Tinder obviously comes with a laughable reputation, but that didn’t stop me from taking the plunge into the entertaining world of right and left swipes. I loved that I could be chillin’ with no makeup and watching the Bachelor, while lazily swiping through profiles. Even when I did venture out into the real world to meet someone, all the guys I met seemed so… normal. It had me wondering where all the puppy murderers and sex addicts were hiding.
I shouldn’t have held my breath. Just as I was starting to think that Tinder horror stories were myths, I met Aaron. His six pictures and 140-character bio were nothing out of the ordinary, so I figured a right swipe couldn’t hurt. We chatted for a couple of weeks and I never sensed anything weird. I agreed to grab coffee. Totally normal, right?
We met at a Starbucks. I walked in and he immediately waved me over to his spot in line. He looked like his Tinder picture, so I figured everything was fine. But that was the only thing that went well. From there, it wasn’t long before the red flags started popping up.
First off, he mentioned he needed to charge his phone. Since there wasn’t an open table inside, he decided to just charge his phone inside while we sat outside. No big deal. But he became so paranoid about losing his phone that he would get up every six or seven minutes to go check on it. It was weird, but the sun was out, it was a gorgeous day and I was heavily caffeinated so I was willing to ignore it.
But the caffeine and sunshine couldn’t keep me distracted when he said he was an “Xbox flipper.” My smile froze— what the hell was that? He proceeded to explain that he would buy broken Xboxes at wholesale prices, spruce them up and then sell them — still broken — to unsuspecting customers. From his bio, I hadn’t seen that one coming. He said it so casually, like he was telling me he was a waiter or surf instructor, not a low-tier con artist. Who admits that? I mean, really?
In retrospect, I wish I had snuck away during one of his frequent trips to check on his phone. But no, I stayed and it just got worse. His next bombshell was that he lived in a hostel. But once again, he said it with such blasé attitude, it made me momentarily think I had misheard him. It was painful keeping a straight face when all I could imagine was a run-down pigsty paid for by the Xbox orders of gullible teenage boys.
That coffee date had not been worth the time it took to turn off Netflix and do my hair. The only thing saving it at this point was that he was total eye candy. But after about six trips inside to check on his phone, our date was finally over. We were getting up to leave when he asked if I could give him a ride to his car. I’m a confrontation-phobe so I gritted my teeth and begrudgingly said, “Sure.” I mean, up to this point all he had really done wrong was disclose about five too many embarrassingly personal stories. But man, I should have said no. Guys like Aaron don’t just make dates uncomfortable, they make them go up in flames.
When we got into my car he asked to kiss me. At this point his profile was as good as blocked, but I thought what the hell, he was attractive. So we got a little frisky for maybe five seconds. It got about as racy as a Disney movie before I turned away to start my car. I turned my head for a few moments at the most, but in that time he had managed to turn my passenger seat into an episode of MTV’s Pants off, Dance Off. Seriously this guy was delusional. He had unzipped and whipped it out like that’s how he ended all of his casual Starbucks dates. The real kicker? He looked at me and said, “Just so you know what you’re getting into.”
“Please get out and walk back to your car” was all I could coherently sputter out in response. There was no way that move had ever worked for him in the past. I was going to have to burn my seat covers.
Aaron had turned out to be nothing short of a real life Tinder date-from-hell. I hadn’t ever seriously considered investing in pepper spray until after that date. It was such an absurd experience, it could’ve been scripted for reality TV.
Ever since then, my Tinder days are safely in the past. As entertaining as virtual people-watching is, there’s something about meeting guys the old-fashioned way that will never go out of style. And what can I say? I’m a fan of the classics.