Between Lindsay Lohan’s freakout over matching with her brother and that amazing Conan O’Brien video with Dave Franco, we know that there are celebrities on Tinder. Even though I live in a pretty star-studded city, it hasn’t been especially common for me to match with anyone famous in their field. The guitarists of a few buzz bands, a moderately successful male model and about a dozen fake Drake accounts are par for the course for any of my friends who’ve been on the app for more than a week. One of my favourite Tinder stories to tell involves my only famous match: A since-traded player on my local NBA team.
At the time, I was living with Harold, and we were doing the typical things that couples do during the slow death of an unhealthy non-monogamous relationship. That night involved coming home after having eaten separately, lying on the bed and spending silent hours on our phones until either bedtime (when we’d each decide if we wanted to have sex), a stream aired a west-coast basketball game or one of us would pick a fight.
I had my Tinder app powered up, swiping right and left based on whatever nonsense criteria were important to me at the time. That was when I saw the profile of a deep bench player (we’re talking three minutes a game, if that). I freaked out, showed Harold and took a screen shot. He didn’t say anything about his occupation or height, but the pictures on his profile included himself dressed for a game in his home jersey. I swiped right. He did not.
I was only a little bummed. My team has a reputation of being a big family-oriented group of dudes who work hard and then go home to their kids, so not matching with one who is publicly married/a dad was fine by me.
The next night, Harold and I were back at it, pretending to be okay with spending time hanging out around each other. I was swiping my life away when another NBA player popped up. This guy was as deep-bench as it gets. Like, 700 twitter followers at the time we matched. I shared the profile again with Harold and we laughed. He had a picture of him holding a fish he’d caught and one of him with his grandmother. I screencapped and swiped right.
It was a match.
“Oh my GOD, T. Can you even IMAGINE having sex with that guy? Like, having him on top of you?” Harold went into more graphic detail than I dared consider without growing really uncomfortable. “Oh my GOD think of the shame-bragging you could do.”
I had no idea what to say to this NBA player. A quick google search showed that he isn’t married or a father, so I felt okay with initiating a conversation.
“Hey,” I started. “What’s up with all these Tinder dudes holding fish? Is it a big inside joke that women aren’t in on?”
“Hey,” He replied, pretty much immediately. “I dunno lol i guess it shows were good providers.”
“Makes sense. Up to anything cool tonight?”
“Naw football in my condo. go *NFL Team* lol”
I quickly asked Harold for some quick facts about his handegg team, and briefly talked out of my element about a recently injured quarterback.
“Oh u like sports?”
“Yeah, I’m a big basketball fan.”
“Me to wish i played more often lol.”
We talked for a little bit about how difficult it can be meeting new people in this city, and I got the sense that he was another self-described lonely dude.
Why anyone would pretend to be this guy over the other more recognizable players is beyond me, but I wanted to make sure he was who he said he was. I invited him to watch a hockey game with me at a very public bar downtown – walking distance from the condos the one year contract players lease near the arena.
He told me that, as there was a noon game the next day, he couldn’t go out drinking. I asked if he wanted to change the plan to grabbing burritos.
“I like burritos :)”
“Me too,” I replied. “Is that a yes?”
To which he replied “If ud like to come and pick some up and eat them up here with me then maybe i could do some eating of my own ;)”
To reiterate: An NBA player asked me to buy him a burrito in exchange for oral sex.
It was almost DEFINITELY the highlight of my tinder experience.
“Tempting!” I replied. And it kind of was? I quickly ran through every possible scenario. What if he wasn’t who he said he was? What if I go over with burritos and things start happening and I freak out? Am I going to be assaulted? What if shit just gets weird? Would this be worth it just to tell the story?
And that was when something clicked for me: Is something worth doing only for the story? The past decade of my life has been defined by that question, and I’ve always taken for granted that an interesting story is worth more than anything else to me.
It’s why I spent my teen years archiving everything that happened. A flurry of coincidences will one day make my life interesting. I think my life is pretty interesting now, but while my current partner and I have told and rehearsed our “how we met” story to near death, it’s weird living your life in hindsight.
And that’s what this NBA player would have been. A tale of groupie conquest (not that there’s anything wrong with that) wherein your Tinderella exchanges a jumbo steak burrito for sloppy bearded oral sex from a man twice my weight and four times my muscle mass. Not even glamourous.
“Well, I have a policy about meeting Tinder suitors in a public place first. For safety reasons.”
“makes sense,” he replied. “another time mabye.”
I didn’t publish the conversation online. He seemed respectful at least of my basic boundaries, though in our second conversation he called back to the possibility of toasted Mexican goodness.
“i just saw the worst movie ever!” He sent me, in response to nothing.
“Oh? I’m curious. What are you up to now?”
“lol im in bed.”
“I’m jealous! I’ve been working for hours!”
“And u still won’t bring me food. should i sweeten the offer?”
“Did you mistake the Tinder app for the Just Eat app? :-P”
“I just love food”
I’d already decided that I wasn’t going to go for it. It started feeling really sad, and Harold was taking entirely too much joy in the thought of his primary partner burrito booty-calling a man who could easily have squatted two of us on each shoulder. I was in a stage where I wanted to do exactly the opposite of what Harold wanted.
The last message I ever sent him was when he moved to a different team. I wished him all the luck and more playing time. He never replied.
Almost immediately after that, he started posting pictures on his instagram account of a gorgeous woman using the hashtags #solemate (SIC) and #onewomanman. I believe he is now married and according to all of the groupie forums (yes, those exist and they are a cesspool for self-hating women) they are very happy.
He and I won’t show up on each other’s list of regretful Tinder hookups, but you know my motto – “Je ne regrette rien.”