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What is love without touch?

(A Ramble about Tinder)

We’re in a pandemic right now. It seems like everybody knows that. I’m in Queens, located in New York City, believe it or not– that’s for y’all Manhattanites that love to hit me with the, “Queens isn’t New York City”. The city is nearing 1,400 deaths from the virus, with nearly 48,000 cases overall. My parents aren’t really letting me out of the house, and I’m kind of okay with it. I know I wouldn’t be very good with social distancing otherwise.

All my friends know that I’m fascinated by Tinder. It’s particularly weird right now, because we all know we’re not supposed to be meeting up, but of all possible dating apps, apparently Tinder is the most popular one at the moment. I thought Tinder was the hookup app, no? Apparently not. I guess we’re all just craving some sort of connection: and while apps like Bumble and Hinge exist, they don’t seem to have a place in our present zeitgeist as much as their competitor. It seems like a couple new types of people have been introduced to the Tinder pool as a consequence: those that would typically be looking for a ONS at a bar or club, but can’t because of the closings, and the people that are genuinely looking for some semblance of human contact with romantic subtext, just because of the loneliness that comes with social isolation. I’m not sure why Tinder is a go-to for these people, but I suppose the massive pool of people on the app is intriguing. Interestingly enough, after being on the app for three whole weeks during the reign of COVID-19 in the United States hookup culture still seems to kind of exist… except, differently, kind of.

I think it’s all about sexting now: it’s funny, really. “Let’s sext, dirty talk, and get on cam together,” and then maybe we’ll get some sort of semblance of human connection, because we both know we’re probably not going to cave into physical, real life sex for a while. After all, all the bars and clubs are closed. Where would you even find somebody? Times Square looks absolutely deserted. I wonder if the bright lights and advertisements are still on. I know for certain that the Empire State Building is freaking out with red and white lights.

I cave into it sometimes. I like to make my guys jump through hoops, just like in real life: I like guys who think I’m worth the effort of the little metaphorical dance that includes small talk and flirting, just to check for chemistry, before caving into the primitive, sexual desire that laid dormant in the hidden transcripts occuring within the playful flirtation. Like a typical hookup, even if you manage to get it to happen more than once, you eventually get bored, unless you’re lucky and there’s a seemingly true connection that could make it last a bit longer. Even then, though, how much longer can you make it last? Until the end of the quarantine? My attention span wasn’t made for it. Neither is my temper nor my patience.

We all know the stupid texting games: how long do I wait to respond? He wrote two words… I don’t want to seem desperate… Do I write two in response too? She posted on her story, but she hasn’t texted me back. She doesn’t care. He can’t even be bothered to properly spell my name? Fuck. Sometimes (or a lot of the time), these connections that we make on the web feel so based in these little text-based games. I mean, I think all social interaction is based on little games, earning each others’ trust, but the text ones bore me. At least in person, I have the pleasure of physicality to make it feel worth the effort, even if I don’t actually like them. I don’t like wasting my time with boring, unpleasant people, especially if I don’t even get the pleasure of looking at a pretty body. Even if I don’t care about what they’re saying, I like looking at pretty things. Who doesn’t?

Day-to-day, I talk to different people on the web, and some feel more temporal than others, depending on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I like some people more than others. It’s odd to see the ebb and flow of it, though: it’s wild to see how much my feelings about a person can change in such a short span of time, even if I’ve never even met them in person before. With whom will we come out of the other side of the tunnel? I heard that social distancing will be prolonged as a policy, even after the end of the quarantine… is this texting nonsense the future of dating? Fuck this. Get a plant instead.

(For my friends and readers who don’t get to experience the Tinder of densely-populated locations, I’d just like to let y’all know that Tinder had made Tinder Passport free, so you can now swipe in any area all over the globe, just by changing your location within the app! Check it out, man. Pretty cool stuff. I’m trying to brush up on my French. 😉)