumps to).
Nonetheless, he shows up. He looks like the grown-up version of what his online profile suggests. But, he’s super nice. He buys me a drink which although is a lovely display of generosity, subscribes more to “dating culture” than I think I’d like. I’m a big, big stickler for equality in relationships – including friendships. But that niggling worry aside, we had a lovely time. We chatted about our own lifestyles, travelling, food and he is very complimentary about my career and life choices.
A slight aside – When you’re a circus artist everyone is fascinated by your career. I don’t have a problem with that as my career is essentially to entertain people, and I love it. Sometimes it’s tedious to talk about and people get over excited and ask all manners of inane questions. But often it’s just fun to watch their wide eye-fascination as I tell them about hanging by my hair or other stories of the job.
There is one small worry that is always hidden in the back of my mind when I talk about my career. Sometimes men will ask if I’m “flexible” which for some reason makes me feel very uncomfortable.
Still, it’s going well. But, I just can’t shake the thought that I’m on a date with a guy that I don’t really know at all. And it is a date because we met on Tinder and he paid for our drinks and he’s being ever so lovely to me. But I don’t want that. And also I’ve skipped all of the fun parts, all of the subtleties and excitement I normally associate with pre-date behaviour. My reason for never liking Tinder in the first place was that I knew that that was my favourite part of building a relationship. And that extends to the relationship of a friend. I feel like that is created through contact time, shared interests and an almost imperceptive intimacy that starts to grow between you. It sounds romantic I know, but that’s how it’s always worked, isn’t it?
Anyway, here I am, “just giving it a try,” like I have been told again and again from friends. I feel like I’ve ended up at this kind of formal date/friend interview. I suddenly have to decide if I like this guy, and if so in what capacity? Do I want to see him again like he is suggesting – “I won’t say ‘if’ we see each other again, I’ll say ‘when’…”
And then the end of the “date,” the worst bit. Please, please don’t try and kiss me. And he didn’t. But, I feel like this whole set up leads me to think that something like that is expected at the end of the meeting. And the weight of that expectation bears down on me and terrifies me.
I don’t know where I’ve got this notion from, or if it stems from some underlying issue I have with men and/or intimacy. But earlier I was reading “The Ethical Slut,” (Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy), which is an incredible book about every kind of relationship under the sun. And they spoke about this idea of sex – including foreplay and even just mere hints at a sexual desire (kissing) – being a thing that woman can give to a man, something to keep him sweet. They talk about ideas like this being so ingrained in our nature that we don’t notice it until we trip over them. So, is that what’s happening to me here?
For me, this is one of those things. And it’s a reason why I have – on countless occasions – downloaded Tinder only to delete it again a few days later. One time that decision was made after I received a message saying, “If you had to describe your tits as an animal, would you say they are like a courageous lion or a saggy orangutan.”
This guy, however, was so nice, he didn’t put any pressure on me, he was kind and respectful but I still three weeks on haven’t agreed to meet him again because I’m so scared he’ll expect more of me one a second or third “date” or “meeting” and I don’t feel prepared to deal with that.
I guess it just all comes down to the fact that I tried to make friends on Tinder?