How It Started
In a world where using dating apps has become a social norm, Tinder is pretty easy to understand. The basic procedure is simply swipe left for no, and right for yes. If two people were to both swipe right then they are matched and only then would they be allowed to privately message one another. Modern online dating no longer requires people to fill out lengthy compatibility questionnaires, or write novels about their hobbies, or share how many children they want in the future, or divulge exactly what it is that they’re looking for. Online dating has moved towards a more efficient, a more simpler method of attraction by focusing on shorter, wittier bios and, of course, better photos. Less is more, people. To put simply, we have accepted that we are all guilty of being a tad judgmental and no amount of the average bullshit sell-your-best-self-bio will supersede that bangin’ profile pic that you took on a cliff once because you’re #adventurousAF.
I think that’s why it was easy for me to join Tinder. It’s called the hook-up app for a reason. My plan was to EAT PRAY LOVE my way through Europe and what better way to do that than to go all heart eyes as I swam through a virtual sea of (mostly hot) European men? I had zero intentions on dating seriously and that was due to the fact that I have spent most of my late teens and 20s being in committed relationships. As much as we would all love to be Charlotte York, let’s not pretend that we’re above the idea that, beneath the superficial exterior of having to be this perfect person, there are parts of us that wishes so badly that we can be Samantha Jones. That was my plan, actually. To exude and expend all my Samantha Jones-ism.
Foolproof plan! Go to Europe, live up my late 20s as a single person (not just a single mom, though I am one), recharge, and the best part? Not having to talk to any of these guys ever again. The empowering feeling of taking the reigns in casual dating gave me this euphoric sort of high because there I was, signing up for TinderGold so I can relocate myself to Europe to begin by swipecapades. It was fantastic! I was linked up with some of the most interesting characters: starving musicians, english professors, the too-cool-for-school hipsters, the bad boys, the nice guys, et cetera. You name it, and there were at least 10 profiles that fit the type. I got a boost of confidence when I saw that over 10k guys have swiped right on me. While I’m also aware that men typically power-swipe (when they swipe right on everyone, often times without looking), just let me live this brief moment of blissful inflated ego strokage.
I was going to be in three countries: France, Germany, and Norway. I signed up for TinderGold at the beginning of December, a few weeks prior to my trip. In a short time, I had two dates set up for Norway, two for Paris, and one for Germany. The guy that I was most interested in was this blondie from Norway, a musician that has this incredible ability to do this impressive Mongolian throat singing. I’m not going to lie and say that his Scandinavian accent didn’t help set him above the others. Unfortunately, he was sick for a few days and we were not talking as much which led me to feeling as though I should prepare a back up plan, just in case he would still be sick when I arrive. Back on Tinder I went! I scrolled through the list of guys that have swiped right on me and hit the heart buttons to the few that seemed intriguing. That’s when I came across his profile. There was nothing about it that particularly stood out. There was a decent photograph of where he had this with a tight lipped side smirk, the kind that gave off the vibe that he’s the shy type, there was no bio, and his instagram link gave no indication about who he was as a person other than he seemed to have somewhat of a social life. I thought to myself, “Meh, alright. Why not?” We matched, and I wrote him, like I did with everyone else, the simple phrase of “hey there!” We collectively exchanged maybe 6 messages before exchanging WhatsApp numbers. One of the first things that I asked of him to do was to voice-record me the pronunciation of his name, which funnily enough I still can’t pronounce. Shortly after the texting and voice recordings, I decided to FaceTime him and surprisingly enough, he answered. I was pleasantly caught off guard that he was even better looking than his photographs. He didn’t look different, but his pictures certainly did not do him any justice. Suddenly my overly confident demeanor went into this nervous speed-talking. I giggled over things that weren’t meant to be funny. We chatted on easily and before I knew it, an hour and a half had passed by. He had mentioned something about possibly taking a solo trip somewhere for the holidays, I casually suggested Paris since I was going to be there before Germany. He told me that he might consider it. I didn’t think too much into it because it was such a casual conversation. The next day, we FaceTimed again and that’s when he booked his flight to Paris.
The next couple of weeks were spent getting to know one another via phone. We literally dedicated so much of our free time doing something that we both admittedly hated doing. Yet, neither one of us could bring ourselves to simply stop talking. There was a night where we were FaceTiming, fell asleep, and woke up still on FaceTime. I was equally mortified and impressed because this is all very high school behavior. The intimacy of getting to know someone based purely on conversation is something that I find to be so rare in this day and age. In doing this, I have found myself developing feelings for someone that I haven’t actually met in real life. What I found to be the most peculiar feeling is that I didn’t find it odd that I started to like him.
