Tinder Magic

I re-downloaded Tinder yesterday.

It’s quite the vicious cycle- Download, swipe, delete, “I don’t need a man”, self-loathing, loneliness, download, swipe, delete, repeat; a black hole of strange faces and unfinished conversations.

I hit stage six, loneliness, at the pool stand at work, around 2 pm. I stared longingly at the one-legged man and his adoring girlfriend. I imagined myself going home to an empty house while my roommates camped and danced with their lovers. I downloaded Tinder.

I liked a blonde named Ryan.

“It’s a match!” said Tinder.

His bio: “From New Zealand, have spent the last 8 years traveling the world. Helicopter pilot and Entrepreneur with a world changing startup based out of Boulder! Positivity, the best attitude possible is what it’s all about. Let’s ADVENTURE!! insta *******” (starred out for privacy purposes).”

I instagrammed him. He had me at “From New Zealand”, but according to his photos, he looked like a pretty kickass human being…enthusiastic, lover of exclamation points, six-pack abs, world traveler, adventure enthusiast, from New Zealand, from New Zealand, from New Zealand…

According to Stupid Rule 1 in my previous post, ‘A Social Experiment,’ I am not allowed to message guys first. To avoid the classic male interpretation of Tinder, aka, “wait for girl to message me first because ‘I love confidence in a woman,’ aka, I’m lazy as fuck and just want to fuck,” I wrote in my own bio, “Chat me up!”

Ryan chatted me up.

“Well, he’s good at following direction and he can read, so this is a good start,” I thought.

“He really does love exclamation points,” I also thought.

It was also his 28th birthday. He doesn’t really know anyone because he’s just moved here, so I felt obliged to make his birthday awesome.

But, being in stage six, this obligation was far from selfless. I’m sure you’ve experienced the powerful abilities of stage six: interruption of logical decision-making, moral judgment, and general ability to assess any situation with hesitation or reservation.

I was relentless in my Tinder charm and confident in my ability to spontaneously meet up with him. We decided on Fate Brewery at 8:05 p.m. Well, I decided on the 8:05 part.

He was a little short for my taste. I felt a little bit like a giraffe standing next to a cheetah. (This statement is a bit dramatic and delusional, but nonetheless, it is how I felt).

I told myself immediately that I would make the most of the night. As far as I was concerned, sex was the last thing that I wanted.

“Tinder God, please, will you bring be a fun, smart, wonderful human being who will re-light the fire in my heart and restore my faith in humanity?”

And that he did.

Ryan and I talked for hours. It took him 20 minutes to even order a birthday beer, which he didn’t get around to finishing.

“You’ve hardly touched your beer,” I said.

“I don’t even care,” he said back.

We talked about his innovative cold weather-related invention. We talked about the eight years he spent sailing around the world on a 60 million dollar yacht, about the glowing green of the seawater and the starlit sky. We talked about him almost getting killed by pirates, and Middle-Eastern bombs, and treacherous sea storms. We talked about our goals and how doing something is better than doing nothing at all.

“That something will bring you to your passion,” we said.

We joked with the bartender and talked with the man sitting two seats over. We laughed at our stories.

I asked him if he wanted to go to this cool amphitheater on a mountain.

“You can see the whole city from there,” I said. “I saw Saturn through a telescope there once.”

“I’d like that,” he said back.

I drove him up the long winding road, apologizing for recklessly speeding around steep curves, warning him of his next near-death experience. I played trippy music. It melted into the cold air that poured in from the open windows. It hummed with the magic and stayed mellow like the blackness of the night.

We sat on a crooked rock. He played me songs and told me his dream of learning the saxophone. I laughed until tears came out of my eyes. He grabbed my shoulders. It felt nice.

The clouds covered the stars and the moon hid in the sky, but still, the night shined brightly.

A part of me wanted to kiss him on that rock, for telling me stories, for giving me laughter, for showing me kindness, but, most of all, for proving to me that magic exists.

After I dropped Ryan off at home, he texted me.

“Thanks again for an awesome night, it was amaze to meet you!” the message said.

“Np! Stranger turned friend instantly. I had a blast :),” I said back.

I used the word friend when he got out of my car. I used it again in the texts that I sent back, once in English and once in French.

I used the word friend because I know that I probably don’t ever want to be his girlfriend or even his American lover. But, I don’t like the thought of losing him either.

I don’t want to lose him at all.

I was thinking that I may just have to store him away as a memory, preserved and untainted.

But then, I remember the way it feels to laugh in the night and I’m thinking that maybe it’s ok to feel like a giraffe for a little while.

