Listen, I’m pretty much the definition of low-maintenance. My last boyfriend considered romance to be dining in at McDonalds. I’ve been taken on a date to the 99 Cents Store, and even had a boy make a quick stop at a Coin Star so he could convert pennies to dollars to pay for our pizza dinner.
Alright…Now that I put it in writing, maybe we can swap the word low-maintenance for doormat.
Once my dating life became more of a single girls drought diary than romance novel, I decided to resort to that app we all know so well—stop lying weirdo, I know you have it—Tinder.
I set up my account, hoping to find the love of my life, or at least a crush with whom I could create an entire fantasy relationship with in my head. Because if there is one thing I am good at, it’s seeing a picture of a boy online, and then imagining that he and I are in an exclusive relationship.
After a few days of swiping, I finally settled upon a bearded standup comedian with whom I had several mutual friends. In lieu of being picked up, I told him I would meet him at his house. Word to the wise: always decline the offer of being picked up. You don’t want to be stuck in the car with a serial killer, cannibal, or someone who listens to 30 Seconds to Mars.
I showed up at Tinder dates house, completely nervous. This was my first ever Internet date, and I had no idea what to expect. Would he look like his pictures? Would he notice that I literally looked nothing like mine? What if he turned out to be a Republican?
After the awkward do we shake hands do we hug oh ok I guess I will just do the robot in front of you instead, I asked him where we were going, and he told me it was a surprise. I got into his car, and he entered an address into his GPS. Where did we end up?
Tinder date took me to see a poetry slam on Skid Row, the most dangerous street in Downtown Los Angeles.
Are you okay? Are you nervous? Do you want to go? Are you sure you’re okay? he asked.
When someone asks you repeatedly if you are okay, it’s because they are the ones freaking out.
I’m fine, this is going to be great!
I wasn’t okay. How could I be okay? I was on a first date with a complete stranger to a rap battle/poetry slam on Skid Row.
Within minutes, I sent a mass text to my girlfriends saying “HELP, ON SKID ROW” followed by an endless stream of emojis: the gun, the knife, the princess (sorry for being confident), and the needle (because there are drugs on Skid Row, obviously.) Why were none of them responding when I needed them? Was it because my chronic exaggerating and desperate need for attention were finally backfiring? Did they think I was lying for attention again? I was the girl who cried Skid Row.
We finally came across a large building, where Tinder date told two bodyguards some secret password (hopefully not “here’s the girl I brought to murder,”) and we were taken to seats in a secret, hidden auditorium. At 9pm, all the lights turned off, and something unexpected happened.
For two hours, I listened as people of all ages, genders, and races did beautiful, inspiring, spoken-word poetry.
Here’s the thing. I was moved to tears. I cried for two hours straight—cool move, I know—but it was, hands down, the most creative date I have ever been on. My whole life I’ve complained about how boring and thoughtless my dates have been, a countless stream of dinners, movies, coffee shops and bars, and here I was, having trepidations about an experience that was actually original and meaningful, albeit somewhat dangerous. I may not have fallen in love with my date, but I did fall more deeply in love with my city. I felt more connected to humanity as a whole through the beautiful words of these strangers whose lives were so different than mine, not to mention I was incredibly inspired creatively.
So, gentlemen who may be reading, sometimes to get into a girl’s box you need to think outside the box. Dinner is boring. Go to a concert. Spend a few hours in a rare bookstore. Check out a museum. Allow life and love to be an adventure. Who knows, maybe the potential of having feces and used needles thrown in your face is a total aphrodisiac (But I really hope not).
Is online dating for me? Who knows, probably not. I’ll answer that question once I respond to the other 336 matches I have on Tinder.