[Setting the scene: Lauren moves from her small and conservative home town to a glamorous and cosmopolitan City. She's bored, restless, and seeking something more. Lauren doesn't know what it means to "pull a geographic" or that she's a budding alcoholic. She thinks the women there are more aligned with her because they seem free-spirited and independent. They're career-focused, and fun-loving, unlike the boring, married breeders from her hometown. She doesn't think it's because these party-girls are a bunch of drunk, promiscuous lushes. That's because she doesn't know that she, herself, is a drunk, promiscuous lush. Lauren starts a travel blog, which quickly becomes a chronicle of her dating horror stories. It's called Love, Lauren and this is the first dating story she ever shared. 
Because she is me, I've included some current reflections for my past self from this 2022 timeline..]

If you haven’t already heard of Tinder, you will soon… this ‘people matching’ app is taking the world by storm and while it’s still relatively new in my hometown—it seems everyone is already on it in the big city just I’ve moved to!

After two terrible experiences, I went off the app, only 2 weeks after joining…

[You continued to download and delete dating apps for the next 9-years. And as of posting this, plans to download them again in 2-months, after another self-imposed dating sabbatical. So... you did not in fact go off the apps. Ever.]

Guy 1: Dreadful Online Interaction

I had been texting a seemingly decent guy (whom after some digging, discovered just how doggy he in fact was! Perks of small-town living—I literally knew where he worked and who he dated—including his penchant for threesomes and one-sided open relationships before we even became Facebook friends!) He was a no-go…

[Facebook is dead. You've blocked hundreds of men. But you don't avoid getting involved with men who cheated on you and with you.]

Guy 2: Disastrous Date

Hands down, it was the worst date ever.

[It was not, in fact, the worst date ever. On the scale of how bad your dates get, this was a neutral date.]

Guy 2 from Tinder seemed nerdy, sweet, and, harmless. But his involvement in a certain annual event made me ask my deal-breaking question BEFORE we went for coffee: Do. You. Take. Drugs?

Experience with countless drug-abusing and addicted boys has made me ask this question right off the bat. Although his answer was vague,

“It’s a misconception that people who go to Burning Man take drugs.” 

I thought: he’s 38 and Jewish. Surely any notions of how cool drugs are fell out when his hair started too? I mean 38 is old, right? You’re an adult from 21!

[38 isn't old. You're 39 and you feel you're only just beginning. But yes, you still don't like the idea of dating men much older than you. And even though you attempt to date a few bald guys, you prefer gorgeous thick, long hair on males.]

Although it wasn’t a direct “of course I don’t use drugs, no!” I still went to meet him for coffee…

Not only was this person the most self-absorbed person I’d ever met, but he also only spoke about one topic for the entire hour: (before he had to leave for his therapy session) his favorite and only subject: drugs.

[This happens so. Many. Times. And they're all self-righteously convinced that drugs are life. Especially the mico-dosing, psychedelic, ayahuasca users. No one judges like a using addict. During your last date, when the man surprised you with his dedication to drugs, you gave him the benefit of doubt and stayed for the whole boring dinner. Before you agree to go on any more date, you plan to confirm that he is not still into experimenting or using drugs. But, one point for that using addict is that he was in therapy and that's a good thing. You want a man who has been or is in therapy. You are not his therapist and if he says, "my mom is my therapist" it's a bright red flag.]

A self-proclaimed “Burner” whose true mother Mother was ‘Ayahuasca’ (a drug), who started using at 15 and then detailed all the times and types since then (yawn), who wanted to kill himself so stopped drinking for a bit—but of course quitting drugs was out of the question because that isn’t the problem (!), who used Tinder because it is just like Grinder (a gay hook-up sex site—what!?!), who didn’t believe in marriage or working or money… but believed in the liberating effect of losing his mind, through drugs… yes… you’ve got it all figured out dude. Congrats.

This was not a case of opposites attracting. After an awkward goodbye, 

Me: “Good luck with therapy.”  

Him: “Seriously, take a pill. You won’t look back.”

I deleted the app.

Until… now… fresh in this new city and under the influence of my raving friends, I joined again…

[More like you're under the influence of the Rosé you drink every day...but hey, let's blame your "friends" whom you judge as "real alcoholics." You still think that you need to get better practice drinking so that you can increase your tolerance. It's not that you drink too much, it's that you're lightweight and need to drink more to get better at it.] 

Like all my boyfriends before, 

Tinder deserves a second chance. 

Third time lucky… right?

So far, I’ve noticed 3 perks:

  • It does wonders for your ego. All the matches make you feel you have options out there who find you attractive.
  • It provides entertainment (Kardashian level entertainment).
  • You can customise your own experience.

And I am proceeding with caution…

[Entertaining your ego isn't the best idea you've ever had. It's not customization you're after, it's the control that you want, and you don't have that. It's the same with your idea that you're able to proceed with caution. Ultimately, that's not possible because you're trying to "use responsibly," which is typical addict behavior. Here's what's happening: You're not writing the movie and playing the lead. You're recapping what happened and trying to make sense of why things just don't work out again and again by turning the events into a story. It's the typical addict progression that starts off with having fun, then having fun with problems, and then only having problems. Don't worry just yet though, you still have lots of fun when you date in Cape Town. And you don't regret your past nor wish to shut the door on it. You just don't really know who you are yet. Maybe you never do...]

I only continue to talk to those who seem interesting. The second I am asked:

“Want to have some fun?” 

Or am referred to as 

“Hey, little lady,” 

Or I change my mind – I cut communication.

[Actually, you briefly spend time with a boy 12-years younger than you who calls you "hey pretty lady" and you LOVE it. You would have kept seeing him if he hadn't canceled you 3 times at the last minute after inviting himself over to your home for a sleepover. He is also an alcoholic and stoner, but you didn't mind how bad he smelt because he was so pretty with long hair! You're still shallow like that.]

The way I see it is that Tinder is a sifting process. I’m not sure if the value lies in genuine connection, friendship, love, or even a soul mate (stranger things have happened, I believe in miracles and anything is possible, so… who knows?)

[You 100% think you'll meet your soulmate on a dating app. You think that at least once a month for 9-years straight. It's not so much that you believe in miracles, it's more that you're a fantasy addict and escape reality through pursuing impossible love. You think it's because your heart is a boxer. It's really because you're a love addict.]

I’m not looking for random hookups (isn’t that what Caprice beach bar is for?) or wasting my time with someone who offers no value (there must be entertainment, humor, inspiration, learning, something!) but people have always been interesting to me and chatting to a variety of people is sometimes an enjoyable pastime. It’s also no pressure. And I might get to engage with a person I otherwise would never have met in real life.

[To backtrack a few sentences, yes, that's exactly what Caprice is for and you delight in many midnight snacks and Caprice takeaways over your next party-fueled years. But by "people" you mean men. And men aren't just interesting and no pressure on you. Men terrify and haunt you. In the same way that drug addicts are addicted to drugs, you're addicted to men. But you don't know that yet...] 

So I recommend trying Tinder (if you’re single!) in order to ask your deal-breaking questions, partake in a sifting process, and hopefully find yourself a hidden gem!

Love, Lauren

[Little did I know that this was the beginning of the end of my Love, Lauren alter-ego. Before I killed her and long before I resurrected her to share her with you. She hadn't even started dating on the scene yet... so stay tuned, she's only just begun!]

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

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