One Swipe Away

“Everyone’s a stranger until you meet them,” she says.

“She” is my magical friend who lives a magical life. I won’t get into the particulars as her life story is hers to tell, but she has wild hair, an open heart, and lives the sort of far-flung, adventurous existence that makes me wonder if she’s a real person or a figment of my imagination — the Brad Pitt to my Ed Norton in Fight Club.

Anyway, Friend with the Magical Life is trying to convince me to join a dating app when I visit her in Hawaii this fall so I may indulge in a proper vacation fling.

“I’m gonna make a profile for you. Everyone does it here.”

So, here’s the thing with me and dating apps: I don’t.

A fact that should surprise no one.

In the Before Times, when we left our homes with the intention of speaking to other people, I met men out in the wild. In bars. At the parties and get-togethers of common friends. Places where I could assess them from the safe distance of “acquaintance” or “associate” before entertaining any notions of dating them. Whatever mutual attractions I picked up were the byproduct of enjoying myself…icing on the cake that was my robust social life. But I’ve never been the girl to look for a man. Remember, I’m the same woman who recently said the following:

I’ve never liked the idea of sharing myself as much as I wanted a particular person. Once that person is no longer an option, I don’t want anyone — reverting to my peaceful solitary existence until the next exception pulls me out of my self and makes me crave them.

“The Trouble Makers,” My Third House Life.

So the idea that I’d craft a profile — curating the perfect combination of photos, clever quips, well-rounded interests, and “what I’m looking for” intentions — for the sole purpose of enticing a haystack from which I’m supposed to find a needle?

Makes me want to stab myself in the fucking eyeball with a fork.

But I cannot lay all that out in a text message to my Friend with the Magical Life who is likely answering me from a hammock by the Pacific Ocean and wanting me to believe, for just a moment, that my own Magical Experience could be one swipe away.

Instead, I allow myself to sound like the antique relic I am by answering “Going online looking for strangers isn’t my thing.” Never mind that I don’t leave my house anymore and have imposed a strict “Do not date within Cleveland city limits” rule since I turned 30, therefore nullifying my old way of meeting men…

Except, that is exactly what my Friend with the Magical Life is minding because she thinks my lack of dating can be solved by meeting “dateable” people. If my lack of dating is a problem and not a mere fact of my life, I think it can only be solved by meeting Sebastian Stan.

Otherwise, my Magical Experience will have to sneak up on me from behind and smack me over the head.

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a girl named rob

I used to be "skinny black girl." I'm now a slender woman on the other side of 35 with no new moniker who is not quite interested in writing under her given name. Still writing my life, a day (or some months) at a time. Also, still black.

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