I’m on Tinder. Yep, I am. That’s not a secret and it was never my intention to keep it secret. In there is a world of swiping and tapping. It rains whatever you want. Your choice. Your pick. If you want to make friends, there’s a kind for you. You want a soulmate? Swipe right. You never know the person on the other end of the screen might just be The One for you. You want other things? (Don’t ask me which things). They are served too. And if you’re like me, on Tinder to find stories and brew some mischief, then you’re in for an escapade.
When I wrote Tinder Me, some people showed me their butts. They thought I was the biggest blasphemer they had ever come across. It was as though I had committed the gravest sin on this planet. God would be embarrassed to call me his son and He would send me to sit in the corner. I’d be grounded.
A friend sent me a WhatsApp.
“Ernest, Tinder, Really?”
I didn’t know how to respond so I said, “Yes. Tinder.”
Another thought I was lying. He checked my phone to confirm I had the App. Hehehe. He believed.
Anyway, it’s where we met.
“It’s a Match,” Tinder said. I told her I liked the iteration of her name and thought she was a creative type. She said that’s probably where her creativity starts and stops, at her name, ended her text with a smiley.
It was about 1:00pm. We chatted a little more then I told her, “…chat more at the end of day, after work?” And I dropped my number in the mix.
“Yeah sure…We can chat. Will depend on if my movie or series collection is inept.”
I read it and thought, “She doesn’t want to come off as desperate. She’s smart.” I wondered if she had used the word “inept” correctly but that was none of my business.
She texts me in the evening and asked if I actually look like my profile picture. My response was silly. It was a blunt statement.
“I take this as a sign that I won. The movie lost.”
Look at me competing for attention with a movie. LOL.
She tells me the movie never loses. Then she checks out my blog because the link is on my WhatsApp status. And she asks if I’m a dad. I wanted to respond with a question on whether she has anything against dads or something. But I thought I needed to lay a polite foundation and not come off as an arrogant maggot. I told her I wasn’t yet a dad.
And she went quiet. Maybe she wanted to chat with a dad. Maybe not. It’s just that her movies and series had won that evening. I couldn’t compete. I couldn’t compare. I couldn’t win.
She texts me back 13 hours later, in the morning with a good morning text and a hehehe. I respond and we chat again.
Her texts are polished. They flow beautifully, like watching the hills of Kisoro from a distance. And she’d catch a joke on anything. She could turn a stone in the middle of the road into a joke. She came off as a chic who could bungee jump. I’m a coward of bungee jumping. I pictured her as a free spirit, one who could stop by the side of the road to buy roasted maize and grind it in her molars as she walked. I figured she wouldn’t mind eating rolex by the side of the road and yet remain real. And as we closed out each day of our chats, I wanted to meet her. This was four days later.
At this point, I knew her name. She knew mine too. She knew where I worked. I didn’t know where she worked. I knew she had a previous mini writer life. I even read some of what she had written online. She knew I blogged. I knew she was a happy face. She didn’t send me any pictures though. I didn’t send her any either.
Wait! I couldn’t. What if she decided I was too ugly for her to continue chatting with me? I wasn’t ready for that yet.
So instead of fussing about it, I ask her on a date.
I sit in the corner at a small Café I’d asked her to meet me at and order a cappuccino. The sun rays are sneaking through the open window and bouncing off the height of the wall to my right. The walls are grey and padded with wood. There is a mix of soft rock and RnB playing through the speakers of the cafe. A waitress walks to attend to the couple seated to my far left. They both look uneasy, like they’ve been fighting through text. Or it’s their first date and they don’t know what to talk about.
I wait for her, my date, who remains unnamed. I’m reading an article on the New Yorker on my laptop. I send her a text and tell her she’ll know me because I’m in a corner with a cappuccino, some of it spilt on the saucer. I tell her I have four eyes and she won’t miss the sight of me. She sends a laughing reply.
And she finds me.
Warm face. All teeth smile. Bright and twinkling. Blue jeans. White top, a watch with a brown strap, her hair weaved up and glasses. She has four eyes too, like me. Surely, it’s a match. Tinder knows best. I step out of my seat to hug her. Two women have turned down a hug from me before so I’m cautious. She’s gracious. She doesn’t turn it down. And she’s loud, right off the start. We talk as though we have known each other for forever.
She says, in a cheeky way, I’m pretending to be cool by taking a cappuccino. I laugh. She laughs. A wait staff takes forever to come to our service. She pokes fun at that couple seated to my far left. Their food arrives and girl takes a picture of it. She cracks up and tells me, “If you get a chic who takes pictures of her food, then she’s a kid.” They get uncomfortable and they move to another table. Of course, we laugh even more.
My date looks at the drinks menu and sees the price of beer. She swears and says those guys are expensive.
“Why on earth do they sell their beers at 10K?” she asks.
A group of six people walks in. They want to sit together. And they can fit where we are so we move. Nice people we are. Aren’t we?
Finally, someone comes to take our orders. She calls the waitress “Baby”, an endearing word for her. Waitress is all teeth and joy. She orders a dawa because she’s having a cold. And we get a chicken pizza, large. It comes with another one because it is one of those buy one get one free days. I swear, I didn’t know that place had that offer that day. She doesn’t like their pizza very much and suggests we go somewhere else. I agree. She pays part of the bill. Yep, she was up for splitting the bill. I was all right with it.
Chic didn’t want to seem like a parasite. I felt she didn’t want to make it seem like I owed her anything. She wanted me to know she was a big girl who could handle her ish. Miss Independent. The “I can do it my way” kind of girl. We paid and walked out, crossed the road and went to Ola’ to continue with the date.