I have a confession.
I LOVE TikTok!
Assuming you filter for funny, likeminded people, this app can restore your faith in humanity. So many positive, hilarious, creative folks are putting their silliest feet forward and, unlike Facebook and Instagram, I walk away feeling more optimistic about myself and life after scrolling. One of my recent favorite TikTok videos involved a woman conducting a dating app experiment. She asked her matches, “What’s your most controversial opinion?”
The results were… troubling. And fascinating. Naturally, I decided I needed to conduct this highly scientific experiment myself. Which meant once again downloading dating apps on my phone, a practice that in the past had been entirely scarring and short-lived.
I’m not sure if it’s because I live in a relatively small town, or people in central Oregon have learned from their mistakes, but no one, absolutely no one, was willing to give a less than P.C. response. My favorite? “Pumpkin pie is actually not good.”
Before I knew it, my experiment was turning into actual dates.
Three four five six in a row. Hang on. This was just for giggles! I texted one of my girlfriends, Sara.
“This is Mr. Thursday. Do you know him?”
I had learned the hard way to vet any first dates with my single girlfriends. I had also learned the hard way not to get too excited before the first meeting – and to arrange said meet up as quickly as possible. Text messages do not an accurate impression make.
Take, for example, Kyle.
Kyle was Mr. Saturday Night. Kyle had a great smile. Kyle said allllll the right things.
I was sure -absofreakinglutely sure- this date would wind up in Smooch City. I wore my date-iest shirt and assembled my date-iest hair. When Kyle got out of his car (15 minutes late…), I was still sure. Kyle looked like a young Bon Jovi.
“Do we need to wear masks?” Kyle asked as we approached the bar.
“Oh, yes, everywhere inside,” I replied, trying to cover my surprise. Geesh, he really doesn’t get out much. “But you can take it off as soon as you get your drink.”
We ordered our drinks and quickly went outside and stood near a picnic table, not far from the raging fire pit. It was a chilly, drizzly October night in central Oregon’s high desert. I stuck my free hand in my coat pocket, wondering why we weren’t sitting down. Radiating nervous energy, Kyle immediately blurted,
“My sister has COVID.”
“Oh no!” I replied. “Is she okay?”
“Yeah, no symptoms. After a week, she was going stir crazy, so today she came into town and went shopping.”
My jaw dropped ever so slightly.
“I’m not vaccinated. I have a rare blood type that doesn’t get COVID,” he went on. “Are you vaccinated?”
“Um,” I paused. “Yes…fully vaccinated…” Holy f@%* how did I miss this on his profile?
Just as I tried to recover from this news, Kyle dropped another bomb.
“I have a 10-year-old daughter,” he said, pulling out his phone to show me a photo. “I didn’t know she was mine until she was five. I dated this woman 10 years ago who was engaged to a guy who couldn’t have kids, so she was using me for my sperm, but I didn’t even know she was engaged.”
“10, wow, well, that’s a great age…” I said, peering at his phone and gulping my wine.
Instead of sitting down, Kyle kept inching closer and closer. I shifted back ever so minutely as the conversation continued.
“I don’t believe in abortion,” he said without missing a beat. “I’m pro choice, but I don’t believe in abortion for me. And women wouldn’t need abortions if they didn’t sleep around. How about you?”
“Well,” I replied, unwilling to part with my wine in order to toss it in his face. “As a woman, I believe women can do whatever they choose with their bodies, including sleeping around.”
Unfazed, he released his third bomb of the night.
“Have you ever seen those TV dramas where the kids don’t realize they were raised by their grandparents?”
“Yeah, that was me. I thought my grandmother was my mom. My mom had me when she was 16, so we have more of a friend relationship.”
Before I could comment, he unleashed Bomb #4.
“I was at my brother’s funeral this summer with a friend. She’s 6’4″. All of my guy friends were asking about her because I guess they thought she was hot. I just don’t think women that tall can ever be hot. Yeah, my brother died in June. We think it was a drug overdose.”
“I’m so sorry. Wow…you’re giving me a lot to process here,” I stuttered. “I was thinking we’d start with our favorite pasta shape.”
“Well I don’t really care what you think,” he said.
“That’s kind of a rude thing to say,” I said, my eyebrows threatening to reach my perfectly coiffed hairline.
“I only really care what you think of my brother dying. I don’t want you to think I’m not ready to date yet because of that.”
“That’s definitely not what I was thinking,” I answered honestly.
“I’ve had other girls message me on Bumble, but you’re the only one I’m interested in. If this doesn’t work out, I’m deleting the app.”
“So what if I said I just wanted to make out?” I questioned, strictly for research (*cough* blogging) purposes.
“If we made out, you’d definitely want to go out with me. I’m an amazing kisser. I’m very confident. I know what I like.”
“You are not like your texts,” I confessed, my brain continuing to slowly turn itself inside out. “You seemed so shy.”
We had now migrated halfway around the picnic table in my efforts to stand as far away from him as possible. He hadn’t noticed and continued to invade my personal space.
“What do you do for a living?” I asked.
“I work in cryptocurrency,” Kyle replied, and then began to describe something that, in fact, sounded like a pyramid scheme.
“So you work from home?” I asked and he nodded. “Do you live alone?” In a town like Bend, Oregon, this question often yielded unexpected results.
“I rent out two rooms.”
“Oh, so you own and rent out two rooms?”
“I don’t want to talk about my living situation.”
I almost choked on my drink. That’s the topic that’s off-limits? He gave me a dramatic once over, leaning to look at my backside.
“I like what I see. I love thick girls.”
“Um, so, I’m going to go,” I said, the two of us now standing a full five feet from where we’d started our conversation a half an hour earlier. “I don’t think either of us is going to get what we want from this.”
The last thing I saw was his taken aback expression as I bolted through the bar, placing my half full glass of wine in the plastic wash bin near the door. I debated shouting, “Six feet from that man, people! Or maybe sixty thousand!!!!”
On the upside, he unmatched me before I even got home.