I saw Phillip walking towards me from across the courtyard. He wore a grey shirt with matching slacks that made me envious. The clean-cut style never suited my scrappy nature. Frayed jean shorts and midriff shirts mesh well with the hipster places I like to visit off campus.
“I like your outfit,” I said to him. He thanked me before inquiring about my day. I told him about the hours spent prepping for a presentation. He told me about a job interview that would take place the following day. We continued this banter until the subject of love popped up.
“I met someone,” He said. s
“On Grindr,” I said and nodded.
“No, in real life. Not everyone meets on Grindr,” He said and laughed. I felt a hard lump in my throat. Of course people met in real life because only shut-ins, like myself, rely on technology for romance. This might sound sarcastic but I assure you that my love life depended on both OkCupid and Grindr in the past.
In fact, my first boyfriend and I met in a chatroom. We exchanged flirty texts before exchanging emails. The fifty-miles between us seemed the length of a shoelace with modern technology. I spoke to him every day until the breakup happened. Then I switched to Facebook and found someone new to write to.
Fast forward to present day and I still rely on text-message-introductions with men. Meanwhile, Phillip told me about meeting this guy in a club via eye contact. The idea of two people meeting because of an energy exchange confused me.
“He saw me and we started talking,” Phillip said. The simplicity of this sentence made me feel envious. I swallowed the lump and curled my fists. We soon parted but I carried the feeling with me to work later that same day.
I served couples their food with a firm hand. Glass plates clacked against the tape tops. Silverware pelted against the wall above the dishwasher. The shift ended with me slamming chairs on top of one another outside the restaurant.
“Excuse me, is this place any good?” a square faced man said to me. He stood a foot away with another man behind him. I nodded and continued stacking.
“Do you think my friend’s cute?” He said. The other man laughed and walked closer. His bubble butt and thick arms interested me.
“Come on, he’s not gay.” the friend said. I rolled my eyes. This comment might flatter some macho-homosexuals but I’m fully aware of my flamboyancy. My graceful walk and soft voice come at the expense of being “outed” everywhere I go.
“Yes, I’m gay.” I said and stacked another chair on top.
“Would you go on a date with my friend? He’s a great guy but he always goes out with assholes.” the square faced man said. I smiled and told them to come back next week.
“Is something wrong?” the friend said. I wanted to tell them that they both seemed drunk. They kept touching my face and elbow. Only drunk or insecure men think I’m incredibly sexy. Of the which I prefer the insecure because then at least they’re being sincere.
“Oh my BMW just pulled up,” the square faced man said and climbed inside with his friend. They rolled down the window and asked me my name. I told them. They told me theirs.
The night ended like any other with me coming home alone. I logged onto Grindr looking for a conversation. Profile picture after profile picture zoomed by. No one said hello. If maybe I could learn how to play the game outside of this app then I would find someone. Someone a little drunk. Someone a little too touchy. Someone a little bit more than no one.