The Straight Girl Catfish Phenomenon

Tinder can be an extremely frustrating place for a gay girl.

It is made all the more frustrating by what I'd like the dub the "Straight Girl Catfish Phenomenon."

It goes something like this: a gay girl, like me, who is using Tinder to match with other gay girls, matches with a girl. This aforementioned girl seems nice, pretty and interesting. A conversation reveals that she likes to travel, she's studying creative writing, and she's new to New York. She seems to be able to hold a conversation well enough.

Hallelujah.

So would she like to grab drinks? She would. She would? She would!

You're feeling pretty damn excited. And then this happens:

2015-10-26-1445886309-9384194-Polkes.JPG
All Photos Courtesy of the Author

I'm sorry, am I missing something here? Am I being catfished? Can someone call Nev please?

You've never gone on a "real date" with a girl before -- fair enough -- but then why are you looking to match with girls on Tinder? And as to whether or not "this is a date," Honey, come on. This is Tinder. As many a Bachelor contestant has said, I'm not here to make friends.

If I were, say, using Tinder to find some friends, (not bashing that, it seems like a smart idea) I would indicate that in my Tinder bio, so as to avoid the confusion of being asked out by some dude, when I'm really just looking for something plutonic.

Before you come at me, guns blazing, let me add a few disclaimers. At one point in my life, I, too was questioning my sexuality. I, too, had never gone on a real date with a girl before. If young women see Tinder as a place where they can explore potential romantic relationships with all different kinds of people, I take no issue with that. And, like I said, if girls are using Tinder to find female friends, I think that's just great.

But for the love of lesbians, be clear about what you're looking for. Flirting with a girl who you are not romantically interested in on Tinder may seem fun and harmless. But there is someone on the other side of that cell phone screen who may actually be looking to meet girls to go on real live dates with. Crazy, I know.

2015-10-26-1445887357-2695545-Polkes2.JPG
Look, She Can Do It!

It's not so much the notion of straight girls chatting up gay girls on Tinder that I take issue with. It's Tinder, after all. Not finding what you're looking for is often the name of the game. Rather, it's the invalidation I feel when a girl professes surprise or uncertainty about what I perceive to be the romantic nature of our connection.

Again, it's totally fine if you've never dated a girl before and are looking to begin. I'm happy to be your guide. But to write, "If that's what this is" when I've just asked you out on a date rubs me the wrong way. Of course that's "what this is." We're on a dating/hook-up site. I'm asking you out for drinks. Yes, it's a date. If that surprises you, you probably shouldn't have your preferences set to "women" in the first place.