A few weeks ago, I lent my smartphone to my nineteen-year-old cousin while I was getting my hair cut. I thought she would use it to download Candy Crush or play Words With Friends, but when she handed the phone back to me, she smirked and pointed to the Tinder icon. And then I heard the "bzzzz" of an incoming message.
Conversation #1, with my cousin:
Me: WTF have you done? WHY?
Cousin: I want you to be happy! And have babies!
Me: Did you seriously go through and swipe right on EVERYBODY?
Cousin: Yeah! You can't judge a book by its cover!
Me: No, but you can judge a man by the cover picture he chooses. Like, you gave no thought to what I might actually like, did you? You just swiped right on anybody, as though I'm so desperate that I should date—ugh, THIS guy. Do you know how insulting that is?
Cousin: I would do this to any of my friends! It's a joke!
Conversation #2, with "Samuel" and with my cousin
A long-ish (for Tinder) conversation between the two of them wherein she urges him to check out her *own* Facebook page while pretending that she's me, and then, once I re-commandeered my phone, in which he tells me how cute my cousin is and I tell him he's HER favorite of the guys she's been talking to for me. Then he friends her on Facebook and she complains that that's creepy even though she told him to look her up. The conversation we don't have: how predictable this all is.
Conversation #3, with myself inside my own head
Devil Karen: This would be a funny/terrible/predictable screenplay. Maybe I should write it....
Angel Karen:No, dammit, focus on your current projects, Karen.
Devil Karen: You might have a point. Besides there's no way to write this without Teaching the Karen Character a Lesson About Loosening Up, which I obviously won't be doing because I'm a grown-ass adult whose prejudices and preferences are built on hard-earned experience. Like if a guy tells you his junk is small, the right thing to do is to suddenly get a headache and be busy for the rest of your life.
Angel Karen: [death stare]
Devil Karen: ONLY KIDDING, Angel Karen. I also read that article about size not really mattering, you know. God, lighten up.
Conversation #4, with my cousin and with "Peter"
Me: See, I have a way I do things. I don't ever send the first message because I've never been treated well by a guy who didn't like me enough to reach out in the first place. And I don't swipe right on guys who leave their bios empty because I don't like people who don't have something to say.
Me: See, look, this guy that you said "hi" to. (Pointing to an attractive enough guy, "Peter"). His profile is empty. He has NOTHING to say for himself.
Cousin: His profile isn't empty, see? Scroll down.
Me: Oh, we have a friend in common on Facebook.
Me, to Peter: Hi! My cousin is an asshole. She stole my phone and liked everybody in the world. How do you know Kate?
Peter: [DOES NOT RESPOND].
Me, to cousin: SEE? Even with an easy question, he can't be bothered to answer.
Conversation #5, with Skinhead With Name Spelled in Foreign Alphabet but whose profile indicates he likes science fiction and fantasy.
Fake conversation between "me" (really my cousin) and Skinhead, then:
Me: Hi! My cousin is an asshole. She stole my phone and liked everybody in the world. But we do have a couple things in common, so hi!
Skinhead: Lol, wut? tell ur cousin she's a faggot, lol. What do we have in common?
Me: [clicks Unmatch]
Conversation #6, Guy With Viking Hair
Turns out he's only been broken up with the mother of his child for two weeks.
Conversation #7, the next day, with "Peter" again
Peter says he knows Kate because he went to high school with her and her husband, who is a local pastor. I say that I just interviewed him for my radio show, and he says "small world." Then I joke about how we can't even use Tinder without the preacher finding out and he's like, "lol." Then: more silence.
Conversation #8, still the next day, Faceless Wonder
These are his pictures. I don't know what information he is trying to convey with these images, but my hunch is that he's a libertarian racist who is cheating on his wife.
Him: How are you? You seem very outgoing.
Me: You seem like you're cheating on somebody.
Seven hours later:
Him: Thats what I thought. You know nothing about me and you still judge me. No wonder your single.
Conversation #9, with Peter (again) the next day:
Peter: So what are you up to?
Me, some ten hours later: I was writing
Conversation #10, Guy With Zoolander Face, still the next day
Message comes in while I'm out on a date with a guy I met on OK Cupid.
Him, at 1:35AM: Hey, what are you up to??
Me, 11 hour later: I was making out with some dude. Gotta be faster, yo.
Conversation #11, with my friend Chris, just now:
Me: I structured this blog post in such a way to lead people to wonder if, like, I was maybe going to go out with one of the guys my cousin messaged for me. But really nothing happened. That's not unnecessarily troll-ish, is it?
Chris: I don't think so.