One idle Saturday morning in early May, I’m flicking my way through the Tinder catalogue. This was back when you could see at at a glance if you had any mutual friends and who they were*. Now the way I see it, a ‘good’ mutual friend (i.e. someone you’d be up for dating in their own right) can elevate a ‘maybe’ to an unequivocal YES. This one is definitely a maybe. I flick to the next picture – is that jewellery he’s wearing? We’ve one mutual friend. I tap the icon and their identity is revealed.
I’ve written before about transference, here and here. And now here. I go back one screen, seeing with different eyes. And when we match and he gets in touch, I forgive the typos galore. I even let the earnestness slide for a day or two. A week later he messages again, and then again a month down the line, but I don’t reply. I’ve met a man who can spell, make me laugh and be earnest all in the space of a few words. I’m a lost woman.
Wednesday night, I’m queueing for cheap cider with Gus and Ryan. Tristan and some of the others come over, drinks tokens in hand. They’re mostly familiar faces, colleagues I see with varying frequency around the office. All except one. I’d seen him come in with Tristan and since then had been doing a little dance of avoidance. It works well until… it doesn’t.
‘Hi, I’m Casper.’
‘Hi – Anna.’
It’s a weak handshake.
‘How – how do you know Tristan?’
I know how he knows Tristan, but it’s easier this way.
Two pitchers of cheap cider later, I find myself next to Tristan. He leans in, even closer than he usually does, and says in a very loud voice:
‘So Anna,’ he starts to laugh, a good-natured, cider-fuelled laugh, ‘I was saying to my friend Casper, you should meet Anna, and–.’
At which point Casper comes into earshot.
‘He’s coming over,’ I say, laughing, ‘so you might want to stop talking about him in the third person.’
Tristan looks totally unphased.
‘I think Tristan’s trying to tell me something about you!’ I say to Casper.
‘Oh OK,’ he says, also laughing. ‘Shall I go then?’
It’s all very good-natured. I turn back to Tristan. ‘You were saying, you said to Casper that he should meet me, and then….’
‘Then he told me you’d already met on Tinder!’
Cut to later in the evening. Casper is drinking minis of white wine.
‘I don’t drink beer,’ he tells me.
I examine the label on the bottle. ‘I was supposed to go to a Blossom Hill-themed party the other day, but then I didn’t.’
You can tell I’m really trying.
‘Well, could I buy you a drink sometime?’
‘Ermm,’ I take a swig of cider, ‘thanks but… I’m afraid I’m… otherwise engaged.’
Whatever that means.
*You still can see mutual friends on Tinder, but if you change your Facebook password, you then need to log out and back in to the app in order for them to show on people’s profiles. Am I still using Tinder? Nooo.
The Lie Of The Land