We really need to talk.
We’ve been seeing each other for a couple of years now. In that time, we’ve grown pretty close: I find myself searching for you when I’m waiting in line at Starbucks or when I need a break from editing at my beloved job. I often think of you when I’m heading to the ladies room or when I feel that small, haggard, terrified voice in the back of my mind that’s politely screaming: where the hell is he?!!
You made so many promises when we first met one another – when you encouraged me to talk about my interests and you gushed over my smiling, yet subtly sexy, poses. The one where I’m in a bikini in Mexico, the one where I’m on the merry-go-round in London. The classic, stereotypical one in front of the Eiffel Tower, and of course, the one of me trapezing by the pier, looking graceful as I sling myself toward the ground, dangling by a cable.
You found my snarky one-liners to be enticing – “The South made me sweet, the North gave me sass.” You even liked that I was upfront with what I truly wanted in someone, in a kind-hearted way, of course: “Most of all, I’m looking for someone who wants to go on adventures. I’m someone who will always keep you on your toes, and hopefully, you’ll make me stand on mine.”
After all was said and done, and we solidified our status – the true fun began. I was so amazed by your variety and how you presented so many opportunities. You showed me that there were truly ‘available men’ everywhere – in every neighborhood, and even in so many cities around the world – since even when I traveled, I couldn’t resist bringing you up. Maybe it was because you were always willing to be there for me, especially when it was late at night, and I was convinced that if I didn’t talk to you or at least put some effort into our relationship, I might quite possible be alone forever and ever (amen).
But now that so much time has passed, so many matches have been made, so many dates have failed… I’m starting to question my feelings about you, Tinder. It’s not that I don’t see you for what you are or that I doubt your ability to bring people together based on zip code (and now, for a price, anywhere you choose to let them swipe).
It’s that you never saw me for me, Tinder. You never loved me, for me.
Because no, I don’t want to sit on your face. No, I don’t want to come over to your place. I don’t want to answer if they are real or if they are not – they are mine, and should you be lucky enough to touch them, you’d know. I don’t want to be looked at as a piece of ass that is waiting aimlessly in your database to be called upon after one too many gin-and-tonics, or when you are rebounding from ‘the love of your life.’ No, I don’t want to be sexualized and victimized by harassing, inappropriate questions and statements about my body, what you want to do with it and what value you place on my reaction, based on your (rather unimpressive) erection.
I don’t want to work so incredibly hard to create conversation with you, after a very long day at the office, a workout class, a home-cooked meal and a walk with the pup, all you can come up with to say is ‘Hi.’ Or possibly, even worse, forget all of the grammar you were ever taught and say, “Wassup.’ And Tinder, when we did go out, it was never anything special (I’m sorry, I know sometimes, you tried). But more than anything, we stayed in. We had long, meaningless conversations based on rhymes and quick wit that never fostered into anything more than a pointless way to pass a Friday night. You never remembered my birthday or asked how my dating life was going or if you were helping me to find love. You simply wanted a rating?
But when I was with you, Tinder, damn it – I felt like I was completely putting myself out there, when in reality, I put on 10 pounds last winter, waiting for you to come up with something more interesting than happy hour drinks. (That you eventually, most of the time, cancelled.)
And another thing, Tinder – I don’t like who I am when I’m with you. You don’t make me into a better person. When I’m around you, even just for an evening or while I’m waiting on my friends to show up and meet me… I suddenly become obsessed with you. I look at you as my only ticket into the future that I see so brightly. If I don’t swipe with you right this very second or look at my most recent match (who could be my husband?!!) – I’m missing out on what I want the most. And then, even when I’m at my favorite place with my favorite people, if you contact me, I can’t help but look. I can’t help but stare, anxiously, at my phone, when you present someone, who on screen, is everything I’ve ever wanted…
…but that’s also a problem, Tinder.
Because you make me so judgmental. You make me hyper-analytical of everything. You’ve given me the ability to examine the differences in heights and body size, based on extreme scrutiny of every detail of every photo. You’ve made me someone who swiftly dismisses other people based on insignificant facts that if I saw them in person, I would never notice. You’ve made me angry and bitter; you’ve made me feel unworthy and used. You’ve gotten my hopes up time and time again, only to shatter them when out of nowhere, I’m blocked. Or sent a dick pic that I didn’t ask for. You make me the type of person who thrives on instant gratification: a dating druggie who needs her quick fix when she needs a boost of self-confidence or to be reassured that there are men out there.
But when I’m with you, Tinder. I’m not meeting them. I’m just swiping them and wasting time with them.
Tinder, I survived the dating world without you. And without all of your friends, Hinge, OkCupid, Happn, Group and more, for years, before we met. In fact, I was happier then. I went on more – and better – dates. I wasn’t so angry about being single, and I certainly didn’t cringe at the thought of going on a date out of fear that what you told me, wasn’t actually true.
So, Tinder, it’s over. It’s been over for a long time, but in the dead of winter, I couldn’t let you go. But now that spring is here, I can’t imagine another day in this unhealthy, emotionally abusive relationship. I’m going to try my luck out there in the wild, wild west that’s apart from the world wide web.
Thanks for a couple good memories and for some of those free drinks. I’ll always think fondly of you… as the thing that finally pissed me off enough to make me put myself out there.
Maybe it wasn’t you after all – maybe it was me. And me realizing that you can’t give me what I want. Because what I want doesn’t decide if I’m worthy enough to date in a split-second, based on a few photos and sentences. There’s more to me than that. I need more from someone than that. I deserve it.
So good luck, Tinder. You’ll find some more suckers out there. But not me. Not anymore. Never again. This time, it’s really over.