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Finding Love in Cyberspace

Tinder lights the fire

      Love is tricky. The adage goes, you never know where you’ll find it. Maybe it’s out on a dock by the Bay or under the awnings of a local coffee shop. For me, love was where I’d least expected to find it: Tinder.
      Tinder was never supposed to be a place to find love. The app is notorious in the dating-sphere, strewn with men (and women) “just looking for a good time.” When I signed on two years ago, I convinced myself that I was looking for something fleeting, too. I had just finalized plans to move to Ecuador and I reasoned I could do with a bit of excitement in the months before the move.
     Mind you, I was no stranger to Tinder. I’d used it before, each time only keeping the app for a month or so. I’d snag a date, have a terrible time and shut the door to cyber love. Delete, repeat.
      My first Tinder date was a man who invited me to dinner in Fell’s Point. When I arrived, he ordered chips and guacamole and shooed the waiter away. He told me he didn’t like animals and that the only books he’d ever read were his medical textbooks. Then he invited me to his apartment, where, despite knowing my limitations, he chased me around demanding to be kissed. I left when he asked me to take off my dress.
      A year later, boredom crept up and I downloaded the app once again. This time, knowing the risks (I had been lucky), I agreed to meet a very nice boy in a very public place. He invited me to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at the Folger Shakespeare Library. I was ecstatic — that is, until I met him. Lackluster chemistry and ill-mannered jokes drove us to part ways, permanently.
        Thus it was with zero expectations that I downloaded Tinder for a third and final time. Immediately, I met three promising bachelors. The first was an artistic type who posed with his guitar in every photo. The second was a realtor who asked me on a date within three minutes of conversing. I agreed.
      The third was markedly nerdy. The other men’s first messages to me were based on my appearance; his was based on my short biography: “You write?”
So sparked a two-days-long conversation, where our talk ranged from music to favorite authors to so many other shared interests. He told me he was an avid Dungeons and Dragons player, which — surprisingly — interested me even more.
       “I think I actually like the nerdy one,” I said to my mother, who was following my love saga like her favorite primetime ABC series.
       “Oh yes, Bachelor Number Three,” she said knowingly.
        That night, I sent him the message, “Connor, don’t you think we should meet?”
       He agreed, we should.
       Something about our conversations made me want nothing more from the other men I was talking to. I canceled the date with the realtor, with the excuse, “I don’t want to be ‘involved’ in the months before my move.”
       This, of course, was a lie, meant to let him down easy, but he still protested. “All I’m looking for is a one-night thing,” he said. 
      “No thanks,” I said.
       Later that week, Connor and I met in a Starbucks. I can still picture him walking toward me in a denim button-down with the sleeves rolled up. I liked him instantly. We stayed in the Starbucks for two hours, talking over a table in the corner. It was the best first date I’d ever had.
        Afterwards, while sharing our first impressions, he said, “There was something in your eyes that just made them sparkle.” It was the first time anyone had ever directly complimented my eyes.
       A month later, we were seriously dating. Four months in, we said I love you for the first time (though I’d fallen much sooner — the night of a friend’s funeral, in Connor’s car, barreling down back roads singing along to the most ridiculous song about chicken). 
       Six months in, I was off to Ecuador, deciding to give the whole long-distance thing a go. Surprisingly, dating Connor long-distance was easier than dating previous boyfriends who lived down the street.
      Now I’m back home, permanently, and we are coming up on our two-year mark. We are very happy. Two years ago, I never expected Tinder could lead to real romance. But, you know what they say. Third time’s the charm.