Right swipe left things feeling rather wrong: Recalling my one and only Tinder experience

“Too crazy for me, I guess,” was his last text and while I was tempted to answer “oh boy, you have no idea, mohaha” I didn’t bother to reply and just like that my one and only Tinder experience turned into a series of “huh… well, isn’t that a surprise.” While I am obviously crazy (in all the good ways) it never ceases to fascinates me how men with such regularity turn their own overtly nutty behaviour around onto the women who reject them. But maybe I am overreacting – please judge for yourselves:

Backtracking a bit, this whole thing came about way back when the pandemic hadn’t yet arrested the whole world and I was somewhere between meditating myself into the mentality of a stone and weighting like one in front of Netflix. Moving back to Stockholm was a rather drastic change from life as I know it as I don’t really know that many people here. So relying on other people to invite me to parties or hangouts or just about anything was not really a possibility, so for me to get out of the house and to have a conversation with someone other than my parents I had to make an effort myself. Getting myself on a first-name basis with the hunka-chunka red-bearded waiter at the local garden cafe wouldn’t offer much more than “nice weather/coffee please” as his ladyfriend would probably prevent any form of socialisation. So how do people go about meeting new people in a somewhat socially-inhibited country like Moder Svea? Well, it appears Tinder is the way to go for not only “porking” but friendship and love and god knows what else. So optimistically I was like: Ok, what do you got to lose? (except your dignity?)

I started swiping left and right and boy was this pretty hard. There are some really sleazy dudes out there… and as a Tinder first-timer, maybe it is ok not to want to date a wannabe rapper posting half-naked pics of himself? The second problem came as you get a match – which happens surprisingly rarely I realised. Women are simply too hot in this country… while I might be a bit more of an acquired taste in the lines of a not-quite-evil-but-rather-silly Disney villain. Anyway, eventually I get a “heeey” or something equally profound and 15 minutes later we agreed to meet that same evening – kudos for spontaneity! My date was a polish software engineer and a semi-professional swimmer. I’d figured that a somewhat familiar flavour, both professionally and internationally, with the addition of the prospect of some sexy abs, sounded like a good way to start my treacherous dive into the world of manufactured sparks.

We met by the metro downtown and navigated to a pub for a beer. He was tall and decent looking (even though I now can’t really recall what he looked like), wearing a red, checkered shirt that I complimented but didn’t particularly like. He was a bit awkward but not more so than what date-nerves would allow, but the problem was that our sense of humour was not particularly aligned. Obviously a bit simplified, but I would probably argue that for someone to be dateable means for them to either be able to make you laugh or to make you scream. So far it didn’t bode well.

Now, this captures the first of my prior concerns with online dating, namely the nonsensical idea of evaluating a person based on a few pictures. While photos are great at capturing beauty, they are terrible at capturing how attractive someone is. I am of the belief that attractiveness has to do with a combination of other things very important yet very neglected. Things like their tone of voice, word choice, body movements, facial micro-expressions and body odour. And perhaps most important, the inaudible responsive communication of two physical entities, like, is there any magnetism? So while my companion looked alright, other things appeared to not really work in our favour.

Simply put, there weren’t any real sparks flying. In fact, from the outside perspective, there must have been so little sparks flying that two other guys interrupted us and simply barged into the conversation not realising we were evaluating each other for the oh-la-la. Now, obviously it is possible that I was subconsciously projecting faux-chemistry to my date. Like most people, I am not a particularly good judge of my own character nor how I come across to others and I am quick to admit that this kind of dating is something I have zero experience in. My past date experiences had always been the continuation of the presence of chemistry (however small traces they might have been), not in which the presence of chemistry was intended to be the continuation of the experience. However, first times for everything-we-are-willing-to-try and I was definitely willing-to-try to be open to the idea of constructing chemistry, whether for friendship or for romance. People meet cool people online all the time – or so they tell me, and should I be excluded from that? Of course not!

The evening ends on the bridge between our respective destinations where he kissed me goodnight and, kisses being a hard-to-come-by currency, I felt too opportunistic to refuse. As with most kisses, first ones especially, I wasn’t very into it and I marked the second item on my dateable criteria list as “unlikely.” But all in all, it was a pretty fun evening. I had a great time to be out and about in the world and it was exciting to once again have conversations with people I had never met before. Kudos to Tinder for making that possible!

Before I am home (less than 15 minutes) I have 3 missed calls and several texts from my date. My thoughts went in the direction: Ok, huh… intense, but sweet that he wants to make sure I got home safe… maybe? I replied that I was home and fell asleep not thinking much of it. As I woke up somewhat hungover I had a new series of texts. The most prominent, and I quote: “Do you like to cuddle your lover in the morning?” 

… … … what?

