Source: William Iven

In my experience, Tinder is what you make of it; and my profile is meticulously crafted to fend off dick pic-senders and the fuckboy more generally. On top of this, I have my list of Reasons to Immediately Swipe Left:

  • Group photo: highly unlikely to be the most attractive person in the group
  • Only one photo, esp. no description: could be a bot, could be a creep, could be normal, who can tell?
  • Face not visible in the first photo: covers images of cars, six-packs, moody cigarette-lighting, dogs, dramatic landscape shots with a far-off human figure, memes.
  • Overly posed, or nothing but selfies: not my kind of human.

Precautionary measures aside, you’re always going to match with a few duds. The biggest issue while traveling, I’ve found, is balancing my horniness with my need for a certain level of connection and respect.

So Brad, a man with a beautifully sculpted body, handsome face, and interesting description contacts me the night before I leave Prague to ask, ‘Do you want to grab a drink or just skip to the fun part?’

My ovaries are screaming ‘He is incredibly attractive please have sex with him within the hour please I’m begging youuu!’

My intellect, meanwhile, is feeling a little grossed out and extremely undervalued in this interaction. ‘Your dignity is worth a lot more than what will probably be mediocre sex with a guy who is all too aware of his physical beauty’, it tells me, and this time it wins.

But that’s only because Brad isn’t there in front of me. And also because I had sex the day before with a guy called August, who I’d been putting off for so long that it was impossible to do so any longer without admitting that I just wasn’t convinced he was my type and had more appealing options. August was there in front of me, you see, and bought me a beautiful dinner, and then we stood on a bridge staring into the night at a scene straight out of the Renaissance for the better part of an hour. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t my type, or that our kissing styles didn’t quite gel; by that point, it simply had to happen.

In Mongolia, everyone (including me) was embarking on or returning from a trek of some description; no one stayed in the city long enough to meet up. In Iceland, I was on a farm out of town with no transport of my own; and when I found myself in the city for Icelandic Independence Day, one of the biggest parties of the year, I passed the night in a Tindery haze of frustration, bad timing, and free shots. In Ireland, too, I had the transport issue, and the additional problem of having to swipe past many, many young men whose mothers still cut their hair.

France was no different; and yet it was. I was staying with family friends, but a situation arose where, with the addition of the slight untruth that we’d met at a festival two days’ prior, it was completely unremarkable that I’d been asked on a date. ‘What shall we do?’ I asked. ‘Dinner? Drink? Adventure?’

Aymeric convinced me to get in a car with him despite the fact that we’d never met because of his answer: ‘All three!’

And so we started with a walk through a lakeside forest, continued to a beautiful restaurant, and then drove back toward the house where I was staying, the sweet smell of wheat carrying over the windshield of Aymeric’s convertible Porsche. We had kissed, and we wanted to do more. Aymeric pulled onto a secluded verge in the middle of nowhere and produced a picnic rug. The sex was like something out of The Notebook: perfectly dry, prickle-free grass, not a trace of wind, the only sounds the hum of crickets and our soft gasps. We lay there for a long time afterwards, silent; even to whisper the word ‘perfect’ would be to destroy the perfection of the night. A deep purple sky, stars glittering in the spaces between clouds, the air neither cool nor hot, everything so quiet it became loud.

That was sex to write home about. Or to brag to your friends about, at the very least. Nights like that make the tedium of Tinder worthwhile, even when the real world seems more romantic and available.

By Rowena Edwards

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