This story starts as many do….on a stormy drunken night. The weather had been terrible in Naples and we desperately needed something to keep us entertained. We all drunkenly decided to sign up for Tinder. If you are not aware of Tinder, it’s a dating app that people generally use for hookups. Although in Italy it seems to be more of a legitimate dating site…..or at least that’s what I am telling myself. Over many, many beers we left and right swiped depending on whether we found the person attractive or not. That’s right…..no fancy matching algorythms here, just plain and simple superficiality. You are hot. I like you. Swipe right. You look like Quasimodo. Swipe left. It was a laugh. In the morning with the stench of red wine still on my breath I checked my phone and saw the little flame icon in the upper corner, ‘You have a Tinder match’. Interesting, I thought and groggily opened the app. It loaded the picture of my match and he was cute. I can’t remember his name and I don’t think I even messaged him (he was obviously a keeper) but this was the beginning of an obsession. I didn’t even really start using it for dating/hookup/whatever. I started using it to pass the time between classes when I had free wifi. Or at least that’s what I am telling myself. One other justification for using it was, ‘If I make an experiment out of it then it’s not as pathetic, right?’.
So the Tinder Test was born.
Day one: Tinder is skeezy and full of creeps
Day two: I didn’t fucking go on Tinder…….
Tinder test day ??…….fuck I forgot…
Tinder test d-day plus 7: Every guy in Naples 1) apologises for his English 2) thinks my trying to speak Italian is HILARIOUS 3) say ‘I need an English teacher. To which my best friend replied ‘I was going to say marry the first one that breaks the pattern….but that might make for a super douchey dude, so never mind.
Tinder Test Day 8: I’m doing quite well. Italians think I’m exotic. To the Americans who live/work on the US Navy base I’m a familar sense of home.
Tinder test day….13? : Date with American from Southern California. He brought me peanut butter. Date went well. Has awesome tattoos. 40, divorced with two kids.
From the 13 day ‘test’ there were 3 front runners for continued conversation. The out-of-town guy, the rugby player and the aformentioned American.
The out-of-town guy was in Naples for about 2 days for work. We had a match and he messaged me a suitabley flirty message. He was having dinner alone and wanted to know if I was able to meet him. I declined. He continued to message me throughout the night and we struck up a bit of a conversation. Now I will admit, I had had a bit to drink and he was drinking with his dinner so the conversation took a sharp turn into inappropriate-ville. I’m not one to send dirty messages…especially to a stranger but it was in the name of science……RIGHT?!?! After the inital dirty message-palooza we actually developed a kind of friendship and had real conversations. Now, I never thought or was thinking that anything would happen with this guy. I lived in Naples and he lives in Torino. Well…..now I live in Torino too. On my second night in Torino, I met up with him and he lived up to the hype in that first encounter. (Sidenote….as of writing I am still waiting for a second)
The Rugby Player. Now this was the guy who ticked all the boxes. He is a rugby player, he has a beard, he seemed nice enough, he has a good job. I met him and there was NOTHING. He seemed to put his best pictures on the site, which is fair enough but incredibly misleading, he was really short and on the date he propostioned me if I wanted to teach his coworkers English for a well below average price. I….master of keeping a conversation going…couldn’t find anything to say and there were many, many awkward pauses. When we finished the evening he tried to kiss me but it was super awkward and then he awkwardly grabbed my butt. By the time I had got home he had already messaged me 3 times. This was just the beginning. If he messaged me, I gave nothing but the slightest reply. This only seemed to spur him on. I later learned that this is the Italian girl way….to give minimal response and play hard to get but if you turn him down three times then that actually means, ‘I’m not interested’. I didn’t know this. I am Canadian. As I have said before we are polite to a fault. I literally had no interest in seeing this guy again but I couldn’t just NOT message him back or say that I wasn’t interested. He would send me multiple messages a day until I just couldn’t hack it anymore and told him that I was seeing someone. I’m a monster. He replied that he was really sad. He wanted to date me. He really really likes me and this is so disapointing. Buddy, calm down. We went for a 45 minute coffee date and I’ve been giving you one word answers ever since. It’s hardly true love. His final message was if I ever break up with my ‘boyfriend’, he’ll be waiting…….Yeah waiting outside my apartment with a garbage bag and some duct tape.
Now this brings us to the American. Oh the American. You had so much potential. He was in Naples for 2 maybe 3 months working on a project with the US Navy. It was all very hush hush and if he told me what he did he’d have to kill me. I laughed of course. Or maybe he was telling the truth and he’d be the one waiting outside my apartment with a garbage bag and duct tape. He was hot, he was funny, he liked the same things as me, we could use the same West Coast slang. I might have fallen hard and fast for this one. In Italy, I am so devoid of anything North American. Everyone I meet is Italian or English, Irish or Scottish. I do like the English side of my life but it’s not who I am. I am West Coast or bust, baby! One horrifically rainy night, the American came to meet me. I had been joking that you couldn’t get peanut butter in Naples so when he turned up with a GIANT jar I knew we were off to a good start. We went to a bar near my apartment and had only an experience you can have in Vomero. I ordered what we wanted in Italian and the girl looked at me blankly. I ordered the same things again and she walked away, coming back shortly with a guy whose English was worse than my Italian to take our order. Oh well. The night was good. When it came to paying the bill, I again took the reins and asked IN ITALIAN for the bill. The guy who spoke ‘English’ looked at the American and said, “Bill?”
For fuck sake, Vomero….work with me here!!!
The rain had thankfully stopped by this point and we walked back to my place. He quite successfully ran the roommate gauntlet and we escaped to my room. I won’t tell you what happened next….I’m sure you can guess…but my parents sometimes read this and ……..yeah.
We kept messaging a lot but the timing with his work and my parents visiting it was hard to make a second date. We finally did and this is when things got shitty. I asked him if he was sleeping with other people. Quite reasonable in my books, to know if the guy you are sleeping with is doing the same thing with other people….but apparently in guy talk this means ‘I want to be with you forever and ever and ever!’
You know what…I was probably in the wrong and I asked it too soon. But about 35/40 mins later he ‘got a call from work and had to leave’. He messaged me a bit after but it was awkward and not as frequent. Then here’s the best bit. I made a last ditch effort to patch things up and invited him over, he said that he had to go to a meeting but he would message me after it and let me know if he was coming over. I got the message….it was not what I expected. He was being transfered to run the project in Africa!! AFRICA!!! WTF!!!?!?!? I had two thoughts about this 1) best lie ever 2)wow, Africa!! Cool! I’m kind of jealous. The message also said that he hated goodbyes, I was awesome but he was going to be super busy for the next few days before he shipped out. I really still don’t know how to take this message. Was it the truth or am I just being paranoid? Who knows….I never will.
So this is the result of my Tinder experience. A possible friend in Turin, a potential stalker, a jar of peanut butter and a pillow the American left at my place. Not too shabby.
Peace K xx