I have heard my entire adult life how much it sucks being a single woman in my city, especially one who uses online dating apps like OKCupid and PlentyofFish. I was lucky in my experience with OKC: my first OKC date became a year-long relationship, my first date after breaking up with that dude was with a woman who would be my girlfriend for four months, and my first date in an open relationship with Harold (whom I met in University) was with a woman who is now a good friend.
I effing LUCKED OUT.
When I started on Tinder, the first person with whom I met up knocked me off my feet. I still haven’t posted about Gunner, mostly out of privacy for his current relationship with a very close friend of mine, but he set the “decent, handsome, communicative dude” standard on Tinder pretty high. I have met a LOT of super cool people on Tinder, and some very boring ones, but never someone who scared me or made me feel uneasy. I weed those people out pretty well, but recently one got past all my safeguards.
Walter Jr. and I had a bunch of mutual friends, and while he looked a little less clean-cut than my typical straight-laced paramours, his smile was crooked and white and infectious. He was quick to initiate or reply to messages, which was important after Catch. He was eager to get me back to his place to watch Adam Sandler movies and make out, but I was hungry and channelled the plan into dinner at my favourite vegetarian restaurant in an artsy neighbourhood.
On first glance I knew I’d never be into it. His hair was long and dirty; he was underdressed in dirty ripped jeans and a paint-stained flannel shirt that smelled like spilled beer. He twitched and mentioned male genitalia four times in the first five minutes. We walked around the neighbourhood talking about work (he’s an architect) though I evaded any specifics about where my stores are. I was ready to call it off before we even got to the bistro – I didn’t want to waste his time or mine – but the lure of vegan dumplings and homemade cream soda was stronger than my off vibes.
Halfway through the meal, he started speaking very loudly about how good my chest looks. I excused myself and went to the ladies room, rolling my eyes. When I returned, he’d taken care of the bill. Normally I’d offer cash for my half but I didn’t bother. I said I had to be up early the next morning, thanked him for the meal and ducked into the nearest subway.
He was persistent in asking for a second date, and I told him I had too much on my plate. After the second time he asked, this happened:
What the actual fuck, Walter Jr. I gave him an out to just laugh it off and he just pushed harder for something that I’m clearly not into. With every subsequent message, my “I’m not interested”s became more blunt until FINALLY he fired off a fuming “Your loss” at me. Thankfully I haven’t heard from him since.
So many of my friends insist that this is par for the course with Tinder and OKCupid; that dudes never deal well with someone saying “No thank you.” There are blogs and instagram accounts and name+shame pages for men who are abusive towards women on Tinder. They still may be outliers but this guy is ruining the fun for everyone. What happens to Tinder when power users like me grow uncomfortable and limit their time on the app?
The next night, I received this message from another match who had looked familiar:
I hate this. The best part of Tinder is that I can only get messages from people I approve beforehand. It helps me feel safe and welcome and helps ensure that people don’t waste as much energy as they would on other apps. Simply by matching, you know that any message is at least somewhat welcome. So why make something so ideal for both parties so hostile? Why abuse that tiny modicum of trust?