[Fresh off the boat in the big city, Lauren downloads Tinder for the second time and tries to find her second husband as soon as possible. Because Lauren is me, I've included some current reflections for my past self from this 2022 timeline...]

I thought it would be a second time lucky, but my dreams of becoming Tinderella didn’t exactly come true. And by ‘didn’t exactly’ I mean in no shape or form.

While it’s delightful to live in the anticipation of one true love and the possibility of surprise and delight that finding your one true love brings, over time, it’s unsustainable.

[It's not so much unsustainable, because you sustain your search for years and years to come. It's more so that it's unmanageable because you can't stop trying. Living in constant anticipation doesn't get you what you want. But that doesn't stop you from dating more and more so that you make your fantasy a reality. The fantasy of a soulmate who makes living feel worthwhile. Because no matter what you do, nothing ever feels like enough. And you think that true love is the magic cure to your problem of being alive.]

Tinder seemed like the ideal solution of sifting out the riff-raff from a pool of single men and discovering a hidden gem. It’s pro-active behavior with timesaving efficiency.

[Is it though? It's a compulsion to relieve the low-grade anxiety, constant tension, and internal static energy you feel every waking moment. You don't even know it's possible to not feel like that all the time. You're doing the best you can to medicate yourself with men. It's not saving you time. It's taking up huge amounts of time and even more of your headspace. And you can't pick a winner when the dating pool is toxic.]

But, as we all know, it really is about quality over quantity and ultimately, as you can only have ONE true love, so you really don’t need to wade through the masses to find your fish in a sea of scum.

[You have more than one true love. And yes, a sea of scum sums it up. But you keep fishing because you have a scarcity mindset and believe that these are your only options. They aren't.]

That said, the dates I went on were really enjoyable. One guy I saw 3 times (well done: you won!) and they all seemed decent and not just about the hookup. None of them were drug addicts (score!) or mentally unstable (a new experience for me) and I caught myself thinking 

“I could LIKE him” 

A few times… except that “could” isn’t “do” and none of them transcended past the idea of maybe…

Physical attraction is just so important! Animal attraction is even better!

[The animal attraction you're referring to is when you feel that gravitational pull of a man who's going to re-traumatize you. You're big into trauma bonds. Addicts turn you on and non-addicts bore you. You've never experienced healthy love and so you mix up love with pity, danger, intensity, and novel experiences. There's plenty of pain to come!]

And while I clarified I wasn’t there for a casual hook up, the minute the date began, I couldn’t stop thinking, 

“But could I make out with this guy?” 

Why should anyone settle for just good conversation? 

Why would we settle for anything other than an all-encompassing Ultimate?

If I don’t want to devour you like a tasty treat? 

Well, it’s a little problematic for me.

[Mmm I think perhaps wanting to devour men like tasty treats is what's actually problematic. You're looking to feed, so you fill the emptiness you feel inside. At this stage, it's about consumption and not connection.]

While I know relationships take time (and you must try not to say “I love you” on the first date), the problem with Tinder is that the pressure feels on from the get-go – swipe left / right, meet/don’t meet, is it a yes/no? Decide, Decide, Decide NOW! 

And because everyone has a few matches, it’s easy come, easy go, so no one seems to really care it it works out or it doesn’t. And maybe this lack of care leads to the lack of investment? Emotionally and (the part I found totally bizarre) Financially.

The two longest ‘dates’ (I thought they were dates—perhaps ‘interactions’ is more apt)—over five hours of conversation, wine, and food… the dudes ask to split the bill!

I am a 31-year-old woman, not a fellow student sharing my McDonald’s happy meal with you. I’m all for equality and I happily pay my way, but on a date? I mean, go the “I’ll get this one” route, even if it’s just to leave room for the follow-up, “Great, I’ll get us next time” which of course, I would, except that now… now, there will not be a next one.

Broke or stingy—is there any other explanation? 

Where is chivalry? 

A smidgen of romance? 

A hint of “I am a gentleman”. 

We’re talking fundamentals here! 

I can’t have been spoilt with dates from boys in my hometown? (pray to God that’s not true because let’s be clear: that’s not saying much) because even my boy-friends, hell, my girl-friends: we each take turns getting meals for each other or simply treat each other once in a while. It’s common decency. It’s having manners…

While I thought these Tinder dates were there to make a good impression, clearly, I was mistaken. I wasn’t investing physically and so they decided that the only Wallett in their pants would be the one they already had.

[You're not saying that if they bought you dinner, you'd get physical with them, but you stop caring that they pay. You become repulsed by men with money and love dating broke guys. Here's what happened with the last guy you attempted to date: you bought him a couple's massage for his birthday. After you'd taken him for dinner the week before and given him a collection of your hand-poured candles. Do you know what he gave you for your birthday a week later? Herpes. Kidding. Maybe. He didn't give you anything. He sent you a birthday text at 3.45 am and when you asked why he hadn't mentioned that he'd suddenly and unexpectedly fled the state; he ghosted you. On your birthday. So, if you thought not getting your breakfast bought was bad, wait until these men cost you money. Not to mention the thousands of dollars you'll spend in therapy...]

Call me crazy (no, seriously, call me crazy one more time) but my one heart’s desire is NOT going to be found trolling around on Tinder.

[You are right. And there is nothing crazy about you. I promise you. You're a wild, free spirit who is in a place you don't belong. Physically, you're caged in a country you don't belong in and mentally you're caged by an untreated love addiction. These are not your people. That is not your place.Your "I'm crazy" fear is your call for expansion.]

While the idea of Love remains one of the best experiences in life, and part of me will always hope that my Jewish Prince Charming or Greek God is just around the corner, I have resigned myself to the fact that, for now, I’m better off enjoying the experiences I can access for myself.

[You get over the Jewish and Greek fixation. Wait till you discover Persian and Columbian! But the countries men are from are just another random marker you used to control the outcome. You mistake him being from a new country, with him being a different kind of man. But you attract emotionally unavailable and dangerous men all around the world. It's not about their country of origin or location. You mistake novelty for connection. One thing you keep doing better and better? Creating experiences for yourself. You're having one right now: a solo writing holiday in Mexico City. One day, you feel at home and at peace anywhere in the entire world. Call it resignation or call it what it is: surrender. Bottom line is, the more you surrender, the easier your life becomes. There's so much peace on the other side of your fear.]

Love, Lauren

P.S: If you enjoy these stories, buy me a coffee. I always want another one. Thanks x

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