On a recent afternoon I contemplated deleting all dating apps off of my phone. So far nothing has come from them for me, and I often feel hollow swiping left and right to people's profiles, especially when it becomes an automatic activity for when I'm bored. Maybe I should read something? Even scrolling through Twitter might be more fulfilling than deciding whether someone's selfie merits browsing through more of their selfies.
This led to reminiscing on why I originally downloaded dating apps.
Flashback to the fall of 2013. I was a teaching assistant for an elementary statistics class. I didn't notice her until I noticed her - but when I did, I was lovestruck. I've always cited Cate Blanchett as my celebrity crush, and here was her doppelgänger minus two decades. I wanted to know her. I would have told her she was the most gorgeous being I had ever seen - not in a supermodel way; in a classy, forever-til-we-part-and-our-ashes-mix-with-sand-on-ancient-beaches-and-last-for-eternity-like-our-souls way. Can you tell I was smitten?
And I didn't even know her name.
Ethics kept me from declaring my lust. And maybe I should be grateful because I might have been written off, if not committed, as a crazed admirer.
Of course ethics didn't keep me from combing the class roster and cross-referencing Facebook until I found out who she really was, which didn't lead anywhere other than a name and her undergrad institution. At least her profile pictures reaffirmed her resemblance to Cate Blanchett. I wondered if she had been told before she looked like the actress. I also hoped she knew who Cate Blanchett was. (I once played a game where we had to name famous people and things. I threw out Kristin Scott Thomas because I was on an English Patient kick. No one in the room knew who Kristin was. Sigh, millennials.)
I daydreamed of Cate arriving to my TA office hours where, as I walked her through z-scores, we would joke about school and I would suggest coffee and we would run off to Europe together. Because that's realistic. However, Cate was smart and competent, or so I assumed since she never came to my office hours. (But didn't she want to meet me?)
I never saw Cate after that class. I conjured fantasies where I would bump into her at a happy hour or in Starbucks. These led to the self-determination that if I did ever see her again, I would undoubtedly approach her and ask her out. But while I run into all the people I could care to never see again - cough, one time I was in Gap when the woman who had been on my OkCupid profile the night before was standing RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME - Cate was nowhere to be found. I might have thought she moved away if my Google Chrome hadn't memorized her Facebook URL, so I could check and see she was still listed as a Richmond, VA resident.
I resolved the only way I could "meet" Cate was to find her on a dating app. I did consider a forthright email, but while romantic in a #ThrowbackThursday way if it actually worked, it also trespassed the TA/student agreement and could be seen as otherwise creepy and possibly never responded to.
So I downloaded Tinder. And Bagel Meets Coffee. And Hinge. And OkCupid.
All for Cate.
Anyway, that was twelve months ago. Fast forward to this past Saturday: Because I'm bored, I'm flipping through Bagel Meets Coffee. Now a quick aside about BMC (they should pay me for this tutorial): BMC matches you with someone every day who you have the option to like or pass on. If you pass, you can browse additional users with the options to "Give" or "Take." "Give" means you suggest the person for a friend. "Take" means you can like the users' profile and that user will be prompted to view your profile and like or pass on you. (You'll only be matched if they like you back.) All this involves some sort of fake currency that BMC calls beans (as in, coffee beans). Because I don't take dating apps seriously, I have never spent any of my beans and subsequently have accumulated 5,000 beans. Basically, I own Gringotts.
Well, guess whose profile popped up after I passed on that day's match?
CATE'S. The entire reason I ever downloaded dating apps hung a click away. Commence screenshots and bulk texts to the best friends.
"CATE BLANCHETT IS ON BAGEL MEETS COFFEE"
I paused only a millisecond before "taking" Cate's profile - as in, I paid 385 beans. Was this prostitution? Did it matter? Here was the culmination of why I ever downloaded Tinder!
I then morphed into crisis mode. The stakes had changed; this was the big leagues. This was the Bar exam/the MCATs/the GRE for my love life. I combed my BMC profile and sent it to friends to critique. It had to be foolproof; we couldn't let Cate pass on it.
And so this is where I end with the story of our first date and how I am now in a relationship with Cate and we're planning a honeymoon to Portugal. But PSYCH: None of that happened. Cate either never saw my profile or she passed on me (but that's so unlikely because my profile was foolproof, I tell you!). Either way, I'm back to square one: Should I delete my dating apps?