Welcome to Tinder Tales, Mamamia‘s series about disastrous dating app experiences.
I feel like your life is at its lowest point when you install an app called ‘Fake-A-Call Free’, and intend to use it genuinely.
I fumble with my toiletry bag, pretending to look for a condom. My goal? Convince my lady friend that I’m VIGOROUSLY looking for a condom, by making loud and unidentifiable noises. Drop toiletry bag on floor. Kick over bin. Turn on shower. In the distance, sirens…
Basically create a string of sounds that signify I’m trying EXTRA hard to find a contraceptive of some sort. When really I’m buying time. Stalling. Stalling for just long enough to schedule a fake call on my new app, but not long enough for the nude woman on the bed of my hostel room to become suspicious, and come knocking on the bathroom door which I have valiantly locked myself behind.
Rewind a lil’ bit… I’m in Greece. A born and bred Sydney boy, midway through a solo trip around Europe. Solo. And let me be crystal clear right from the word go: I have no problem with solo. In fact I prefer it. But every second or third day I do feel that some form of human interaction is required, however minimal. Somewhere between walking through Mykonos town, praying my rental vespa doesn’t die going uphill, and watching An Idiot Abroad on Netflix, I do feel guilty for being a recluse.
“Go and meet people or your time here will be a waste,” my gut says. “STFU gut,” I say.
But my anti-social nature is eventually drowned out, and overcome by guilt. Sigh. I need to go and meet some new people.
Problem though: People are mean. Especially young people. If only there were a social platform through which I could meet people without having to put on a shirt or get out of bed… a platform through which I could superficially judge other singles without having to speak a word. A platform through which people can only speak to me if they WANT to have sex. A platfo-
So I'm swipin'. I'm swipin' real good. Sometimes left. At other times, right. Sometimes I do too many rights, and throw in a left for good measure. Some of the women have Greek names. The letters are all from the Greek alphabet. Pretty sure some of the names have numbers in them.
As you do with Tinder, I send out a few feeler messages to some of the lovely people that
want to meet up for casual sex I match with.
I manage to strike up a conversation with a woman named Zoe. She tells me she's from New Zealand, and that she's travelling solo through Greece. Two foreigners, travelling alone through the same country? It would be crazy NOT to meet up. So I propose it.
And she accepts. I absolutely refuse to go to her hostel and insist that instead she come to mine. Because reasons. #firstmistake.
The next four hours is an awkward cocktail of social anxiety and tummy butterflies. I can't decide whether to dress Greek-formal (boardies with singlet) or Greek-casual (boardies without singlet).
Full disclosure: it's my first Tinder meet-up. I have zero idea what to expect. Is she happy to see how things play out or does she just want sex? Is it transactional? Has she done this before? Is she really a man?
A listener dilemma: in a society that promotes independence, what if all you want is to partner up? (Post continues after audio.)
My greatest fears are silenced when a real life girl knocks on the door of my hostel room. I open the door, we hug, and I let her inside. #secondmistake.
"Hey, Zoe right? How are you?"
"I'm good, except it was like really hard to get here and I have the flu."
Now, I'm fully aware that misrepresentation is a cornerstone of our society. That house with 'rustic walls' has concrete cancer, and that guy who quit his job at McDonalds over 'irreconcilable differences' was fired for stealing hash browns. I'm all for some sneaky misrepresentation. But this is next level shit. It's clear Zoe has Tindered before.
I'll just leave this here... via GIPHY.
To be honest, I'm not in it for the sex. At all. I purely see it as a way to spend an evening with another human being, because that's what society dictates I should do. I've got an open mind and zero expectations. And to be honest, between you and I? I'm not feeling it. At all.
We sip on cheap vodka and run through one another's lives. She's 21. Divorced parents. Lives in New Zealand. Got a boyfriend. Wait what?
Should you even be on Tinder if you've got a boyfriend? Should you maybe disclose that detail to your match before you meet up?
"Honestly good on you for travelling through the Greek party islands alone and maintaining a relationship."
"Yeah, look it's been reallllly tough at times. But he trusts me."
Anyway this new piece of information fits into my agenda PERFECTLY. Because I've never felt less of a connection with a human being. Ever. It's like looking at an inanimate object. A chair... Sure it's a nice chair. It's friendly. But I don't want to have sex with it.
