I often seem to misunderstand

Tinder is recalibrating me just a little. In my life, one hundred percent of the people I interact with, I treat the same way: with a combination of interest and respect. I say “please” and “thank you.” I’m genuinely interested in people’s – everyone’s – experience. This is true of taxi drivers, baristas, waiters, retail merchants, toll booth operators – you name it. Including, women with whom I interact on Tinder.

Interestingly, it’s often not true of them. They abandon conversations mid-sentence, are rude, demanding, disrespectful, hostile. Sometimes, they are purely instrumental, using me to get off, and then discarding me unceremoniously like a cum-stuck porn magazine. Sometimes, their treatment of me approaches indifferent.

It’s all so different for me.

If I interact with you, I do so on the basis of the presumption (the fantasy?) that soon, we will meet. My cock will be in your mouth. My tongue will be on your clit. My cock will be pounding into your cunt, or sliding slowly in.

Or, at a minimum, that we both are evaluating whether that’s a world we want to travel to together. I know, consciously, that this is self-deceiving, that many women with whom I interact are engaged in precisely the interaction for which they’re aiming. The actual in-person interaction isn’t a real possibility, it’s more like the mechanical rabbit in a dog race, always just ahead, never to be caught. Or maybe it’s like God, or monogamy – something we all agree to pretend is real because the alternative is so bleak.

But anyway, I interact with you genuinely believing that one day, and soon, I hope, we will be together, vulnerable to one another, dependent on one another for some combination of safety, excitement, and pleasure.

If, at any point, this changes, I’ll tell you. I’ll say, “You know? This actually isn’t working for me any more.” Or our conversation will die out naturally, of its own accord. But I will, almost certainly, be the last to speak. I don’t know that I’ve ever consciously, intentionally, allowed a question or request of me to go unanswered.

It’s just not how I roll.

So every time I interact with someone who approaches these questions differently, I wince just a little.

A Twitter friend of mine used to deride our friendship as “not real,” because we hadn’t met. I suppose for some, this feels accurate. But for me, all my relationships, in real life or virtual, are real, are deserving of respect, consideration, generosity, kindness.

More on this anon….


  1. You have pretty much described what my experience has been like in every single online dating forum I have been on.

    I am like you in that I expect that each person may eventually want to meet. So imagine my surprise when I learned there are many men who just get off (literally) on a hot chat, sexy pics, maybe phone sex. But once they have that, they disappear. Or they never want to meet in person.

    I guess women can be douchbags just like men…

    1. I’m not sure they’re douches. I think it’s more like, we are playing by different rules, speaking different languages, adhering to different customs. Their actions have one meaning to them (“This was fun – I’m ready for the next fun thing”) and another one to me (“I have no interest in or respect for you, and don’t think you worthy of even basic consideration”). The key part is that I think they’re oblivious. I think I’m not real to them. Literally. Like they don’t really imagine me as a human, but as an instrument, a toy.

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