As a sprightly teenager, I daydreamed of the mature gentleman whose arms I’d jump into once I moved to Auckland for University. We’d go on long strolls with his puppies (preferably Border Collies), wear Sandy and Danny couples’ costumes to Halloween, and smoosh ice-cream in each other’s faces, like in the soppy rom-coms I once ogled over.
Never would I have imagined myself at 2am on a Friday night, single and swiping mindlessly through the same pictures of 20-something year old lads on the prowl at BAR101, or country boys in sharkies, holding up their most recent hunting victim. At those early hours, I really just want someone palatable that I could eagerly talk about The Office with for a couple of hours, y’know?
After three grueling years of Tinder-ing, with tens of Tinder dates under my belt, I have hung up said belt to pursue real, in-the-flesh, people. However, if I were to not share my tips, tricks and terrors in the online realm, I would be remiss. They say when you look at red flags through rose-tinted glasses, they just look like regular ol’ flags. In sharing my worst dating story, I can only hope you’ve begun to sleuth out the red flags like a weirdo-detective.
On an early autumn morning, 3 years ago, I stumbled upon a gem of a man (we’ll call him Jerry) who resembled KJ Apa, and was doing some casual archery; immediately, I was aroused. I saw the super-like and swiped right excitedly. In the first three hours of exchanging messages, the flags began to pop up:
“I only eat one meal per day, and even then, I don’t enjoy food”
“No, I’ve never drank tea before” (???)
“I’m looking for a relationship just so you know” (!!!)
“Let’s organize a trip to the snow together!” (…)
Now, no judgement from me if you’d like to spend your first date frolicking in the snow, tea and food-free. Just know, I personally lust after a good chamomile and smorgasbord, whilst also repelling the cold, and commitment. Yet mystifyingly, 18 year-old me pondered ‘wow, how interesting, we’re opposites. Maybe I’ll get to live my ‘Olive Theory’ How I Met Your Mother fantasy”. A few days passed and we agreed it was time to do the date thing, so he suggested we go bowling and then out for dinner in the CBD.
As the evening came, I cascaded down the hill to make it to the agreed upon meeting place. Off in the distance, I spotted someone who resembled Lord Farquard, pacing across the courtyard. As I approached, I noticed the Farquard man was dressed like an extra from Vikings. I looked around for Jerry, and the man I pictured was nowhere to be found. I then felt a tap at my shoulder, looked down, and was greeted very nonchalantly by Mr. Viking, and my heart sunk. I truly questioned whether I was being Punk’d.
I was visibly perplexed. It had dawned on me that he stood considerably shorter than me; possibly why I’d never seen a picture of him standing next to anything taller than a dog. Then, I noticed his billowing Jesus era hair – half braided, I guess, to compliment the heavy Aragorn Lord of the Rings cosplay, cape, tattoos and all. I was gobsmacked.
Now, one does not simply (heh) turn up to a first date in full LOTR Cosplay and not expect a reaction, so you can imagine how far my jaw dropped, and how literally no words came out of my mouth for a solid two minutes when I realized I was already in too deep. With sincerity, he asked “you know Lord of the Rings, right?”
I was desperately searching for an escape route and thinking ‘WHY IN THE HELL are you dressed for the Battle of Five Armies’. At this point, I was so flabbergasted and felt so awkward, that I just went along with it. I laughed hesitantly and breathed; ‘oh, I love it…’
I endured a round of awkward bowling and some shit chat about the weather before I snuck into the bathroom and called my flatmate, begging for him to fake a sickness requiring my immediate attention, so I could excuse myself from this date. Like a coward, I received my fake call, acted shocked at the ‘news’, apologised, and slipped out into the night to discreetly catch an Uber. Pensively gazing out of the window of the Uber on the way home, I asked myself “why didn’t I see this coming?”
So please, Tinder people!
Research your date! Find possible mutual friends and weave yourself a safety net to fall into if necessary!
If he’s saying weird shit, he’s probably a weird dude!
If you can, be honest with your date. Don’t leave them on read, wondering what they did wrong like I did.
Kindly decline the date if you discover his everyday clothing is chainmail and full armor, unless you’re into that 😉
And if you’re worrying for Jerry after reading this, don’t fret; he has since become incredibly ripped and has several cute dogs. Oh and I’m still single…Maybe I should see if he’s free on Friday…