I can't believe I did it. I hit the heart button on a guy with KIDS in his profile picture. Not one, but TWO kids! How mature do I think I am? Still...(deep breath) he is attractive. And I am 34. I have to face the fact that guys in my age bracket might have offspring, whether it was on purpose, or they forgot to pull out. I should give him a shot. I'd probably have a lot in common with his kids. I never make my bed, I love the new Selena Gomez song, and I still prefer cutting my apples into wedges before I eat them. (Those black pits in the core still totally creep me out.) Plus, this is the tagline on his profile:
Has it really come to this?
Brilliant. I immediately send him a message. (My personal stats show: dudes I message first, are usually more normal than dudes who message me first.) He writes back promptly, and mentions how ridiculous this app is.
I just don't know how to have a convo with someone when all I have is her photo. Like... Nice eyebrows?
(I've actually seen a profile that was just a bank statement and a car. Oh, and I saw a profile that's just a picture of a penis, which is weird because Tinder uploads your Facebook photos. I can only imagine what it looks like when he writes on your wall.)
Haha! I'm blonde, so my eyebrows are practically invisible unless I pencil them in. So now you know a little more about my eyebrows.
(By this point in the conversation, I would have invited him to my live chat room if I was a spam bot.)
We discuss our chill days, his at the beach, mine at home making tacos. I'm careful with the wording I use to describe my tacos. They were delish, but since we live in a world of multiplying pervs, I can't help but think of the double entendre. I should probably stop talking about my tacos. Or I should have lied and said I'm having shepherd's pie. Wait. That won't work either...
I ask him what he does for a living.
I'm a lawyer. Don't hate.
I'm a bartender. I could never hate a lawyer. I know how much they drink. We plan to meet the next day for a taco and a drink. I suggest El Catrin, a new Mexican restaurant in the Distillery District. (Once you start talking about tacos, you can't stop thinking about them.) He lives in Leslieville. (Obvi -- that's where Toronto people with kids live. Either Leslieville, High Park, or somewhere on the Go Train line.)
Getting ready for the date is facking stressful! How do I look cute and mom savvy at the same time? I do own a fanny pack. Do I wear it? Should I go pick out a new outfit at Suzy Shier? How much about Dr. Oz do I have to know? Is he going to expect me to order a white wine spritzer? Because I'm NOT ordering a white wine spritzer! I finally calm down, and throw on a blue blouse, jeans and my Toms.
I get to the Distillery District a half hour early. I'm a nerd when it comes to punctuation and punctuality. Plus, what's wrong with getting to a bar early? It just means you can start drinking sooner. There's a big line up at El Catrin. Fack! Why am I so cursed with choosing date locations? I see a sign for Mill Street Beer Hall, and follow the cobblestone path towards it. Sweet! An outdoor bar, with available seats! That's all I need. Plus, it's a pretty deluxe place. I take a seat at the bar, order a Weiss beer, and play on my phone. Gotta get it out of my system now, otherwise I'll seem like a real asshole on the date.
At 7:26 p.m., I walk back over to El Catrin. The line for the restaurant is still powerful. I look around, and see a guy in a blue shirt lurking around the corner. I'm pretty sure it's him, but I get nervous, so I send him a Tinder message. As I do, he pops around the corner and introduces himself. I apologize for my popular choice of venue.
"I guess we should have made a reservation," he says.
True. I could have learned something from that fish eater date. I guide him back over to Mill Street Beer Hall, where I know we can grab a seat at the bar. (My chair is probably still warm.) The bartender comes over, and explains all the featured beers in such a thorough manner, she'd blow a secret shopper's mind. I don't even know where to start. I want them all. I pick one (for now.) I look at him to order.
"I don't drink beer. I'm gluten free."
FAAAAAAACCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK! Not this! A glutard?! I think I'm actually more offended he won't drink beer than eat bread. Poor little brewskis being snubbed by the people with the phony diet! He orders a Manhattan, or something. I'm not sure. I'm still startled by the news, so I'm not quite paying attention. I mean, I prepared myself for him having kids, but being Gluten intolerant? I'm not ready for this! Who am I going to share a pizza with? Paris with no croissants? CAN YOU EVEN EAT FALAFEL?
I calm myself down, remembering how much I love Thai food. Pad Thai is gluten free. We can still go for red curry. Tacos on corn tortillas! We're going to make it after all! The first date conversation gets under way. We talk about online dating, as I do on all of these dates. It's like we're all a part of the same cult. He tells me about some of his horror stories, and I tell him of mine. He's actually pretty cool. Our food comes. My flatbread is delicious, but obviously too much for me. I offer him a slice.
"I can't. Gluten..."
Oh right. I manage to remember everyone's astrological sign, but I already forgot you told me you're gluten intolerant twenty minutes ago. I feel bad for him. It's so tasty. He finally pulls a piece of Chorizo off a slice, and just eats that. I feel better. I like sharing. I finally decide it's time to talk about the elephant in the room.
"Soooooooo, you have kids!"
He looks at me confused.
"No I don't."
"What?!!? But half your pictures are you, with two little girls!"
(As I write this, I know how bad that sounds.)
"Those are my buddy's kids! I love them, but they're not mine. Wait -- so you thought I had kids?"
"Do you think those pictures are the reason I'm getting NO bites on Tinder?"
"ABSOLUTELY!" I say. (Why filter myself?)
Poor guy. Had no idea his profile pictures were cock blocking him. He's a good catch. He even picked up the bill, though to be fair, I know the managers, and they comped a round for us. So I wasn't totally useless.
I ask if I can get the rest of my flatbread wrapped up to go. Is that tacky on a first date? I can't eat it all. If I did, I'd have to undo my pants, or pop a Tums. I don't care how classy a restaurant is. Asking for a doggy bag is necessary sometimes, even if it makes you look like a hobo. How do you just throw away three pieces of flatbread? Then, my date looks at it.
"Can I have a slice?"
(The stress of being perceived as a father of two has clearly gotten to him.)
"But you're gluten intolerant! You can't!"
"I can, I just might get tired afterwards."
He grabs a slice, and starts chewing. I wait for a reaction, like we're embarking upon midnight, and he's about to turn into a Gremlin. He still looks normal. See, Glutards? You will be okay.
We walk back to his bike. (How Toronto is that?) We hug goodbye, and agree to see each other again. But secretly, I think this guy is rushing home to fix his profile, and try this app all over again. After all, Tinder is about the pictures.
I checked out his profile again this morning. He changed his main picture, and "his" kids are only in one photo now. Also, he has a new tagline:
Has it really come to this?
*No, these kids aren't mine.
I don't wanna brag, but I think I helped a man with his Tinder game. I couldn't be prouder. Go get 'em, Tiger!
Keep calm, (avoid kid pics) and Tinder on,
P.S. I want to apologize for my abundant use of exclamation marks in this blog. I try not to use them that much. I don't even think they suit me. I have a really raspy voice.