So then! It would seem we're both more than happy to have a few drinks, maybe get some dinner... even go somewhere for a lil' dance. But no sex. Perfect. High fives all round.
That's when she kisses me straight up on the facehole. RIGHT up in there.
I'm absolutely a deer in the headlights. Completely frozen. Too much tongue. Too many questions. You smell of vodka and how do I make it stop and is your boyfriend real and I DON'T WANT YOUR FLU VILLAIN.
"Zoe you're so sweet and tonnes of fun but you have a boyfriend and I'm not going to come between you."
"No it's fine don't worry."
No time has passed and yet, somehow, she's wrangled her top off and her hands are where I REALLY don't want them to be.
"Have you got a condom?"
"Look, I can't sleep with you, you've got a boyfriend and it just doesn't -"
"No seriously it's fine. Have you got a condom?"
"Um... in the bathroom, let me see if I can find one."
Aaaand here we are. It's clear this woman has no idea when it comes to self awareness or picking up cues or reading people... So with 'Fake-A-Call Free' downloaded, I schedule a call in 60 seconds from 'Mum', and leave the bathroom.
Never in my life has there been a longer minute. I stall by talking and injuring my back and doing some stretches. And then...
"Hang on Zoe my phone's ringing, I'll just be two secs..."
"Don't be too long...". She puts on her best sexy voice and I think my penis actually goes back inside my body. I 'answer' my phone and begin to act out one side of a conversation that doesn't exist.
"Mum? Hey...wha-... I don't under... Slow down. Slow down. Talk me throu-... Is he okay? Is Grandpa okay?". Cover mouth with hand. Cue shocked face. "Okay okay. Yep. I'll Skype you in a sec. Give me ten minutes". I hang up the phone, and turn to Zoe, who's taken her pants off while I've been on the phone.
"Zoe I'm so sorry to do this to you. My grandfather had a fall and he's in hospital. My Mum wants me to call them over Skype, she sounded panicked... I'm so sorry. Can I call you a cab, or something?"
At this point, any normal person would re-dress themselves, wish me the very best with whatever happens, and call a taxi. But it's blatantly clear by now that we aren't dealing with any normal person.
"No it's fine... you Skype your family. I'll just wait in the corner."
"Um. That's sweet. But I really need to be alone for this. You should probably head home, do you have money for a cab?"
"No I'll chill on my phone in the corner so I can comfort you when you finish."
Five minutes later I'm putting her in a cab out the front of my hostel. Because I managed to do an awkward-goodbye-hug-shuffle out the door and onto the street. I give the driver all the cash I have lying around and ask him to take her wherever in the world she wants to go, as long as it's far away from here. The cab drives off. I let out an audible sigh, and smile to myself at the events that have just transpired. I shut my door and revel in sweet silence. Until the landline phone, which I didn't even know existed until now, starts ringing. What? How? Who would call this phone?
"Is that Luca?"
"Uh... yes who's this?"
"Oh, Hi this is Zoe's hostel, she said she was with you tonight. She's just arrived back here. Don't worry, she's all safe. But she can't find her wallet..." There's ten seconds of silence while I wait for the woman on the phone to add more to that sentence. Like 'have you seen it?'. Or 'did she have it when she was with you'. But no. She does not. She offloads the problem to me. And then ceases speaking. It's like...have you ever seen a hospital pass in rugby?
"Um." I look around. "She didn't leave it here. Sorry. I hope it turns up."
"Can you check again?"
It was at this point in the night that my brain exploded. Zoe is a 21-year-old woman.Why is her hostel reception calling on her behalf? Is she suddenly shy? Why are they telling me about her wallet? Do they think I stole it? And how. THE FUCK. Did you get the number for the phone in my room.
"Yeah you say you don't have it but she says she had it earlier today and doesn't now soooo...". I draw the line at 'you say/she says'. I've never hung up on someone before but these are extenuating circumstances. I unplug the phone. I lock my door. I lock my windows. I jump onto the App Store and uninstall Tinder.
Reminder to self: stop trying to interact with other members of human race.
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And you can check out more of Mamamia's Tinder Tales series, here.
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