People you run into when you’re swiping on Tinder in your hometown

You are back in your hometown for a few days and started to exhaust your usual coping mechanisms for visits home. You’re drinking a wine cooler, listening to your sister talk about how her husband leaves everything for her to clean. It is only the second night of what is now going to be an incredibly long visit. Let’s go through Tinder, you say to yourself, maybe it will be lit.

After swiping left on the few people new to the area, you find:

The person who was always stoned during class. They never sat upright in class and spent more time drawing on the textbook than reading it. They managed to get high marks on every assignment and only shrugged when people asked how the hell they managed it. Because of them you learned to never underestimate potheads.  Now they are hot and acquired a degree in chemistry (no surprise there) from the local university. They still got the hookup for you.

The girl who once asked you when you knew you first liked girls. It was in the lunch line during junior year of high school, you were just trying to get some tater tots when someone tapped your shoulder. You turn to see the girl who wears skinny jeans slightly baggy at the knees and a beanie over her bangs that reminds you of Myspace days. You two exchange“Hey’s” and an awkward silence that she breaks with “When did you first know you liked girls?” This isn’t the first time you’ve been asked, it is a regular occurrence when you’re one the few openly queer students, but there’s something that tells you she’s asking for her own self-discovery. You look at her hands and see her fingers are cut very short. You calmly say, “I spent more time staring at Angelina Jolie than Brad Pitt in Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” She nods—her confirmation for her own gayness—and walks away from the line. You see she has become quite popular in the local queer scene and seems way gayer than you–you are no longer the expert on kissing girls!

The guy you know for a fact has a long-term girlfriend because she’s your best friend. It’s tempting to swipe right to see if he is really that slimy. But what if it’s your best friend behind the account? She’ll be pissed you’re trying to get with her boyfriend. What if it’s an account for the two of them to find threesomes? You two have kissed before and you wouldn’t mind doing it again, as long as it’s without the boyfriend. You’re thinking too much, just swipe left and act surprised when she writes a long Facebook status about how you never really know someone.

The math teacher who still teaches at your high school. You never had them but you know it would be really weird to go on a date with someone who taught high school at the same time you were attending it. They are a recent divorcee who misses the dog they share with their ex. Their ex is engaged to someone who is ten years younger and enjoys rock climbing. You know that because it’s in their bio. How sad. They need a friend. Who isn’t you. Their salary isn’t enough for you to become their sugar baby.

The first person you ever kissed who kissed like a fish. A really gross, wet fish. The memory is vivid enough for you to believe there’s no way they could have learned better over the years. You shudder because it was really, really bad.

 

You know what, maybe you should stick with re-reading those YA fiction novels of sitting on your bookshelf. Tinder—like your mother pulling out baby photos and talking about how birthing five kids ruined her figure and sex life—is just re-traumatizing right now.