I’m back to regale you with more tales of Tinder from my single life, after telling you about the time I regretfully ghosted someone.
As summer of 2015 approached, almost a year to the date of the ghosting incident, I redownloaded Tinder. I don’t know what it is about summertime and me getting onto that ghastly app. Tinder was just a game to me at this point; I was beyond taking anything seriously. I had put in my bio something like “Attitude like Kanye, feelings like Drake”, hand-picked some of my best selfies and threw in a picture from a few Halloweens ago to show that I had a sense of humour.
I had adopted a strangely cocky attitude through my swiping and conversation. Like I said, it was a game: whoever could get through my façade of weirdness and cockiness could win my affections. Or something to that effect.
I got talking to someone who got in on the game past a few witty one-liners, and I liked him. We’ll call him Houdini, for reasons that will become obvious.
Houdini and I arranged to go for drinks one evening after work. I figured after work drinks would be safe, because then if I wasn’t feeling it, I could cut it off early and make excuses about it being a school night. On the other side of the coin, if we were really feeling it, it would stop me from going home with him. Because no way was I gonna show up for work teeth unbrushed and in yesterday’s clothes.
Even though the place we were meeting at was virtually round the corner from my office, I showed up purposefully late. It wasn’t a power move, necessarily. I just get kind of nervous sometimes, showing up for what is essentially a blind date. Plus, I put on so much bravado in our conversations, I was afraid maybe I wasn’t goning to live up to it.
I needn’t have worried. Our IRL date basically picked up from where our WhatsApps (upgraded from the Tinder messaging system) had left off. We bantered and laughed and flirted a lot. He bought me drinks, refusing to let me return the favour whenever I clutched at my purse, and when we moved to the beer garden to enjoy the last of the summer sun, we even had a little smooch.
On my walk home, I felt like I was walking on air. I knew this person wasn’t The One, but it felt nice to be flirted with, wooed, have drinks bought for me. And by someone who was a good kisser – bonus! Before I even got home, Houdini was already messaging me, and we soon made plans to meet up again, but on a weekend this time.
We arranged to meet up on a Saturday afternoon when I encountered our first warning sign: he cancelled because he claimed to not be feeling well, but could meet up with me on Sunday afternoon instead. That’s fine, I thought at the time, though kind of weird that he wasn’t well enough to meet me, yet assumed he’d be well enough to meet up a meer 24 hours later. But I didn’t think much of it. I already had a date to meet with a friend mid-morning for coffee, so it wouldn’t be much trouble to meet up with Houdini after since I would already be in town.
Warning sign number two: Houdini then askes if we could meet two hours later than planned because his mum wanted to Skype him. Fine again, I thought, but it was a weird coincidence that he kept pushing our date further and further back. I didn’t fret, as it meant that my coffee date with my friend had less of a time crunch.
3pm came and I was sat in the pub we had agreed to meet at. And I waited. And waited, and waited, and waited. Houdini was nowhere to be seen, and he had conveniently turned the read receipts on his Whatsapp off. I can’t remember how long I spent waiting at that pub, nursing my warm pint, before I gave up. An hour? An hour and a half? It felt like an eternity, and I was humiliated.
On my walk home, feeling much less elated compared to our first date, I decided to send him a message: “Well, thanks for making me look like the biggest fool on Earth.” I didn’t know if he would even read it; he apparently hadn’t been online since that morning, maybe he deleted me, I thought. But I was done. I licked my wounds and moved on.
But I’m only human, so of course I kept thinking: what did I do wrong? We were messaging each other every spare minute we had ever since we matched, and we had a really good time on our date. I would even go out on a limb and say it was one of the best first dates I’ve ever had. I never usually have that much chemistry when first meeting someone, especially someone from Tinder. I figured, even if things didn’t pan out romantically, this could potentially be someone I could be friends with. But, que sera sera.
Two weeks later, when the whole incident was far behind me, I see a message pop up from Houdini. The first line on my home screen read: “I feel like I owe you an explanation…”
I opened up my Whatsapp to see the rest of the message, but that was it. That was what he lead with, and left it hanging. So, I prompted him with, “Yes. And…?”
He took a good ten minutes to respond. But when he did, I was met with a wall of text. It feels like so long ago now, I can’t remember the full details. But it was something along the lines of: “I really had fun on our date, and I do like you. But I guess I’m still having trouble getting over my ex, even though we split up over a year ago – it was a messy break up. And I guess when we got on so well, I got scared. Plus, I’m kind of in a lot of debt at the moment, and I was afraid that if I kept shelling out for drinks, my card would get declined. But you’re a great girl, and I did have a lot of fun on our date. I really did. Sorry for freaking out.”
It was a lot to process, I’ll tell you that much. What 22-year-old, with a full-time job, was in so much debt that they couldn’t go out for a couple of drinks, despite having splashed out previously? Did he have some sort of gambling problem? Why did he use the ‘Skyping mum’ excuse, when he could have just been upfront about not coming? What did his ex-girlfriend do that left him so badly burnt after all this time?
But I decided that I didn’t really care about the answers. So I settled with the following response:
“Well, what’s done is done. But for the record: had you not been a coward and actually shown up on our date, I would have returned the favour and bought you drinks. Because I’m not the kind of girl that expects guys to pick up the tab everytime. I’m sorry about your ex and your money troubles. Good luck with the rest of your life.”
We parted ways somewhat amicably, and the rest was history. Except it wasn’t, and a few months down the line, he decided to add me on Snapchat (of all places?!) even though we weren’t talking anymore, It was a strange turn of events. Tinder is weird. Boys are weird.
I don’t know the moral of this story, or if there is even a moral. Maybe it was my punishment for having previously ghosted someone. Well, if humble pie existed, I would have been eating it.
Have you ever been stood up? How did you/would you deal with it?