While all the good feelings started boiling over, I had to keep telling myself to be a bit more sensible. No matter how much my head wanted to float up in the clouds, I had to keep my feet planted on the ground. I reminded myself to not get in over my head because realistically speaking, falling for someone you haven’t met is insane. Falling for someone that you haven’t met, who also lives 3800 miles away from you, is ridiculous. As we grew more excited over the anticipation of what would be the most epic romantic getaway, I kept this thought in the back of my mind. I even half jokingly stated, “Once this trip is over, we’ll never have to speak to one another again.” There was a pause at the other end of the phone, and then he said something along the line of, “We’ll see. You’re a pessimist.”
Through all the travel nightmares, I arrived in Paris on December 27th, exactly two weeks since we initially spoke. I was running on 5 hours of sleep for the two travel days, and my luggage was lost. I reached for a packet of gum at the airport convenient store as I waited for him to show up. Our meeting spot was at sortie 2. I sat by the door, snapping my gum against the inside of my teeth as I looked around for him, my left legging shaking uncontrollably. His text asked where I was, and I said that I was at exit 2. We were confused for 10 minutes before finally realizing that there were an upstairs and a downstairs exit. I told him to stay where he was as I jumped on the elevator. I saw him facing the information desk, I asked “hey, is that you in the gray coat? Turn around!” He turned over and there was a smile of relief. We had talked about how our first kiss should be at the airport. I warned him that we would most likely clank teeth because you can’t prepare for something romantic, such as an airport kiss, without recognizing the high probability that something would mess up.
As we approached one another, I muttered, “Finally.” He said, “Hi.” We stepped in for a hug, and I tilted my head up for a kiss. I’m happy to report that there were no teeth clanking.
How It Went
From the moment we left the airport, there was never a period of time when we weren’t being affectionate towards one another. I kept calling it, “disgustingly cute.” My self deprecating nature wouldn’t allow me to just simply enjoy the moment, I had to remember the whole feet-planting promises that I made myself. I found it remarkably wonderful that we got so comfortable with one another in such a short period of time. It was as if I knew him my entire life. Simply put, we just clicked straight away. While in Paris, I felt that we got swept up in the romantic setting. However, if you were to choose a place in time where you can be completely and foolishly romantic, wouldn’t you choose Paris? This utterly photogenic city has been an incredible backdrop to our love story.
While the weather was not always the most accommodating, we found ways to entertain ourselves as we roamed the beautiful streets. I listened to him order croissant with the best French enunciation. Much better than anything my tongue could muster. We ate at a nude restaurant, which was incredibly thrilling and something that was completely out of our comfort zone. There will be an entire blog post on that in the future. We got to learn how to make authentic French Crepes in the kitchen of this wonderful chef named Eleonora, who was exquisitely Parisian in all of the best ways. There were moments when we were caught in the pouring rain, and though our umbrella barely shielded us, we managed to laugh our heads off as our feet got soaked running down the steps of Monmarte. Strangers smiled at us because we were seemingly unable to keep ourselves away from one another for long. Whether it was our hands intertwining, or a simple kiss each time we stopped walking, we were undeniably, and very publicly, displaying loads of affection. It could have been the atmosphere or it could have been the fact that we really were just into one another. Either way, it did not take long to agree that we would only see one another and said “au revoir” to our Tinder app.
We continued our joint holiday as we made our trek to Berlin. I could not have imagined a better way to have rung in the New Year than to admit to each other, as well as ourselves, that we may have fallen in love. I was completely flabbergasted! I hadn’t imagined that this trip would have turned out this way. Or that a simple Tinder conversation from a few weeks prior would have led to this sort of adventure. I was only in it for the casual fling and what I got out of it was a love that I never knew I could feel. Sure, it all seemed quite fast, and perhaps, we did get a bit caught up in the moment but I want to emphasize the point that I have never felt this sort of connection with anyone. It’s a rarity to not only feel those sparkly butterfly feelings in your gut, but to have that feeling grow stronger each day. I can confidently say that he has found a way to captivate my heart and have me understand that this is what being in a relationship is all about. It was effortless, falling for him. It’s in every way fun, and exciting as any new relationship but there is something incredibly different about this. I know that deep in my core. I can’t articulate it in a way that would adequately explain what it is that I feel about this but I can sum it to: It’s fucking great.
It’s funny. In the beginning, I kept worrying about thinking realistically and being logical when it came to this entire thing. I thought for sure that I didn’t want a relationship of any kind. I practically preached that! I was content with being single because I found that I am most comfortable when I’m alone. Then Sören came along and threw a wrench into my plans. While I was skeptical about the possibility of doing long distance, I suppose falling in love changes your perspective on things and it also gives you that reassuring confidence that things will work itself out. We try to not focus too far into the future. Being present and just accepting the fact that we care deeply about one another is enough for now. Also, we have a few travel plans coming up in the near future so, lucky for us, we don’t have to be apart for too long.
What an adventure this all was! As I said, this was not what I expected when I took my cousin’s suggestion to sign up for Tinder, but I’m over the moon that this was the result of it. 🌙 My advice for future Tinderellas: swipers keep swiping!