Had I not set a gigantic Tinder radius, I never would’ve met Jason, a smoking-hot 32-year-old who’d just moved to the area from England for work and had played semi-pro soccer back home.
He immediately struck me as sweet and affectionate — one of the only guys I’ve ever met online who wanted to talk on the phone first to make sure I wasn’t a bot and that we’d enjoy spending an evening together.
“I definitely assume everyone is a Republican,” Becky, a 26-year-old elementary school teacher and Democrat who dates all political persuasions, told me.
“I can’t limit my options here; I don’t have so many.” She’s not kidding.
There was the young Marine who did an exaggerated double take before telling me I was the most beautiful woman in the bar.
And the also-very-young hero who swooped in to rescue me when a woman was rude to me and held my hand as we ran through the streets to the next stop.
Still, I both got annoyed waiting for him to come to me, and felt guilty over his two-hour commute.
Jason seemed eager for a committed relationship, but I ultimately didn’t see it going anywhere.
“The women are, what’s the word, well-circulated.” John, a 24-year-old bartender, says that he’ll often have more than one waitress friend come by after her shift and ask if she can crash at his place downtown, and he’ll just sleep with the one who asks first.Brittany, a 26-year-old waitress, tells me that when she joined Tinder, all her friends called her “Tinderella” because it was so weird to be on it. People love to blame Tinder for hookup culture, but Becky joined because she was looking for the opposite.Her dad even paid for her to try with her location set to Raleigh because he doesn’t like the guys where she lives — but no one wants to drive two hours for a date. That’s the feeling that rises up in my throat whenever anyone asks me the totally non-condescending question of why I’m still single, which I’ve answered so many times in so many tones (“Just haven't met the right guy, I guess! There was the guy who kept taking calls from a number he’d labeled “Happy Happy Fun Time,” which turned out to be his drug dealer. I've met guys in bars, at parties, while snowboarding, through friends, and online via Ok Cupid, Match, Tinder, Hinge, Happn, Bumble, The League, How About We, Coffee Meets Bagel, and even Nerve.com, a site for “literary smut” that hosted online personals in that early-aughts dark age before smartphones.