It started like any other person's thought process does when they download Tinder, the "dating" app popular among college students that actually has a reputation for being more of a hookup app.
I was bored, heartbroken from a first love gone wrong, and I wanted someone to talk to. It was my last resort. For so long I told myself (and anyone who would listen) I would never resort to finding someone online, so when Tinder was first released, even though it wasn't technically "online," the idea of downloading it wasn't even an option. I knew I wouldn't find what I was looking for. But there was a tiny voice inside my head that couldn't resist the curiosity of just who I might find on there. What kind of guys use Tinder?, I wondered. Could they really all only be using the app to find a quick Friday night hookup? At 11 p.m. on a weeknight, buried under blankets and nursing my broken heart, I downloaded Tinder. I can always delete it, I told myself.
The guys that first showed up in my feed were just what I had expected: athletic, shirtless, shallow frat guys with ridiculous standards when it came to what kind of girl they were looking for. "Come over, and let's see where the night takes us," most of their profiles said. "Not looking for anything serious" was another popular profile tagline. Not surprisingly, I swiped left (a "no" in Tinder language) on most of them. I wondered for a bit if it was possible to become even more depressed than I was before I downloaded the app. The possibility was looking pretty good.
The few guys I gave an optimistic right swipe to (meaning "yes") resulted in brief, unfulfilling conversations null of any spark usually accompanied by some lame pickup line or a sexually-loaded invite to get a beer that night and hang out at their place. I inevitably ended up "unmatching" them and then later ranting about them in my blog. There was only one guy I actually met up with in person. It was an okay date, but nothing ever came of it.
I didn't give up though. I found too much entertainment in seeing who in my town was using this appearance-based app. Plus, it was nice hearing from guys that I was pretty. It was like the verbal version of gorging myself on chocolate after just having my heart stomped on.
I made the decision to stop stereotyping guys so quickly and leave my judgments at the iPhone home screen. I swiped right on one guy who looked frat-ish and not at all my type, but seemed like a friendly, outgoing guy. It earned him extra brownie points that he had a picture of himself cuddling with his dog. "Hey, how's it going" was his very suave, original opening line. I was already bored. I forgot about Tinder for a couple weeks and then jumped back in on a whim one random evening. Frat Guy's message was still there. The blinking cursor beckoned a message from me. "Hey back" was my equally exciting answer. What was once a very dim outlook on the direction our conversation started out in soon became texting throughout the day, sending photos back and forth, sharing how our day was going and trading funny facts about ourselves and our lives. Butterflies did somersaults in my stomach whenever I received a new message from him. From my own judgment of him as "partier/not looking for anything serious" to "sweetheart, genuine and 'maybe this could be something'." It was such a surprise.
Three months later, we made a plan to meet in person. We decided to meet up for drinks. Bribing her with a cocktail, I convinced a friend to sit with me while I drank my liquid courage until Frat Guy showed up. Two lemon drop cocktails and a "let me know when you're home so I know you didn't have a heart attack" from my friend later, I was sitting across from Frat Guy.
My heart was pounding the entire time. We had electrifying eye contact and great conversation that, thank goodness, didn't merely exist only through text. We live almost two hours away from each other, but that didn't stop us from seeing each other as often as we could. We met another time for drinks, and again to see a movie. Our relationship progressed quickly, but in the most natural way.
Two and a half months later, we're in a committed relationship and we've already met each other's family. I figure, if my mom's dog even likes him, he must be a good guy. Just kidding, I knew he was even before I was replaced as the dog's best friend.
It's true what they say, as easily as life can remove someone who was once so important to you, it can just as easily replace them with someone who will be even more important. My guy (no, I don't still refer to him as Frat Guy) and I used to joke before meeting in person that if we ended up hitting it off and people asked us how we met, we would answer anything but "through Tinder." But now, I'm not afraid to share that's how we met. In fact, I think it's pretty cool. The very thing I had sworn up and down I would never use ended up bringing me pure happiness.
This whole experience has shown me how love can be found anywhere, even in the most unlikely places. If anything, I'm amazed and comforted with how quickly life can change one's circumstances. It's comforting to know that even if you had what you think is without a doubt the worst day of your life, tomorrow could just as easily be the best.