The Trouble with Alcohol

Me and Alcohol will never be soulmates. No matter how hard I have tried to give it my adoration, it has always rejected me, leaving me feeling disappointed and regretful each and every time.

“Don’t touch me,” it says.

“But I want you,” I say back.

“I can’t give you what you want,” it says.

“But I love you,” I say back.

The easy solution would be to spare myself the heartbreak and take myself out of its picture entirely, but the exit has been challenging.

Everywhere I look, there it is; sitting in my kitchen, following my friends, trailing me at the supermarket.

It has taken some time, but I’d say that I’m about 90% there. 90% of the time Alcohol waits for me at the bar, flexing its muscles and begging me for attention. When I can resist, I usually end up down by the pool table, deep in conversation with another stranger who has faced Alcohol’s wrath, or at least, with the kid who is tripping on mushrooms.

But there is still 10% of me that wishes Alcohol wanted me back, and so I give it another chance, time and time again. I wait outside its door, begging it to let me in, begging for its delusion.

“Please hold me,” I say. “I don’t want to be alone tonight.”

“Ok, you can come in for a little while,” it says.

When I wake up the next morning, it has left me alone in its bed. There is no note. There is only a lingering smell on the sheets and a line of memories racing through my head, reminding me of why I should have stayed home.

Being an Angry Person

Out of the many categories of human, I sit comfortably as an angry one.

My anger is a quiet anger; a deeply aggressive frustration that is disguised by a facade of “chillness” and an innocent face.

I recognize this because,

A. I am wildly moody.

B. Nobody beyond my psychologist has ever recognized me as a so-called “angry person”.

C. In the 5th grade, I was put in the “Hot Heads” group at Sanders Corner Elementary School. I was pulled out of class once a week to sit with other angry children who were also forced by their parents to address their rage. I was introduced to two very important life concepts in this group: therapy and stress balls.

The source of my angers runs far back, to the early days of my childhood. But ultimately, it rests in a long list of things I can’t change, including:

  1. Traumatic memories
  2. The place I grew up
  3. Having a mental illness
  4. The moments I have let people take advantage of me
  5. The moments I have taken advantage of other people
  6. Whether or not someone is attracted to me
  7. My bone structure(I learned after quite a bit of research how expensive and possibly fatal hip bone shaving, leg shrinking, and breast reduction could be<—Yes, I know boobs aren’t bones).
  8. Shallow or mean things I have said to other people
  9. Shallow or mean things I have been told
  10. All of the times I have picked self-loathing and self-hatred over self-love
  11. The time I made fun of my sister on the after-school daycare bus for having a pig nose(This involved snorting)
  12. The first 18 years of my life that I was an Emetophobic(phobia of vomit)
  13. That I can’t live up to my basic bitch potential and drink vanilla lattes on a brisk fall day (without inducing intense inner shaking and heartburn)
  14. All of the times I have ruined my food by over-salting, over-cooking or over-saucing
  15. Essentially, any decision I have ever made up until this moment
  16. Essentially, any thought I have ever had up until this moment

I directed my anger toward genetic biology, for giving me an awkward body; toward my family members, for causing me pain; and pretty aggressively toward myself, for saying and doing dumb shit as a result.

When you leave your life as a minor and are catapulted into society as a young adult, you are essentially a baby all over again and are forced to restart the annoyingly tedious process of self-assessment.

This has occurred over the last several years. Part of this self-assessing has included discovering that I am an angry person, which I had never previously considered myself to be. At least, it wasn’t a character trait that I included at the top of my dating profile.

The truth is that, in general, the list of things I can’t change is significantly longer than the list of things that I can.

If I can’t change them, though, what is the point in wasting the energy getting angry about it, Lauren? <—-Note to self: Make a stupid sign that says this and put it above my bed.

Fortunately, there are always things that I can change, like:

  1. How I communicate with other people from this point forward
  2. The degree to which I choose self-love over self-loathing
  3. How I treat my body
  4. What I choose to do with my life at any moment past this one
  5. Embracing the things I can’t change
  6. Recognizing my blessings and being grateful for them
  7. My reactions to essentially everything
  8. Making the positive lists longer than the negative ones in all future blog posts

While I face the fact that I am just a small speck of awkward existence in a big, bad world that I have no control over, I choose to channel my inner rage into activities such as keeping my indoor plants alive, sparingly using the right swipe on Tinder and convincing myself why I should stray away from a life as a lesbian Sugar Baby.

Squats

Today, I went to the gym.

I knew a person that would be there who I wanted to slightly avoid. But, a part of me also wanted to put myself in their way. To say to them nonverbally, “Yeah, I’m here. What are you going to do about it?”

