Love Pickups, Love Hangups: My Day on Tinder

I believe in magic and serendipity, so maybe, just maybe, I will find love on a mobile application.

Also, I use men to feel good about myself and inspire poetry. #justsayin


Terrell is 24 and Asian-y and wears a forest green Tommy Hilfiger sweater. He has a Seahawks beanie. I think I can trust him.

So I tell him: Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell tonight?

Before you agonize them in farewell tonight?

Terrell says:  🙂  poem?

He says: But by who?

I tell him: Agha Shahid Ali

I think: What, I couldn’t have written that shit?

(I probably couldn’t have written that shit.)

Terrell says: How is your Friday?

He’s sweet but also boring. I drop him after we exchange pleasantries about Fridays and working and the weather.


I call him RedBeard. Your suspicion that he has a massive red beard with a curlicue mustache is well founded. His profile says, “This beard isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.” He looks the way I imagine the Brewmaster at Rogue looks when I hear that he took a yeast sample from his beard and cultivated it for his next recipe.

I didn’t actually click the heart next to his name. You may consider this exercise coldhearted, but I don’t click the heart unless I maybe, possibly would consider fucking the profile picture on my phone. But I showed Nick the app and he clicked it for me. Bastard. Nick wants me to marry RedBeard, have eight babies in six years and thank him at our wedding. I say I will christen all 8 children some variation of Nick’s name.

I tell RedBeard: More than putting another man on the moon, more than a New Year’s resolution of yogurt and yoga, we need the opportunity to dance with really exquisite strangers.

RedBeard says: Ah, Mathews 16:25.

I become confused. Does RedBeard know more about poetry than I do? I am eating Tuna Nicoise and beet salad and truffle fries and Nick is Facebook messaging me from across the table.

Nick says: Serendipity.

He might be right. I was hoping for surprise. I was hoping for someone who could play the game back, play it well.

So I google

Mathews 16:25: For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

I become scared. Is RedBeard so good that I don’t even understand the game he’s playing? Is he out of my league?

I say: Mathew Dickman?

Redbeard admits: Oh haha I didn’t know he wrote it. I was picked (sic) a random name and numbers to make it look as if it were religious text.

I say: Well that’s a coincidence

He says: Is he one if (sic) your favorites?

I mean to write him back but I get distracted because Nick is berating me for not having watched Before Sunrise.


Cameron is my favorite. He’s Asian-y, 32 and works out. He loves the Seahawks, too. However, I am learning that all of them love the Seahawks, bandwagon jumpinass mothafuckas. He wears glasses sometimes and makes quirky faces.

I say: You do not have to be good./ You do not have to walk on your knees/ for a hundred miles through the desert./ You have only to let the soft animal of your body/ love what it loves.

I am considering writing Tinder a strongly worded letter asking them to make delineation possible in their Stone Aged application.

Cameron says: Thank you for your poetic honesty.

I say: You’re welcome! Although it’s Mary Oliver, not me.

I’m not one to take credit for a master’s work.

I ask: Do you like poetry?

Cameron says: To be honest, I never advanced past seuss or shel silverstein. But then, I never made a legitimate effort.

I’m busy schmoozing at AWP so I don’t respond. 20 minutes later,

He says: I know, I am a monster.

I say: I know. I don’t even know what to say to you anymore.

I say: winky face

Cameron says: We can continue in prehistoric grunts

He says: *ug ug

He continues: Grog ug uh nrunt?

I think this is very funny and this is the moment when I decide I like him IRL. I probably genuinely LOLed.

And yet I somehow do not have the energy to grunt.

37 minutes later,

I say: Meep

45 minutes later,

He says: Haha. See, we can communicate in a number of other ways

I say: Haha. Very smooth.

I wonder if my pervy mind is taking things too far, but I remind myself it’s a hook up app. If they aren’t taking things too far, there’s something wrong with them, not me.

We talk about our evening plans. He’s an introvert, plans to drink a beer and tune up his bike tonight. I plan on going to three or more literary readings that will turn into drunken dance parties.

We’re just different people, I guess.


Under normal circumstances I would have passed on Daniel, an early 40s bald white man in a suit, but guess who has a 12th man tattoo? THIS GUY. I respect his commitment. I’m secretly entertaining the idea of meeting him just so I can take a picture with his tattoo, like a tourist. But I’m becoming overwhelmed by the volume of communication flowing through my tinders, so I let him message me first.

He says: Good evening I’m Daniel how was your day

I say: This is where you shall worship.

I keep going: At the intersections of distilled deities and memory’s sharp edges.

Daniel says: Uh what?


I’m surprised by the disproportionate number of Muslim and South Asian men scooting across my screen. Seattle is 70% white and yet more than half of my options are men of color. I realized, though, that as I choose to heart more and more candidates, every single time it’s an automatic match. This probably doesn’t make me hot shit. Rather, I’m only seeing people who are attracted to me, a self-selecting sample, and this set doesn’t include as many vanilla white boys as the general population.

I pass up Karim and Khaled and AbdulKhader. I consider getting in touch with Ahmed, only because I want to tell him that he should marry me and take my last name so that he will then be Ahmed Ahmed. But this requires disclosing my last name and I don’t need an Egyptian stalker right now. I heart Ameen instead.

Ameen is Arab, on the other side of 25 and wears a pink seersucker shirt. He loves puppies and America and partying with white people. In retrospect, I don’t know why I was drawn to him. Tinder is like online shopping (to which I have a slight addiction during periods of sadness and loss) but no cost or commitment necessary! Ameen was an impulse buy.

I say: You change a life/ as eating an artichoke changes the taste/ of whatever is eaten after.

An hour and 23 minutes later,

Ameen says: What?

He adds: Is that a pick up line?

I respond: Yet you are not an artichoke, not a piano or cat- not objectively present at all- and what of you a cat possesses is essential and narrow: to know if the distance between two things can be leapt.

An hour later,

Ameen says: Okay.

Two hours after that, at 11:15 pm,

Ameen says: So you like wanna meet up? Im in cap hill tonight.


James is Black, 25 and says about himself: Leading the world in espionage. Aka just bein slick. I heart him because he likes Radiohead, is a musician and has a picture of himself in a worn out workshop in the woods.

At 1:52 am,

James says: Yay know chunking is a cop character kinda major real bit you’re Hellas coo

I am so perplexed, I forget all about poetry. I decide to ignore him until

He says: Not what I meant.

He adds: Damn auto correct

I say: Oh good cause I was confused

I say: Try again

James says: K

He says: I’m dry I wad so confusing but I’m just on the whip of immorality

I think: I need to steal that for a poem. The whip of immorality. *shivers*

He says: Lok

James continues: .I’m justbchil

He adds: Im just chill and like to 420

I still don’t really understand him, but I’m unsure whether it’s because he is extremely high or just has poor grammar.

So I say: Oh cool. Well im tired and going to sleep

I need to uninstall Tinder ASAP.


Sloan is a white hottie. I can’t tell if he is a bro or a hipster. Somehow I am impressed by this balancing act. He says about himself: Designimal. I don’t have an eyebrow ring. I’m taller than you.

I say: There is no one to save us

I keep saying: because there is no need to be saved

Sloan says: Thank you creepiest tinderer of all time

I laugh my ass off for 3-4 minutes.

I say: I’ve loved you

I continue: I’ve hurt you

I follow up: I’ve mowed the front yard.

Sloan never responds.


My name is Afrose. I’m 29.

In one picture I‘m a punk, in another I look like a lady.

In the third, I am La Muerte and the fourth,

Snow White in boxing gloves.

I don’t have an about me

because pretty girls don’t need to be interesting.

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