No. No. No, I don’t like cuddling in the morning. I like to be left alone until my brain functions like a human being‘s. The question felt so premature in its intimacy, that I was in shock while the internal warning sirens were sounding their heavy alarm. Like, how the hell did it go there already? Still thinking that I ought to be giving this whole new style of dating and meeting new people a fair trial, I didn’t want to be “my usual judgemental self” so my response was a kind “please take it down a notch or you’ll scare me away” message followed by my undivided silence. He thanked me for my honesty and I genuinely believed that he got the message and perhaps would write me a few days later to which I would have been able to evaluate my interest in a second encounter in a more contemplative manner, or shocking myself, perhaps even get excited about it… I get a series of new messages a few hours later.

Maybe you reader love to cuddle in the morning and feel like it was a sweet question and I reacted a bit harsh. Could be, I can be a bit defensive… and I guess (but not really) that if there had been a lot of chemistry at that one meeting it could have been a cute question. But even disregarding the whole fast-forwarded timeframe, here is a second Tinder problematics I was quite convinced I would encounter: People on Tinder are there for a reason: either they are socially awkward, visually challenged, plain weird or on the hunt for something peculiar. Lets put this hypothesis to the test in the light of this intense intimacy question.

The evening before, my polish date had told me he moved to Sweden only a few months earlier to be with his Swedish fiancé who (I was made to believe) was no longer in the picture. Now, this did not bother me at all. Exes are everywhere and for anyone to be hooked on the past, be it their own or someone else’s, doesn’t make sense to me. But telling me how his fiancé left him after he moved to her country on our first meeting sent a few additional warning signals. Not necessarily that he couldn’t be a catch or a great guy – I did ask why he moved to Sweden after all, but still… Maybe I am being a bit overly cautious and unfair, having surely said equally questionable things to him, but the reveal sent strong messages of his motivations for being on Tinder so recently after the break of a serious relationship as one out of two: 1. I am f*cking my feelings away, or 2. I am looking for a replacement. Obviously, a third option 3. I am a chill guy just looking for some fun, would have been a more attractive option. So I decided to see how things would develop, optimism is the way to approach new situation after all, so I was kind of hoping that perhaps I overanalysed the whole thing and that option 3 was really the case here.

The next few days the messaging remains on a neverending loop of questions of who I am, what I like, what I do, and bla bla bla. I suppose in a sense it could have been kind of fun if I appreciated a constant level of chatting and attention – spoiler alert – I don’t. But the level of intensity and inquisitive manner of it all gave me a clear answer that he for sure was not a 3 kind of guy, and the answer leaning towards him being a 2-kind of guy did not resonate well with me.

Now, here is my mistake: I used the ex thing as a way to try to reduce the chatting, telling him – honestly – that I was worried about his motivations. And this is the real predicament: he misunderstood me. He ensured me she was not a factor and that he had no feelings for her and bla bla bla. I couldn’t give a rats-ass. I met the guy once and was getting increasingly convinced that I had no interest in being neither his new love interest, someone he wants to know everything about nor someone to snuggle with in the morning. I had just wanted a Tinder experience and casually see wherever that took me. In all the wrong places it would seem.

Despite my lack of responding or active participation in the chat, he doesn’t give up and I can tell he is frustrated by me not being so keen to get to know him back. Eventually, I just told him “hey man, I don’t want anything complicated and this has already become so complicated.” He got really offended and ends a long rant by telling me that I am too crazy for him, leaving me puzzled and a bit entertained. I saw no reason to reply and that was that.

And here I am thinking, months later: isn’t the whole point of Tinder to keep it casual, noncommittal and simply fun? One date on Tinder managed to not only confirm my concerns regarding the level of attraction that can be identified from a picture and the level of chemistry that can be manufactured in a few hours but even surpass my expectations of the level of madness that can!

Granted that any scientific investigation requires more samples than one so I should, and probably will, give Tinder a few more chances (when Corona is no longer so much of an issue) before I submit my final verdict. But at the same time, the whole experience left me rather unexcited about that prospect and I’m contemplating to simply revert to my old ways. What do you reader say? Did you have any good Tinder experiences you want to share, and do you think I should give it another go? 😛

2 thoughts on “Right swipe left things feeling rather wrong: Recalling my one and only Tinder experience”

  1. Wow what a coincidence, Today I was going to give in to Tinder. You just confirmed what I have always thought about online dating & meet ups. Verbal, non verbal & most importantly, paraverbal communication is fundamental in building relationships and even for hooking up. Fotos are simply not enough. Well written & thanks for your honesty!

    1. Well, to be fair there are many success stories as well! And what I think is a great opportunity is the chance to meet people you would never met in normal circumstances. I think it totally is worth a try – I would just keep my expectations low if its magic connection one is looking for. 😛

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