I knew he would be there because he’s always there. That is why I took myself out of the picture. He will always be there, and that will never change.

Regardless, there he will stand in my place of escape and I can choose to block him out or decide to let his aura seep into my sweat. I can choose to not imagine grinding his little carrot head up into a food grater. I can choose to not imagine him tying me up with stretch bands(although this one may be slightly more difficult).

Today, I went straight to the elliptical, my white-girl place, a place he only goes if he comes to talk to me.

After forcing my arms and legs to move back and forth for an hour, I thought stupidly, “It would be nice to do some squats right now.”

As I looked over to the space I wanted to go, my vision was blocked by his head of strawberry blonde hair.

I flinched for a second, but then started to walk toward the space. When I looked up though, I realized that my feet were taking me in the opposite direction.

I walked back to the locker room, grabbed my things, and walked out the door.

I saw my friend sitting by the pool stand so I went over to say hi. Conveniently, she asked me about this person, and I told her the story. Then, I told her what I did.

“I was about to go do squats but then I saw him standing there and I turned around and left,” I said.

“The ball is in your court,” she said to me. “Don’t ever do that again.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” I said back.

I walked to my car, which was awkwardly parked by his big, black truck, turned on the engine, and drove away. I stopped by the grocery store on the way home. I bought the necessities, grapes and turkey jerky, got back in my car, and then started to drive home. I turned right to go toward my house. But, my ass felt jiggly and I was pissed about it.

“Ugh, I don’t have a weight ball at home,” I thought. “I don’t have that pully-machine thing to hold me upright. I guess I’ll just do them tomorrow.”

I turned at the light to head toward my house. From Folsom I take a left onto Canyon and then I am home.

I didn’t want to go home, though. My body didn’t want me to go home. As I drove down Folsom all I could feel was anger and disappointment toward myself, for letting him take away my escape.

If there is anything that motivates me, it is the silent rage that sits in my head.

I impulsively turned right instead of left, and drove back toward the gym. I marched into the space. I  squatted, and lifted and pulled.

Out of the corner of my eye, there he was, his strawberry blonde hair and long sleeve of tattoos. But I had my space on the mat, and my mind focused on the movements of my body.

The second time I left the gym, I felt happiness and content instead of anger and frustration.

I waved goodbye to my friend at the pool, grateful for the motivation she unknowingly gave me.

I got into my car, started the engine, and headed home(for real this time).

I left with the realization that the ball is always in my court. It doesn’t matter who leaves whose picture.

I have whatever power I give myself, and any space I choose to avoid is me choosing to give that power away.

Now, my butt feels really nice, and I can focus on something more substantial to my existence, like what to eat for dinner tonight.

A Social Experiment

In light of recent events, I’ve decided to conduct a social experiment.

The rules are such:

  1. No walking up to or talking to a guy unless he approaches you first.
  2. No texting him first.
  3. No admitting of any feelings unless he tells you what he’s thinking first.
  4. Remember that you have the control, the power to explore your options; it is your choice to say yes or no, not theirs. You’re the goddess. But let him do 1-3 first.
  5. Be a sassy mo-fo and throw a little attitude in there. Twiddle your thumbs, look away, and say things like “I don’t know” or “We’ll see,” when they ask you a question or invite you to a place you’re not so sure about. Confuse the shit out of them. Leave them begging for your approval. Play the game.
  6. Ultimately, let someone adore you before you adore them. Let them chase you like a cheetah, girl.
  7. Look for red flags. They’re so easy to miss even when they’re sitting right in front of you. The way a person behaves when you meet them is most likely the person they’re going to be in six months. Let go of the illusion that you’re going to change the unresponsive workaholics and assholes of the world. You’re not.

This is not advice. It is just a list of stupid, made-up rules.

I’m not very good at following rules, but for sake of this experiment, I will do my best.

Playing it cool

I don’t want to “play it cool.”

I don’t even know what thats supposed to mean.

Am I not supposed to say what’s on my mind?

Or text you first?

Or send you a message saying “Hey, where’d you go?” when you start a conversation with me and then just leave in the middle of it?

I’m infuriated by this game of cool.

Is it the reason you’re running from me like I’m the plague?

I’ve never been a game person.

But out of all the stupid games in the world, I hate this one the most.

You’d Never Be a Book

There’s the stories we tell other people, and then there’s the truth.

Tell me you’re an open book, and I’ll tell you you’re lying.

People rip books to shreds.

Maybe not right away, but eventually the paper rips, the inks fades, and the pages start to fall out.

You don’t want to be a book. You don’t want your cover torn off.

You’re a story, but you’d never be a book.