I was first, er, exposed to Tinder, the dating app, on a car ride home from a book signing. My friend, Ryan, who had videotaped the event, was driving; I was bored. Throughout my life, trouble has begun with these three words: I was bored.
"Sign up for Tinder," he suggested, probably not innocently. Ryan is a young, hip yoga instructor. Nothing he does is innocent.
The idea of Tinder was titillating -- finally, a fast, easy, efficient way to get rejected!
I signed in through my Facebook account, selecting two flattering photos out of many unflattering (realistic) ones.
I set my sights on men, ages 25-65, within 20 miles...
My Tinder cuts a wide swath.
Swipe left, reject.
Swipe right, accept.
If we matched (that is, if my future beloved swiped right on my picture, as well -- which stated my age, 50, in bold font -- good luck, Gigi!) then we could "chat" or I could keep "playing."
And play, I did. I swiped right -- on 27-year-old Aubrey, a surfer/skier/guitarist fond of customized beer koozies -- we matched! I squealed!
Did we hook up?
I never... ever... contacted him.
In the world of swipe, Aubrey liked me, I liked him -- I prefer to keep it that way -- my man-child and I having pleasant yet fleeting feelings for each other. Why meet and mess up a good thing? I swiped right on inappropriate men a few more times -- and received more immediate - and inexplicable -- gratification.
"Ryan," I said, having not paid attention to him for the last 45 minutes of the ride, for Tinder was all-encompassing (a harbinger of things to come) -- the perfect soporific for my primitive lizard brain. "Can't they see that it says '50' on my profile page? They do know... that means all of me is 50, more or less?"
Pavlov's dog, move over; I got this.
There are meetings for alcohol, drug and sex addiction. There are meetings for widows and widowers, for gamblers and for Internet addiction.
Meth is child's play. Where are my Tinder meetings?
I became obsessed -- and I'm not the only one. Soon, I found other Tinder acolytes - successful divorced and single men and women who found the immediacy of Tinder irresistible. A few of us had been matched with the same people. Why did this make us so giddy? Finally, we'd found our middle-aged version of the Slam Book.
Whereas I used to play Words With Friends or Draw Something, I now "play" Tinder. It's thrilling to reject rugby-playing 25-year-olds with washboard abs for being "too young". It's even more exciting if you, um, accidentally swipe right -- and you're matched. A rugby-playing 25-year-old wants to meet me? What should I wear? What should I cook? What should I call his parents?
Tinder is the gift that keeps giving.
Like any good sociologist (you say "nosy author"...), I watch for patterns. Younger men always... always... always have a picture of themselves with a beer in hand. Or with other boys and beers. Or with hot sorority girls and beers. The girls are inevitably wearing bikinis (this, to get a date with a woman).
I was surprised (dismayed?) to find that 90% of the men play guitar in a band. The other 10% are lead singers. In those pics, the men are making serious "O" faces. So at least I'll know what they look like having sex.
Everyone. Everyone. Every. One. Water skis.
More than everyone snowboards.
More than that ride motorcycles -- not just ride, but race them.
Some of those also rock climb. (I'm exhausted.)
A few brave souls will pose with children.
Lesser souls will make sure you know that those are "NOT THEIR KIDS."
If the man has a dog, you can bet there's a pic of him making out with that dog. The message? He will never love anyone as much as he loves Scout.
How about truth in advertising? You think women lie about their age? I dated a man who was a stone cold 52 on his best days -- on Tinder, he was enjoying his 37th spin around the sun. His reconstructed hips may not lie, but his eye bags do...
And then, not to be forgotten are the married guys. A few are happy to inform you of their status immediately. "Married Executive looking to put life back into my life."
Really? Awesome. How does the wife feel about that?
(At least he didn't have a picture of himself mountain climbing.)
Creepiest? The doughy, bespectacled man within 10 miles of Las Vegas (Tinder travels well) who was married and wanted to have sex with "a flat-chested woman with no pubic hair."
His pic? His arm around a young girl standing in front of the family's Christmas tree. She looked to be about 12.
One of the cutest men I've swiped on Tinder is 28-year-old Frankie. He lives in Venice. In my guest house. Because he also happens to be my nephew.
I'll let you know how that works out.
I've "met" men with whom I share 100 Facebook friends -- and I know none of the "friends." Not one. Who are these people? (Who am I that I share details of my life in a forum with people I don't know?)
I "met" a nice man who said that "strangers are only friends we haven't met yet" and that was enough for me to stab a stranger.
I take screen shots of the better pics and send them to my friend, Jared. You may think this is mean -- but hey, if you're going to selfie with a Glock 9mm, you're leaving yourself open for a little mocking from afar.
From very afar...
(Yet... Mr. 9mm and I have so much in common! We both "like" Amazon -- although, I don't remember ever "liking" Amazon... is there an "I'm Scared" button on Facebook?)
Jared happens to be on the gay version of Tinder. I pushed him to get on the Tinder train -- and now, it's difficult to get through our bi-weekly (go ahead, snicker; I have time) dinners without a swipefest. Recently, I sent Jared a screen shot of Tony, who posed in a naked butt-cheek profile selfie.
I thought this was hysterical -- Jared did, too. The first time he saw Tony. On gay Tinder.
Things that make you go hmmm...
One of my favorites is Logan -- he's NOT into random booty calls. Do you hear me? He's NOT INTO RANDOM BOOTY CALLS.
In Logan's first picture, he is naked from the -- um, what's the medical term for a skosh above the pubic bone ? -- to his chin (face not included).
In his second pic, his Lycra biker shorts appear to be choking a mongoose.
Mixed, yet intriguing, message.
They say money doesn't keep you warm at night (but down comforters do... I digress) but no one said anything about Tinder. Go, keep your "husbands" and "boyfriends," your "wives" and "girlfriends." Enjoy your blissful, longterm "relationships."
I'm busy swiping.
I recently went to a doctor with a pain in my thumb. He diagnosed it as a writing injury; he told me I spend too much time abusing my keyboard.
I know better.